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io                 The Calendars and. Chronology
spring; besides these was the New Year day (Aug. 29 Julian)
of the Alexandrine calendar of 365 days.
Throughout their history it is clearly evidenced that the
Egyptians measured long periods of time in terms of cycles
defined by the periods in which a celestial event passed through
a calendric period. Thus the Sothic cycle was the period in
which the observed heliacal rising of Sirius passed through the
whole gamut of the 365 days calendar; 1,456 years in the first
cycle from 2769; 1,455 years in the next cycle. At the beginning
of the cycle in 1313 and again in A.D. 138 this cycle is referred
to as a 'period of eternity'. Tacitus refers to it as a Phoenix
cycle. That concept is also borne out by the inscription of
AIQN with a phoenix on the coins of Pius from his second year.
Similarly the eras of Horakhti appear to have been defined at
first by the passage of the actual equinox through the sliding
calendar. The autumn equinox would then pass through 9 days
of the calendar in 37 years, 30 days in 123 years, and the full
calendar in about 1,506 years. Now on the Palermo Stone and
the Cairo fragment is found evidence of a festival of Desher
recurring at intervals of 37 years, and also of a festival cof
eternity' which appears to recur at intervals of 123 years. It is
then possible that the 5oo-years Phoenix cycle of Herodotus
refers to the passage of the equinox through one season of
4X30 days. On the other hand, the Set stele of Rameses II
is dated in Year 400 of an era of Nubti, an attribute of Set.
Since this stele was erected probably before 1236, it
must be inferred that the Set cycle was defined by the passage
of i. I of the Set calendar through the sliding calendar, in
which case a full cycle would clearly be accomplished in 1,460
years. This would date this stele in 1282, which is distinctly
As already stated, the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty is
fixed in 1990, as a result of a record of the date of a heliacal
rising of Sirius. A similar record determines the gth year of