Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Julian Calendar

The calendars of the entire world are based on the work of the old Egyptian astronomers who discovered - as early as three to four thousand years BC - that the solar or sidereal year lasted slightly less than 365 ¼ days. However, it was left to the astronomers of the Alexandrian school to incorporate this knowledge into some sort of calendar; and it was these astronomers who also came up with the idea of leap years.

Subsequently, the Romans under Julius Caesar borrowed their reformed calendar from the Alexandrian science and adopted it to the western world. Then the Copts inherited this science as a right and built upon it themselves. In due course, the Copts handed this calendar, together with their method of computing the date of Easter, on to their descendant Church in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian year therefore has something in common with the western year, having been derived from the same source.

So much so that the Ethiopian calendar retains the old Egyptian system whereby the year was divided into twelve months of thirty days each plus one additional month of five days (six days in leap years). Ethiopian dates therefore, fall 7- 8 years behind western dates and have done so since early Christian times. This discrepancy results from differences between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Churchas to the date of the creation of the world.

Each Ethiopian year is dedicated to one of the four Evangelists according to the cycle: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The year of St. Luke is Leap Year, and therefore always has six days in the thirteenth month of the Ethiopian calendar.

This site will convert Julian to Gregorian and vice versa.

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