Calendar development encompasses a period of many millennia. Before the beginning of first civilisations farmers tracked the repeating cycles of nature. They were tracking time by observing lunar phases and position of the sun.
5000 - 4800 B.C.
A wooden observatory was built in a town called Goseck, Germany. It marks the position of the sun as it turns.
Stonehenge, whose main axis courses towards the sunset at winter sun turn.
As civilisations started to form, so too the first calendars came into existence. Some of these calendars are being used to this day, others have been revised through the centuries because of the discrepancies between the calendar year and the actual solar year. During these centuries calendar computations were performed by numerous astronomers, mathematicians and priests.
The beginning of a lunisolar Jewish (Hebrew) calendar. The year features 12 months with either 29 or 30 days in a month. There is an additional month included for leap years which happen at specific intervals.
11. August 3114 B.C.
Beginning of the Mayan calendar of the Long Count. The calendar encompasses the period of 5125 years.
The start of year counting by the Chinese calendar.
21. April 753 B.C.
The founding of Rome and the beginning of Roman calendar. This calendar had 10 months and 304 days.
Around 700 B.C.
The Roman calendar is added 2 new months - JANUARIUS and FEBRUARIUS. The updated calendar has 355 days.
A 19-year Metonic cycle is introduced into the lunisolar Attic calendar.
The Egyptian calendar, one of the eldest calendars in the world had 365 days in a year. In 238 BCE, king Ptolemy III. wanted to include one additional day for every 4 years into the calendar. The priests denied this and refused to make changes to the calendar.
Julius Caesar revises the Roman calendar:
- year starts with January, no longer with March.
- every 4th year is a leap year. The additional day is appended to February, which now has 30 days in total.
- month lengths were changed in order to once again match the calendar year with solar year, this particular year needed to have 445 days.
The Attic calendar is replaced with the revised Julian calendar.
1. January 45 B.C.
The beginning of use of Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar. Later they also named the month of July after him.
The Egyptian calendar is added 1 day for every 4 years.
A 7-day week is introduced into Julian calendar. Sunday is a labor free day.
Julian calendar begins counting years since the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and so years are being labeled with designations Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and Before Christ (BC or B.C.).
Muhammad leaves Mecca. With this year begins the counting by the Islamic calendar.
24. February 1582
Pope Gregory XIII. introduces a new calendar - Gregorian calendar. At the time the calendar was already 10 days behind the solar year, and so they shortened that year for 10 days by skipping them. Leap year is every 4 years except for those years that are divisible by 100 - of those only the ones that are divisible by 400 are leap years.
In the coming centuries Gregorian calendar was accepted by most of the countries and so it became the world calendar. The length of the calendar year in Gregorian calendar is 365,2425 days, however, the actual number of days in astronomical year is 365,24219 which is the time measured between the two springtime equinoxes.
The length of a second is defined in terms of the natural periodicity of the radiation of a caesium-133 atom, and it becomes a formal unit of time (UTC).
The first rotating round calendar - CircleTime
There's a new kind of calendar on the horizon. It is round, perpetual, and it spins. We already know of round calendars, at least as far back as memory reaches; they've been here since the time of mighty civilisations that were changing the world before us. Today, a lot of their ancient knowledge is either misinterpreted or misunderstood. But it is exactly those mysterious calendars, so extraordinarily precise and inspiring, that tell us how developed the societies that made them truly were. For several centuries now, we have witnessed time being presented in a rather unnatural manner. However, it's also true that it is practically impossible to make a calendar such as CircleTime mechanically. Even the famous inventor Leonardo da Vinci hadn't designed anything in that direction.
So, what is cyclical and perpetual in nature?
The everyday rotation of our planet on its axis and around the sun, for instance. An hour, which represents 1/24th of the day and in nature represents the turning of the planet on its axis, is basically circular. It is all about repeating cycles from one day to the next, time and again. It's completely the same story with time measurement on an annual level, where the cycle represents one turn of our planet around the sun. In short, everything in nature is cyclical and perpetual. Our ancestors, who observed nature, came to understand this and adjusted their measuring devices accordingly. One such example is the ancient monument Stonehenge.
Why then do we present time with a calendar that is so unbefitting? With a table made of rows and columns - something that has no connection with reality or with sensible presentation of time? Because the calendar being used today by the majority of the world came into existence in a less than sensible way; in times when science and development were managed by a handful of people who wanted the world to remain a flat plane in the centre of the known existence. And so today's Gregorian calendar, in its essence, is strangely made and unsuitable for presenting natural cycles. Its tabular presentation makes it impossible to truly understand time and perpetual cycles. We cannot simply replace the Gregorian calendar overnight, although presenting it in a more natural way with the help of modern technology is a step in a new direction. Just like with cycles in nature - everything renews and is eventually replaced. Nothing remains permanent.
Some of those antique calendars we admire even today. Through them we can explore the beauty and mysteries of the civilisations that created them. Let's not forget that the calendars that are in use today tell a lot about us, as well.
21. December 2012
The end of the Mayan calendar of the Long Count.