Lunar calendar (Babylonia)

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The Babylonian lunar calendar was a theoretical lunar calendar model designed by Babylonian astronomers that consisted of averaged synodic lunar months .


Animation of the moon phases .

The Babylonian lunar calendar served as a uniform time system for recording and predicting lunar and planetary events. It therefore had the character of an astronomical forecast calendar , the forecasts of which corresponded to the records of events that actually occurred in the Babylonian calendar .

The Babylonians divided the middle synodic month into 30  planetary ephemeris units, which were also used for the great circle calculation as a time value . The time units determined in this way did not have a special name, but were given the simple designation "days", which could deviate by a maximum of one day from the real calendar entries in the Babylonian calendar. The calculation basis of the Babylonian lunar day is identical to the Indian Tithi .

New light days always fell on the 1st or 30th day in the Babylonian lunar calendar, whereby the following principle applied: If the new light can be observed on the 30th day, this day is the 1st day of the following month. The two leap months Addaru II and Ululu II were based on the same system.

Month names

The Babylonian names of the lunar and calendar months, which come from the ancient Babylonian period (2000–1600 BC), were derived from the older calendar system from Nippur .

Month names in different epochs and regions
Month no. Babylonian calendar Nippur calendar Ur-III calendar Lagaš calendar
1 Nisannu (bar) Bara-zag-gar-ra Maš-du-ku Gan-maš
2 Ajaru (gu 4 ) Ezen- gu 4 -si-su Šeš-da-ku Gu 4 -du-bi-sar-sar
3 Simanu (sig 4 ) Sig 4 -ga U 5 -bi-ku Ezen- d Li 9 -si 4
4th Du'uzu (šu) Šu-numun Ki-sig- d Nin-a-zu Šu-numun
5 Abu (izi) NE-NE-gar-ra Ezen- d Nin-a-zu Munu x - (DIM 4 ) -cu
6th Ululu (kin) Child- d Inanna A-ki-ti Ezen d Dumu-zi
7th Tašritu (du 6 ) You 6 -ku Ezen- d Sul-gi Ezen- d Sul-gi
8th Araḫsamna (apin) Apin-du 8 -a Šu-eš-ša Ezen- d Ba-ba 6
9 Kislimu (gan) Gan-gan-e Ezen-maḫ Mu-šu-you 7
10 Tebetu (from) Ab-e Ezen-an-na Amar-aa-si
11 Sabatu (ziz) Ziz-a Ezen-me-ki-gal Še-gur 10 -ku 5
12 Addaru (še) Še-gur 10 -ku 5 Še-gur 10 -ku 5 E-il-la
S. Addaru II (DIR, dirig)
Ululu II (KIN-2-KAM, 2-KAM)

See also



  1. a b Otto Neugebauer: The exact sciences in antiquity . P. 128.
  2. Lis Brack-Bernsen: On the origin of the Babylonian moon theory . P. 38.