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Posted by Jeff from ( on Saturday, February 23, 2002 at 7:09PM :

-- Found this on the net, had an online translator translate it from French to English. It's about how our ancestors, the Chaldeans AND Assyrians, developed the calendar, among other things.


CALENDAR CHALDEEN [Les Arabes] [Index] [Chinois]


In Asia, on banks of the Tiger and of Euphrate v & eacutecut the people which appear to have risen the first with celestial contemplations.
At least the oldest astronomical data that we had come from him.
The beautiful climate of Mésopotamie, with its serene and marvelously spangled nights whose East has the privilege, was admirably favorable there.
The information which one has had on the former inhabitants of this country, Babyloniens, Chaldéens, Assyriens, information taken on bricks or shelves of clay covered with wedge-shaped signs and update by the excavations continued for one century on the site of the old cities of Mésopotamie, revealed which immense place held in this country the observation of the stars.

Civilization babylonienne goes up at least 4000 years before Jesus Christ.
One found has Ninive the fragments of a great treaty of astrology compiled for Sargon the Old one, whose life is placed towards 3800.
The observations, initially empirical, continued during thousands of years and improved gradually, made it possible Babyloniens last centuries before Jesus-Christ to arrive at knowledge of an astonishing scientific exactitude, from which the Greeks drew great party.

During this immense time, the manner of measuring time presented changes which it is still difficult to follow.
Although one can distinguish Babyloniens, Chaldéens, Assyriens and Chaldéo-Assyriens, we will be satisfied to indicate here what one knows about the calendar of the civilization chaldéenne, which is identified with that of the people entire babylonien.

Chaldéens noted the movements of the stars, drew up tables, gave names, and their codified observations formed the first book of astronomy.
" Much from things still of use in astronomy, known as Lenormant, come us from civilization chaldéo-assyrienne and its science, to which all antiquity paid a right homage ".
They knew not only the movements of the sun and the moon, but those of five principal planets, the eclipses, the precession of the equinoxes, the division of the circle in three hundred and sixty parts or degrees, that of the degree in sixty minutes, the minute in sixty seconds and the second in sixty thirds.
Chaldéens knew the gnomon and the sundial.
With them we attend the creation of the bases of the calendar.

The division of the ecliptic in twelve equal parts constituting the zodiac, and its figures or catasterisms, are of origin chaldéenne.
In its apparent annual movement, the sun describes a line on the celestial sphere, called ec]iptic because it is on this line that occur the eclipses.
If one takes each side of this line eight degrees, one obtains a celestial tape of sixteen degrees of width cut out in the vault of the sky.
This tape is traversed, in its medium by the sun, and in the remainder of its surface, by the planets which, in general, do not come out of this zone.
However, conveniently to indicate the place where was the sun in this celestial area, the astronomers chaldéens shared the tape in its length in twelve equal parts, having each one a twelfth, i.e. thirty degrees of the sphere which has three hundred and sixty of them.
They gave then to the stars which are in each one of these twelve parts of the names who were especially names of animals, from where its name of zodiac (dzôdia, animals).

These names draw their origin from what there was, in the phenomena of the sky and the ground, moreover striking at the time when the sun was in each of the twelve parts.
Thus one called Bélier, or signs Ram or stars of the Ram, the dan6 part which is the sun at the time where are born the lambs; stars of ox or bull those under which it was time to harness this animal with the plough to plow the ground; stars of cancer or crayfish those under which the sun, arrived at the middle of the year, started to retrogress, as the crayfish which goes to move back; stars of the lion those where this animal showed itself close to the cities; stars of Aquarius (pour-water) the rain season; stars of the balance those to which the days equalize the nights; of Sagittarius moment to make hunting for the wild animals, etc.

Two Latin worms of the Ausone poet mention these twelve signs of the zodiac:

Sunt: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo,
Libraque, Scorpius, Arcitenens, To wrap, Amphora, Pisces

The oldest zodiacs placed at the head the sign of the bull.
It was the equinoctial sign since year 4300 approximately before our era; it was it until 2150.
It is probably at this first time that the contemplators of the sky drew up the card of the zodiac, because in the old religious myths, the bull is associated with the fertile work of the spring, which brings back, with the action of the sun on the ground, the return of the vegetation and the fruits.

The vernal equinox arrived indeed in the sign of the bull at that time ancient.
Under the terms of the precession of the equinoxes, it arrives successively in all the signs, in one period from approximately 25000 to 26000 years.
From year 2150 before our era, the vernal equinox took place in the sign of the ram.
Since the first century of our era until today, it is in the sign of fish.
It will pass soon in Aquarius.

At side of the exact concepts of astronomy, there was in the science of Chaldéens a whole mixture of astrology.
They called the twelve signs of the zodiac the " lords of the gods "; the planets were the " interpreters ".
The astrologers chaldéens spent their time to sidereal observations and endeavoured to regulate their life according to the instructions which they believed lira in the sky.
The majority of sciences divinatoires of today have their origin in astrology chaldéenne.

Chaldéens were the first to divide the day into twelve hours, hours double; the hour was divided into sixty minutes and the minute in sixty seconds.
This division by twelve and sixty A its explanation.
We touch here at the origins of numeration.
Although Chaldéens, like majority of people children, have started to count on their fingers, i.e. by quines, and that the two joined together hands formed two quines or ten, which gave the simple invention of the decimal number system, nevertheless the duodecimal system was also formed in the most natural way.
Ten can be divided exactly only by 2 and 5, while the dozen is by 2, 3, 4 and 6.
This property of the dozen, noticed by first Chaldéens, pushed to make use of it.
By dividing the unit into sixty parts, they reconciled the two decimal number systems and duodecimal.
Because 60 A for dividers all dividers of 10 and 12.
From there, the division of the day in I2 hours, hour in 60 minutes, minute in 60 seconds, the division also of the circle in 360 degrees and degree in 60 minutes.

These two systems, since their invention, are in fight and share the world.
Although the decimal number system is today more in favour, it did not supplant yet the division of the day in 12 hours, not more than in the trade the sale with the dozen.

Chaldéens measured initially time, apart from the day, according to lunations.
It is the remark that one can make among all people of antiquity.
It is easy to include/understand that the revolutions of the moon, with the changes of glare of its disc, sometimes enlightened, sometimes obscure, are, after the rising and to lay down it sun, the astronomical phenomenon easiest to notice.

Lunations, Chaldéens arrived quickly at a 360 days year, divided into 12 30 days months each one.
They did not leave it there.
As skilful astronomers who they were, they realized early that their 360 days year did not correspond to the true solar year, of which they had discovered the duration, and they added, every six years, a thirteenth 30 days intercalated month.
As this intercalation was not enough, still, they annexed, with intervals much more moved away, a second intercalated month.

Here names of the months chaldéens and assyriens:

N° Names chaldéens Names assyriens
1 Nisanu Nisanu
2 Aïru Aïru
3 Sivanu Sivanu
4 Douzu Douzu
5 Abu Abu
6 Elulu Ululu
7 Tashritu Tasritu
8 Arajshamma Arah-Samma
9 Kisilivu Kisilev
10 Thebitu Tebetu
11 Shabatu Sebatu
12 Addaru Adaru

The thirteenth intercalated month was placed after Addaru and was called " incident with Addaru ".
When it was necessary to intercalate another month, one placed it, either after Nisanu, or after Elulu (I).

The names of the months assyriens were the same ones, with some slight differences, coming from the two languages, that those of the months chaldéens.
These months were expressed, in the wedge-shaped writing, either phonetically, or by signs ideographic which were like scientific or religious symbols of each month.
Thus the month sivanu (May-June) had as an ideogram the word murga which means " the manufacture of bricks ", because it was in this month that one started to mould bricks to then let them dry with the sun of the summer months.

Chaldéens had, as of one moved back time, of the seven days periods, stopped at the end of each month.
" They divided, says Lenormant, the months in four seven days weeks, from 1st to the 7, the 8 to the 14 of the 15 to the 21, finally of the 22 to the 28; as the month had 30 days regularly, the two last remained apart from the series of the four hebdomades, which took again the following month, of 1st to the 7, etc ". Later, the series of the weeks became uninterrupted. Same Lenormant says that " at Chaldéo-Assyriens one finds right from the start the seven days week, devoted to the seven planetary bodies which they adored like gods and which for a time immémorial the command of their days was not changed ".

The names that ]es Chaldéens gave to the seven days of the week were those of the sun, the moon and five principal planets.
Masters of astrology chaldéenne, by considering that sun, the moon and five planets then known reve *** TRANSLATION ENDS HERE ***naient dans un ordre constant, crurent qu'ils é taient conduits par des dieux ou g é nies.
Ces esprits gouverneurs des astres se pr é occupaient, selon les astrologues, de ce qui se passait sur la terre o ù s'exer ç ait leur influence.
Le dieu du Soleil y envoyait l'esprit, celui de la Lune, le corps, Nergal (Mars) le sang, Nabu (Mercure) l'intelligence et la parole, Bel (Jupiter) la temp é rance, Istar (V é nus) la volupt é , Ea (Saturne) ou Kirvanu, appel é encore Keiwan par les Arabes, la paresse du corps et la pesanteur de l'esprit.
Les jours de la semaine furent donc consacr é s à ces dieux du ciel et re ç urent leurs noms.

Mais les plan è tes, en partant de la Terre, sont dans l'ordre suivant : Lune, Mercure, V é nus, Soleil, Mars, Jupiter, Saturne.
Tandis que les jours de la semaine sont ainsi dispos é s : dimanche, lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi et samedi.
On a recherch é pour quelle cause les jours avaient é t é plac é s dans l'ordre qu'ils occupent.
La plus vraisemblable est celle que donne B è de, dans son De temporum ratione.
Pour les anciens comme pour nous, explique-t-il, les deux astres de beaucoup les plus importants sont le soleil et la lune que la Gen è se appelle luminare majus et luminare minus.
Il é tait donc tout naturel de leur consacrer le premier et le second jour qui sont devenus le jour du Soleil, aujourd'hui dimanche, et le jour de la Lune, lundi.
Pour les autres jours, de m ê me que sur la terre apr è s le roi et la reine viennent le grand ministre, puis la femme la plus noble apr è s la reine et ainsi de suite selon l'ordre de la dignit é , de m ê me, apr è s le Soleil, roi, et la Lune, reine, on consacra le troisi è me jour a la plan è te qui se trouve la plus pr è s du Soleil, à Mars, et l'on eut mardi, le quatri è me à celle qui est la plus voisine de la Lune, à Mercure, et ce fut mercredi, le cinqui è me à l'astre le plus rapproch é , apr è s Mars, du Soleil, à Jupiter, et l'on eut jeudi ; le sixi è me à celui qui vient, du c ô t é de la Lune, apr è s Mercure, à V é nus, ce qui donna vendredi, et enfin le septi è me a celui qui restait le dernier, à Saturne, d'o ù samedi.

On eut ainsi l'ordre des jours de la semaine.
Cette explication en vaut bien une autre.
C'est encore de cette fa ç on qu'on proc é derait pour assigner un ordre à un roi et une reine accompagn é s de chacun deux ou trois dignitaires.

Le septi è me jour devint le jour de repos.
Ea (Saturne), auquel il é tait consacr é , é tait consid é r é comme un g é nie qui envoyait sur la terre la paresse du corps et la pesanteur de l'esprit.
Cette influence de Saturne ne fut sans doute pas é trang è re au choix de ce jour pour y cesser le travail lorsque les rois assyriens voulurent procurer à leurs esclaves un repos p é riodique.
En tout cas, ce jour fut appel é tant ô t "jour de je û ne et de p é nitence", tant ô t "jour de joie et de f ê te" et m ê me "sabbat ".
"Le 7, le 14, le 21 et le 28 de chaque mois é taient des jours n é fastes et des jours de repos o ù le pasteur des hommes ne doit pas manger de viande, ne doit pas changer les v ê tements de son corps, o ù I'on ne porte pas de robes blanches, o ù l'on n'offre pas de sacrifices, o ù le roi ne doit pas sortir sur un char et ne doit pas rendre la justice dans l'appareil de sa puissance, o ù le chef militaire ne doit pas donner d'ordres pour les cantonnements de ses troupes, enfin o ù l'on ne doit pas prendre de m é dicaments."

L'auteur des articles Calendrier et Sabbat, dans Dictionnaire de la Bible, dit de son c ô t é "qu'il faut chercher chez les Babyloniens les premi è res traces de la cons é cration à la divinit é d'un jour sur sept ", et que "les Assyriens ont connu les p é riodes de sept jours, ainsi que les sabbats ou jours de repos ".
Il est assez é tonnant de rencontrer encore si souvent des auteurs qui affirment qu'on ignore l'origine de la p é riode de sept jours qui n'a, disent-ils, aucun rapport avec les ph é nom è nes astronomiques.
Il est cependant visible que la p é riode sept é naire vient des phases de la lune.
Ces phases sont de sept, huit et m ê me neuf jours, mais comme il e û t é t é fort incommode, pour la vie pratique, de faire des p é riodes in é gales, on arriva à leur donner le nombre uniforme de sept jours.
On vient de voir les Chald é ens diviser leurs mois de trente jours en quatre semaines de sept jours, puis laisser passer deux jours et reprendre au mois suivant la nouvelle s é rie de quatre hebdomades.
Plus tard, on cessa de laisser deux jours libres à la fin de chaque mois et le cycle des semaines devint ininterrompu. Il l'est rest é depuis cette é poque recul é e jusqu' à nos jours.
Ainsi l'origine de la semaine est parfaitement claire.
Elle vient des phases de la lune, comme les mois viennent des lunaisons (2).
Les Chald é o-Assyriens, tout en continuant de se servir, dans l'usage pratique, de l'ann é e luni-solaire, connurent l'ann é e solaire de trois cent soixante-cinq jours un quart, et en firent usage dans leurs calculs astronomiques.
Nous arrivons ici à la v é ritable ann é e solaire qui sera mise en pratique par les Egyptiens.
Le commencement de l'ann é e aurait d'abord é t é fix é à l' é quinoxe d'automne, pour ê tre report é plus tard au printemps.
On retrouvera le m ê me changement chez les H é breux.

(I) M. G. BlGOURDAN a donn é les noms des mois babyloniens au temps de Sargon l'Ancien (3800 av. J.-C.) et à l' é poque d'Hammourabi (2000 av. J.-C.), dans "Le calendrier babylonien", A. 10 et 11 (Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes pour 1917).

(2) C'est aussi l'opinion de M. G. Bigourdan, "Le calendrier babylonien", A. 3, dans l'Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes, 1917.

Extrait de " la Question du Calendrier " par Chauve Bertrand, é dit. la renaissance du livre, 1920.

-- Jeff
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