14 June 2009

Calendar wisdom: who can add to it?

During the last few months I have been working with the publisher Weldon Owen on the Pacific Ocean section of their planned Atlas of the Sea, to be published in their family reference series in November. These books are of high quality, large format and colourful, full of information and at the same time suitable for the coffee table, see their website.

Now I am working with Weldon Owen on a volume Science and Society. It will be based on my lecture course but obviously have a very different presentation format - many photos and illustrations but only the most essential text.

One element of the book will be quotations from scientists and others relevant to each section of the book. I am searching for quotations from old texts related to the calendar problem. Here is what I have found so far:

The Atharva Veda says:
To the seasons we speak, to the lords of the seasons, and to the sections of the year; to the half-years, years and months: they shall deliver us from calamity! ... The five divine regions, the twelve divine seasons, the teeth of the year, they shall ever be propitious, to us! (Hymn XI, 6)
Thy summer, O earth, thy rainy season, thy autumn, winter, early spring, and spring; thy decreed yearly seasons, thy days and nights shall yield us milk. (Hymn XII, 36)

The Bible says:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and year." (Genesis 1:14)

The Qu'ran says: He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. (10:5)

Does anyone have other ancient quotations related to the calendar problem, from ancient China, Japan, South East Asia, Egypt, Greece, anywhere? If you do, please send a comment to this entry.

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