Of Calendars - And Kings - And Why the Winter is Boiling Hot

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This article documents the evolution and survival of an institution that has persisted nearly two and a half millennia until the present day. This institution, the Mandæan calendar, has evolved since its origins in the early Hellenistic period, and has been faithfully maintained since 472 ce at the latest. Its essential structure, 12 equal months of 30 days extended with the addition of five days to maintain its correspondence with the passage of the seasons, has evidently not changed since its initial adoption. After introducing the basic elements of time-keeping among Mandæans today, the article addresses the system of days, months, years, eras, and ages employed in the Mandæan scriptures, and correlates them with the present Mandæan calendar as well as the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Mandaeans
  • calendar
  • intercalation


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