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The Armenian calendar is the traditional calendar of Armenia. It is a solar calendar based on the same system as the ancient Egyptian model, having an invariant 365-day year with no leap year rule. As a result, the correspondence between it and the Julian calendar slowly changes over time (such as year 769 on AD 1320 January 1, year 770 on AD 1320 December 31, and year 1032 on AD 1582 October 27 = Gregorian November 6). Some references report that the first month of the year, Navasard, corresponds to the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere, but that was only true from the 9th through 10th centuries. The current year, 1461, is the last of the great Armenian cycle of 1,461 wandering years which equal 1,460 Julian years. (See Sothic cycle). Next year, 1462, begins on 24 July 2012 (Gregorian), 11 July (Julian). Year 1 began on 11 July AD 552 (Julian).
The year consists of twelve months of 30 days each, plus five extra days (epagomenê) that belong to no month.
Years are given in the Armenian alphabet by the letters ԹՎ t’v, a siglum for t’vin "in the year" followed by one to four letters of the Armenian alphabet, each of which stands for an Armenian numeral. For example, "in the year 1455 [AD 2006]" would be written ԹՎ ՌՆԾԵ.
The Armenian month names show influence of the Zoroastrian calendar, and, as noted by Antoine Meillet, Kartvelian influence in two cases. There are different systems for transliterating the names; the forms below are transliterated according to Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste system:
|1||նաւասարդ||nawasard||Avestan *nava sarəδa "new year"|
|5||քաղոց||kʿałocʿ||"month of crops"; Zoroastrian Ameretat (the deity Ameretat was also considered a protector of plants)|
|7||մեհեկան||mehekan||Iranian *mihrakān- ("festival of Mithra", from Zoroastrian Mitrō)|
|8||արեգ||areg||"sun month"; Zoroastrian Āvān|
|9||ահեկան||ahekan||Iranian *āhrakān- "fire festival" from Zoroastrian Ātarō|
|10||մարերի||mareri||Avestan maiδyaīrya "mid-year"; Zoroastrian Dīn|
|12||հրոտից||hroticʿ||Pahlavi *fravartakān "epagomenal days (days of the Fravashi)"; Zoroastrian Spendarmat̰|
The Armenian calendar names the days of the month instead of numbering them, a peculiarity also found in the Avestan calendars. Zoroastrian influence is evident in at least five names. The names are 1. Areg "sun", 2. Hrand, 3. Aram, 4. Margar "prophet", 5. Ahrank’ "half-burned", 6. Mazdeł, 7. Astłik "Venus", 8. Mihr (Mithra), 9. Jopaber, 10. Murç "triumph", 11. Erezhan "hermit", 12. Ani, 13. Parxar, 14. Vanat, 15. Aramazd (Ahura Mazda), 16. Mani "beginning", 17. Asak "beginningless", 18. Masis (Mount Ararat), 19. Anahit (Anahita), 20. Aragac, 21. Gorgor, 22. Kordi (a district of Ancient Armenia considered the homeland of the Kurds), 23. Cmak "east wind", 24. Lusnak "half-moon", 25. C̣rōn "dispersion", 26.Npat (Apam Napat), 27. Vahagn (Zoroastrian Vahrām from Avestan Verethragna, name of the 20th day), 28. Sēin "mountain", 29. Varag, 30. Gišeravar "evening star". The five epagomenal days are called Aveleacʿ "superfluous".
Correlation with Egyptian calendar[edit | edit source]
The Armenian calendar is a derivative of Zoroastrian changes to Egyptian dates. The first month Navasard is equivalent to the month Choiak (Koyak), however its first day falls on Koyak 4 so that the first of the five epagum days falls on Egyptian Hatyr 27. This is in contrast to the Zoroastrian calendar where the first month Furvurdeen begins on Koyak 6 because its epagum (Gatha days) begin on Egyptian Koyak 1 as of 388 BC. The month Tir is equal to Egyptian Phamenoth (7th month) as Egyptian midyear; but it is of biblical interest that Armenian midyear (Mareri /Deh) is Egyptian new year month Thoth as if to imply it was at one time the 7th month, in regard of the computation of the Jubilee, and the biblical explanation of how to begin the novel age following the entering into the promised land. Two cycles of 1460 years goes back to August 11, 2369 BC.
Prior to borrowing the Egyptian calendar, the ancient Armenians had a lunar calendar based on a lunation of 28 days.
Together with these alien Zoroastrian, Egyptian, Julian, Gregorian, and ecclesiastical dating schemes, some Armenians still retain the old native calendar usage in which the new year begins at the spring equinox. In the numbering scheme of this solar calendar, the year 1 reckons out to 5818-5817 BCE. Hence March 20, 2012 CE marks the start of the Armenian year 7830.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Armenian numerals
- Calendar of Saints (Armenian Apostolic Church)
- Zoroastrian calendar
- Iranian calendar
References[edit | edit source]
- Sarkis Shmavonian (UCLA). Archaic Armenian Perfects: Archaic Armenian Statics
[edit | edit source]
Literature[edit | edit source]
- V. Bănăţeanu, “Le calendrier arménien et les anciens noms des mois”, in: Studia et Acta Orientalia 10, 1980, pp. 33–46
- Edouard Dulaurier, Recherches sur la chronologie arménienne technique et historique (1859), 2001 reprint ISBN 978-0543966476.
- Jost Gippert, Old Armenian and Caucasian Calendar Systems in The Annual of The Society for The Study of Caucasia“, 1, 1989, 3-12.
- Louis H. Gray, On Certain Persian and Armenian Month-Names as Influenced by the Avesta Calendar, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1907)
- P'. Ingoroq'va, “Jvel-kartuli c'armartuli k'alendari” (“The Old Georgian pagan calendar”), in: Sakartvelos muzeumis moambe (“Messenger of the Museum of Georgia”), 6, 1929–30, pp. 373–446 and 7, 1931–32, pp. 260–336
- K'. K'ek'elije, “Jveli kartuli c'elic'adi” (“The Old Georgian year”), in: St'alinis saxelobis Tbilisis Saxelmc'ipo Universit'et'is šromebi (“Working papers of the Tbilisi State University by the name of Stalin”) 18, 1941, reprinted in the author's “Et'iudebi jveli kartuli lit'erat'uris ist'oriidan” (“Studies in the history of Old Georgian literature”) 1, 1956, pp. 99–124.