History of calendars

SK24 – History of Calendars…and ours


Read full details below, transcribed. Therefore the wording often appears as it is spoken by our hosts. Please, listen to the podcast for full value.

Before I stumbled into some research about the history of calendars and how our current calendar was put together, I had never thought that this could be questioned. So I knew there were different calendars used by different civilizations, but in some way I thought everybody agreed.

Maybe there was still the Islamic world and the Jewish world, using very specific calendars, which is based on lunar cycles. The Muslims count their years starting from the departure of the Prophet from Mecca when he went to Medina, the hijra. So it’s a Hirji calendar.

But it was not, put together by the Prophet himself. It’s years after his death that, there was a need to have a calendar. And so I don’t know which Khalifa decided to choose the Hijra as the starting point of the calendar, most say it is ‘Umar.


History of calendars somehow led to us all agreeing on one

History of calendars
Where did our calendar come from?

The fact is that today I find it very astonishing that we mostly all agree on a single calendar. So one of the calendars has taken over all the others, right? The “common era” dating. So it’s the most accepted calendar, all around.  

Where does it come from? Because when you look at history and what remains of the writings of the ancients, they were never dating their papers or their chronicles the way we do.

For example, there is a huge mythology about this, the big scare of the year 1000. We know that people were quite reactionary to their concern about the year 1000, in the same way we saw people react to entering the year 2000. And you remember in 1999 it was a first for us to cross the millennia. Made some nervous.

So they had these ideas that something is going to happen as a result of y2k… Everything’s going to fall apart, they said. And technology is going to reset to zero. And people were taking it seriously, same as the example of the great scare of the year 1000.


Who’s the king?

But when you really look at this objectively, nobody knew at that time they were in the year 1000 because there was no unified calendar. Even in the West, when you were living, for example, in Germany or in France, and you were a monk writing some letter.

You would date from the number of years in the reign of such and such king, based on your local king.

For example, today if we were in England, we would say we are in the first year of the reign of King Charles. So then it would reset with every king. So then we’d go back to the first year of say King Charles the Fourth or whatever the next king is. In the history of calendars, that’s where they were.

So when you look at chronicled official documents, until the 16th century, they’re all dated in this way. They worked on putting together all these chronologies in hopes to figure out a unified chronology. This was primarily by two monks in England in the 16th century.


The 2 monks contribution to our history of calendars

History of calendars
How they contributed to our Calendars

They contributed to the history of calendars significantly with their hard work. They collected the maximum chronicles and relevant information. For example, what was happening in Hungary? And everywhere else. And they unified everything to make up the chronology of the world since the time of the birth of the planet.

From Adam, up to their time, dating each event to its precise year and month. So in their chronology, you can find that the flood happened in that year and that month and the birth of Moses is that year, month and day…But how are they sure about the dates in the chronology? How can we rely on the history of their calendars?

That’s the thing: we know now that most of it is made up. They did it to the best of their ability. But to determine, the date of birth of Abraham, right to the month, would be impossible, of course. But they said they did it. So we adopted their calendar.

We forgot the beginning and everything which is very close to the beginning of history, and just kept a general chronology for ancient events, but also kept the events themselves within their history of calendars.


Whoever writes history, rules

“History” being defined as follow: is the period when writing began. And we just kept their chronology of the past 2000 years. Who decided that and why? Why did everybody agree? Because it was convenient. Because we had nothing else. But I suppose the might was right in the history of calendars.

Whoever was the leading power would say, okay, we are going to go by this calendar and if you wanna do business with us, this is how we do it. And yes, no one had a choice. It is very convenient to have a common calendar, what we call the common era.

But it is strange that it begins in a year zero that is supposedly defined by the birth of Jesus, when we know from the New Testament that Jesus was born in the summer. And his birth is set on the 24th of December, which is a date that has no real astronomical signification.

But is very much aligned to some previous beliefs that existed around the Mediterranean.


Making religion attainable in the history of calendars

Especially regarding the other religion around the god called Mithra, that was very popular at the time. So it seems it’s an effort from the church to take the birth date of Mithra and assign it to Jesus so that people who are following Mithra would adopt Christianity more easily.

They did the same with the Virgin Mary, giving her the title of Mother of God. Because there was a huge cult of the goddess mother in the Mediterranean region.

So if you could give to Mary some characteristics of this mother goddess, then people would transition more easily and they would find the same elements in this new religion they adopted.

The same happened in Europe where the church, the Catholic church in particular, adopted a lot of customs that were pagan. Like the Christmas tree and all these things. All pagan practices.

But it’s a way to appease the tensions when you want people to adopt your religion. You include in your religion some elements that are not originally there.

That would reassure the newcomers to that religion. Somehow it’s all a part of the history of calendars. And I had read a long time ago that New Year’s Eve was the day you celebrated in a more crazy manner, and then Christmas would be the way that you celebrate in a more religious type manner or family style manner?

january scrabble
We’re the months named randomly?

Names of months messed up

The beginning of the calendar, January 1st has no meaning astronomically. It’s totally disconnected from any movement of nature. That is very strange. But what you’re referring to for New Year’s Eve is the Saturnale: it was a festival in Rome.

It was when, one day out of each year, the servants would take on the position of their masters and it’s like a festival, a carnival. During this day they supposedly have the rights of the masters.

They would not abuse those rights because the next day they would be slaves again, for the rest of the year…. but this is the idea of Carnival.

New Year’s Eve is something new, that they made up. And the current history of calendars, meaning our calendar, doesn’t make sense. Especially in the way the months are named because September, the word Sept is seven, October is eight. Yet September is the ninth month, and October is the 10th month. So that also doesn’t compute.

It’s a big mess. Why? I don’t know. Because in each language you should study the naming of the months to understand where they fall. But more interestingly is that when these two monks put together all these chronicles and put them in order to come up with a unified Chronology.


Questioning the monks’ version in the history of calendars

I was very interested by the work of some people in Germany and in Russia where they totally put into question the work of these two monks saying that they committed huge errors. So this was controversial. It’s called the New Chronology.

In my opinion, convincingly, they point out problems. Meaning that you have entire periods that are duplicated.

Meaning that, say in Hungary it’s the seventh year of this king. And the king being named the Brave. Another monastery, even in Hungary, would say it is the seventh year of the reign of the king and they call him, not the Brave, because it’s a surname. They call him the Courageous, but it’s the same guy.

So that just adds to the confusion. So the two monks in England, they would think they’re two different kings, looking at 2 chronicles with 2 different names. And instead of having one period of seven years, you would have seven years of reign of the courageous, followed by seven years of the brave, but it’s the same king.

So there’s duplications within chronology. It is the head of the Russian Academy of Science, Fomenko, who mostly started this work in current history of calendars. He tried to map historical events with some, what we call today, metadata, and found many duplications.

However, he’s a very profound Russian nationalist and wants to exaggerate the role of Russia in the history of the world. So he gives Russia a prominent role and everything’s coming from Russia. I don’t know if you saw the movie, my Big Fat Greek wedding. Everything’s coming from Greece.

For him, everything’s coming from Russia. So it’s a bit extreme,

But he asked good questions. For example, if you take the list of popes, the official popes, there many popes. They followed each other consecutively in the history of the Catholic Church. The current Pope is the follower of the previous one, and so on. It starts from Peter.

If you take this chronology of popes, each Pope are really emperors of the church. They reign seven years, one year, two years, 20 years, et cetera. Depending on the pope. This makes up the history of calendars.

However if you take from the bible, the chronology of the Kings of Israel, the kingdom of Israel, and you map the first king of Israel to the first Pope, you find that each have the same number of years of reign. Really? Yeah. So Fomenko said that the chronology is made up by these monks, in order to reflect the Bible.

In fact, we have no certainty of what really happened. So we have an artificial series of names within our history of calendars


The German school of thought

German historians are also very involved, developing their own school of thought. They are, let’s say, painfully attached to facts and precision. They’re meticulous. And they’re not really attached to Russia and defending the history of Russia. So they looked at Fomenko’s work and and identified many problems.

History of calendars - germany flag in front of building
Germans in the history of calendars

One of the most interesting in the history of calendars, in my opinion, is called the 300 years phantom time. They put together good arguments saying that 300 years of chronology is just invented, and never existed. Through duplications, et cetera. Apparently some Germans think that it is purposely done.

Because around the year 1000 there was the Holy Emperor of Germany. He thought of himself as the inheritor of the Roman Empire, but he was a German and this Holy Empire existed until the 16th century.

In my youth I had a friend who was a Barron of the Germanic Holy Empire. So still today people carry some of these titles very proudly. He was proud of it too.

So this German guy wanted to legitimize himself. In order to legitimize himself, he needed to give himself a background and the idea to people that he was coming from an already existing, powerful family of emperors.

So these German historians say that Fomenko made up these 300 years, which was the Carolingian period in the history of calendars. The period where Charlemagne existed, around 800. This fantastic figure who created school, who converted all Europe to Christianity. He did so many things.

You would need three or four lifetimes to do all of what he’s credited for doing. But a lot of the things he supposedly did are problematic. The school system of today, and a lot of other systems that are ascribed to him, are not exactly the most excellent.

In fact historians criticise him for being an intolerant, religious fanatic who would kill systematically: you had to convert to Christianity under Charlemagne. So he tells you that you had to become Christian, otherwise you died. This is their religion of love.

Puzzled by 300 years of our history of calendars

For a long time, I’ve been puzzled by the 300 years. Because historians point that from the year 650 in chronology until 1000, you have a big lack in historic artifacts and constructions and architecture. It’s like history has not moved at all. So there’s something strange happening there.

When at the same time it is the end of the Roman Empire. It fell. The barbarians came and destroyed the Roman Empire. It’s also exactly the period where the chronology inconsistencies happen.

But the main argument for me was the Julian calendar in the history of calendars. Because Julius Caesar saw the problem in the calendar. He wanted to unify the Roman Empire around a single calendar. So what he did, he introduced the Julian calendar.


Enter the Julius calendar and more…

Julius Caesar’s, Julian Calendar, saying that each year is 365 days and there is every four years, one day added to keep it in sync. Except this is not really exact because the real time of a year when the earth goes around the sun, it’s 11 minutes less than this.

So if you go a thousand years, adding artificially those 11 minutes each year, you will add many days.

For the church, it was important that Easter falls into the Equinox of around March 21. But over time, instead of Easter falling on March 21, it was the beginning of April. So it was a problem because now you had the celebration of Easter that was not coinciding with the astronomical event.

snow sea black and white road
The importance of certains days

So in 1583, there’s a Pope in Rome, Gregory, who said, okay, first we have to correct the additional days that do not exist, to come back to an alignment to the astronomy. And then we are going to change the calendar again. And we are going to define new rules, which is that, it’s 365 days plus there’s one additional day every four years.

Except in the years that finished with zero, in this case, we don’t add it. It stays in sync this way. He worked this out by some sort of a formula. That this is how we would balance the year our in the history of calendars most current changes.

But how many days did they have to correct? If you make a very easy calculation, since the introduction of the Julian calendar until 1583, the number of years that passed at minus 11 minute each year would’ve made 13 days. 13 days of discrepancy between the Equinox and the official date.

Yet they corrected only 10 days, to match the Equinox. So there’s an accumulation equivalent to three days that didn’t have to be corrected. So three days, it’s equivalent to about 300 years that we calculate do not exist. I was struck by this, it is quite puzzling.


Overlooking the calendar system in the Quran

History of calendars - phases of the moon
The lunar calendar is based on phases of the moon

In the history of calendars, did they ever reference the Quran about the lunar calendar that the Muslims go by? Was that not taken into account at all when they were trying to work this out?

No, that had no bearing into their calculation. It is based only on their movement. You would think that they’d want to look at it, all the systems and really come up with the most perfect system by reliable calculations. Yet their system of measure is not perfect. It’s just not exact.

Okay, so what’s amusing because is the proof. If you should have 13 days to correct, but you only got 10 days. It means that is 300 years less. So we don’t live in 2022. We can assume that we live in 1722… But no, I got the following information: people were aware of this problem already. So they already corrected three days then.


As close as possible in the history of calendars

So it means that it’s normal that there were only 10 days more to correct. So we are good, but we’re good as in we are on the right date. I think that the number of years passed since the introduction of the Julian calendar is correct. But it still need to be noted that indeed the 300 years we mentioned seem off.

At the end of the Roman Empire, around the year 600 to the year 1,900, there’s 300 years that are very strange. There are 300 years that we don’t know very much about. And it happens to be exactly when the Quran came. So this is an evolving story, but a very interesting story.


The science of the calendar 

China and Egypt too reconstructed their calendars. The Egyptians, for example, how do we coincide our calendar and their calendar? How do we know?

If, for example, they have Ramses, the pharaoh, who lived in such a time in their calendar, how do we know it corresponds to such time in our calendar or any in the history of calendars, for that matter?

We don’t know because they’re so disjointed that no one factored in other calendars in order to make their history of calendars align. There’s no link. So there’s a real science that must be applied in adjusting calendars against each other.

One of the most fascinating examples we had recently was the year 2012. Okay? 2012 was, for the esoteric people and people who are trying to explore an alternative view to the world, it was the Mayan calendar scare. Because when we went to America, we found traces of the Mayan calendar.

mayan indian in traditional outfit playing the flute
2012 was the Mayan calendar scare

So when we put it together, and they were not using numbers, they were doing nodes in cords, et cetera. But people have been working very hard and they adjusted the Mayan calendar to our calendar. But the Mayans, they stopped their calendar at one moment and said, we stop it because it’s the end of the world.

When people took our calendar and matched the Mayan calendar, the end of the world corresponded to our year 2012. I remember this.  Yes. I remember in 2012 people said, it was the end of the world. I find it very interesting that in fact there was an error in adjustment. And how do we know?

Since then, people have been doing diligently very interesting work. For example, in their calendar, they noted there was such and such eclipse. So you can reconstruct with computer and calculation that at that time.

At that moment you could see an eclipse of the moon and the same year, two eclipses of the sun and one of the moon and the next year, one of the moon, et cetera. 

So you can reconstruct the exact year. So now you can have a more realistic alignment. And it happens that when you do a correct alignment of the two calendars, the end of the world of the Mayan happens in the year, I think 1520 or 1530, which is exactly when their civilization was totally destroyed by the Spaniards.

So it was really the end of the world for them. It was their end of the world, the end of their world. How interesting.

But coming back to this alignment of calendars and the different components to consider in the history of calendars, since you have looked into it and you’ve studied it, what is your opinion of the lunar calendar that the Muslims go by?


The Muslim calendar?

How valid is it and should it be used instead of the current calendar that we use.  No, I think we got a hint in the Quran that Allah is above all of this. There is no more truth in the solar calendar and the lunar calendar. It’s a matter of convenience. You can use solar calendar for crops and cropping and things like that.

But also the lunar calendar has its usefulness and Allah makes it very clear that He’s using both. We have this very clear hint in the story of the people of the cave, right? When Allah says “and they stayed there in the cave 300 years, to which you can add nine“, it happens that 300 solar years is equal to 309 lunar years.

Remarkable. Yes. So it’s referencing both calendars, both the solar and the lunar calendars. However, the lunar calendar could be a little bit more accurate, one could argue because then the months are properly counted because of the moon, right?

When a month has come to a completion, you don’t need to bother with this adding the extra day and whatnot, the months actually carry themselves. Yeah, but as a matter of convenience, to stick to a solar calendar for the seasons, et cetera.

Because, if you use a lunar calendar, you will have a Ramadan, for example, that goes into the winter, into the summer, et cetera. So then why not use simply both. Because Allah says the movements of the planets and the stars, they follow calculations and so there is not one that is more true than the other.

Everything is true according to His will. Sure. And in there is guidance. So let’s use one or the other according to what is needed. But you can agree that the Muslims are using both, aren’t they? Because they’re setting their religious timings and calendar to that of the lunar calendar, the Islamic calendar.

And of course they’re doing business by the Roman calendar. That’s so they are. adjusting their lives, each to both calendars. Each one has their purpose. And we shouldn’t lose sight of either one of them. And the importance of them and not say that one of them is wrong.

All of these movements and these chronological hints are given to us by our Lord so that we can reflect on it and use them properly.

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