History of Calendars

Reviewed Resources for Students and Teachers


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History of Calendars - Teachers Resources & Lesson Plans - World's Fairs/International Expos



Ancient Calendars __ "We know little about the details of timekeeping in prehistoric eras, but wherever we turn up records and artifacts, we usually discover that in every culture, some people were preoccupied with measuring and recording the passage of time." You will find excellent information about ancient calanders and clocks. - illustrated - from National Institute of Standards and Technology - http://physics.nist.gov/GenInt/Time/ancient.html 


Ancient calendars and timekeeping in China and Japan __ You will find a couple of resources. - From About.com - http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/chinesecalendars/ 

Ancient Chinese Calendar __ "Although China has adopted the Gregorian calendar in common with most other countries in the world for official and business purposes, the traditional Chinese calendar continues to define the dates of festivals and is used for horoscopes. The calendar has a very long history going back to the Xia (21st century BC - 16th century BC) and Shang Dynasty (16th century BC - 11th century BC)." A good overview. - From travelchinaguide.com - http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/focus/calendar.htm
Aztec Calendar - Sun Stone __ "The Aztec Calendar was basically similar to that of the Maya. The ritual day cycle was called Tonalpohualli and was formed, as was the Mayan Tzolkin, by the concurrence of a cycle of numerals 1 through 13 with a cycle of 20 day names, many of them similar to the day names of the Maya." Learn about the Aztec calendar and the discovery and meaning of the Aztec Calendar Stone. - illustrated - From Crystalinks.com - http://www.crystalinks.com/aztecalendar.html 

The Calendar Zone -- Bringing Order to Calendrical Chaos __ "Comprehensive categorized calendar catalog currently containing countless correlating connections & calzone recipes." Hey, the calzone recipes alone are worth the visit. Some calendar history here too. An excellent resource - From calendarzone.com - http://www.calendarzone.com/ 

Calendars and their History __ "A calendar is a system of organizing units of time for the purpose of reckoning time over extended periods. By convention, the day is the smallest calendrical unit of time; the measurement of fractions of a day is classified as timekeeping. The generality of this definition is due to the diversity of methods that have been used in creating calendars. Although some calendars replicate astronomical cycles according to fixed rules, others are based on abstract, perpetually repeating cycles of no astronomical significance." You will find detailed overviews of many calendars and types of calendars. - From L. E. Doggett - http://charon.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html 


Celestial Calendars __ You will find many resources from historic through contemporary about celestial calendars, mostly in click-to-read format. - some illustrated - From calendarzone.com - http://www.calendarzone.com/Celestial/ 

History of the 13-Month Calendar __ "The 13-month calendar was devised by Auguste Comte in 1849. It was based on a 364-day year which included the one or two "blank" days that Abbé Mastrofini, an Italian Roman Catholic priest, had devised 15 years before. Each of the 13 months had 28 days and exactly four weeks." You will find an overview and history of the calendar reform proposal. - From East Carolina University - http://personal.ecu.edu/mccartyr/13-month.htm 

History of the Calendar __ From Ancient Egypt to Modern Times, here is a good overview of the history of the calendar most of us follow today. - From infoplease.com - http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0002061.html 

History of our calendar __ "Before today's Gegorian calendar was adopted, the older Julian calendar was used. It was admirably close to the actual length of the year, as it turns out, but the Julian calendar was not so perfect that it didn't slowly shift off track over the following centuries. But, hundreds of years later, monks were the only ones with any free time for scholarly pursuits -- and they were discouraged from thinking about the matter of "secular time" for any reason beyond figuring out when to observe Easter. In the Middle Ages, the study of the measure of time was first viewed as prying too deeply into God's own affairs -- and later thought of as a lowly, mechanical study, unworthy of serious contemplation." Well, things have changed a bit. You will find a good look at history of the calendar. - From webexhibits.org - http://webexhibits.org/calendars/year-history.html 


Home Page for Calendar Reform __ Learn about multiple proposals for reforming the calendar. some are serious, some not quite so, but all very interesting. - From Rick McCarty - http://personal.ecu.edu/mccartyr/calendar-reform.html 

The Islamic calendar __ "The Islamic calendar (or Hijri calendar) is a purely lunar calendar. It contains 12 months that are based on the motion of the moon, and because 12 synodic months is only 12 x 29.53=354.36 days, the Islamic calendar is consistently shorter than a tropical year, and therefore it shifts with respect to the Christian calendar." A good overview including questions and answers. - From webexhibits.org - http://webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-islamic.html 

The Jewish calendar __ "The current definition of the Jewish calendar is generally said to have been set down by the Sanhedrin president Hillel II in approximately C.E. 359. The original details of his calendar are, however, uncertain." A good overview including questions and answers. - From webexhibits.org - http://webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-jewish.html
The Mayan Calendar __ Learn about the Maya Calendar and how it effected the other calendars of Mesoamerica. - illustrated - From webexhibits.org - http://webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-mayan.html 

Skyscript: The Moon and Ancient Calendars, by Robin Heath __ "The different calendars used by various cultures throughout history provide a fascinating and instructive view of human cultural and social development. Robin Heath, who has spent 10 years emulating the horizon observations of Neolithic people, presents a ground-breaking discovery of astronomical secrets drawn from the lunar cycle that have been embedded into metric measurement." While incorporating elements of "astrology," this presentation should still be of some interest to those with a more scientific bent. - From skyscript.co.uk - http://www.skyscript.co.uk/moonheath.html 


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