VIVERE NELL’ANTICO EGITTO

Calendario antico Egitto

Senza alcun dubbio gli Egizi sono stati i primi ad aver inventato un calendario solare e razionale.

Il loro anno era composto di 365 giorni e suddiviso in 12 mesi di 30 giorni ciascuno, ai quali si aggiungevano, alla fine del ciclo annuale, 5 giorni supplementari.

I mesi erano raggruppati in tre quadrimestri che corrispondevano ad altrettante stagioni:
la stagione dell’inondazione akhet
la stagione della germinazione pert
la stagione della calura shemu

Soltanto in epoca bassa a ciascuno dei quattro mesi che componevano le tetramenie venne attribuito un nome:

Thot, Paophi, Athyr, Choiak per la stagione dell’inondazione;
Tybi, Meshir, Phamenoth, Pharmuthi per la stagione della germinazione:
Pachons, Payni, Epiphi, Mesori per la terza stagione, l’estate.

Così, per designare una determinata data, si davano l’anno del regno, il mese della stagione e il giorno.

Per esempio: anno IX di Zoserkare Amenhotep (I), terzo mese della calura (Epiphi), giorno 9 è, secondo il papiro medico Ebers, la data della levata eliaca di Sothis (Sepet), cioè della stella Sirio.

In effetti l’anno egizio iniziava il giorno in cui Sirio usciva dall’orizzonte nel momento dell’alba.

Questo fenomeno, che viene detto “levata eliaca di Sothis”, corrispondeva approssimativamente all’inizio della piena del Nilo. Periodo importantissimo per l’economia di questo popolo di agricoltori perchè legato alla circostanza delle inondazioni.

Questa data infatti (il 19 luglio del calendario giuliano o 15 giugno del nostro calendario, alla latitudine di Menfi) segnava l’inizio dell’anno.

Dato che l’anno egizio era composto soltanto di 365 giorni, contro i 365 e 6 ore dei cicli del sole e di Sirio, il convenzionale inizio dell’anno si spostava avanti di un giorno ogni 4 anni.

Dunque, occorrevano 1461 anni perché l’anno cosmico ed anno ufficiale coincidessero nuovamente.
Naturalmente gli Egizi avevano notato questa sfasatura che portava l’estate segnata sul calendario nel bel mezzo dell’inverno reale e fu per questo che chiamarono l’anno ufficiale “anno vago”.

Tuttavia, per il lavoro dei campi, i contadini si basarono sempre unicamente sul ciclo naturale delle stagioni.

I cicli di 1461 giorni, detti “periodi sotiaci” hanno aiutato gli specialisti nella ricerca della data precisa dell’introduzione del calendario.

Sappiamo con certezza che la levata eliaca di Sothis coincise con il primo giorno del calendari ufficiale nel 139 d.C.

Un semplice calcolo permette di constatare che tale coincidenza si è verificata anche nel 1322 a.C. (inizio della XIX dinastia), nel 2783 a.C. (fine del periodo tinita e inizio dell’Antico Regno) e nel 4244 a.C.

La prima data è troppo bassa; quanto alla seconda, i Testi delle Piramidi di Saqqara lasciano supporre che nel 2783 a.C. il calendario fosse già stato costituito.

Gli scienziati competenti hanno dunque accettato la data del 4244 a.C. che, secondo alcuni di essi,sarebbe la prima data storica certa.

L’invenzione del calendario si attribuisce ai sacerdoti di Eliopoli i quali, a quanto affermano alcuni studiosi, l’avrebbero compiuta in pieno periodo predinastico, in un’epoca in cui la città sarebbe stata capitale di un regno unificato.

Il matematico tedesco Naugebauer ha stabilito però l’inaccettabilità di tale data

L’analisi al carbonio 14 infatti, ha mostrato che essa ci conduce in realtà in pieno neolitico del Fayyum e non è certo possibile ammettere che l’invenzione del calendario abbia avuto luogo allora.

Così, se si ebbe una dominazione eliopolitana alla fine del predinastico medio, bisogna abbassare di un millennio la presunta data di introduzione del calendario, escludendo decisamente il 4244 a.C.

POTREBBE INTERESSARTI
Il calendario Gregoriano
Il calendario della Rivoluzione Francese

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