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Attic calendar

From Academic Kids

The Attic calendar, the calendar used in Ancient Athens, was influential among the Hellenic calendars. It is a lunisolar calendar, combining elements of solar calendars and lunar calendars. Each year began near the autumnal equinox and was divided into 12 months, each beginning with the new moon.

  1. Boedromion, the "cattle drive"
  2. Pyanepsion
  3. Maimakterion
  4. Poseideon, dedicated to Poseidon
  5. Gamelion (could start anywhere from late December to mid January)
  6. Anthesterion
  7. Elaphebolion
  8. Mounykhion
  9. Thargelion (Greek Θαργήλιων) (overlaps May and June of the modern Gregorian Calendar)
  10. Skirophorion
  11. Hekatombaion (also see Hecatomb)
  12. Metageitnion

The first month of Boedromion contained the Eleusinian Mysteries, which lasted from the 15th to 21st days of that month.

Gamelion was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Hera and Zeus. The Lenaia festival was held in honour of Dionysus from the 12th to the 15th of this month, and bears some relation to the modern St. Valentine's Day.

An intercalary month was used to keep a fixed relation to the seasons. These months, called "the second Poseideon," were at first inserted in an inexact way, but later more systematically in years 3, 5, 8, 11, 13, 16, 19 of the Metonic cycle.

Dates were reckoned by Olympiads, which were equal to four years. This provides one of the few reckonings of dates in classical times independent of the reigns of particular rulers.

The Roman emperor Justinian I suppressed the Olympic Games (and other pagan institutions) in 529; perhaps most notably, he placed teaching at the Academy of Plato under the control of what was, by that time, a specifically Christian state. Thus, the 327th Olympiad is the last time this system of naming years would have been used.

The first Olympiad dates from 776 BC, so the numbering of the years would be:

  • 776 BC First Olympiad
  • 775 BC Year 1 of the second Olympiad
  • 774 BC Year 2 of the second Olympiad
  • 773 BC Year 3 of the second Olympiad
  • 772 BC Second Olympiad
  • 771 BC Year 1 of the third Olympiad
  • ...
  • 1 BC Year 3 of the 195th Olympiad
  • 1 195th Olympiad
  • 2 Year 1 of the 196th Olympiad
  • ...
  • 529 327th Olympiad
  • ...
  • ...(extrapolating)...
  • ...
  • 2004 Year 3 of the 696th Olympiad
  • 2005 696th Olympiad
  • 2006 Year 1 of the 697th Olympiad
  • ...

References

  • Webster's 1913 Dictionary for the information about the basic structure of the calendar within each single year; the information about the numbering of years comes from the corresponding article in the Spanish-language wikipedia.

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There is also a land in Middle-earth called Thargelion.es:Calendario helÚnico eo:Atika Kalendaro fr:Calendrier attique sl:Atiški koledar

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