Calendars in Antiquity: Empires, States, and Societies by Sacha Stern

Calendars in Antiquity: Empires, States, and Societies

bySacha Stern

Hardcover | October 30, 2012

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Calendars were at the heart of ancient culture and society, and were far more than just technical, time-keeping devices. Calendars in Antiquity offers a comprehensive study of the calendars of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, Gaul, and all other parts of the Mediterranean andthe Near East, from the origins up to and including Jewish and Christian calendars in late Antiquity. In this volume, Stern sheds light on the political context in which ancient calendars were designed and managed. Set and controlled by political rulers, calendars served as expressions of politicalpower, as mechanisms of social control, and sometimes as assertions of political independence, or even of sub-culture and dissidence.While ancient calendars varied widely, they all shared a common history, evolving on the whole from flexible, lunar calendars to fixed, solar schemes. The Egyptian calendar played an important role in this process, leading most notably to the institution of the Julian calendar in Rome, theforerunner of our modern Gregorian calendar. Stern argues that this common, evolutionary trajectory was not the result of scientific or technical progress. It was rather the result of major political and social changes that transformed the ancient world, with the formation of the great Near Easternempires and then the Hellenistic and Roman Empires from the first millennium BC to late Antiquity. The institution of standard, fixed calendars served the administrative needs of these great empires but also contributed to their cultural cohesion.

About The Author

Sacha Stern is Professor of Jewish Studies at University College London. His research and publications are centred on ancient and medieval time and calendars, as well as on other aspects of Jewish history in Antiquity.
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Title:Calendars in Antiquity: Empires, States, and SocietiesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:512 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.03 inPublished:October 30, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199589445

ISBN - 13:9780199589449

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Table of Contents

List of TablesIntroductionPart I: From city states to great empires: the rise of the fixed calendars1. Calendars of ancient Greece2. The Babylonian calendar3. The Egyptian calendar4. The rise of the fixed calendars: Persian, Ptolemaic, and Julian calendarsPart II: The empires challenged and dissolved: calendar diversity and fragmentation5. Fragmentation: Babylonian and Julian calendars in the Near East, 3rd century BCE 7th century CE6. Dissidence and subversion: Gallic, Jewish, and other lunar calendars in the Roman Empire7. Sectarianism and heresy: from Qumran calendars to Christian Easter controversiesConclusionReferencesIndex