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8618Re: [ANE-2] Re: nebuchadrezzar

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  • Robert M Whiting
    Jul 2, 2008
      On Wed, 2 Jul 2008, frankclancy wrote:

      > Inter-calary days - I was under the impression that several days were
      > added at the end of the year to keep the Calendar up to date. These
      > often were treated as a holiday.

      Apparently you are confusing the Babylonian calendar with the Egyptian
      one. The Babylonian calendar was luni-solar as far back as we can trace
      it. The calendar consisted of lunar months determined by the first
      visibilty of the moon after the new moon syzygy. Twelve lunar months are
      shorter than a solar year by about 11 days. In order to keep the
      calendar in line with the seasons (solar year) it is necessary to add an
      intercalary month periodically. Intercalation was done by adding an
      entire lunar month to the calendar approximately every three years, not by
      adding a few days at a time. Actually one needs 7 intercalary months
      every 19 years to keep the calendars in line so the time needed between
      intercalations is slightly less than three years. The intercalary month
      was usually added at the end of the year, but sometimes after the 6th
      month rather than the 12th.

      There was an "ideal" calendar of 12 thirty-day months (= 360 days) but
      this was used for administrative purposes and in astronomical treatises
      (that is why a circle has 360 degrees), not for keeping time.

      > I should assume the king was here. The idea that a king would not be at
      > his home city for the new year festival would be very odd. It is clear
      > that neither he nor his father missed the new year in Babylon so this
      > would be a major exception. Also, the festival was an important
      > ideological display - the King and the prosperity of the kingdom as one.

      While the Akitu festival at the new year was indeed important for royal
      ideology, the key to whether the king could make it back to Babylon for
      the festival hinges more on whether his seventh year was an intercalary
      one or not. If it was, he has an extra month of 29 or 30 days to make it
      back between the end of the twelfth month and the beginning of the new

      > In 605, when he heard his father died, he was at Carchemish and he
      > was able to dash down the Euphrates - not a problem. However, I
      > think he heard the news in August ( or sometime close to August) so
      > the routes would be dry, the rivers would be low for crossing at
      > various fords etc. However, in 598-7, it was the winter and spring
      > months, the routes would not be dry and the Euphrates River and other
      > rivers would have high water.

      He may also have had a tailwind.

      Bob Whiting
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