Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any information about the calendar system used in Carthage ? Was it solar or lunar ? What date did Carthaginians took for a reference day (1st day of the 1st year) ?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

The Carthaginians were culturally Phoenician, and most evidence I've come across points to the calendar being lunisolar. There are some pretty strong indications that it would have been similar to (or evolved into) the Hebrew calendar, and there are several month names that are shared with other cultures in the region. Phoenician feasts and rituals revolve around the harvest, which would likely point toward marking the new year on the spring equinox. See Goldfarb and Markoe for more information.

share|improve this answer
    
Very nice answer. –  Pieter Geerkens Mar 30 at 2:26

The Carthaginians used the African calendar, also known as the "Coptic Calendar", which was based on the era of Nabonassar, which is the Babylonian calendar as adopted from the Chaldeans. The months of the ancient African calendar are as follows:

  1. Thoth
  2. Paophi
  3. Athyr
  4. Cohiac
  5. Tybi
  6. Mesir
  7. Phamenoth
  8. Pharmouti
  9. Pachons
  10. Payni
  11. Epiphi
  12. Mesori

Each month had 30 days plus there were 5 or 6 epagomenal days depending on the year which were placed at the end of the year.

The Punic Thoth 1 was on the same day as Thoth 3 in the era of Nabonassar, thus was 2 days in front of the regular Babylonian calendar. The year 546 in the era of Nabonassar and the day Punic Thoth 1 corresponds to our day October 15, 203 B.C.

The African calendar was a solar calendar and a variant of it is still in use by the Coptic church. In ancient times, this same calendar was used throughout north Africa, including Libya, Egypt and Ethiopia.

share|improve this answer
1  
Very interesting, especially about the Coptic Church, but I don't know off-hand if its correct, so I can't up-vote what seems like an excellent answer. Do you know of some references for this? –  Razie Mah Apr 6 at 10:47
    
Also did they switch calendars at some point? I'm confused why this answer is so different than the other. –  Razie Mah Apr 6 at 10:52
    
The other guy has no idea what he is talking about. All known ancient Punic dates are given in the calendar I describe. If you don't have a Punic date, why do you even care what calendar they used? And if you do have a Punic date then you will see it matches to the calendar above. –  Tyler Durden Apr 6 at 14:59
1  
OK, but can you please add at least one reference (link, book title, whatever) to back up your statements? –  Mike Apr 24 at 4:39
    
The Coptic didn't exist before the calendar reforms of Ptolomy III in 238 B.C., and wasn't widely adopted in Egypt until much later. It was also based on the Egyptian, not the Babylonian calendar. The Babylonian and Chaldean calendars were lunisolar and the basis of the Caananite calendars (i.e. Phoenician and Hebrew referenced above). The month names are Egyptian, and were used in both Caananite and Egyptian systems (borrowing of month names seemed to be common). books.google.com/books?id=FI9pAgAAQBAJ, books.google.com/books?id=S_T6Pt2qZ5YC, others. –  Comintern Apr 30 at 1:03

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.