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day of the Vernal Equinox, the Arabian astronomers of the age of Malek Schah, (or Djelaleddin) gave it the precedence.
Some have supposed that at this time the above year formed the civil mode of reckoning time among the Persians. This supposition however can scarcely be reconciled with the fact, that Persia was now un. der the Seldjukian Dinasty, of which Malek Schah (himself an Arabian) was king. The lunar year of the Arabians formed the civil mode of reckoning time in all countries subjugated to their arms. The greater probability is, that this solar year of the Persians was coeval with the period of Zoroaster, Malek Schah, a devoted lover of astronomical science collecting his knowledge respecting it from a festival perpetuated among that people in commemoration of " the day of the Vernal Equinox,” called also “ Naurus," or New years day.
Of the progress of astronomy as herein set forth we have observed, that, in historical Chronology, the more minute parts of the solar year are omitted, until the fractions, amounting as they do every fourth year to one day, makes an intercalary day, which, being added thereto, is a leap year. Hence the distinction between the common and intercalary year. Hence also the origin of Cycles, to harmonize the Lunar with the Solar year. It is perhaps necessary also again to observe, that the fractional difference between the tropical and sideral solar year, does not affect the periods of time in general Chronology. And, in view of the difference between the original solar Jro
lian year, and the Juliano-Gregorian year, being that of ten days, at the lapse of every century; computing the duration of the world under the present constitutedorder of things at six thousand years, the same remark may apply: For, be the result of any established Cycle harmonizing Lunar and Solar time within that period whatever it may, when carried beyond it, it cannot affect general historical Chronology as included therein.
These remarks premised, it may be of use to add a brief account of the progress of the principle Cycles adopted from time to time, with a view to harmonize the Lunar and Solar years.
Cleostratus, a Greek philosopher, about B. C. five hundred and thirty-two, discovered the Cycle of eight years, which was used to regulate the period of the celebration of the Olympic games,' festivals, &c., as founded upon the direction of their “oracle,” as Prideaux says, to observe all their sacrifices and festivals, Katarpla, i. e., according to three ; which they interpreted to mean years, months, and days; and that the years were to be reckoned according to the course of the Sun, and the months and days according to that of the moon.
Hence their endeavors to bring all these to meet together; i. e., to bring the same months, and all the days of them, to fall as near as possible within the same time of the sun's course, that so the same solemnities might always be celebrated within the same seasons of the year, as well as in the same months, and on the same days of them; the difference
1. Investigator, vol. iv., p. 140.
between the lunar revolutions of the moon, (twelve of which made their common year), in its conjunction with that of the sun in bringing it round to the same point of the ecliptic, being eleven days, minus that of
The first attempt to this end was that of Deiteris, of a Cycle of two years, by an intercalation of one month. But this was found to exceed the solar year by seven and a half days. Soon after the discovery of this defect, the Tetræteris was introduced, which was a Cycle of four years. But here again was a difference between lunar and solar time, every fourth year, of full fourteen days. To remedy this defect, Cleostratus, as above, intercalated alternately, one four years with one month, and the next four years with two months, which brought it to the Octoeteris, or Cycle of eight years, which was a more perfect Cycle than either of the preceding; leaving, betwen lunar and solar time, in eight years, a difference of only one day, fourteen hours, and nine minutes. The augmentation of this difference, however, finally originated several other Cycles, of which the learned Prideaux pronounces that of Meto (or Meton) to be the most perfect. This Meto was a famous Athenian astronomer, and flourished about the time of Nehemiah, four hundred and thirty-two years before Christ. He, as the learned author' above named asserts, invented
1. Shuckford withholds the distinction here ascribed to Meton by Prideaux, as the exclusive originator of this Cycle. Thus it is the greatest and the best of men will differ. His words are, “ As to Meton, from his account of his settling the Equinoxes,
the Enneadecæteris, or the Cycle of nineteen years, which is a lunar Cyele, called the Cycle of the moon; the numbers whereof being, by reason of the excellency of their use, written in the ancient callendars in golden letters -- in our present almanacs is called, the golden numbers. This Cycle is made up of nineteen lunar years and seven lunar months, by seven intercalations added to them; each year of the seven consisting of thirteen months, and the rest of twelve. In adapting it to the seasons for celebrating the Grecian Olympiads, the use to which it was first applied, as the recurrence of these Olympiads fell on the first full
and from Dean Prideaux's of his nineteen years cycle, a it would seem probable that ke was a very exact astronomer. But I must confess, there appear to me to be considerable reasons against admitting this opinion of him; for how could Meton be so exact an astronomer, when Hipparchus, who lived almost three hundred years after Meton, b was the first who found out, that the Equinox had a motion backwards, since even he was so far from being accurate, that he miscounted twenty-eight years in one hundred, in calculating that motion.c Meton might not be so exact an astronomer as he is represented. The cycle which goes under his name might be first projected by him; but perhaps he did not give it that perfection which it afterwards received. Columella lived in the time of one Emperor Claudius, and he might easily ascribe more to Meton than belonged to him, as living so many ages after him. Later authors perfected Meton's rude draughts of astronomy; and Columella might suppose the corrections made in his originals by later hands to be Meton's. We now call the nineteen years cycle by his name, but I suppose, that nothing more of it belongs to him than an original design of something like it, which the astrononers of after ages added to and completed by degrees.
6. Newton's Chronology, p. 94
a. Prideaux, Connect. Dart ii., book iv. C. Id. ibid
moon after the summer solstice, which was observed to be on the twenty-first day of the Egyptian month Phamenoth; this, when reduced to the Julian year coincided with the twenty-seventh of June.
The difference between lunar and solar time at the end of this Cycle being only two hours, one minute, and twenty seconds, the learned Prideaux, as already stated, pronounces the perfectest," and says, "to a nearer agreement than this no other Cycle can bring them.”? Yet, in a subsequent part of his very elaborate and useful work, after adverting to his previous account of the above Cycles, including that of Meto, (to which, it is true, he still gives the preference,) he says of them that “they all failed," &c., and then proceeds to introduce to the notice of the reader another, called the Calippic Cycle, as a Ittle perfecter than “ the perfectest." The account which he gives of this Cycle is, in substance, as follows:
After the expiration of a century, it was found that the Cycle of Meto “had overshot what he aimed a by a quarter of a day.” Hence, Calippus, a famous astronomer of Cyzicus, in Mysia, three hundred and thirty years before Christ, invented a Cycle, which consisted of a period of seventy-six years, embracing
2. Ibid, p. 87.
1. Prid. Con. vol. ii., p. 184 — 188.
4. What we complain of in the above is, the tendency of such looseness, in the treatment of a subject of this abstruse nature, to produce confusion in the mind of an ordinary reader. One such instance, with many, is quite sufficient to arrest all further inquiry.