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Author Topic: Idea for modern calendar  (Read 3185 times)
Ampelios
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« Topic Start: January 19, 2010, 04:14:35 pm »

I have come up with a modern Hellenic calendar that is in perfect sync with our Gregorian calendar. So far I am not 100% sure if I want to actually use it, but I guess that takes using it first to see if it works out for me. In Book VIII of Platon's Laws there is something about the ideal calendar made up of 365 days and 12 months. To me that sounds very much like a solar calendar which gave me the idea that a modern Hellenic calendar can be solar rather than lunar or even lunisolar. For me, as a citizen and resident of North America, I can surely relate to a solar calendar since I live by one. My idea has been to create a Hellenic religious calendar that is in sync with the one that I use.

The best thing to me is that each of the 12 months belongs to one of the 12 Olympians. The list that I use is: Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollon, Artemis, Hephaistos, and Athena. This is inspired by Book VIII of Laws and I see that other people like the idea. In a couple of posts here by RandallS I have seen the 12 month/deity idea. The old Geocities website of Societas Hellenica Antiquariorum also had this idea for their calendar. I recall someone else on this message board using the idea while I was lurking last night.

How does one determine which deity corresponds to which month? I decided to use an astrological method for this. This was inspired by the Platonic dialogue of Phaidros where Sokrates mentions the 12 Olympians traveling in the heavens in their proper courses. I have yet to find a Greek text that explains the Zodiacal correspondence itself. However, Marcus Manilius' poem titled Astronomica has in Book II a correspondence though it is all in Latin and thus uses Roman interpretations of the names of the 12 Olympians. According to the Roman poet, Athena corresponds with Aries, Aphrodite with Taurus, Apollon with Gemini, Hermes with Cancer, Zeus with Leo, Demeter with Virgo, Hephaistos with Libra, Ares with Scorpio, Artemis with Sagittarius, Hestia with Capricorn, Hera with Aquarius, and Poseidon with Pisces.

On the Gregorian calendar each month contains the appearance of two Zodiac houses but one of them is always dominant by about three weeks while the other one only appears for about one week. This means that January is aligned with Capricorn, February with Aquarius, and so on. What I did was align each deity, based on astrological correspondence, with each Gregorian month. Since this is to be a Hellenic calendar I renamed the months to recall the deities that they belong to. To do this I looked through the history books and found Greek names of months that recall all 12 Olympians.

I found Greek month names that recall each of the Deities from the Bithnyian, Delphian, Ephesian, Lesbian, Macedonian, and Paphian calendars. Bithnyian month names used are Aphrodisios, Areios, Demetrios, Dios, Heraios, and Hermaios. Ephesian month names used are Artemision and Poseideon. Lastly there are the Delphian, Paphian, Lesbian, and Macedonian month names of Apellaios, Hesthios, Hephaistios, and Athenaion. My sources for the names of these historical Greek month names are A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities (Volume 1) by Sir William Smith, Greek and Roman Chronology (Volume 1, Part 7) by Alan Edouard Samuel, and Macedonian institutions under the kings by Miltiades B. Hatzopoulos.

The order of the months on my modern Hellenic calendar are Hesthios (Jan), Heraios (Feb), Poseideon (Mar), Athenaion (Apr), Aphrodisios (May), Apellaios (Jun), Hermaios (Jul), Dios (Aug), Demetrios (Sep), Hephaistios (Oct), Areios (Nov), and Artemision (Dec). The number of days in each month are exactly like on the Gregorian calendar and the Leap Year rule is the same.

Using another idea from Book VIII of Laws I decided that each month contains a feast for the deity it belongs to. I use the word "feast" over "festival" because I want to be realistic. Festivals are community oriented; there are parades, dances, advertisement, time off from work, and people get together as family and friends. As an individual Hellenic Pagan I find this idea of calling something of mine a "festival" to be like calling an offering of animal crackers an "hekatombe." The date for each feast will be the same. According to Hesiodos' Works and Days the 24th day of each month is the most holiest day of the month. He wrote that its quantity of holiness is best in the morning and then declines to where it is not as good in the evening.

Here are the dates and names of the feasts...

The 24th of Hesthios is Feast for Hestia
The 24th of Heraios is Feast for Hera
The 24th of Poseideon is Feast for Poseidon
The 24th of Athenaion is Feast for Athena
The 24th of Aphrodisios is Feast for Aphrodite
The 24th of Apellaios is Feast for Apollon
The 24th of Hermaios is Feast for Hermes
The 24th of Dios is Feast for Zeus
The 24th of Demetrios is Feast for Demeter
The 24th of Hephaistios is Feast for Hephaistos
The 24th of Areios is Feast for Ares
The 24th of Artemision is Feast for Artemis

During these feasts an individual practitioner can offer a whole meal or several food items to the deity, burn incense, pour libation(s), offer the reading of hymns, prayers, or poems to the deity, read something from Homeros in honor of the deity, and do whatever else he or she wants to do. And obviously, since these are feasts for the deity, it is good to eat the main meal of the day in honor of the deity. If there are more than just one persons then they can do all of this together. The idea is that the activities for each feast can be done by an individual on their own or by any number of people.

I also came up with which days each month would be appropriate for the 12 Olympians. I used ancient correspondences as well as modern methods to figure it out. But, at this moment of typing, I need to prepare for something very soon and I will write more about the 12 sacred days of each month sometime tonight.

I look forward to replies from those who are interested in my idea for a modern Hellenic calendar.
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RandallS
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« Reply #1: January 19, 2010, 05:02:58 pm »

I have come up with a modern Hellenic calendar that is in perfect sync with our Gregorian calendar. So far I am not 100% sure if I want to actually use it, but I guess that takes using it first to see if it works out for me.

You have some interesting ideas here. I've often thought that a modern Hellenic religion would have to use the modern calendar to attract many adherents.
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« Reply #2: January 19, 2010, 06:10:55 pm »


I was tweaking with a similar idea myself a few months ago. For me, I was going to spend the entire month learning about that deity and have a festival for him/her. I gave Dionysus and Hestia the same month (December) and I may have had other deities share months as well... mostly this is because I work with deities outside the However Many Olympians (Pan and Persephone in particular), and for me, not all the Olympians have equal screen time in my faith. (F'ex, Dionysus and Athena get a lot of attention. Artemis and Ares, absolutely none.) Not that I was trying to come up with a Hellenic calendar for widespread use, mind - it was mostly a personal thought experiment. Smiley
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