Consideration of the Attic month and Nate's graphic of the moon on the 20th

  • I wanted to make a dedicated post regarding the calendar used in ancient times. It is such a very different way to measure time for each month (according to the moon), compared to how we keep our time now. Late yesterday afternoon looking up at the moon (a waxing crescent) had me pondering that ancient way of keeping time.


    Based on Wikipedia we can deduce that is is very likely that Epicurus would have used the Attic calendar since he was living in Athens. But before he lived in Athens, he may have used different calendars, since it also says this:


    Quote

    The Attic calendar or Athenian calendar is the lunisolar calendar beginning in midsummer with the lunar month of Hekatombaion, in use in ancient Attica, the ancestral territory of the Athenian polis. It is sometimes called the Greek calendar because of Athens's cultural importance, but it is only one of many ancient Greek calendars.


    Although relatively abundant, the evidence for the Attic calendar is still patchy and often contested. As it was well known in Athens and of little use outside Attica, no contemporary source set out to describe the system as a whole. Further, even during the well-sourced 5th and 4th centuries BC, the calendar underwent changes, not all perfectly understood. As such, any account given of it must be a tentative reconstruction.


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attic_calendar

    Quote

    The Greeks, as early as the time of Homer, appear to have been familiar with the division of the year into the twelve lunar months but no intercalary month Embolimos or day is then mentioned, with twelve months of 354 days.[1] Independent of the division of a month into days, it was divided into periods according to the increase and decrease of the moon. Each of the city-states in ancient Greece had their own calendar that was based on the cycle of the moon, but also the various religious festivals that occurred throughout the year.[2]


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_calendars


    Wikipedia goes on with this:



    Now I want to say that as I was looking at a moon chart, and remembering past times of gazing at the moon, it came to me that it is difficult to know exactly when the moon is completely full by the ordinary eyes -- so then this counting would only apply to days when you can descern clear changes in the size of the moon.


    Moongiant - Moon Phase Calendar
    Current, past and future Moon Phase Calendar. Click on Moon Phase Calendar to get complete moon phase details for that day.
    www.moongiant.com




    And I would like to go on to suggest a way of counting which may or may not make sense (but is different than the Wikipedia article) and this way of counting is according to what a human eye can see happening with the moon. My idea would be that you start counting on the day that you see a large enough crescent -- that would be waxing day 1, waxing day 2, etc. and then you continue to count to waxing day 10 (which would be called the "earlier 10th", the following day would be considered full moon of which there would be several days (as you can see from the chart above, that the moon is nearly full both before and after the actual full moon). Then on the day when you can descern that the moon is waning you begin counting waning day 1, waning day 2, etc. and continue counting up (not down) and so this would give you the "later 10th".


    But this is just my own idea, my own imagination of trying to make sense of things.

    Although now thinking further, we do actually know when the moon is full because it rises opposite of the sun setting. So not sure than if my idea makes any sense to count the way I suggest.


    Nate what do you think?


    By my counting then, the 20th (which would be the 2nd 10th) would fall on the last day of a visible waning crescent. (And this is different than what Nate calculated on another thread).


    Waning crescent:

    moon_day_WanC_10.jpg


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    Edit note: Dec.1, 2022 -- I have now resigned myself to the Wikipedia version of the counting of the days of the month (and I found nothing to support my own idea). The rest of this thread goes on with a little bit of a back and forth between this and the Wikipedia counting. And also contains Nate's nice graphic design, in multiple colors.

  • This is an interesting approach and I look forward to seeing what the birthday experts think. It sort of makes it more immediate when you can see the changes on the face of the moon.

  • By my counting then, the 20th (which would be the 2nd 10th) would fall on the last day of a visible waning crescent.

    Wouldn't the "earlier tenth" (20th) look like the moon on the above charts on Dec. 13 or 14th? The Noumenia seems to have started when the "first sliver" of the new moon was visible.


    Noumenia - Wikipedia


    btw, I really like this line of thinking of Kalosyni and the graphics that Nate has been working up!!

  • Quote

    The Noumenia was marked when the first sliver of moon was visible and was held in honor of Selene, Apollon Noumenios,[1] Hestia and the other Hellenic household Gods. The Noumenia was also the second day in a three-day household celebration held each lunar month; Hekate's Deipnon is on the last day before the first slice of visible moon and is the last day in a lunar month, then the Noumenia which marks the first day in a lunar month, followed by the Agathos Daimon (Good Spirits) on the second day of the Lunar month.

    Actually this confirms my idea:


    If you read carefully it says: "when the first sliver of moon was visible" -- by my method that would 1st day waxing and it would look like December 24/25th. And it says that the last day of the lunar month is the day before the first sliver is visible.


    But I am unclear as to when to say that the first sliver is visible...for our naked eyes do we need to have it be enough of a sliver to register the presence of light?... and so moon would need to be like on December 25th (even though the picture shows the beginning of a sliver on the 24th, but may not yet be visible to the naked eye).


    Also the same problem with waning moon...at what point can we see with our eyes that the moon is waning? I am coming from a very intuitive (and primitive) way of seeing the moon and judging the changing of the shape to determine what day of the month it is.

  • btw, I really like this line of thinking of Kalosyni and the graphics that Nate has been working up!!

    I suppose by now at the advanced age I am it is getting a little easier to judge the seasons by position of the sun in the sky, but even now it's kind of hard. On the other hand the phase of the moon sure is a lot more immediate and easier to judge, so I can see why people thought it made good sense to use it as the basis for a calendar.

  • "when the first sliver of moon was visible" -- by my method that would 1st day waxing

    Right. Using the Nov/Dec calendars above, to my understanding:

    The noumenia or the first sliver of waxing would be Nov. 24 or 25.

    The 10th would be Dec. 3

    The 20th or "earlier 10th" would be Dec. 13 or 14.

    Then the final 10 waning days count down toward the next noumenia.


    So the 20th day of the lunar month would always look the same.

  • By my counting then, the 20th (which would be the 2nd 10th) would fall on the last day of a visible waning crescent.

    Wouldn't the "earlier tenth" (20th) look like the moon on the above charts on Dec. 13 or 14th? The Noumenia seems to have started when the "first sliver" of the new moon was visible.

    That's what I determined (approximately the geometry of my current profile picture).


    Kalosyni I believe the picture you shared is a waning crescent just a few days away from a new moon, which should occur on the first and last days of the month (assuming it began on a new moon and is 30 days long).


  • Should lend itself to color variations if the similarity gets too confusing! I probably won't switch but I do like it too!

    That's a good idea. At least natural colors like hues of red, yellow, blue, etc.

    What do you think, Nate ?

  • Okay, so even though everyone has the Wikipedia calculations (and I must be clearly wrong) -- I made a graphic to explain (the colored text is only to make it more readable).


    What I am saying is that you only count the increase or the decrease of the shape of the moon.

  • Thank you Nate!!


    I see that you liked those Don but i was also going to joke:


    At least natural colors like hues of red, yellow, blue, etc.

    Hows that for a series of "natural" colors -- especially the fluorescent purple! ;)


    I was thinking you were asking for maybe some "pale" variations that sort of match the sky? ;)


    But no doubt in any way of looking at it any color that brings pleasure to the user fits the bill! So again thank you Nate!

  • Okay, so even though everyone has the Wikipedia calculations (and I must be clearly wrong) -- I made a graphic to explain (the colored text is only to make it more readable).


    What I am saying is that you only count the increase or the decrease of the shape of the moon.

    OH! I see what your referring to. Thanks for graphic.

    From my understanding, the moon is always either waxing, full, waning or new.

    If I read the Wikipedia table right, There are only 30 days in the cycle from one new moon to the next, so they're counting every day between new and new.

    Let me see if I can convey what I'm thinking using this table and the moon chart

  • Kalosyni

    Changed the title of the thread from “History and Culture of Early Epicureans: Ancient Greece and Rome” to “Consideration of the Attic month and Nate's graphic of the moon on the 20th”.