Linked with Robert Bauval – Egypt & Belgium.

Published on Graham, by Robert G. Bauval, 07-Feb-02.

Time and Place

Historical events are fixed by the time and place they occurred. And this, as we all know, is expressed in a calendar date and the name of location. On face value, this appears obvious enough. After all, I was born on the 5th March 1948 in the city of Alexandria, as officially recorded on my birth certificate. No discussion, period. Ah, but what about much earlier historical events such as, say, the famous battle of Kadesh between the army of Ramses II and the Hittites, as depicted on the pylon walls of the Rameseum near the city of Luxor in Upper Egypt? In this case there are as many dates ranging from c.1280 BC to c. 1298 BC depending which textbook you pick up …

… Firstly the 11th September of the year 2001 AD (Anno Domini) is based on the Gregorian calendar. For the Islamic calendar this date fell on the 23rd Jumaada Al Thani of the year 1422 A.H. (Anno Hegira); for the Ethiopian calendar it was the 1st Meskerem of the year 7501; in the Coptic (Christian Egyptian) calendar it was the 1st Thout of the year 1725, and according to the Jewish calendar it was the 23rd Elul of the year 5761. Confused? There’s more. The Ethiopian 1st Meskerem and the Coptic 1st Thout are the New Year’s Day for both these calendars. The Ethiopian and Coptic New Year, in fact, always fall on the 11th September of the Gregorian calendar (except on leap years, where an extra day is added). But check this:

In the year 1999 of the Gregorian calendar, the 11th September marked not only the Coptic and Ethiopian New Year and also the Jewish New Year (which fell on 1st Tishri 5760). This is because the Jewish New Year, which is a bit like the Christian Easter, is not fixed by changes because of the complex way it is determined such as the sighting of the new moon and also that it must not fall on certain days of the week. The Jewish New Year can fall anywhere between the first week of September and the first week of October and, statistically, more than often somewhere in the middle like, for example near or on 11th September. The historical roots of all these ancient calendars are to be found mostly in ancient Egyptian going as far back as 3000 BC. The ancient Egyptian civic calendar, probably established in the forth millennium BC, was made up of 12 months of 30 days with each month having 3 weeks of ten days called Decans. But to keep up with the (approximate) solar year of 365 days, the Egyptians also added 5 extra or epagomenal days, known as the Birth of the Neters (divine principles or gods), which included the celebrated mythological couple, Osiris and Isis. The Beginning of the Year or New Year’s Day of the Egyptians was marked by the first dawn rising of Sirius, a star sacred to the goddess Isis, which originally occurred on the day of the summer solstice i.e. on the 21st June Gregorian. This special day was called 1st day of the 1st month of Thoth. But because of the day difference as well as a small variance the sidereal year and the tropical year, this after all man-made calendar slowly drifted away from both the heliacal rising of Sirius and the summer solstice, such that by the early Christian times the 1st of the month of Thoth had drifted to the 11th September Gregorian, which is why the Egyptian-Coptic New Year i.e. 1st of Thoot, starts on that date … (and more full long challenging text).

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