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About 432 BCE Menton, an Athenian astronomer, developed a calendar utilizing the 19 year lunar cycle consisting of 12 years with 12 lunar months each and 7 leap years with 13 lunar months each. The 19 year cycle is known as the Metonic cycle.

The Greek calendar, introduced by Meton in about 432 BCE is based on the discovery made by the Babylonians in the 8th century BCE that 228 (12 times 19) sun months are almost equal to 235 moon months so that he had to form cycles of 19 moon years, 12 of which have 12 and 7 of which have 13 months each, in order to adjust the solar calendar to the lunar calendar (12 times 19 plus 7 = 235). The only practical principle for the distribution of the 7 leap years among the 12 others is by the following sequence:

3 periods of 3 years, total 9 years
1 period of 2 years, total 2 years
2 periods of 3 years, total 6 years
1 period of 2 years, total 2 years
7 periods total 19 years

A certain year in each period, for instance, the last, is a leap year (Frank 1956:44-45.)

Page last edited: 01/25/06 06:25 PM

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