Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 3

Dated Texts of the Old Kingdom [Old Kingdom Annals] [The Palermo Stone]
by von Anthony Spalinger
Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur , Bd. 21 (1994), pp. 275-319

The king-list that Manetho had access to is unknown to us, but of the surviving king-lists, the one most similar to his is the Turin Royal Canon (or Turin Papyrus). The oldest source with which we can compare to Manetho are the Old Kingdom Annals (c. 2500-2200 BC). From the New Kingdom are the list at Karnak (constructed by order of Thutmose III), two at Abydos (by Seti I and Ramesses II— the latter a duplicate, but updated version of the former), and the Saqqara list by the priest Tenry.

The provenance of the Old Kingdom Annals is unknown, surviving as the Palermo Stone. The differences between the Annals and Manetho are great. The Annals only reach to the fifth dynasty, but its pre-dynastic rulers are listed as the kings of Lower Egypt and kings of Upper Egypt. By contrast, Manetho lists several Greek and Egyptian deities beginning with Hephaistos and Helios. Secondly, the Annals give annual reports of the activities of the kings, while there is little probability that Manetho would have been able to go into such detail.

The New Kingdom lists are each selective in their listings: that of Seti I, for instance, lists seventy-six kings from dynasties one to nineteen, omitting the Hyksos rulers and those associated with the heretic Akhenaten. The Saqqara king list, contemporaneous with Ramesses II, has fifty-eight names, with similar omissions. If Manetho used these lists at all, he would have been unable to get all of his information from them alone, due to the selective nature of their records. Verbrugghe and Wickersham argue:
[...] The purpose of these lists was to cover the walls of a sacred room in which the reigning Pharaoh (or other worshiper, as in the case of Tenry and his Saqqara list) made offerings or prayers to his or her predecessors, imagined as ancestors. Each royal house had a particular traditional list of these "ancestors," different from that of the other houses. The purpose of these lists is not historical but religious. It is not that they are trying and failing to give a complete list. They are not trying at all. Seti and Ramesses did not wish to make offerings to Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, or Hatshepsut, and that is why they are omitted, not because their existence was unknown or deliberately ignored in a broader historical sense. For this reason, the Pharaonic king-lists were generally wrong for Manetho's purposes, and we should commend Manetho for not basing his account on them (2000:105).

-- Manetho [Manethon], by Wikipedia

To the memory of Richard Anthony Parker

As a background to the chronology of the earlier phases of Egyptian civilization, [it is] necessary to draw up all the available evidence pertaining to the regnal years kings. This task, although arduous, is of great benefit, for with such a list [we are] able to see, more precisely, the skeleton upon which we moderns locate our reconstructions. The following analysis purports to be as complete as possible; the author all too well realizes that many more dated texts are awaiting publication. [He] is certain, however, that with this data in hand, one can easily survey the regnal year dating from Dynasty 4 to 6 in a clearer and more complete fashion [than] previously. In other words, the purpose of this study is overtly pragmatic. Weavings of modern pseudo-Manethonian speculations have [not?] been permitted [in] this article. Quite to the contrary, the writer has as his aim a more modest scientific approach: namely, the desire to reconstitute the development of Egyptian [history] keeping from the basal phase of Dynastic civilization (presently inappropriately Dynasty "0") to the end of the Memphite monarchy at the close of the 8th. Questions of a mundane nature concerned with text attribution will be covered as, at least for some, the more crucial problem is whether a biennial system operated, and if so, can we determine exactly when it ended.

I have little energy and patience with the plethora of studies concerning reconstruction [of] the Palermo Stone.
The Palermo Stone, the fragment of the Egyptian Royal Annals housed in Palermo, Italy.

A fragment of the Royal Annals, on display at the Petrie Museum, London, which is inscribed with part of the Khasekhemwy register and at the bottom with a sign from the Sneferu register

The Palermo Stone is one of seven surviving fragments of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The stele contained a list of the kings of Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150–2890 BCE) through to the early part of the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2392–2283 BCE) and noted significant events in each year of their reigns. It was probably made during the Fifth Dynasty. The Palermo Stone is held in the Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas in the city of Palermo, Italy, from which it derives its name.

The term "Palermo Stone" is sometimes applied to all seven surviving fragments of the Royal Annals, including those held in museums in Cairo and London. The fragments are also sometimes described collectively as the "Cairo Annals Stone", although the term "Cairo Stone" is also used to mean only those fragments of the Royal Annals now in Cairo.

The Palermo Stone and other fragments of the Royal Annals preserve what is probably the oldest historical text that has survived from Ancient Egypt and form a key source for Egyptian history in the Old Kingdom....

The inscription on the "front" (recto) of the Palermo Stone consists of six horizontal bands or registers of hieroglyphic text running right to left. The first register lists the names of predynastic kings of Lower Egypt (identified as such by the wearing of the Red Crown). The second and subsequent registers contain portions of royal annals for pharaohs of the First to Fourth Dynasties, that is lists of the key events in each year of the reign of each king, arranged chronologically. The second register on the Palermo Stone begins with the final year entries for a king of the First Dynasty whose name is not preserved, but who is generally assumed to be either Narmer or Aha. The rest of the second register is taken up with the first nine annual entries for this king's successor, who is again not named on the fragment, but is assumed to be either Aha or his successor Djer. The remainder of the inscription on this side continues with royal annals down to the kings of the Fourth Dynasty.

The text continues on the "back" (verso) of the Palermo Stone, cataloguing events during the reigns of pharaohs down to Neferirkare Kakai, third ruler of the Fifth Dynasty. From the surviving fragments it is unclear whether the Royal Annals originally continued beyond this point in time. Where a king is named, the name of his mother is also recorded, such as Betrest mother of the First Dynasty king Semerkhet and Meresankh I mother of the Fourth Dynasty king Seneferu.

Information recorded in the Royal Annals (as preserved on the Palermo Stone) includes measurements of the height of the annual Nile flood (see Nilometer), the inundation, details of festivals (such as Sed festivals), taxation, sculpture, buildings, and warfare.

The original location of the stele is unknown and none of the surviving fragments have a secure archeological provenance. One fragment now in Cairo is said to have been found at an archaeological site at Memphis, while three other fragments now in Cairo were said to have been found in Middle Egypt. No find site for the Palermo Stone itself has been suggested.

The Palermo Stone was purchased by a Sicilian lawyer, Ferdinand Guidano, in 1859
and it has been in Palermo since 1866. On 19 October 1877, it was presented to the Palermo Archaeological Museum by the Guidano family, where it has remained since.

There are five fragments of the Royal Annals in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, four of which were acquired between 1895 and 1914. The fifth was purchased on the antiquities market in 1963. One small fragment is in the Petrie Museum of University College London, forming part of the collection of the archeologist Sir Flinders Petrie (and purchased by him in 1914)....

There are uncertainties regarding the date of the Palermo Stone and of the Royal Annals it records. It is unknown whether the inscription was done in one go or was added to over time. It is also unknown whether it dates from the period it describes (i.e. from no later than the Fifth Dynasty). It has been suggested that the stele was made much later, perhaps in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (747–656 BCE)....

It is also unknown whether all the surviving fragments are part of the same stele or come from different copies.
It is possible that at least one of the smaller fragments held in Cairo (none of which have any clear provenance) is not genuine.

The text is difficult to decipher due both to the state of preservation of the inscription (which varies widely) and due to its antiquity. If the text is a later copy, rather than a Fifth Dynasty original, there is also the possibility that errors and invention crept in during the copying process....

New Kingdom Egyptian king lists, such as the Turin Canon (13th century BCE) and the Abydos king list (reign of Seti I, 1294–1279 BCE), identify Menes (probably Narmer) (c. 3100 or 3000 BCE) as the first king of the First Dynasty and so credit him with unifying Egypt. However, the top register of the Royal Annals names some predynastic rulers of Upper and Lower Egypt, presumably referring to a time before Egypt was unified. Identification of these kings with historical persons remains controversial.

The ancient historian Manetho may have used information similar to the complete Royal Annals stele to construct his chronology of the early dynasties of Egypt, forming part of his Aegyptiaca ...

-- Palermo Stone, by Wikipedia

Until a first-rate publication by Egyptologist is provided, hopefully with direct input from a chronologist, it [is un]necessary to spend my late hours creating phantasms based on the measurement [of the] unseen Palermo Stone. Far more worthwhile, it seems, is the effort to blaze [a] trail through the gourse and bracken of the contemporary dated inscriptions, though some of them may be, in order to achieve some well-marked path travelers [can] use. It is with more than a tinge of great admiration and respect [for the] chronological giant R.A. Parker, who made the effort to precede his intricate mathematical calculations with accurate historical analyses, that this study is dedicated.

Before turning to our list of dated inscriptions, a few words concern[ing] the limitations of one of our earlier sources, the so-called Old Kingdom Annals (Palermo Stone), are necessary. Many have noted the difficulties in historical reckoning evident on that monument. Supporting the position that there are many irregularities in dating throughout the period covered by the Palermo Stone are the following indications1. First, as previously noted, and often commented on, Snefru has two counts next to one another. The situation is compounded when the obvious omissions are stressed: there is no "year after the 7th count," and the year preceding "count 7" has no indication at all. That is to say, at least in the reign of Snefru, the following occurred: (1) at least one year was devoid of any explicit dating reference; (2) there was no year denoted as "year after the occurrence of the 7th count"; and (3) "count 8" follows on "count 7". Of equal importance is the lack of any parallel guide such as the regular biennial [taking place every other year] Sms Hr references that seem to have been part and parcel of the Archaic Age, as well as Dynasty 32. The last three indications of this occurrence are to be found for Horuses Nebka and Djoser in line 5 of the Annals. (I do not feel that Kaiser was correct to place the London fragment into the reign of Huni3.)

More useful are the recently published inscribed vases from Elephantine4.

Dating the corpus

While some jars come from securely dated contexts, others have been found in temple repositories at Elephantine, Hierakonpolis, Abydos and Tell Ibrahim Awad. These repositories appear to be mixed deposits of earlier and later temple equipment and votive material. However, as both the Main Deposit and the Osiris/Khenti-amentiu Temple excavations were conducted many years ago, the records must be treated with some caution. For example, Petrie gave level numbers to objects found in the Osiris/Khenti-amentiu Temple,31 [1 Abydos II, 3 ] but as Kemp convincingly demonstrates, the relationship between the level numbers, the overall stratigraphy and Petrie's dating of the site is precarious. 32 [32 See his discussion in MDAIK 23, 138-9, 148.]

The temple repositories at Elephantine and Tell Ibrahim Awad have been excavated more recently, allowing a reliable assessment of the stratigraphy. Nevertheless the repositories at these two sites share a common problem with Abydos and Hierakonpolis: all are 'open' deposits of temple equipment with a potentially wide date range when appraised on stratigraphic grounds. For example, in his examination of Chamber M69 in the Abydos Temple, Kemp allows that 'some of the objects, by their style, do seem to belong to the first two dynasties'.33 [Ibid. 154.] Petrie himself considered M69 as temple 'garbage' deposited around the middle of the Second Dynasty.34 [Abydos II, 23.] However, according to Kemp, the top of M69 is at the level of the Old Kingdom temple floor, resulting in a date of deposition for the objects as late as the Sixth Dynasty or even the early Eighteenth Dynasty, based on other evidence.35 [MDAIK 23, 153-5.] All that can be said with certainty is that while some material is undoubtedly early, later material is also probably included, making parallels drawn from M69 and similar open deposits less secure for dating purposes. As the problem posed by the repositories has been widely discussed by other scholars, further debate on the issue here is unnecessary.36 [In addition to Kemp, see Dreyer, Elephantine VIII, 44-52; S. Harvey, 'A Decorated Protodynastic Cult Stand from Abydos', in P. Der Manuelian (ed.), Studies in Honor of William Kelly Simpson (Boston, 1996), I, 367-8.] As Kemp suggests, the only valid method for dating uninscribed objects from such contexts is stylistic parallel. Nevertheless, if most of the available parallels come from similar strata, a circular dating argument arises that cannot be tested against more clearly stratified material.

In the case of hes-jars as a group, further study would identify more precise typological changes. For most of the jars in the catalogue, parallels exist from beyond the temple repositories, either for the whole vessel, or for elements of the shape. Many of the wide-mouthed vessels (Types 1, 2, 4 and 5) either come from reliable Early Dynastic contexts or have parallels securing this date. A Third Dynasty date is also possible for 2. At Elephantine and Tell Ibrahim Awad, temple deposits with black-topped pots date to the Old Kingdom (6, 7, 12), but typologically the vessels have closest links with those from the Early Dynastic Period. Paradoxically, they are in excellent condition. However, the narrow-necked jars from Abydos (15 and 16) may have a longer date range. Good parallels for this type come from the Old Kingdom, with only one similar Early dynastic form known from Naqada.37 [Petrie, Abydos II, 29, pl. xliii.] This vessel was found many years ago in an excavation that cannot be regarded as reliable by modern standards.

-- Black-Topped Ware in Early Dynastic Contexts, by Karin N. Sowada, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1999, Vol. 85 (1999), pp. 85-102.

Dated to the late 3rd Dynasty, they reveal a system virtually identical to the evidence from the Old Kingdom Annals. For example, one of the jar inscriptions commences on the right with an oversized rnpt sign. (This is to be expected: see our comments below.) This jar (No. 1 of the publication has two separate texts: (1) year of the Sms Hr, then follows the specific description of the events of that year; and (2) "Year of the Sms Hr, 11th occasion of..." Dreyer attempted to link the reference to the "11th occasion" (zp 11) with the following description of a local event rather than with any specific regnal year indication. This is reasonable insofar as the Annals do not number the various (biennial) Sms Hr occasions. The king under whom this inscription was inscribed is unknown; Dreyer mentioned Huni only because the Turin Canon has given him 24 years. Other possibilities may be proposed from Manetho's garbled account of Dynasty 3: Aches, for example (42 years), as well as Sephuris (30 years) and Kerp(heres) (26 years). The third vase inscription presents a further common opening section: "Year of the appearance of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt"; it does not belong to one of the regular Sms Hr years.

The importance of this recent find cannot be underestimated. These two vases present contemporary and early evidence of the regnal year dating from Egypt. Owing to the lack of any associated "count" (tnwt) with Sms Hr notations, it can be possible to limit the timeframe: namely, at least one of the two vases should not be placed to Nebka's reign. The reason for this is simple: the Annals indicate a count associated with the (still) biennial procession of the king. Hence, Dreyer's possibility of Huni seems best. The similar evidence from the Step Pyramid excavations presents a useful parallel which will be discussed in more detail below. However, it is sufficient to observe the presence of the Sms Hr event there as well; the counting, however, seems more regularized than on the vases from Elephantine.

A useful point of approach concerns these biennial Sms Hr events themselves5. For the commencement of Djer's reign Sms Hr definitely began with the second regnal year, probably as the first was short of the expected 365 days in the civil year and, more importantly, the event was of national occurrence and a must to perform after the opening commencement year had passed. Hence, we see the same practice of Djer adhered to by Semerkhet. But with Djoser such was not the case even though his reign is often claimed to be the one that oversaw the transformation to a standardization of administration, society, and kingship.

Further disconcerting in this context is the absence of any associated count with Djoser. The Palermo Stone is clear on this point: with Nebka the Sms Hr are linked with the counts and both apparently occurred in the even years (as a norm). Between any two there was no title or definition such as "year after the Xth count". That practice, at least on the Annals, would come later. But it is surprising to see that Nebka's penultimate regnal year saw the Sms Hr in conjunction with the "8th count".

The exact location of these counts plays an important role in the interpretation by Redford of the development of the Old Kingdom Annals6. He observed that the Egyptian zp X followed by tnwt was always placed at the end of the regnal year box. That is to say, the opening rnpt was not overtly or indirectly connected either with the idea of a count (zp). Quite the contrary, the ubiquitous term Sms Hr was the one that immediately followed the rnpt sign. This being so, it is easy to see why the standard regnal year system of later ages did not owe its origins first to the counts and why such a system was not at all regular. Indeed, one has but to mention the two cases of a count of gold plus field(s) to see that the later standard of a cattle census was not yet firm as cement. Finally, with Userkaf the Palermo Stone as well as its Cairo counterpart (Fragment No. 1) reveal the presence of the cattle census. In this king's reign the first addition of a cattle determinative will be found in two separate years. Moreover, the addition of "year after the Xth occasion of the count of cattle" is recorded on the Cairo fragment. For Sahure, the situation is not so easy to unravel.

A useful indication of the development of regnal years may, in fact, be derived from some simple rules of Egyptian grammar. It was Edel who pointed out in a definitive fashion that the word zp, "time", "occasion" must be connected with an ordinal number immediately following7. The word tpy (and not just a single stroke) proves this. Moreover, since the word for "first", "second", and so forth is not feminine, the phrase rnpt zp tpy must indicate that a literal translation of "year of the first occasion" and not "first year of the occasion" was meant. This implies that, as might be expected, the original of the regnal year concept can be traced via simple philology to the well-known series of zp's that frequent the texts of the Old Kingdom if not earlier. A fortiori, it was the event, the occurrence (which we know to be generally one of oxen and small cattle), which formed the basis of the Egyptian numerical reckoning. The latter, although connected with the concept of a year - and a civil year in particular - is to be regarded as at least, ab initio, separate from a collection of 365-days. The economics of Egypt appear to have mattered more to the bureaucrats than the calendrics.

Edel first proceeded along the well-worn path of Gardiner, Sethe, and even Brugsch, by citing a series of useful references to support his case. However, he then added an overlooked Middle Kingdom citation (Amenemhet 1) from Armant8. In an inscription that appears to deal with warlike activity of the king in Nubia, the opening regnal date reads: rnpt zp tpyt nt hcw ...9 Hence, Edel reasoned, the use of the feminine indirect genitive reveals a slightly different situation. In this case the nt can only refer back to the Egyptian word for year, rnpt. This being so, then the only correct (albeit very literal) translation to this passage can be: "first year of the occurrence of the appearance ..." It is the year which is being reckoned (reign of Amenemhet 1) and not the occurrence: rnpt not zp.

A useful parallel to the example brought forward by Edel may be found in the rock inscription (graffito) found at Wadi Handal. There, in a famous yet all-too-brief text dated to Amenemhet I (Zaba's No. 4, cols. 5-8), will be found the following brief notation: "Year 29 of (nt) the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Shtp-ib-Rc, who lives forever - we came to overthrow Wawat"10. The Egyptian is clear: the regnal date is considered to be feminine (ergo nt) and is connected to the following specific definition of what then occurred in that precise year. In other words, rnpt is the crux word, and as it is feminine, so is the use of the indirect genitive. Hence, with these two references we have reached a period of time in the development of the regnal year system of the Egyptians - Amenemhet 1 at the latest - in which the word "year" and not "occasion" formed the core of the simple term rnpt zp. That it to say, the concept of a census had been totally lost and that a (civil) year took its place. It cannot be overlooked that earlier examples from the Palermo Stone and contemporary documents present such passages as: rnpt ht zp X tnwt. By writing this "year after the Xth occurrence of counting" the cattle count still remained paramount in the minds of the calculator and it is not "regnal year (2X + 1)" that was indicated.

It is also my feeling that the term "regnal year" is somewhat inaccurate when applied to the dates themselves. The enumeration of a Pharaoh's reign, itself based on a year, was originally connected to the counts as often cited. However, when the biennial system had fallen into disuse (although the transference to a simple annual system is not at all easy to locate in time), the translation above, "first year of the occurrence of the appearance ..." points to the persistence of zp as an independent word in the entire phrase. That is to say, "year of the occasion/occurrence/time" renders the ubiquitous rnpt zp far more accurately than regnal year. The latter, after all, stresses the connection to the monarchy whereas the Egyptian words themselves in no way reveal this connotation. For example, it is often claimed that these "regnal years" were signs of royalty and therefore the separate nomarchal dating in the early Middle Kingdom (e.g., at Beni Hasan) indicates some degree of usurpation of royal privilege. Whereas the employ of separate dates by these nomarchs shows heightened private (non-royal) power, let us keep in mind that the two words "regnal year" overtly convey Pharaonic power. A simple "1st year of the appearance" is a better translation as it avoids such connections and more accurately indicates its ancestor of "1st year of the occasion ..."

But it is better to turn to the contemporary regnal year documents from the Old Kingdom (Dynasties 4-6) to enable one to unravel even more the intricacies of dating at this time. The following are all the regnal dates known to me with the Annals included. When the a king's name is absent for whatever reason the object has to be considered with a great deal of caution and, for the most part, I have followed the accepted modern interpretations11.

SNEFRU (Turin Papyrus: 24 years)

(1) "Year of the second occurrence of the count" (Annals, Fragment Cairo No. 4 = Urk. I, 235.17)12. No addition of a cattle sign is present. Following the previous practices recorded in the Annals as outlined above, this reference ought to be placed three years after the commencement year.

(2) "Year of the 7th occurrence of the count" (Annals, Palermo Stone, recto 6 = Urk. I, 236.17). Likewise, no presence of the cattle sign. One reason for the presence of count 7 followed immediately by that of count 8 might be seen in the previous regnal year of Snefru13. At that time the Pharaoh was occupied with a war in Nubia and the regular pattern of a biemiial census could have been interrupted by the king's personal military deeds to the south of Egypt. Hence, I would argue that there was a interruption at this point and the 7th count was delayed by one year owing to the military action to the south. Thereafter, the counts could have resumed their normal biennial regularity with the 8th.

(3) "Year of the 8th occurrence of the count" (Annals, Palermo Stone, recto 7 = Urk. I, 237.4).

(4) "Year of the 15th occurrence" (Red Pyramid of Dashur: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 233-35 and Abb. 1). This newly-edited inscription (in hieratic) was located on one of the foundation stones. The association of the date with Snefru is not question able. The lack of tnwt is to be noted: this date is the first clear-cut example that looks as if it were a typical regnal year of a later epoch.

(5) "Year of the 15th occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 14" (Red Pyramid of Dashur: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 234-35 and Abb. 2; see also in: MDAIK 39, 1983, 235, Abb. 6). This brief text was found on one of the backing stones for Snefru's pyramid and provides the first example of a full date in Pharaonic history: year, month, and day are given. The following example is likewise from one of the backing stones.

(6) "Year of the 15th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, day 10 + x" (Quarry mark at Meidum: Petrie, Meydum and Memphis III, 1910, 9 and PI. V 6). Petrie reads the date as year 17 although his copy indicates otherwise. According to the report, this hieratic inscription as well as others were found, for the most part, on the outermost sloping faces which were rough in texture. The blocks apparently were not dressed down. The dating to Snefru is assured.

(7) Year of the 14 + Xth occurrence" (Quarry mark at Meidum: Petrie, Meydum and Memphis III, 9 and PI. VI 9). The date is unclear: Year 15 or 16 would appear to be the best possibilities.

(8) "Year of the 16th occurrence, 1st month of iht, day 13" (Quarry mark at Meidum: LD II, I g).

(9) "Year of the 16th occurrence, 3rd month of iht" (Red Pyramid of Dashur: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 234-35 and Abb. 2; see also in: MDAIK 39, 1983, 235 Abb. 7).

(10) "Year of the 16th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 14" (Meidum: Rowe, in: The Museum Journal 22, 1931, 26 and PI. XXXVIII, fig. 2). This quarry inscription, as well no. (12), was found by the University Museum in 1929-30.

(11) "Year of the 16th occurrence (?), Xth month of prt, day 2" (Red Pyramid at Dashur: Sourouzian, in: MDAIK 38, 1982, 389-90 and fig. 5). I have placed a query against the regnal year since the integer 15 would fit the arrangement of the signs better than the assumed 16; the facsimile is not all that clear as to which date was intended.

(12) "Year of the 16th occurrence (?), 1st month of prt" (Meidum: Rowe, in: The Museum Journal 22, 1931, 26). The date was questioned by Rowe. Unfortunately, no photograph is given by him in the preliminary report; hence, it is unclear if any day was recorded.

(13) "Year of the 17th occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 10 + x" (Quarry mark at Meidum: Petrie, Meydum and Memphis III, 9 and PL V 2 left).

(14) "Year of the 17th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day ..." (Quarry mark at Meidum: Petrie, Meydum and Memphis III, 9 and PI. V 3).

(15) "Year of the 17th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, last day". (Quarry mark at Meidum: Petrie, Meydum and Memphis III, 9 and PI. V 4).

(16) "Year of the 24th occurrence, 3rd (?) month of..." (Red Pyramid of Dashur: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 234-36 and Abb. 3). This inscription, originally published by Lepsius and later commented upon by Maystre, forced Stadelmami to hypothesize a rather complicated regnal year dating system for Snefru.

(17) "Year of the 24th occurrence, Xth month of prt, ..." (Red Pyramid of Dashur: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 239-40 and Abb. 4). This text, a graffito, was found on one of the outer backing stones of Snefru's pyramid.

 It is self-evident that Snefru's dates, as assembled above, do not fit the standard theory of a biennial census - cattle or otherwise. For Stadelmann, one has to subsume some of Snefru's regnal years under the same count, a situation that would render bureaucratic records useless. Quite to the contrary, I feel it best to assume that no biennial census system was employed in a regular fashion at this time. After all, the Palermo Stone is explicit with regard to the 7th and 8th counts, and both of those are written in back-to-back years with the earlier one preceded by a separate year box. It may be argued that the term "year after the Xth count" has not yet come into common use; after all, as I have indicated earlier, the preserved portions of the Annals only record it for the reign of Userkaf. However, there is enough other material (from Helwan and Gebelein) which can be placed into the same time period that contradict this argument.

Connected to the problem of these dates is the lack of any indication concerning what, precisely, they are supposed to signify. In fact, is it correct to assume that all of these rnpt zp dates refer to a "counting" (tnwt) of cattle? Or, as it is easier to hypothesize, are they simple dates identical to the regnal year systems of later epochs? If so, this argument would place the existence of a biemiial cattle census and the earlier ?ms Hr system to the side and therefore neither would confute the data of the Turin Papyrus. That is to say, the 24 years given to Snefru by the last document is not contradicted by the evidence assembled above. The 24-odd "occurrences", therefore, would be equivalent to the evidence in the Turin Papyrus with the absence of a ht 7 in the Palermo Stone indicating that it was not recorded at all - i.e., this designation for a year was omitted. In any case, an analysis of Snefru's dates must be seen in combin ation with others of the 4th Dynasty and it would be rash to draw any conclusion from this evidence alone.

CHEOPS (Turin Papyrus: 23 Years)

(1) "Year of the 4th occurrence, ..." (Back of casing stone in mastaba G 2130 (Hnty-k(i.i)) - Giza, West Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 118, fig. 6 and 127, no. 4)14. As the author indicates, the "burial in this tomb was accompanied by a sealing with the name of Cheops".

(2) "Year of the 5th occurrence, Xth month of Smw, day ..." (Limestone fragment in the filling of G 1203 (Ki.(i)-nfr - Giza, West Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 118, fig. 6 and 127, no. 2)15. The date is that of a stone-mason; St. Smith gave cogent reasons why it should be dated to Cheops.

(3) "Year of the 8th occurrence. 1st month of prt, ..." (Cheops Causeway inscription: St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119, fig. 7 and 126-27, no. 1). According to St. Smith, the 15th regnal year of the king was intended16.

(4) "Year of the 8th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, day 20". (Stone mason's graffito, mastaba G 4000 (Hm-Iwnw - Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza I, 1929, 159, Abb. 24, 10 and 161)17. In his brief remarks Junker stressed that the stone work between the core of the mastaba and the (outer) decorative layer/casing must have begun, at the latest, in this year. Moreover, because Junker assumed a biennial system, this was place in year 16.

(5) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 4th month of prt, day 23/24 (?)" (Stone mason's graffito, mastaba G 4000 (Hm-Iwnw - Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza I, 161). This notation is to be found on a fragment in the core of the southern cult chamber.

(6) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 1st month of Smw, day 10" (Stone mason's graffito, mastaba G 4000 (Hm-Iwnw - Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza I, 158, 160 and 159, Abb. 24.1). Junker was not totally sure that "year 10" could be read and felt that an odd year ("after the 10th occurrence") was a possibility.

(7) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 10 + X (?)" (Stone mason's graffito, mastaba G 4000 (Hm-Iwnw - Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza I, 159 Abb. 24, 2 and 160).

(8) "Year of the 11th occurrence ..." (Stone mason's inscription on a roofing block in the Cheops' boat pit: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 239). This reference has been cited by Stadelmann in conjunction with the reign of Djedefre, Cheops' successor. However, with Helck, I feel that if this citation is valid, then Cheops has to fit18. The reasons for this are simple: (1) the 11th count suits the evidence from the Turin Papyrus indeed, it actually precedes by one the figure in the next inscription, no. 8; (2) the length of Djedefre's reign is unknown but either 11 or 22 years seems quite long; (3) the roofing blocks in the boat pit must have been placed last although the time of their quarrying probably was close to Cheops' death (if not before it); and (4) the pit was probably closed at the time of Cheops interment, and a count of 11 for Djedefre does not suit that timeframe. All in all, even though one may doubt the reliability of this evidence, if the evidence is reliable then one must attribute the date to Cheops.

(9) "Year of the 12th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw". (Inscription on the west wall of the unfinished chapel of G 2120 (SSit-shnt(y)w - Giza, West Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 118, fig. 6 and 127, 3)19. I follow St. Smith and place this date to the reign of Cheops although Chephren is possible.

A further inscription - a mason's graffito from the mastaba of Hwjw-hcf I - has been placed under Chephren (no. 3). It records the "Year of the 12th occurrence, 2nd month of..." and, as the reader will see from our additional comments, the earlier dating of St. Smith (followed by Simpson) may be more appropriate. It is solely from the recent re-evaluation of Harpur, that have preferred to date the inscription, with much hesitation, under Cheops' second son.

With Cheops we are faced with no real discrepancy: the Turin Papyrus gives 23 years whereas the records reach up to the 12th (An example of a 17th count was argued by Petrie; however, it is probable that he was confused on this matter)20. In this case one may argue for a biennial system. After all, this is a new reign and the practices of Snefru need not have been followed. It is unfortunate that Cairo Fragment No. 2 of the Annals does not preserve any dates and that none of the nine listed cases presents a "year after the Xth occurrence" or any connection with cattle.

DJEDEFRE (Turin Papyrus: length lost)

CHEPHREN (Turin Papyrus: length lost)

(1) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 4th month of Smw, day 22" (Vertical column on the north subsidiary niche of mastaba G 7530-40 (Mr.s-Cnh III - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 116, fig. 4 and 126, 2 under A; Dunham-Simpson, The Mastaba of Mersyankh III, 1974, fig. le)21. I follow Reisner and St. Smith in assigning the date to the reign of Chephren but in light of some of the comments of Simpson on pages 3 and 8 of the final publication (following Dunham and Deny), this might have to be revised somewhat22. (The reading of "2" for the year reference seems secure although St. Smith queried it). The text itself seems to present an interval dating on both the right and the left side: "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 4th month of Smw, day 22 to (r) year ... with the left presenting only the following: "(... Xth month of p)rt to year ..." (See as well the fragmentary evidence from the northern subsidiary niche in G 7430-7440 (prince Mnw-hcf- Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 116, fig. 4 and 126, 3 under A).

(2) "Year of the 12th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 10" (Incised inscription on the back of a block of the north wall of the chapel in mastaba G 7650 (iht-fatp and his wife Mrt-it.s - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119, fig. 7 and 127-28, 11a)23. The dating follows that of St. Smith even though no royal name is present.

(3) "Year of the 12th occurrence, 2nd month of..." (Inscription on the east face of a block originally from mastaba G 7130-40 (Hwfw-hcf\ - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119, fig. 7 and 127, 8 = Simpson, The Mastabas of Kawab, Khafkhufu I and II (1978), 9 and fig. 35c)24. This block most certainly originally belonged to part of the east face of Hwfw-hcf I's mastaba although it now belongs to part of the projecting temple of Isis. There is a second inscription that preserves only the following: "... 2nd month of prt, day ..." If Harpur's date for the mastaba is followed, one may wish to place this inscription under Chephren. Simpson, however, following St. Smith, opted for Cheops. Hence, the attribution is not completely sucure.

(4) "Year of the 13th occurrence, 4th month of..." (Painted date on the back of a casing stone on the north face of mastaba G 7650: St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119, fig. 7 and 127-28, 11b).

The following six dates, all from Helwan, perhaps can be added at this point. Even though their association with any king is impossible to determine, the palaeography points to a late Dynasty 4-first half Dynasty 5 date and the presence of the name of Chephren's pyramid (the first example below) serves as a somewhat useful terminus a quo25. With much hesitation, and more for the sake of convenience, I have placed them at this point.

(i) "Year of the 1st occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 5" (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 299 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, Royal Excavations at Saqqara and Helwan (1941-1945), 1947, 106 and PI. 42a left; Cairo JdE 86854 B). According to Fischer, these inscribed stone pieces served as identification labels for the bodies that were sent north from Upper Egypt in order to be interred at the cemetery of Helwan. Although the photograph of this ostracon is not overly clear, the presence of the king's cartouche preceded by the date clinches the reference.

(ii) "Year after the 4th occurrence of the count, 2nd month of Smw, day 3" (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 305 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, Royal Excavations at Saqqara and Helwan (1941-1945), 106-107 and P. XLIIb right; Cairo JdE 86853 A. A second ostracon (Saad, ibid., PI. XLIIb left; Cairo JdE 86853 B) is somewhat broken and the reference to the day is lost). In these two cases we have: rnpt ht zp 4 tnwt ... Hence, these two ostraca not only reveal an early use of a "Year after the Xth occurrence" system but, perhaps more importantly, add tnwt, thereby indicating that the "count" was in operation and that it still could be written with regnal years.

The Egyptian term rnpt ht zp, which is employed here (instead of rnpt m ht zp X) might be of some use for dating purposes. Edel, however, indicated that both occur throughout the Old Kingdom26. A useful list of these readings will be presented in the analysis of undated 6th Dynasty inscriptions (pages 46-47 below).

(iii) "Year after (= rnpt hi) the 5th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 8" (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 322 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, ibid., 107 and PI. XLIIIa right; Cairo 86852 B). The reading of the year is unclear. Although Goedicke prefers "5", the ostracon iv following presents a clear-cut case of that numeral and the hieratic is considerably different that the one from tomb 322 H 227. In addition, note the lack of tnwt, "count".

(iv) "Year after (= rnpt ht) the 5th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 8" (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 335 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, ibid., 107 and PI. XLIIIa right; Cairo 86852 B). The hieratic inscription is virtually impossible to read but the format would have been identical to the preceding.

(v) "Year of the 5th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 22." (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 335 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, ibid., 107 and PI. XLIIIb right; Cairo JdE 86851 A).

(vi) "Year of the (occurrence), ..." (Hieratic stone ostracon from tomb 335 H 2 at Helwan: Saad, ibid., 107 and PI. XLIIIb left; Cairo JdE 86851 B). The text is very abraded but it would have repeated the previous one.

With Chephren the lacuna in the Turin Papyrus is particularly troublesome as one may opt for 26 regnal years (or even higher) if the biennial hypothesis is adhered to. On the other hand, others may prefer 13 years for his reign with, perhaps, a few more. Nothing definitive can be determined from these data so far as it stands. The Helwan material, on the other hand, ambiguous though it may be, at least indicates that the counts were operating, so long as all of the ostraca can be placed to this reign. From the position of hieratic palaeography this is unsure28.

MYCERINUS (Turin Papyrus: 18, possibly 28; 38 years is doubtful)

(1) "Year of the 1st occurrence, 1st mondi of Smw, day 21." (Vertical inscription from mastaba G 7530-40 (Mr.s-Cnh III - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 116, fig. 4 and 126, 1; Dunham-Simpson, The Mastaba of Mersyankh III, 8 and PI. Ha, fig. 2). The recent publication of Dunham-Simpson revises the older position of Reisner29. Instead of locating this reference and the one following to the reign of Shepseskaf, they prefer Mycerinus on the basis of Derry's examination of the bones of Mr.s-Cnh. Gardiner, in: JEA 31, 1945, 14-15 and note 3, altered some of Reisner's comments through his support of the biennial census theory. The elapsed time of 272 days between death (example 1) and burial (2) does seem high. The year is not written with the tpy sign30.

(2) "Year after the 1st occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 21." (Vertical inscription from mastaba G 7530-40 (Mr.s-Cnh III - Giza, East Field): references as in the previous example). This is the internment date for queen Mr.s-Cnh. Here, the tpy sign is em ployed: rnpt ht zp tpy. The m in a possible rnpt m ht may have been dropped owing to the vertical nature of the composition.

(3) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 22." (Quarry graffito on a north block of mastaba G VI S, Junker's VII (Giza - West Field): Junker, Giza X, 1951, 75, Abb. 35.9 and 78, no. 10; see also Junker, Anz.AWW 1929, 82)31. The dating to Mycerinus is derived from the names of the work crews on other associated masons' graffiti; see case (6) below. (NB: this argument is not that compelling).

(4) "Year of the 7th occurrence, 4th month of prt, day 10" (Quarry mark on casing stone of mastaba G 7530-7540 (Mr.s-Cnh III - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119, fig. 7 and 127, 9; Dunham-Simpson, The Mastaba of Mersyankh III, 3 and fig. 1). This date was reassigned by Dunham-Simpson to the reign of Mycerinus instead of Chephren, as Reisner believed.

(5) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, ..." (Stone mason's graffito in mastaba G 7350 (Htp-hr.s II (?) - Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 119 fig 7 and 127, 10). This date was tentatively assigned to Mycerinus by St. Smith; Harpur dates the time period of the tomb to the end of Dynasty 4 (Khaefre to Shepseskaf)32. This attribution is tentative.

(6) "Year of the 11th occurrence, Xth month of prt, day 10 + X" (Quarry inscription on a block of mastaba G VI S, Junker's VII (Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza X, 1951, 75, Abb. 35.10 and 77, no. 9; see Junker, Anz.AWW 1929, 82). This hieratic mark, like no (3) above, is dated to Mycerinus by association33. A further date has been signaled by Helck, but it possesses no associated cartouche34. In fact, a better timeframe appears to be the end of Dynasty 5:

(i) "Year of the 11th (?) occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 3 (?)" (Stone mason's graffito associated with Shaft S 677/817 (Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza VIII, 1947, 39-40, with Abb. 12). Since there is no king's name associated with this inscription the dating is insecure; Helck prefers Mycerinus. (I suspect that he confused this quarry mark and the one published by Junker in Giza X: no. 6 above). Harpur dated the associated mastaba of Rc-wr II (G 5470) to the end of Dynasty 5 (Izezi-Unis)35. As the blocks themselves are located in the serdab of Rc-wr II's mastaba, the small inscription is best placed to that period. Junker, perhaps most wisely, refused to pinpoint a date, and correctly dismissed the evidence of a sealing of Dd-ki-Rc (Izezi) in mastaba G 547036. This inscription will be mentioned again at the end of the Dynasty 5 examples.

If the attribution of any of the last three texts to Mycerinus is correct then one might have to revise the Turin Papyrus' presumed "year 18" to "year 28". In the case of Mycerinus, however, the epigraphic evidence of a datable sort is so scarce that any conclusions must be of a tentative nature. The first two cases, signaled with great vigor by Gardiner, are the most important, if correctly placed to Mycerinus' reign. They provide the only case of one year succeeding another and the presence of the "after" (hi), is useful mark that some type of count was still understood.

To be added here is the evidence from the papyri at Gebelein. These have not yet been published as a unit although preliminary reports have come from the hand of Posener-Krteger37. A date in Dynasty 4 for the lot is certain. The following examples are concerned with dates that include the year.

(i) "(Year) after (= rnpt m hi) the 2nd occurrence of the count of cattle (of Upper and Lower Egypt, Xth month of) iht, day 20" (Gebelein fragment A: Posener-Krteger, Les prix des 6toffes, in Fs Edel, 318-31).

(ii) "Year after (= rnpt m hi) the 3rd occurrence of the count of cattle of Upper and Lower Egypt, 3rd month of prt, day 26" (Gebelein fragment B: Posener-Krteger, ibid).

(iii) "Year after (= rnpt m hi) the 11th count." (Gebelein Roll IV, Cairo JdE 66844, 4: Posener-Krteger, in: RdE 27, 1975, 215-16). If we assume that a biennial system is reflected in this count, then since the palaeography definitely indicates a date before the Abusir archive, this moves us back to Dynasty 4. In fact, the editor did take into account the strong possibility that the papyrus might be placed into the reign of Mycerinus but probably not earlier38. On the other hand, if the biennial system is disregarded, then Niuserre (improbable), Sahure, and Mycerinus could fit. I do not see the chance that this new archive can be placed to the reign of Unis, after the major group at Abusir. In fact, in Posener-Krteger's chart of palaeographic comparisons there is little doubt that the Gebelein group are earlier than Abusir, and Goedicke was correct to place the fragments in the 4th Dynasty39.

SHEPSESKAF (Turin Papyrus: length lost or 2 years?)

(1) "Year ... of the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso, line 1 = Urk. I, 239.12). This is not the "year of the first occasion; the latter is: rnpt zp 1. The importance of the date, the accession year, was discussed by Borchardt and Gardiner in connection with the switch from Shepseskaf s predecessor to himself40. It is crucial to make this difference: the first year of a Pharaoh - which for all practical purposes was less than 365 days - was, at this time, not numbered. This we have already seen from the evidence on the recto of the Palermo Stone and Cairo Fragment No. 1. Both of those pieces have the biennial Sms Hr celebration (reigns of Smerkhet and Djoser) located after the opening accession year.

(2) "Year after the 1st occurrence of count of (all) oxen and small cattle" (Edict of Shepseskaf for the Pyramid of Mycerinus: Goedicke, KOnigl. Dokumente, 16, 17, Abb. 1 = Urk. I, 160). In this interesting case two points are useful to stress. First, the term employed for the term "count" is ipt and not tnwt, as previously41. Indeed, this is the first explicitly dated inscription that employs this word in any of the extant Old Kingdom documents that are dated. A further case, unfortunately not securely fixed to a reign (although Chephren and Mycerinus do fit the timeframe), is presented as case (vi) of the insecure texts of Dynasty 4. (The text is the will of Ni-kiw-cnh). Second, the determinatives (unless they were read) of ipt are the oxen and small cattle: i.e., all basic bovine herds are included; this occurs infrequently and should not be overstressed and also occurs in Ni-kiw-cnKs will as well as in some others of Dynasty 5 (e.g., (2) of Djedkare). Finally, the Egyptian phrase for "year after" is rnpt m ht.

(2) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 10 (?)" (Limestone fragment found in debris of shaft (C) of mastaba G 5080 (SSm-nfr II - Giza, West Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 120 and 127, 5)42. The attribution of this fragment to Shepseskaf is unclear. St. Smith argued that since a sealing of that ruler was found in $sm-nfr II's burial chamber, it was possible that he is to be connected with this date. This argument is not compelling. In fact, since SSm-nfr II's mastaba was built and decorated during the reign of Niuserre, it is more probable that the piece belongs to his reign than Shepseskaf s. For this reason, I have placed this case under Niuserre's reign as well.

If the last example is correctly dated to Shepseskaf s second count then the above three references provide a useful though all-too-short series of opening years' dates. Because Dunham and Simpson cast doubt on the attribution of two vertical faxade texts of mastaba G 7530-40 (Mr.s-Cnh III) to Shepseskaf, preferring instead Mycerinus, two other extremely useful dates have to be ignored here43. This conclusion is doubly distressing as both of them can be placed in "count 1" and the year immediately after. Hence, they would have rounded out the early regnal years of Shepseskaf to a full degree: opening year; count 1; year after count 1 (twice); and count 2. As the number of years which he sat upon the throne of Egypt is unknown - it is normally argued that they were few none of these cases is egregious.

Some unplaced Dynasty 4 texts may be added to the above list. The following are provided here although there is no absolute reason to locate them to this Dynasty.

(i) "Year of Unification of the Two Lands, 2nd month of Smw, day 10" (Incised limestone block under mastaba G 2359 = G 5552 (Giza, West Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 118, fig. 6 and 127, 7). The author's doubts are best expressed in his own words. The object is "Perhaps a Fourth Dynasty construction block abandoned for some reason on the edge of the Western Cemetery"44. Nevertheless, it is useful to have the accession year of a king recorded outside of the Annals and on a contemporary inscription. NB: unlike the Annals the date reads rnpt smi tiwy, this is also present in Wp-m-nfris will which is placed (with much hesitation) under Unis, one text of Dynasty 8 (an edict: no. 1) as well as the three inscriptions that follow.

(ii) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands, 3rd month of Smw, day ..." (Stone block with inscription: James, Corpus of Hieroglyphic Inscriptions in the Brooklyn Museum I, 1974, 22-23 and PI. XXIII (No. 58a) = Urk. I, 10.14). The import of this short text eludes me; for the possible association with Nfab-kiw, see Simpson in: AJA 79, 1975, 153. However, as that feast occurred on 1 prt 1 no equivalence is possible. I agree with Simpson that the Brooklyn piece is undoubtedly the same object from which the Berlin Abdruck 1189b was taken. With hesitation, but still following Simpson, I place the object to Dynasty 4.

(iii) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands, 3rd month of Smw, (day) ..." (Limestone fragment found in the debris of mastaba G 7450 (Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 120, fig 8 and 128)45. This piece was brought forward as additional evidence by Simpson in his discussion of the preceding inscription. The coincidence of year and month is to be stressed.

A further parallel text is the following:

(iv) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands, 4th month of Smw, day 4" (Berlin 14467: Schafer, Berl. Inschr. I, 1913, 71 = Urk. I, 10.14).

(v) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 24" (Ostracon Leiden J 429: Goedicke, in: JEA 54, 1968, 28-30 and PI. V 4). Goedicke believes that what is recorded here is the death of an individual and a date close to the five Helwan examples listed above seems reasonable. (Indeed, this is what he later assumed in his volume on Old Kingdom Palaeography as he dated the Helwan ostracon as well as those in Leiden contemporary to the Gebelein papyri)46. In his edition of this ostraca and three others Goedicke appears to place the object to the close of Dynasty 4-early Dynasty 5. If the biennial nature of the count is taken seriously, then a date in the reigns of Cheops or Niuserre seems reasonable. Those rulers intervening either are given less than 20 years by the Turin Canon (e.g., Userkaf and Sahure) or else the length of their reigns is unclear. I, myself, would leave the question open, preferring to deal with the presence of such counts independently of the question of any biennial system.

(vi) "Year of the 12th occasion of count of (all) oxen and small cattle" (Will of Ni-kiw-Rc in mastaba LG 87 (Giza, Central Field): Goedicke, Die privaten Rechts inschriften, 1970, 21 and PI. lib with 22, note 1 = Urk. I, 16.14)47. In this case the reigning king is unclear. The mastaba, however, can be placed to the close of Dynasty 4: Harpur, for example, prefers Chephren to Shepseskaf. With such a high regnal year in his will only Chephren or Mycerinus are possible, and I would opt for the latter simply because the art historical criteria cover at least three reigns. Moreover, the presence of the word ipt, already commented upon twice by Goedicke, parallels the case of the Edict of Shepseskaf listed above (example (2) in his reign)48. He saw the disappearance of tnwt as perhaps indicative of an alteration that occurred with the beginning of the 5th Dynasty. However, tnwt does occur earlier, as the Annals indicate. Certainly, the regularity that we expect on the part of the numbering system in the Old Kingdom is not present on these two occasions. The hypothesis of a regularly-occurring and standardized biennial cattle census, always marked with tnwt, does not receive much support from the texts themselves.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu May 12, 2022 2:29 am

Part 2 of 3

USERKAF (Turin Papyrus: 7 years)

(1) "Year after the first occurrence of the count of cattle" (Annals, Cairo Fragment No. 1 recto 2 = Urk. I, 240.5). Some have felt that with this king's reign a "mature" or developed method of regnal year dating had come into being49. Others (for example, Breasted and Gardiner) felt that the biennial cattle census was both regular and explicit; they mainly relied upon the data from the verso of the Palermo Stone50. Note that the word for "cattle" is represented by one animal, the ubiquitous bull. The Egyptian for the term "Year after" is rnpt m ht; later the Annals prefer rnpt ht.

(2) "Year of the 3rd occurrence of the count of cattle" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso 2 = Urk. I, 242.7).

(3) "Year of the 3rd occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day ..." (Masons' graffito in the upper building of Userkaf s sun temple: Haeny, Die Steinbruch- und Baumarken, in BeitrageBf 8, 1969, 41-42, no. 6).

If the biennial census works at this point, then the six years derived from this account fits neatly into the Turin Papyrus' date of 7 years. A series of four limestone tablets that were found in the rubble of Userkaf s sun temple (Abusir) include dates. Three were originally placed by Ricke in the reign of Userkaf but later Kaiser dated them to Neferirkare51. The two reasons that he gave were mutually independent.

1) Userkaf ruled 7 years according to the Turin Papyrus. Therefore, since the dates include the "5th occurrence1' and the year after that, Kaiser felt that Userkaf has to be eliminated. It goes without saying that the biennial cattle census hypothesis was not questioned by Kaiser.

2) The second argument against Userkaf was based on the actual building construction of the obelisk itself. On one of them (Edel's "A") there appears the determinative of the sun temple, Nhn-Rc. Edel, working with his expert knowledge of Old Kingdom hieratic, saw in the determinative a Iwn pillar on top of the obelisk52. For Kaiser this was crucial as the sun temple of Userkaf was not completed in his own reign. Quite to the contrary, only later were the final additions such as the completion of the obelisk, actually accomplished53. He dated the four tablets to the reign of Neferirkare; the last ruler is known to have had a 5th occasion (Palermo Stone: Urk. I, 248.14).

Neither position is totally conclusive. The first rests on an adherence to the biennial system. That situation must remain sub judice for the moment. The second depends to no small degree on epigraphic evidence of the obelisks in inscriptions of the 5th Dynasty. At this point I will date all four to Neferirkare, albeit with a question mark. For example, why cannot Sahure's reign be likewise a possibility?

As a counter to the last sentence, one might adhere to Kaiser's third piece of evidence. In his discussion of the sun temples, this German scholar brought into focus the various writings (determinatives) that were employed54. There was some contradictory evidence presented by Kaiser, however. Out often tombs in which the sun temple was mentioned, six contained the determinative with an obelisk. On the other hand, Kaiser noted that scarcely half of the 24 tombs in which Sahure's sun temple appears can be dated to this king's reign. Indeed, he observed three cases in which Nhn-Rc appears without the obelisk yet Sahure is mentioned. For him, therefore, neither Userkaf or his immediate successor built their sun temples with an obelisk; this was to occur later in the reign of Neferirkare.

Unfortunately, the entire discussion is hazardous and circular. Having conceived the biennial census to be part and parcel of Old Kingdom society, neither Kaiser nor, earlier, Ricke, could believe that Sahure built the uppermost portions of his sun altar within two or, at most, three years. In this context it is interesting to see that Edel, though not committing himself to any specific refutation of Kaiser, believes that tablet A from the first campaign at Nhn-Rc has the name of the sun temple drawn with an obelisk. I cannot but follow him and feel that Ricke's position is weak, although not completely demolished by Edel's understanding of the hieratic palaeography. If the reference to a fifth occurrence is considered to be equivalent to year 10, then Userkaf is easily eliminated and Sahure or Neferirkare remain.

These four inscriptions will be placed here even though I have ignored the still vexing question as to whom they actually belonged.

(i) "Year of the 5th occurrence; 1st month of iht, day" (Limestone Tablet A from the sun temple of Userkaf: Edel, Die Kalksteintafelchen, in Ricke, Userkaf-SH I, 2-8). This one is placed first owing to the move through die civil year; note the lack of tnwt and the like. The importance of the dates for a chronology of the work at the obelisk area is covered by Roth.

(ii) "Year of the 5th occurrence, 3rd month of prt" (Limestone tablet B from the sun temple of Userkaf: Edel, ibid.).

(iii) "Year of the 5th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw" (Limestone tablet C from the sun temple of Userkaf: Edel, ibid.).

(iv) "Year after the 5th occurrence, 2nd month of prt" (Limestone tablet D from the sun temple of Userkaf: Edel, ibid.). Note that rnpt m ht is employed.

SAHURE (Turin Papyrus: 12 years)

(1) "Year of the 1st occurrence." (Annals, Cairo Fragment No. 1 verso 2 = Urk. I, 243.3; see Sethe's comment, note f - f). Properly speaking, this example does not fit with the expected dates that either precede or follow but it ought to be included here.

(2) "Year after the 2nd occurrence" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso 3 = Urk. I, 245.3). Note the absence of any cattle after tnwt. The Egyptian reads: rnpt ht.

(3) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 1st month of Smw, day 20" (Masons' graffito in the main temple of Sahure's Pyramid complex: Borchardt, Sahure I, 1910, 88 [M 26]).

(4) "Year of the 4th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 12." (Borchardt, Sahure I, 89 [M 29]).

(5) "Year after the 7th occurrence" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso 4 = Urk. I, 246.6). This was the final (incomplete) year of the Pharaoh. I follow Schafer's reading (in his copy) as well as Kaiser's later analysis55. The Egyptian still has rnpt ht.

As can be seen from the above five cases, if a biennial census took place on a regular basis, then the Turin Papyrus' evidence for a 12 year reign is short by three years. For this reason (as with Snefru), I believe that such occasions were not always adhered to56. Certainly, the evidence from the Annals leaves open the question of those four limestone tablets that Kaiser and Ricke dated to Neferirkare. A standardized census system is naturally preferred by modern scholars, and at least Sahure still provides us with the word "count". Useful, as well, is the presence of a year "after" the count, thereby showing that the cattle census, although not occurring every even year, was the determinate factor in drawing up the regnal year system at this time.

NEFERIRKARE (Turin Papyrus: length lost)57

(1) "Year ... of the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso 4 = Urk. I, 246.12. In this first year account there is no reference to completing work on Userkaf s sun temple.

(2) "Year of the 5th occurrence" (Annals, Palermo Stone, verso 5 = Urk. I, 248.14)58. Note the presence of Neferirkare's sun temple, St-ib-Rc, with an obelisk. This, at least, proves that within a five or ten year period the basic construction including the central obelisk plus platform was completed. NB: all references to a cattle count in the Annals have disappeared by this time.

(3) "Year of the 10 + Xth (= 16th ?) occurrence, 4th month ... (?)" (Stone mason's graffito (?) on the west side of central core of Neferirkare's mortuary temple: Borchardt, Nefer-ir-ke3-rer, 1909, 46)59. I have some hesitation concerning the reading of the regnal year. Borchardt's attempted solution (with note 6 on the same page) is not reasonable: he read "the 1st of prt, day 14". However, he noted the possibility that "Year after the Xth occurrence, 4th month" could be argued. If this inscription is correctly placed to the reign of Neferirkare Kakai', then it might serve as one chronological stepping-stone for the relative chronology of the Old Kingdom.

A further inscription can be tentatively placed under this king:

"Year of the 5th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 4." (Stonemason's graffito on a block now lying behind the topmost layer of the casing in Queen Hnt-kiw.s's mortuary chamber: Verner, in: ZAS 107, 1980, 159 with fig. 3 and in: SAK 8, 1980, 256-57). Although Verner feels that the queen's pyramid was begun under Neferirkare and completed by Niuserre, the exact date for this inscription remains unclear. In my opinion either of the two reigns appears possible owing to the location of the block under consideration.

SHEPSESKARE (Turin Papyrus: 7 years)

NEFEREFRE (Turin Papyrus: length of reign lost)60

NIUSERRE (Turin Papyrus: 24 years)

One inscription, "Year of the 5th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 4", placed with some hestitation under Neferirkare (at the end), may belong instead to Niuserre.

MENKAUHOR (Turin Papyrus: 8 years)

DJEDKARE (Turin Papyrus: 28 years)

With this ruler the archive of Abusir enters as a major source for dating. I will follow the dating established by Posener-Krieger and De Cenival as it is completely sound. Their joint volume of plates, Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, Fifth Series (1968), will be abbreviated by Abousir61.

(1) "Year of the 3rd occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 25" (Abousir, PI. 13). The regnal year could be taken as a good Middle Kingdom (or later) date as nothing in it indicates that a biennial system was in operation. It should be noted that the attribution to Djedkare Izezi is problematical62. (Posener-Krieger places this fragment to Unis although she indicates the earlier possibility is not excluded).

(2) "Year after the 3rd occurrence of counting all oxen and small cattle" (Inscription from Sinai, No. 13: Inscr. Sinai I, 1952, PI. VII). See the parallels of Ni-kiw-cnhs will and the Edict of Shepseskaf, above and (7) below. The Egyptian has: rnpt m ht.

(3) "Year of the 4th occurrence, 4th month of prt, day 2" (Abousir, PI. 11). This account is located at the bottom of the papyrus section. Once more Posener-Krieger places the fragment to the reign of Unis although Djedkare is not excluded63.

(4) "Year of the 4th occurrence, 1st month of Smw, last day." (Abousir, PI. 11). This section is located above the last; the reference also might belong to Unis.

(5) "Year of the 8th occurrence, 4th month of Smw" (Abousir, PI. 69). The month of Smw is assumed in this case; Djedkare is probable.

(6) "Year of the 9th occurrence of the count of (all la)rge and (small) cattle" (Inscription from Sinai, No. 14: Inscr. of Sinai I, PI. VIII). It is interesting to see that this example from Sinai and a previous one (2) mention the cattle count.

(7) "Year of the 10th occurrence, 4th month of X, day 24" (Abousir, PI. 72).

(8) "Year after the 10th occurrence, 4th month of Smw, day 21" (Abousir, PI. 14). This is the first case in the archive at Abusir that one meets rnpt ht X.

(9) "Year of the 11th occurrence, 2nd month of iht, day 11" (Abousir, PI. 53). Djedkare is probable.

(10) "Year of the (l)4th occurrence" (Abousir, PI. 14). It is absolutely sure that this fragment comes from the reign of Djedkare. The dating has been discussed by Posener-Krieger in her text volume wherein she notes the following text as well64.

(11) "Year (after) the 14th occurrence of all oxen and small cattle" (Abousir, PI. 2). This large date with its reference to the cattle count - there is only one another like it in the Abusir archive ((14) below) - is an incipit, and the first two months of Smw are associated with it. The attribution of this fragment to Djedkare is certain.

(12) "Year of the 15th occurrence, 4th month of prt, opening day" (Abousir, PI. 47). This portion of the archive is also definitely dated to Djedkare. Note that if the biennial census is claimed, this record would indicate the 30th year of Izezi despite the evidence of the Turin Canon.

(13) "Year of the 15th occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 28" (Royal Decree B from the funerary temple of Neferefre, Cairo JdE 97348, cadre 33: Posener-Krieger, Decrets envoy^s au temple fim^raire de Reneferef, in Mel. Mokhtar II, 1985, 195-210). For the reasons of dating, see page 195 of the author's study in particular. The precise reference will be found (in red) on fig. B 2, page 202 and PI. IV. As Posener-Krieger indicates, this dated papyrus is situated in the same period as the majority of documents from the funerary temples of Neferirkare and Neferefre.

(14) "Year of the 16th occurrence of (all) oxen and (small) cattle." (Abousir, PI. 1). See (11) above for an identical incipit; Djedkare is assured.

(15) "Year of the (l)6th occurrence, 4th month of Smw, day 28" (Letter of Izezi to Sndm-ib: Urk. I, 63.11; see St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 113 and note 2 with Eichler, in: SAK 18, 1991, 146-47). St. Smith's commentary is important to reiterate at this point in our study: "Not only have the Sixth Dynasty dates been misunderstood but scholars have been inconsistent in applying the use of the biennial count to certain reigns of the Fifth Dynasty where it certainly should have been taken into account"65. He further went on to supplement this statement by noting the data from the Abusir papyri find as well as Izezi's famous letter.

(16) "Year of the 21st occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 12" (Abousir, PI. 41). This is the highest regnal year recorded in the extant papyri from Neferirkare's funerary temple and it definitely is assigned to Djedkare.

Perhaps to be placed in the reign of Djedkare are the following two texts. With regard to the first example, since the exact date of the associated mastaba of Rc-wr II, G 5470, is unclear (Harpur, for example, places it at the end of Dynasty 5 (Izezi-Unis) and Baer prefers the reign of Djedkare or early Unis), I have preferred to include it once more at this point; see page 19 above.

(i) "Year of the 11th (?) occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 3" ("Year of the 11th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 3 (?)" (Stone mason's graffito associated with Shaft S 677/817 (Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza VIII, 1947, 39-40, with Abb. 12)66. The association of this inscription with the Pharaoh Mycerinus, maintained by Helck, is impossible. Since the associated mastaba of Rc-wr II (G 5470) is dated to the close of Dynasty 5 (Izezi-Unis), and the blocks belong to the serdab of Rc-wr II's mastaba, this year date should placed to that same period. The evidence of a sealing of Dd-ki-Rc (Izezi), found in the burial chamber, is not conclusive.

(ii) "Year of the 28th occurrence, 3rd month of iht, day 5" (Graffito on the sarcophagus of Idw at Abusir: Verner, in: SAK 8, 1980, 258-60 and PI. XVI). The hieratic definitely points to a Dynasty 5-6 date; Verner opted for Djedkare (Izezi) with the possibilities of Unis, Pepi I and Pepi II proposed and dismissed. There is mention of Neferirkare's sun and mortuary temples in the graffiti. Clearly, if the count were every two years, then only Pepi II would fit the date as the 28th occurrence would equate with the 56th regnal year. If not, then Djedkare just fits as the Turin Canon gives him the same integer number of years as does this graffito. Unis, however, fits with the least difficulty.

UNIS (Turin Papyrus: 30 years)

(1) "Year of the 3rd occurrence, 4th month of iht, day 25" (Abousir, PI. 13). This fragment can be dated to Djedkare (see (1) above) but the attribution to Unis seems more probable.

(2) "Year of the 4th occurrence, 4th month of prt, day 2" (Abousir, PI. 11). This example will also be found under Djedkare, number (3); once more a date in Unis' reign seems better.

(3) "Year of the 4th occurrence, 1st month of Smw, last day." (Abousir, PI. 11). This reference was also placed under Djedkare., no (4).

(4) "Year after the 4th occurrence, 1st month of prt." (Abousir, PI. 50). The account covers Pis. 51-52 A as well; the association with Unis is probable. The Egyptian for "the year after" is: rnpt ht.

(5) "Year of the 6th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 28" (Abousir, PI. 54 A). Once more the comiection to Unis is highly probable but not 100 per cent certain.

(6) "Year of the 8th occurrence, 4th month of Smw" (Abousir, PI. 54 C).

The following inscriptions are not that precisely dated and have been placed here for the sake of convenience.

(i) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands" (Will of Wp-m-nfrt at Giza - Central Field: Goedicke, Die privaten Rechtsinschriften, 31, 33 note 1, and PI. IV; Hassan, Giza II, 1936, fig. 219 opposite page 190)67. For the term smi tiwy see (1) at the end of the 4th Dynasty. According to Harpur, the tomb should be located in her phase V. 6-8 (Niuserre to Izezi) with a query; a cartouche of Neferefre is present in Wp-m-nfrts tomb. Baer places him a bit later under his label V C: Djedkare (year 16) to Unis. Owing to the date of the will, I prefer Unis so long as one adheres to Baer's dating.

(ii) "Year of the 6th occurrence, 4th month of prt, day 22" (Hieratic inscription in a linen chest found in the tomb of Nfr at Saqqara: Altenmuller-Moussa, The Tomb of Nefer and Ka-Hay, 1971, 43-45 with 44, fig. 11). From the date of the tomb and the criteria of the inscription a time in the reign of Neferefre or Niuserre were proposed.

(iii) "Year of the Xth occurrence, 1st month of prt, day 18" (Ostracon found in the mastaba of Wsr-kif-cnh (Abusir): Borchardt, Ne-user-rec, 1907, 139). As no photograph of the object is given, I merely follow Borchardt and locate the inscription to 5th Dynasty (Niuserre-Unis). However, the use of a vertically placed "10" side-by-side with eight separate units, the latter written horizontally, may indicate a time at the close of Dynasty 668.

(iv) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, day 10" (Ostracon found in the mastaba of Tp-m-cnh (Abusir): Borchardt, ibid). This individual's tomb, also cleared by Borchardt during his work on Niuserre's pyramid at Abusir, was built at a time close to the end of Dynasty 5: Niuserre-Unis. As it is impossible to assign a date given the slim information supplied by Borchardt, I simply follow his dating and place the sherd into the same timeframe as the tomb69.

(v) "Year after the 2nd occurrence, 3rd (?) month of iht, day 24" (Stone mason's graffito in the mastaba of the children of Pth-Spss and Hc-mrt-nbty (Abusir): Borchardt, ibid., 145)70. The dating is unclear: one may, in fact, follow Edel and assume that late Dynasty 6 is indicated as the two "10" signs are vertical whereas the four units are horizontal.

(vi) "Year of the 5th (?) occurence, 3rd month of prt, day 1" (Mason's graffiti in the mastaba of Pth-Spss ((Abusir): Verner, Abusir II. Die Baugraffiti des Ptahschepses Mastaba, 1992, 110-111 and PI. XXVI, no. 194)71.

(vii) "Year of the 6th occurence, 1st month, day 22" (Gebelein cloth list: Roccati, Rivista degli Studi Orientali 45, 1970, 1-10 and PI. I). This text is dated to the late 5th Dynasty by its palaeography; unfortunately, no name of a king is present. The exact month must be that of iht as Roccati (ibid., 3) has seen.

TETI (Turin Papyrus: X years + 6 months , 21 days)

(1) "Year after the 1st occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, day 3" (Abousir, PI. 94). The attribution to Teti is secure; 3 prt, the last day is also mentioned. The Egyptian is: rnpt

(2) "Year of the second count, 2nd month of Smw, day 3" (Abousir, Pis. 92-93).

(3) "Year after the 6th occurrence, 3rd month of Sm(w), day ..." (Hatnub Graffito No. 1: Hatnub, 18 and PI. 9). Once more the Egyptian has rnpt ht and it is evident that this expression had for the most part ousted the more detailed rnpt m ht by the end of the 5th Dynasty. (See, however, case (2) in the following reign).

PEPI 1 (Turin Papyrus: 20 years)

(1) "Year after (rnpt ht) the 18th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw, day 27" (Wadi Hammamat Inscription: Couyat-Montet, Inscr. du Ouadi Hammamat, 74-75 and PI. XXVII = Urk. I, 93.5). This is a famous text because it mentions the "first occurrence of the heb sed"72. The date of the other text (Couyat-Montet, a.a.O., 58 = Urk. I, 94.4) is broken, although rnpt ht is preserved.

(2) "Year after (rnpt m ht is employed!) the 18th occurrence, 4th month of Smw, day 5" (Inscription from Sinai, No. 16: Inscr. Sinai I, PI. VIII = Urk. I, 91.17).

(3) "Year of the 21st occurrence, 1st month of prt, day 23" (Decree of Pepi I for the Pyramid complex of Snefru: Goedicke, Kflnigl. Dokumente, 56, 57 note 1 and Abb. 5 = Urk. 1,209.11).

(4) "Year of the 25th occurrence, 1st month of iht, day." (Hatnub Inscription No. Ill: Hatnub, 13 and PI. 4 = Urk. I, 95.16). From this piece of information it is clear that the biennial numbering system does not work with Pepi 1; the text itself is associated with Pepi l's heb sed festival.

The reign of Pepi 1 needs to be worked out in more detail by modern scholars73. The failure of the Turin canon to fit with the contemporary data (nos. 3 and 4 above) added to the oddity of the same heb sed being celebrated in two separate years cannot be overlooked. The situation is easy to outline74:

(1) Pepi 1 changed his prenomen from Nfr-zi-Hr to Mry-Rc; (2) the second name can be dated to the latter part of his reign although an exact timeframe is lacking; (3) on at least one of his inscriptions Pepi recarved Mry-Rc over the name Nfr-zi-Hr; (4) the texts in Pepi's pyramid were carved in two styles - an earlier one with large hieroglyphs and a later one with considerably smaller signs; (5) the prenomens of Nfr-zi-Hr and Mry-Rc are associated, respectively, with the earlier and later scripts; (6) the early script resembles that of Unis in his pyramid whereas the latter is close to Teti's; (7) the smaller carving in some cases is a palimsest over the older version; (8) the two dates of Pepi l's heb sed festival (rnpt zp m ht 18 and rnpt zp 25) must refer to the same event; and (9) the Abydos List of kings (Kitchen, Ram. Inscr. I, 178, no. 35) places an unknown Userkare (Wsr-ki-R*) between Teti and Pepi 1.

Many hypothetical reconstructions can be presented to explain this evidence. Stock, for example, felt that Userkare was an interloper who temporarily usurped the throne from Pepi l75. His supposition was essentially the same as one of the two which Sethe brought forward. The other (weaker) alternative being, Sethe reasoned, that Pepi preceded and then followed Teti. (The latter hypothesis was brought in in order to explain the resemblances of the scripts in Pepi l's pyramid.)

Recently, Berlev has refused to regard Userkare as a real king76. According to the Russian scholar, since the only reference to this Pharaoh is in the Abydos List, we must examine that document from a historiographic perspective. Berlev partly agreed with the earlier comments of Perepelkin that Userkare and Teti were actually the same person: Teti being the man's nomen and Userkare his prenomen. Since the redactor of the Abydos kinglist often added supplementary remarks to king's names that were identical - this was done in order to avoid confusion and repetition - he had to face the problem of three Teti's77. Hence, Userkare was written down as an explanatory addition to the name Tti, first Pharaoh of Dynasty 6 and, later, the two names were reinterpreted as belonging to two separate kings. Lest this argument be seen to be purely speculative, Berlev found some interesting support for such confusion from a visitor's graffito pyramid of Khendjer78. There, the edifice is called "the pyramid of Teti" and the reason is clear: the prenomen of Khendjer was Userkare.

While this elaborate analysis may be correct, the fact remains that the other changes under Pepi 1 can be viewed independently from the equation of Teti with Userkare. For dating purposes in particular, I feel that one must equate Pepi's zp 25 with his m ht zp 18 date: both, after all, refer to the same heb sed festival. Such an inconsistency ought to reflect two separate dating methods: (1) the regular biennial one; and (2) an annual one (zp 25). This would leave a period of usurpation (at least five complete years), perhaps by Userkare79. Which one is reflected by the lower date (rnpt ht zp 18) or the higher (rnpt zp 25) remains moot, although some may feel that the small number fits better the standard Old Kingdom system. I.e., biennial rnpt ht zp 18 (year 25) = annual rnpt zp 25 (number of years actually ruled as an independent king), and both may equate to year 30 (ideal date for the festival)80.

In sum, it is clear that the failure of the biennial system to hold for Pepi 1 is due to causes extraneous to the actual bureaucratic numbering. For this reason the evidence from Pepi's reign must be placed aside.

MERENRE (Turin Papyrus: 6 years? )81

(1) "Year of the 3rd occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 28" (Cataract Inscription: Urk. I, 110.12). Owing to the evidence of Manetho (7 years allotted to Merenre) and recent re-evaluation of the Turin Canon by Osing, it seems reasonable to read in the latter: "(x years), 4 months"82. If so, then a biennial system is eliminated for Merenre as well since the following example would have to be placed in year 10.

(2) Year after (rnpt ht) the 5th occurrence" (Hatnub Inscription No. VI: Hatnub, 14 and PI. 5 = Urk. 1,256.18).

PEPI 2 (Turin Papyrus: 90 + X years)

(1) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 3rd month of iht, day 15" (Letter of Pharaoh to Harkhuf: Urk. I, 128.3 = Eichler, in: SAK 18, 1991, 153-54).

(2) "Year of the 2nd occurrence of the count of all oxen and small cattle of Upper and Lower Egypt" (Inscription from Sinai, No 17: Inscr. Sinai I, PI. IX = Urk. I, 112.15). This is the last example of the count of cattle explicitly indicated. As such, it indicates that although a biennial system can be questioned, there was still a cattle census up to the close of the 6th Dynasty. (Whether this had become a Active means of regnal year dating cannot be resolved with the slim data on hand.)

(3) "Year after the 11th occurrence, 2nd month of Smw, day 26" (Decree for the temple of Coptos (Coptos B): Goedicke, KOnigl. Dokumente, 88-90 and Abb. 8 = Urk. I, 280.14). In this case rnpt ht 11 is written.

(4) "Year of the 14th occurrence, 1st month of iht, day 23 (?)" (Hatnub Graffito, No. 3: Hatnub, 20 and PI. 10)83.

(5) "(Ye)ar (after) the 22nd occurrence ..." (Decree for the temple of Coptos (Coptos C): Goedicke, KCnigl. Dokumente, 118-19 and Abb. 9). Edel has commented on the writing for the "two years" in this text; rnpt ht seems the correct reading84.

(6) "Year of the 31th occurrence, 3rd month of iht, day 6" (Decree for the mortuary temple of Mycerinus: St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 113 with Goedicke, KGnigl. Dokumente, 148-49 and Abb. 12 = Urk. I, 277.9 (now revised); see also St. Smith, CAH2 I, Chapter XIV, 1965, 53 note 3). The reading of "31" seems the best; there are now three integer strokes missing for the day85.

(7) "Year of the 31st (?) occurrence, 4th month of prt, day ..." (Graffito in the south wall of the vestibule leading to the northwest chambers of Pepi 2's mortuary temple: J6quier, Mon. fun. de Pepi II, 1938, 68 fig. 9 and 69 - Goedicke, in: SAK 15, 1988, 114-15). The reading of the hieratic can be questioned as the copy does not present a good "30"; indeed, "70" is equally possible. That is to say, the regnal year may in fact be "71"86. If the latter is argued, then this evidence would present strong confirmation to the tradition of Manetho and the Turin Canon as well as provide proof that no regular biennial system operated at this time.

(8) "Year after (rnpt hi) the 31st occurrence, 1st month of Smw, day 20" (Hatnub Graffito, No. 7: Hatnub, 22-23 and PL 12.

(9) "Year of the 33rd (?) occurrence, 4th month of..." (Decree for the mortuary cult (?) of Queen Goedicke, Kflnigl. Dokumente, 154, Abb 13 and 155 = Urk. I, 274.5)87.

There are some additional texts that can be placed within the 6th Dynasty although any secure dating is still troublesome.

(i) "(Year ?) of the 11th occurrence, 1st month of Smw, day 23" (Saqqara letter, Cairo JdE 49623: Gunn, in: ASAE 25, 1925, 242-55 and PI. I)88. From the script and style, Gunn immediately saw that a 6th Dynasty date was inescapable. Moreover, with this small letter were found other papyrus fragments and on them the name of Pepi 2 could be read (Nfr-ki-R*) as well as the mortuary temple of Merenre; the latter have been recently published by Posener-Krieger89. Although a date in the reign of Pepi 2 appears most reasonable, some doubt still remains and therefore I have placed the reference here.

(ii) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 27" (Mark on the walls of mastaba G 7803C (Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 120 fig. 8 and 129, 14a)90. This notation and the following two belong together. As the date of the tomb itself is unclear - St. Smith states that, at best, "only a vague Fifth to Sixth Dynasty date can be assigned" - I have included it here after the long reign of Pepi 2. There is no way to determine if a biennial system was in operation or not with regard to this text and the next two.

(iv) "Year of the 2nd occurrence,..." (Mark on the walls of mastaba G 7803C (Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 120 fig. 8 and 129, 14b)91.

(v) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 27" (Mark on the walls of mastaba G 7803C (Giza, East Field): St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 120 fig. 8 and 129, 14c)92.

(vi) "Year after the 5th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 29". (Two hieratic inscriptions on vases from Giza (Northwest corner of the West Field): Osing in: MDAIK 29, 1973, 131-33 and PI. XXXII)93. These inscriptions belong to a corpus of execration texts that were found by the University of Alexandria's excavations west of the Cheops pyramid. Osing dated them to the interval (inclusive reckoning) Pepi 1 - Pepi 2, basing his analysis on the palaeography, presence of personal names on the figurines associated with this find (especially one compounded with Teti), and other archaeological data). However, he then limited his choice by assuming the that biennial count was present; hence, Merenre is to be eliminated. With the evidence of Nubian activity under this ruler and his half-brother so plentiful, Osing further remarked, it appears reasonable to date the two inscriptions to Pepi 2 and eliminate both Pepi 1 and the ephemeral Userkare.

Goedicke, on the other hand, poses the reign of Userkare as an alternative, presumably linking that ruler's brief career as Pharaoh with certain chronological events surrounding the reign of Pepi l94. As part support for this newer interpretation is the fact that the Egyptian reads rnpt m ht zp 5, thereby indicating a date earlier than Pepi 2 and apparently implying a biennial census count. The following are the cases of years "after" a certain count:

(1) Chephren (?); Dynasty 4: 2 ostraca from Helwan, Tomb 305 H2, ht 4th (horizontal).

(2) Chephren (?); Dynasty 4: 2 ostraca from Helwan tomb 322 H 2, ht 5th (horizontal).

(3) Mycerinus; Dynasty 4: inscription in mastaba of Mr.s-cnh III: ht 1st (vertical).

(4) Gebelein Fragment A, Dynasty 4: m ht 2nd (vertical).

(5) Gebelein fragment B, Dynasty 4: m ht 3rd (vertical).

(6) Gebelein Roll 4, Dynasty 4: m ht 11th (vertical).

(7) Shepseskaf Edict: m ht 1st (vertical).

(8) Userkaf (Annals, so date later): m ht 1st (vertical).

(9) Limestone tablet from sun temple of User Userkaf, dated to him (?) or Neferirkare (more probable): m ht 5th (horizontal).

(10) Sahure (Annals, so date later): ht 2nd (vertical).

(11) Sahure (Annals, so date later): ht 7th (?) (vertical).

(12) Djedkare, Sinai: m ht 3rd (horizontal).

(13) Djedkare, Abusir Archive: ht 10th (hori zontal).

(14) Djedkare, Abusir Archive: ht 14 (vertical; restored but certain).

(15) Ptahshepses Graffito, Dynasty 5: ht 2nd (horizontal).

(16) Unis, Abusir Archive: ht 4th (horizontal).

(17) Teti, Abusir Archive: ht 1st (horizontal).

(18) Teti, Wadi Hammamat: ht 6th.

(19) Pepi 1, Wadi Hammamat: ht 18th (hori zontal).

(20) Pepi 1, Sinai: m ht 18th (horizontal).

(21) Merenre, Hatnub: ht 5th (horizontal).

(22) Pepi 2, Coptos B: ht 11th (vertical).

(23) Pepi 2, Coptos C: ht (restored) 22nd (vertical).

(24) Pepi 2, Hatnub: Ar 31st (horizontal).

(25) Hieratic vases, Dynasty 6: ht 5th (hori zontal). These two are covered immediately below.

From this data it is easy to see that, in essence, the phrase rnpt m ht was replaced by the shorter version by the middle of Dynasty 5, the only exception being a graffito at Sinai dated to the reign of Pepi 1. However, since other examples of rnpt m ht exist which are not so precisely fixed in time as these 23 examples, the two designations (rnpt m ht and rnpt hi) are only partially useful for dating purposes. One can also see that by the 6th Dynasty the more common version was the simpler: ht + an integer. Space considerations as well as the use of a vertical or horizontal format have to be brought into consideration as well. Nevertheless, as the following two cases show, the alteration is still useful to tabulate.

It also is useful to comment, albeit with some hesitation, on the relatively fewer number of cases of years "after" a count than those which occurred in even years. This situation was partly discussed above in relation to the reign of Snefru but it has implications for all of die regnal years during the Old Kingdom (Dynasties 4-8). In particular, the evidence tends to support the case that there was irregularity in the numbering system of regnal years at this time and, more importantly, that the odd years could be dropped off if so desired. I do not wish to press this conclusion beyond its normal boundaries. Those 25 examples, after all, form a reasonable high a number. Nevertheless, oddities occur when the case for a standard system is claimed. To see a more flexible approach by the state - one that allowed the suspension of a "year after" a count - is, I feel, a better explanation than the rigid one of a regular biennial dating,

(vii) "Year after (ht: horizontal) the 5th occurrence, 2nd month of prt, day 5". (Hieratic vase inscription from mastaba G 7200/7230 (Giza, East Field): Osing, in: MDAIK 32, 1976, 154-55 and PI. 51)95. This inscription belongs to the same series of execration texts that were published in detail by Osing and Abu Bakr. The difficulty with the dating of (vi) holds here as well as with the following example.

(viii) "Year after (ht: horizontal) the 5th occurrence, 3rd month of prt, day 22" (Hieratic vase inscription from mastaba S 679-705/G 5470 (Giza, West Field): Junker, Giza VIII, 1947, 30-31 and Abb. 8)96.

(ix) "Year of the 2nd occurrence, 3rd month of prt (?), day 5" (Graffito at El Kab: LD II, 117 q = Fraser, in: PSBA 15, 1893, 494-95 and Fig. 1 (I))97. It is quite possible, as Sethe maintained, that this rock inscription is to be placed in the reign of Pepi 298. However, for our purposes the dating is unclear. (

x) "Year of the 6th occurrence, 3rd month of Smw" (Rock Inscription from Tomas in Lower Nubia: Weigall, A Report on the Antiquities of Lower Nubia, 1907, 108 and PI. LVIII, no. 18)". The exact date of this inscription is unclear as graffiti from Dynasties 5 or 6 are close by.

(xi) "Year 20 (?), 3rd month of iht (?)..." (Fragment of a papyrus from Elephantine, Berlin P. 10523 (AW) 22: Mailer, Hieratische Papyrus Berlin III, 1911, PL VI).. This reference is unclear; Hayes, for example, placed this date under Djedkare Izezi, although he presented no proof100. I am relying upon Goedicke's analysis of the palaeography and part attribution to Nfr-ki-Rc Pepi 2: see our remarks on the dating in note 88 above. Nevertheless, since there is a cartouche of an unknown king Shm-ki-Rc present on one of the fragments, a timeframe somewhat later than Pepi 2 might be more precise.


(1) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands, 4th month of Smw, opening day" (Edict of a successor of Pepi 2 for two queens: Goedicke, KOnigl. Dokumente, 158 and Abb. 15 = Urk. I, 307.9). It is interesting to observe that only the Annals uses the more symbolic hieroglyphic symbol: Semerkhet (Cairo Fragment No. 1 verso, line 3), Djer, Djoser, Shepseskaf, and Neferirkare (Palermo Stone recto, lines 2 and 5, verso, lines 1 and 4). Elsewhere the common phrase "Two Lands" is employed (four probable Dynasty 4 texts and the will of Wp-m-nfrt).

(2) "Year of the 4th occurrence ..." (Edict of the Horus H'-... (Coptos H): Goedicke, KOnigl. Dokumente, 163-64 and Abb. 16 with 196 Abb. 23! = Hayes, in: JEA 32, 1946, 12-13 and Pis. III-HIa). Following Hayes (who relied upon Gardiner's analysis), it might be advisable to read a simple "regnal year 4" at this point101.

(3) "Year of the Unification of the Two Lands, 2nd month of prt, day 20" (Edict of Neferkauhor (Coptos P): Goedicke, KOnigl. Dokumente, 195-96 (Abb. 23 is inaccurate) = Urk. I, 299.18 = Hayes, in: JEA 32, 1946, 17-18 and PI. V).

(4) "Year (2), 4th month of iht, day 25" (Coptos (Khozam) inscription of either Nfr-kiw-Rc or Nfr-kiw-Hr: Goedicke, MDAIK [forthcoming])102. This small text is extremely important as it provides a lunar equivalent (day 15) to the civil day of 4 iht 25. Although no royal name is mentioned, a zi nsw with the name Htp-ki-Mnw appears; the figure of 2 seems the most reasonable.

(5) "Year 1, 4th month of iht, day 2" (Wadi Hammamat Inscription of King Ity: Couyat-Montet, Inscr. du Ouadi Hammamat, 94-95 = Urk. I, 148.1-10). Schenkel places this little-known ruler to Dynasty 8 and there appears little reason to doubt this dating103. There is some difficulty in identifying him with any of the other kings of that short period of time. However, since his pyramid was called Biw-Ity and Neferirkare's of Dynasty 5 had a like sounding name (Bi-Nfr-ir-ki-R0), it is very tempting to identify him with the Neferirkare 2 of the Abydos King List (number 56)104.

With the previous collection of datable inscriptions at hand, we are now ready to formulate some basic principles of the regnal year dating in the earlier phases of Egyptian civilization. First and foremost: from the Palermo Stone's annalistic presentation each year was named after the events and by the reign of Ninetjer the connection of year numbering was made with the Sms Hr event (a trip of the Pharaoh within his land). One might also bring into discussion the Saqqara stone vessels found in the Step Pyramid of Djoser and published by Lauer105. On two of them the earlier form of year dating may be seen, one that is very close to the data from the first few registers on the Palermo Stone. In fact, Helck, arguing from year dates and the references to a jubilee, placed the stone objects to Ninetjer, a conclusion that may bear greatly upon that king's reign as a turning point in regnal year dating106.

Leaving this speculation for the moment, we are on more secure ground by viewing the tax collection origin of the early year dates. It is only with Ninetjer that such occurrences became regularized. Before proceeding, it should be kept in mind that each "occurrence" (zp) or "event" or even "count", the latter being the most common term used in English, as it occurred every two years on a regular basis, automatically implied that a group of years, the odd ones in this case, would be designated by the term "year after ...", rnpt m ht ... However, nowhere do we come across such phrases as "year 5, 3rd time". If the last case had occurred, then the interpretation would have been quite simple to make: namely, the regnal year of king so-and-so was the 5th and the tax count or census was the 3rd. Indeed, all dating from Dynasty 3 onwards assumes no dichotomy: census and regnal year are intertwined.

The first contradiction to the biennial system, occurs during the reign of Snefru and it is a major one. As indicated earlier in this discussion, Stadelmann was forced to re-evaluate all of the contemporary data of a datable sort emanating from Snefru's reign in order to draw up his regnal years107. The series of high counts or occurrences (15, 16th, 17th, and 24th) all imply that the cattle census was not regular at this time. However, such a conclusion places no emphasis on other kings much less than on Snefru's illustrious successors of the 4th Dynasty. Since these counts were in operation for a quite a long time before his reign, one cannot lay at Snefru's door any onus connected with the establishment of a new census. I think, therefore, it is best to conclude that the taxing was done on a basis that was not always every two years. In any case, for his successor Cheops, the biennial system meshes with the evidence from the Canon: 23 years and a zp 12. Unfortunately, the only other useful data for Dynasty 4 comes from the period of Mycerinus' rule and here the Turin Papyrus merely provides a minimum interval of 18 years, thereby accommodating all of the available sources.

In Dynasty 5 the situation becomes more clear as the amount of information is considerably greater. Userkaf, who heads this phase, fits nicely into the biennial pattern. Sahure, as is well known, does not: a year after the 7th occurrence coexists with the 12 years given to him by the Turin Canon. The 10 + Xth count of Neferirkare, itself implying (but not positively indicating) 20 + Y years, should perhaps be questioned if it has been correctly assigned to him. This figure seems high, especially when we take into account the fact that his pyramid temples were completed after he had died108. However, since the Palermo Stone presents a count of zp 5, a minimum of 10 years probably will have to be ascribed to him. Djedkare Izezi definitely stands out like the proverbial sore thumb: 28 years are given to him by the Turin Papyrus yet the Abusir papyri mention a zp 21. In addition, he celebrated a heb sed and this probably a minimum of 30 years on the throne of Egypt must be given to him109. Once more, the biennial system and the Turin Canon do not mesh.

In Dynasty 6 it is necessary to place the reign of Pepi 1 hors combat. There are simply too many uncertainties associated with the predecessor (in the Abydos List), Userkare, as well as the alterations of his name as well and the two sets of carvings in his pyramid. On the contrary, his successor Merenre fits nicely with his rnpt ht 5, so long as the figure of 6 years can be restored in the Turin papyrus. Whether or not one follows Goedicke with his lowering of the length of Pepi 2's length of rule, the highest dates (read as annual years or as biennial ones) are considerably less than the 90 + X years of the Turin king list or the tradition of Manetho110. He celebrated at least two heb seds and that seems to prove that a minimum of 34 years has to be given to this monarch. Last and most certainly least, the 8th Dynasty Pharaohs have to be left alone as we know so little of the state of Egypt at that time. For example, one might regard all of those dates as annual ones due to the instability of the monarchy and the concomitant abandonment of any regular tax census. This, however, remains speculative.

In all fairness to the sources, this summary of the conflicting data reveals the slim nature of the material and how susceptible to multiple interpretations it can be. Nevertheless, leaving off Pepi 1, the situation is relatively clear. In Dynasty 4 Cheops fits, Snefru does not; the evidence for Mycerinus is not sufficient to resolve the quandries associated with this Pharaoh. The next Dynasty has both Sahure and Djedkare opposed to the Turin Papyrus whereas Userkafs data support the biennial system. Nonetheless, the first of these two has preserved a "year after the 7th occurrence" which is relatively close to the Canon's 12 years; a reconciliation is just possible at this point. Dynasty 6 presents the complexities of Pepi 1 but may tolerate a biennial system under Merenre. Pepi 2's lengthy reign (in Manetho and the Turin papyrus) leaves all the contemporary data behind; hence, no absolute conclusions can be drawn with this ruler.

Reasons why the biennial census theory does not work for some of those aforementioned kings are virtually impossible to find. For this reason, then, I think it most wise to abandon any speculation concerned with motives within the court or elsewhere and concentrate solely on the dated inscriptions, even if they are thin. The practice of having a census every two years goes back at least to the Second Dynasty during which a regular system came into being. Can we assume that during the Old Kingdom on some occasions the year after a count could omitted? (It should be noted that the number of counts "after" are fewer than their partners). That is to say, that the census became annual for a minimum of two years. This would easily explain the situation of Snefru with the juxtaposition of two counts combined with others that exceed the Turin Canon's 24 years, so long as one adheres to a biennial reckoning. In like manner, one may interpret the evidence from the Palermo Stone for Sahure (2 times 7 + 1 year =15 versus 12 years) and Djedkare (28 years in the Canon versus a count of 21).

By stressing these exceptions one might perhaps find a reason for the eventual suspension of the biennial regnal year dating. As a king could, under circumstances unknown to us but which probably were extraordinary, ignore a "year after" count, the direction to a regular annual regnal dating system was indicated. In fact, the latter came into being when the census connection became irrelevant. When this occurred remains a thorny problem in the side of modern scholars and I have not preferred to side with those, such as Hayes, who felt that by the 8th Dynasty the simple regnal year system had come into being111. For the moment, it is best to tabulate and draw our conclusions from the list of fixed dates; forthcoming information will hopefully solve this difficulty.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 3 of 3

Addendum: Meidum Dates

The recent publication in 1991 of the graffiti from Meidum by Posener-Krieger has provided additional information concerning the intricate question of regnal year dating in the Old Kingdom112. In particular, as the author has observed, the year of the "Xth occurrence/occasion" still prevail as a common designation in contrast to those which record the years "after the Xth occurrence/occasion". (The census count of cattle still remained the basis of this system at the time of Dynasties 4-6113.) For any historical reconstruction based upon these dates the development of the monarchy at the beginning of the IVth Dynasty looms. In particular, if one follows Helck's various analyses of Egyptian society at this time, it is in the reign of Snefru that major changes occurred, not the least of which was the rapid development of the Egyptian state (centralization, extension of patrimonial bureaucracy to include officials outside of the royal blood line)114. If only due to this interpretation caution must be placed upon the various texts concerned with the length of the reign of Snefru and his immediate successors. Stadelmann, for example, in a series of interesting and often provocative studies, wrestled with this situation and came to a series of conclusions that in retrospect appear to reflect more of his individual feelings at a specific point of time than adhering strictly to the evidence from the texts themselves115.

In 1980 Stadelmann proposed that Snefru had a count of 17 with the lack of the expected "odd" sequence between the 7th and 8th occasions. The latter position is derived from the testimony of the Palermo Stone itself, although one may very well feel that a too high reliance upon that inscription is not necessarily warranted116. Never theless, the German scholar's argument was buttressed by a detailed analysis of the size (volume to be specific) of the various pyramids attributed to Snefru: Dashur North, Dashur South, Medium. Compounding his useful study was the juxtaposition of the latter data with the volume measurements of Djoser's Sakkara Step Pyramid, the famous three pyramids at Giza, as well as Djedefre's small work at Abu Roash. All in all, sufficient information was provided to allow one to be sceptical concerning the presence of a simple regnal year system at the time of early Dynasty IV. As the Turin papyrus presented a mere 24 regnal years for this Pharaoh, then something is amiss, concluded Stadelmann.

Three years later Stadelmann returned to the problem of the Dashur activity of Snefru in which he argued that the regnal year system remained unclear to us moderns117. However, that later study provided helpful information such as a count for year 16 (paralleling an old date recorded by Lepsius). It was a third article by the same author specifically concerned with the length of the reign of Snefru that is most germane to my discussion118. In 1986 Stadelmann proposed a somewhat complicated reconstruction to account for the seventeen know counts of Snefru. According to him a 48 year reign could be proposed to accommodate all the then known graffiti - some of which were newly published by the scholar - as well as the remarkable amount of building that he, the Pharaoh, would have supervised and seen in person.

Subsequent to this work came Posener-Krteger's edition of the Meidum graffiti, all of which appear to have been inscribed under Snefru's reign. Significantly, those dates parallel the evidence from Dashur North, thereby allowing one to conclude that the Egyptian state was engaged on at least two vast building activities at roughly the same time. It can be fairly stated - and I support Posener-Krteger in this case - that the new Meidum information cannot but imply that the length of Snefru's reign was greater than the assumed 24 years given to him by the Turin Papyrus. Moreover, in agreement with her I feel that the compilator of this king list was copying from one in which the difference between the later annual regnal system was not distinguished from the earlier cattle count method with its even and uneven years implied. I am not so confident, on the other hand, that at the commencement of the IVth Dynasty, "the number of the year of the reign did not change in any domain which was not strictly administra tive"119. Such a conclusion appears unwarranted simply because it was the state which controlled the regnal year system, not individual scribes or locations of work. Indeed, whether it "rarely" was the case "that a distinction was made between the years [x] and [x] must remain very uncertain, there is little doubt that the even counts outnumber the odd ones if all of the data from Dynasties IV to VI are taken into consideration. One must always keep in mind that even though the extant sources are slim, a sufficient number of years reckoned "after" a certain count are extant. Still, I do believe that on certain occasions an "odd" count could be ignored, and both Stadelmann and Posener Krieger have adduced good reasons for Snefru's singular abandonment of one such year. Perhaps a more regularized pattern emerged during the IVth Dynasty after a period of gestation in which the "odd" counts could be omitted through the agency of the state. Certainly, the Old Kingdom witnessed a separation of "even" and "odd" years, each with its own designation. This conclusion, stressed by Gardiner, should be followed by us moderns unless outside evidence indicates otherwise120. That is to say, a biennial system can be seen in operation from Dynasties IV to VI. (I am purposely ignoring the short reigned successors of Pepi II.) Although economic as well as simple bureaucratic reasons can be brought into discussion to support this contention, it appears best to turn to the new evidence from Meidum itself.

The following are the graffiti listed by Posener-Krieger that should be added to our analysis. Those without dates are ignored. All relate to Snefru.

(1) Year of the 13th occurrence: Graffito A 1

(2) Year of the 13th occurrence: Graffito A 2

(3) Year of the 16th occurrence: Graffito A 3 (

3) Year of the 15 or 16th occurrence: Graffiti A 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11. (Some are restored.)

(4) Year of the 16th occurrence: Graffiti A 7, 8 and 10 (if a '10' is restored.)

(5) Year of the 17th occurrence: Graffiti A 12-21 with A 23-26 to be added; possibly A 22 is to be set into this same group.

(6) Year of the 18th occurrence: Graffito A 27 with A 29 (highly probable).

 (7) Year after the 18th occurrence: Graffito A 28.

(8) [Year] of the 23th occurrence: Graffito A 42. Graffiti A 30 (the "Year after the 10th occurrence" is present) is incomplete. Others, such as A 32 ("Year after [??] the 13 + Xth occurrence" ?), 33 (12 + Xth occurrence ?), 34, and just possibly 35 (10 + Xth occurrence ?) are more difficult to determine. A 31 seems to read "Year of the 13th occurrence".

There are three clear cases of the "odd" count: A 28, 30, and 38; A 32 is ambiguous.



1 In general, see Helck, Geschichte, 71, n. 8 with W. Helck, Manetho, UGAA 18, 1956, 53-59; Goedicke, Konigl. Dokumente, 89-90, note (1); Gardiner, in: JEA 31, 1945, 11-16 - the basic study; K Sethe, Beitrage zur altesten Geschichte Agyptens, UGAA 3, 1903, 42-87 (now very dated but useful for the setting out of the calendrical problems); and Edel, Altag. Gramm., 179-83. The last study concentrates on the writings of the regnal years and counts; surprisingly, it is ignored in the scholarly literature. An up-to-date study of Niuserre's connection to the royal annals (gnwi) has now been indicated by Kaplony, in: MDAIK 47, 1991, 195-204. Finally, I would like to that Prof. W. Helck for sending to me proofs of a forthcoming study by him closely related to this topic.
2 The two most recent studies on this situation are: D.B. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day Books, 1986, 86-90 and W. Helck, Thinitenzeit, A A 45, 1987, 122-26 and 144-67. There are useful reviews of the latter by Endesfelder, in: OLZ 86, 1991, 145-50 and Godron, in: BiOr 48 1991, 14-25. Helck's study avoids the thiner covering of the calendric material in the monumental work of Redford. Neither author, probably owing to his historical orientation, covers in a detailed manner the problem of timekeeping and calendrics itself. Hence, the close connection to dating is not stressed. I still find that Gardiner's JEA 31, 1945 analysis the most sober and clear thought-out exposition of the (then) extant calendrical data. Parker, in: RdE 9, 1952, 103-105, is useful for some additional pertinent remarks.
3 ZAS 86, 1961, 42-53; this is a very important study. Later, Helck revised to some degree these conclusions in: MDAIK 30, 1974, 31-35. In MDAIK 26, 1970, 83-85, he further argued that the Palermo Stone was drawn up in Dynasty 25 (Shabako) by drawing a parallel to the "Denkmal Memphitischer Theologie". I am not convinced that this hypothesis is correct. There are two recently published analyses of Barta, in: ZAS 108, 1981, 11-23 and 23-33, although both are calendrically naive.
4 Dreyer, "Drei archaisch-hieratische Gefassaufschriften mit Jahresnamen aus Elephantine", in: Fs Fecht, AUAT 12, 1987, 98-109.
5 In general, Gardiner, in: JEA 31, 1945, 13-14; Kaiser, in: ZAS 85, 1960, 132-33; D.B. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, 87, n. 53 with 88, n. 61; and Giustolisi's articles referred at the end of this note. The following primary studies on the Palermo Stone are necessary for any deep analysis: Schafer, Ein Bruckstuck altagyptischer Annalen, APAW 1.1902: Petrie, in: Ancient Egypt 1916.3, 114-20; H. Gauthier, "Quatre nouveaux fragments", in: Le musee egyptien, 1915, 29-53 and Pis. 24-31 (a disgraceful publication: cf. Gardiner, in: JEA 3, 1916, 143-46); Breasted, in: BIFAO 30, 1931, 709-24; De Cenival, in: BSFE 44, 1965, 13-17; and Reeves, in: GM 32, 1979, 47-51. To these studies one might add: De Ricci, in: CRAIBL 1917, 107-15 and Giustolisi, in: Sicilia Archeologica 2.5, March 1969, 38-55. The last article is rather good; his later one in Sicilia Archeologica 2.6, June 1969, 21-38, presents a translation of all the historical events recorded on the Palermo Stone and the other fragments.
6 Pharaonic King-Lists, Books, 88-89.
7 Altag. Gramm. I, 1955, 179-83.
8 Mond - Meyers, Temples of Armant, 1940, 171 and PI. XCIX (10). Numerous references from the Middle and New Kingdoms in which the numbers immediately after the word "regnal year" (rnpt zp) are themselves followed by a -t can be added. Sethe's compendium, Beitrage zur altesten Geschichte Agyptens, UGAA 5, 1903, 88-95, is useful in this matter although it is very out-of-date.
9 See Do. Arnold, in: MMJ 26, 1991, 19 with n. 94, on the historical implications of this fragment.
10 Zaba, The Rock Inscriptions of Lower Nubia, 1974, 31-35. Other texts could be added.
11 I implicitly accept the data from the Turin Canon (P. Turin N. 1974) as the most reliable source for the length of the reigns. Malek's analysis of that king list in: JEA 68, 1982, 93-106 remains un surpassed. A handy copy of the papyrus is that of Kitchen, Ram. Inscr. II, 827.10-844.5. A most recent and detailed study of the Turin Canon is that of Helck, in: SAK 19, 1992, 151-216. The reader should note that I have omitted cases where the year was missing: e.g., P. Bulaq 8 (Goedicke, in: MDAIK 22, 1967, 1-8 and PI. I; see his note a, page 3) and an inscribed fragment from the mastaba of prince cnh-ki.f (G 7510 - Giza, East Field: Stevenson Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 128; date of Chephren). The data outlined in this article has been assembled up to and including the recent volume of M. Verner, Abusir II. Die Baugraffiti des Ptahschepses-Mastaba, 1992.
12 I have followed Schafer's edition and the later additions without referencing them; the pages of Sethe's Urk. I are added for easy reference. It must be kept in mind that the Palermo Stone is a product of Dynasty 5 and as such, could have been prone to mistakes and interpolations by the annalist(s). It is therefore a less valid source for reconstructing the regnal years (numbering and names) than the contemporary data. Unfortunately, the latter are few and often without an associated name of a king. As a result, we must rely, perhaps too heavily, upon this 5th Dynasty account.
13 A new solution to the dating under Snefru has been recently presented by Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 229-40. It is, however, purely hypothetical. For example, could the census not have been interrupted for one year, the 7th, whence the juxtaposition of this count and the following (the 8th)? Subsequently, it could be argued, the system returned to a biennially organized one. The number of similarly-minded speculations is astronomical. Further evidence is needed to resolve the difficulties associated with Snefru's reign. Additional recent studies connected with Snefru are: Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 36, 1980, 437-49; Arnold, in: MDAIK 37, 1981, 26-28; Stadelmann and Sourouzian, in: MDAIK 38, 1982, 379-93; and the older work of Maystre, in: BIFAO 35, 1935, 89-98.
14 PM III.l2, 74-75 ("probably temp. Khufu"). Y. Harpur, Decoration in Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom, 1987, 310 dates the tomb to Cheops as well. As her massive study is both well reasoned and free from pseudo-scientific reasoning - all too common in the subfield of Old Kingdom tomb dating - I follow her art historical datings. (The references to her work, henceforth abbreviated as Harpur, Decoration, will be kept to a minimum.) I have not used the work of Cherpion, Mastabas et hypogees, 1989, as I found Harpur's more soundly based.
15 PM III.l2, 57 ("probably temp. Khufu"); Baer, Rank and Title, 1960, 294 (no. 535), places the man to mid Dynasty 4.
16 JNES 11, 1952, 127. This chronological slip is not uncommonly committed by Egyptologists specializing in the Old Kingdom.

17 Giza I, 1929 161. PM III2, 122-23; Baer, Rank and Title, no. 331; Harpur, Decoration, 310, also places the tomb under Cheops' reign and there is little doubt that this accepted dating is correct.
18 I must thank Prof. Helck for alerting me to this reference. He likewise dates the text to Cheops.

19 PM III2, 74: placed to the "middle or late" 4th Dynasty.
20 A History of Egypt10, 1917, 60; Lauer is adverse to this reference: in: BIFAO 73, 1973, 134, n. 1; cf. Stadelmann, in: MDAIK 43, 1986, 239. I suspect that Petrie confused his data and mixed the evidence from Snefru at Meidum (where there are cases of zp 17: nos. 13-15 in our list under that king) with that of Cheops at Giza.
21 PM III2, 197-99; Harpur, Decoration, 310, where the tomb is dated to her "IV.6" (Shepseskaf).
22 D. Dunham - W.K. Simpson, The Mastaba of Mersyankh III, 1974, 7, refers to this inscription in connection to the original purpose of mastaba G 7530-40 (for Hetepheres II). Reisner dated the subsidiary northern niche, in which these dates occur, to Chephren, as they appear to indicate the date of commencement and completion of construction. There is one related dating problem that the recent publication indicates but does not resolve. On page 7 Simpson refers to four quarry marks on the casing stones (fig. 1 1-d) and, agreeing with Reisner, places them to Chephren's reign since either the title wrt hts or the name of Hetepheres is present in all of them. When referring to Mr.s-Cnh, however, he then follows Derry-Dunham's dating for three of these inscriptions (figs. 1 b-d): Mycerinus. With some hesitation, I prefer the latter analysis. Note that Harpur lowered the date of the completion of this mastaba (= end of the decoration program) to Shepseskaf, and this may fit better the analysis of Deny - Dunham than Reisner.
23 PM III2, 200-201; Harpur, Decoration, 310 (Dynasty 4, reigns Cheops to Chephren); and Baer, Rank and Title, no 7 (Chephren).
24 PM III2, 188-90; Harpur, Decoration,310, places him in Chephren's reign; cf. Baer, Rank and Title, no. 375, is more equivocal: mid-end 4th Dynasty.
25 See the discussion of Fischer, in: Or 29, 1960,187-90 and H. Goedicke, Old Hieratic Palaeography, 1988, xvi. Dr. Henry Fischer has kindly informed me of his analysis of these ostraca and some of his comments, especially on the dating, have been added to the text.
26 Altag. Gramm. I, 180.
27 Old Hieratic Palaeography, 52a, no. 618.
28 Ibid., xvi.
29 See above, note 22.
30 Edel, Altag. Gramm. I, 182.
31 PM III2, 220.
32 PM III2, 193; Harpur, Decoration, 268.
33 The case is weak, however, pace St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 123 note 10 (with some confusion over the references to Junker: see next note and the accompanying text). Junker himself stated with much caution: "Demgegenuber erscheint es zu gewagt, anzunehmen, daft der Block uberhaupt nicht aus der Mykerinoszeit stamme und etwa fur den Bau der Cheopspyramide bestimmt, aber nicht ver wendet war und liegen blieb" (Giza X, 1951 78).
34 Helck, Manetho, 54 (referring to St. Smith). Verner, Abusir II. Baugraffiti, 52-53 (with note 58) reads zp 3.

35 Decoration, 316: specifically located in time from Djedkare Izezi to the middle of Unis; cf. PM III2, 162-63 and Baer, Rank and Title, no. 298 (Djedkare or early Unis).
36 Giza VIII, 1947, 40.
37 "Le prix des etoffes", in Fs Edel, 318-31 and in: RdE 27, 1975, 211-21.
38 Note the remarks of Posener-Krieger, in: RdE 27, 1975, 215-16.
39 Old Hieratic Palaeography, xvi.
40 In particular, see Gardiner, in: JEA 31, 1945, 12 and Borchardt, Die Annalen und die zeitliche Fest legung des alten Reiches, 1917, 1-5. For the length of Shepseskaf s reign itself, see Malek's recon struction of the Turin Canon (in: JEA 68, 1982, 93-106 and page 95 in particular). His reconstruction of the original may provide a useful point d'appui for further investigations of this still-unsettled problem.
41 Goedicke, Konigl. Dokumente, 19 note (3).
42 For the mastaba: PM III2, 146-47; Harpur, Decoration, 311 (Niuserre); and Baer, Rank and Title, no. 477 (Niuserre).
43 The Mastaba of Mersyankh III, 3 and 8.
44 JNES 11, 1952, 127; cf. PM III2, 84.

45 PM III2, 195.

46 Old Hieratic Palaeography, xvi; all of the Leiden ostraca are published in: JEA 54, 1968, 23-30 and PI. V. Note that Sethe, in his Beitrage zur altesten Geschichte Agyptens, 81 (no. 18), had briefly remarked upon ostracon Leiden J 429.
47 PM III2, 232; Harpur, Decoration, 316 (time of Chephren to Sheseskaf); and Baer, Rank and Title, no 24 (end of Dynasty 4).
48 Die privaten Rechtsinschriften aus dem Alten Reich, 1970, 22 note 1.
49 E.g. Helck, Geschichte, 65.
50 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt I, 1906, 54-55, ?? 82-84; and Gardiner, in: JEA 31, 1945, 14.
51 The four texts were republished with commentary by Edel, Die Kalksteintafelchen, in Ricke (ed.), Userkaf-SH II, 1969, 1 -22. Edel briefly discusses the dating problems (with reference to the earlier commentaries of Stock, Ricke and Kaiser) on page 5 (I). The analysis of Kaiser will be found in: MDAIK 14, 1956, 110 and Ricke, Userkaf-SH I, 15-18. Roth, Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom, 1991, 11-12 and 133-36, covers these inscriptions in detail.
52 "Die Kalksteintafelchen", 8 and note 9.
53 MDAIK 14, 1956, 110.
54 Ibid., 108-111.
55 Schafer, Ein Bruckstiick altagyptischer Annalen, 38 (although he reads "6" with a query). Cf. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt I, 70 note a with Kaiser, in: ZAS 86, 1961, 52-53 (with note 1 on the second page). Breasted's personal collation, done after he finished his Ancient Records, led to the reading of a count "after year 8".
56 Otherwise, as with Pepi 1 (see below), one may wish to hypothesize some Dynastic difficulty that would lead to an irregularity in the biennial counts.
57 Gardiner, Egypt, 70, refers to a stela with a stela with a zp 14 datable to Neferirkare. I suspect that he was confused and a reference to one of the Abousir papyri was behind the lapse: see no. (11) under Djedkare.
58 There is another year for Neferirkare that is recorded on the Palermo Stone.
59 PM III2, 340; should we read rnpt zp 15 (?)
60 Helck, Manetho, 51-52, prefers a reign for this king of less than a complete year (< 365 days). See also his Geschichte des alten Agypten, 66. I find this hard to believe. First, Manetho gives him 20 years. Second, the cult of his mortuary temple (PM III2, 340) as well as his sun temple (Kaiser, in: MDAIK 14, 1956, 105-107) were in operation. (I do not feel that the sun temple, Htp-Rc, belonged to the "Gegenkonig" Chaneferre as Kaiser, albeit tentatively, mentioned as a possibility. This Chaneferre, who occurs only in the Saqqara King List, must be Neferefre: Malek, in: JSSEA 12, 1982, 21; cf. Sethe, in: ZAS 50, 1912, 3.) I would think that a reign of at least a few years is more probable as the traces in the Turin Canon (verso III 21) seem to indicate a reign greater than one year. Contrast, for example, the virtual "disappearance" of Shepseskare despite his 7 years.
61 In her study, Les archives du temple funeraire de Neferirkare Kakai II, 1976, 483-91, Posener-Krieger presents an excellent analysis of the dating situation of these documents. I follow her conclusions on p. 490-91.
62 Archives, 488: Djedkare probably is the king under whom this document was drawn up.
63 Ibid., 491.
64 Ibid., 60 note 5, 336, text note (a), and 485, note 3.
65 JNES 11, 1952, 113.
66 See notes 34-36 above; the date could read zp 3 instead of zp 11.
67 PM III2, 281-82; Harpur, Decoration, 325; and Baer, Rank and Title, no. 109 (on page 289 he opts for Djedkare yr. 16-Unis, yr. 10: his "V C").
68 Edel, Altag. Gramm., 181.
69 Possibly this sherd belongs to the Middle Kingdom: see Borchardt's comments on another hieratic inscription found on a second sherd: Borchardt, Ne-user-rec , 1907, 139.
70 Altag.Gramm., 181.
71 The exact date of the mastaba is not precisely fixed. Harpur, Decoration, 308, places the tomb to her V 6-8 E (= Niuserre-early Izezi) whereas Baer, Rank and Title, no. 167, opts for an interval Djedkare-Unis (his phase "V D").
72 For a discussion of the heb-sed situation under Pepi 1: Hornung-Staehelin, Studien zum Sedfest, AH 1, 1974, 23-24 (with notes). However, the political implications of this event for the reign of Pepi 1 are not thoroughly discussed. For example, the prenomen of the king at the time of this celebration is always Mry-Rc. More significantly, however, is the presence of two apparent separate dates for the heb sed: ht zp 18 and zp 25: cases (1), (2), and (4) in our chart. A brief discussion of the reign of Pepi 1 and the historical difficulties still outstanding will be found in: Helck, Geschichte, 71-72; Kanawati, in: CdE 56, 1981, 203-17 (with speculative assumptions) and in: GM 83, 1984, 31-38; and Goedicke, in: JAOS 74, 1954, 88-89 (very useful) with JAOS 75, 1955, 180-83. The later study argues, falsely in my opinion, that the two Mry-Rc-cnh-n.s's were not sisters. Moreover, he then proceeds to posit a coregency of Pepi 1 and his successor, Merenre, at the occasion of the jubilee of the former. I see no evidence for this supposition. In general, see the judicious comments of Murnane, Ancient Egyptian Coregencies, SAOC 40, 1977, 111-13.1 likewise cannot follow the position of St. Smith, in: JNES 11, 1952, 113 and 121. In fact, a scene of Merenre, undoubtedly to be placed in his opening year (Urk. I, 111, no. 19), appears to refute his argument that "It seems unlikely that Mernera would have dated such an event (= the homage of Nubian kinglets) in his own name until after his father's death". See note 81 below (second paragraph).
73 See the discussion below on page 316.
74 The data are presented in: Moller, in: ZAS 44, 1907, 129-30; and Sethe, in: ZAS 59, 1924, 71 with Pyramidentexte IV, 1922, 5-8, 36, ? 5. Useful additional remarks will be found by Goedicke, in: MDAIK 17, 1961, 70 and 88-90 with 22 (1967), 6-7. Note the recarving (for Mry-R") in Couyat-Montet, Inscr. du Ouadi Hammamat, PI. X (= no. 32, page 45). In general: Von Beckerath, Handbuch der agyptischen Konigsnamen, MAS 20, 1984, 56-57 and 184. The Decree of Pepi I for the pyramid complex of Snefru (no. 3 in our list), dated to zp 21, likewise has the later name of Mry-Rc.
75 Erste Zwischenzeit, AnOr 31, 1949, 30-31.
76 "Once More the Tradition of King Userkare (Vlth Dynasty)", in: Drevnii Vostok 2, 1980, 56-63. Yet the verso of the Turin Canon (IV 2) originally may have contained a name after Teti (but clearly preceding Pepi 1) which is now lost. Malek, however (JSSEA 12, 1982, 21 and note 6), is not that affirmative. For Userkare: Kaplony, in: MDAIK 20, 1965, 36 and note 2 with Goedicke, in: ZDMG 112, 1962, 245-46. There is some confusion in the evidence brought forward by both scholars. Kaplony correctly read Userkare's name on one copper object (Michailides Collection) while Goedicke apparently opts for the ephemeral king Ntry-kl-R c.
77 Two are of Dynasties 1 and 3 and the third, of course, founded the 6th.
78 Jequier, Deux Pyramides, 1933, 14-15; cf Vernus, in: BIFAO 75, 1975, 108, on the time reference in this graffito.
79 However, the fraction (month + days) left over must not be ignored by chronologists.
80 The reader will now see why I have considered Kanawati's study (note 72 above) to be overly simplistic.
81 See Osing, in: MDAIK 29, 1973, 132 with note 125. The earlier literature is usefully assembled in this chronological overview; cf most recently Helck, in: SAK 19, 1992, 169. I am omitting in my list the evidence from Urk. I, 111 (no. 19). There, in a pictorial fashion, Merenre appears to have visited the First Cataract in his opening year (rnpt smi tlwy). The symbol for such a date is presented below the Pharaoh. This is the scene that effectively places much doubt on St. Smith's position in: JNES 11, 1952, 121: see note 72 above. Edel, in: Or 36, 1967, 153, opted for a length of Merenre's reign considerably greater than zp 5. His argument was based on the peaceful relations between Egypt and Nubia in Merenre's time (Urk. I, 110-111) and the hostile activities of these southerners later on. To accomondate this switch, Edel felt that Merenre had to have ruled longer than the evidence of the Hatnub inscription (the next reference in our list). This position seems hard to support as Harkhuf s two early voyages south (once with his father) surely occurred before Pepi 2 was king. His third, which saw the change in Lower Nubian political affairs, can then be placed just at the time of Pepi 2's accession or slightly earlier. (The date of the famous letter of Pepi 2 is zp 2, 3 iht 15: i.e., 75 days and part of a whole year had passed since the death of Merenre). I also do not support the hypothesis of a coregency of Merenre and Pepi 2: see the important analysis of Murnane, Coregencies, 113-14, pace St. Smith, CAH21, Chapter 14, 51 (= CAH31, 193); cf. Helck, Geschichte, 75. The graffito in Petrie, A Season in Egypt, 1887, 1888, no. 81, is to be dated to regnal year 4 of Amenemhet 3 rather than Merenre. Franke, in: GM 134, 1993, 40 with n. 20, covers the situation.
82 Ibid.
83 See Anthes's comments on p. 20 n. 1 for the integer of the day.
84 Altag. Gramm., 181.
85 See now Goedicke, in: SAK 15, 1988, 111-112 and note 6; read Nmty-m-zi.f for the name of Merenre II in note 6.
86 This can be best seen in Goedicke's own volume, Old Hieratic Palaeography, 70 (no. 629: Elephantine).
87 Goedicke, in: SAK 15, 1988, 111-112, now prefers "count 24".

88 In addition, see Gardiner, in: JEA 13, 1927, 75-78; Grdseloff, in: ASAE 48, 1948, 505-12; and Posener, in: BiOr 8, 1951, 169.
89 RdE 32, 1980, 83-93 and Pis. 6-7. For the contemporary Elephantine Papyri there is a new summary by Goedicke, Old Hieratic Palaeography, xix. Owing to the script, the presence of a cartouche of Neferkare (= Pepi 2 according to Goedicke) in a Brooklyn Museum fragment, this find ought to be placed at the end of the 6th Dynasty. However, there is also a cartouche of king shm-k(l)-Rc present on fragment O. 285 (Moller, Hieratische Papyrus Berlin III, 1911, PI. V). Perhaps this Pharaoh is to be equated with one of the many Nfr-B-R?s of Dynasties 7-8. Goedicke, hinself, feels that this archive probably spans one generation, a position that would easily accomodate the presence of an ephemeral successor of Pepi II. Note: Goedicke (ibid., 36a) reads cnh (S 34) instead of shm (S 42) for the middle sign in the king's names. However, the hieratic is clear and shm is to be preferred. Cf. a similar problem brought forward by Hayes, in: JEA 34, 1948, 115-16.
90 PM III2, 204.
91 Ibid.
92 Ibid.; the date was originally read as zp 10.
93 The entire edition is in: MDAIK 29, 1973, 97-133 and Pis. XXXI-LVI.
94 Old Hieratic Palaeography, xx. He has comments of a more specific nature in: SAK 15, 1988, 117-19.
95 The complete publication is in: MDAIK 32, 1976, 133-185 and pis. 40-51.
96 This is discussed by Osing in: MDAIK 32, 1976, 154-56.
97 PM V, 190.
98 Beitrage zur altesten Geschichte Agyptens, 81.
99 PM VII, 75.
100 CAH21, Chapter VI, 8 with note 6 (= CAH31, 178). In fact, the date may not include a regnal year at all: Goedicke, for example, does not include the figure "20" among his hieratic cases for that sign in Old Hieratic Palaeography.
101 In: JEA 32, 1946, 13, note 7.
102 I must thank Prof. Hans Goedicke for allowing me to include this citation (which I have seen) before the stela is published. The importance of the double-date (civil-lunar) for chronology - the first explicit occurrence from the Old Kingdom - will be analyzed in the near future.
103 Fruhmittelagtyptische Studien, 1962, 138-39; see also Von Beckerath, Handbuch der agyptischen Konigsnamen, 188 and 60. A recent discussion will be found by Goedicke, in: RdE 41, 1990, 65-76; his analysis differs from mine.
104 This implies that 'Ity (nomen) = Neferirkare (prenomen; the 2nd) of Abydos King List 56 and Turin Canon IV 13 (restored). I suspect that this individual, if correctly identified, is the same as Horus Demedjibtawy of Coptos Decree R. Goedicke, Konigl. Dokumente, 215, does not identify the two although Hayes, in: JEA 32, 1946, 20-22, while being somewhat hesitant, cannot see any other possibility.

105 Lauer, Pyramide a degres V, 1965, 88-89 with figs. 172 and 173.
106 ZAS 106, 1979, 127-28; see now Roth, Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom, 177-79 and the texts on page 223 (her H: 1 and H: 3); see the use of tnwt (with bovine following): the cattle count is this early.
107 See the references in note 13 above.
108 St. Smith, CAH21, Chapter XIV, 41 (= CAH31, 183): completed by Neferefre and Niuserre.
109 The evidence is assembled in St. Smith, CAH2 I, Chapter IV, 44 (= CAH3 I, 186) and now Hornung-Staehelin, Studien zum Sedfest, 23.
110 SAK 15, 1988, 111-14.
111 See note 101.
112 Her study, "Graffiti on the Revetment Blocks of the Pyramid", will be found in Ali el-Khouli, et al., Meidum, 1991, 17-21 and Pis. 7-9.
113 Whether a biennial cattle census always took place in the "even" years or whether the designation remained without any physical counting must remain moot. I suspect that there was a gradual disappearance of the original causes for the Old Kingdom regnal year dating by the close of Dynasty VI.
114 In general, see: Helck, Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 37-39.
115 MDAIK 36, 1980, 437-49; 38, 1982, 379-93 (with Sourouzian); 39, 1983, 225-41; and 43, 1986, 229-40.
116 MDAIK 36, 1980, 437-49; cf. Posener-Krieger, Grafitti on the Revetment Blocks of the Pyramid, 19.
117 MDAIK 39, 1983,225-41.
118 MDAIK 43, 1986, 229-40.
119 "Graffiti on the Revetment Blocks of the Pyramid", 19.
120 JEA 31, 1945, 11-16; cf. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day-Books, 1986, 86-90.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat May 14, 2022 4:29 am

Eugen Julius Theodor Hultzsch
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/13/22

The only means of penetrating into Indian antiquity, especially as far as history is concerned, is to have a great taste for this science, to acquire a perfect knowledge of samskret, and to incur expenses to which it is impossible. Only a great prince can provide; until these three things are found united in the same subject, with the health necessary to support the study in India, nothing, or almost nothing, will be known of the ancient history of this vast Kingdom.

Let us enter the sanctuary of the Bracmanes, a sanctuary impenetrable to the eyes of the vulgar. What, after the nobility of their caste, raises them infinitely above the vulgar, is the science of religion, mathematics, and philosophy. The Bracmanes have their religion apart; they are, however, the ministers of that of the people. The four vedan or bed, are, according to them, of divine authority: they are in Arabic in the King's library; thus the Bracmanes are divided into four sects, each of which has its own law. Roukou Vedan, or, according to the Hindustani pronunciation, Recbed and the Yajourvedam, are more followed in the peninsula between the two seas. Samavedam and Latharvana or Brahmavedam in the north. The vedam contain the theology of the Bracmanes; and the ancient puranam or poems, popular theology. The Vedams, as far as I can judge from what little I have seen of them, are but a collection of various superstitious, and often diabolical, practices of the ancient Richi (penitents), or Muni (anchorites). Everything is subjugated, and the very gods are subjugated to the Intrinsic force of the sacrifices, and the Mantrams, these are sacred formulas which they use to consecrate, offer, invoke, etc. I was surprised to find this one there; om, Santih, Santih, Santih, harih. You no doubt know that the letter or syllable, ôm contains the Trinity in Unity; the rest is the literal translation of Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus, Harih is a name of God which means Captor.

The Vedams, in addition to the practices of the ancient Risî and Muni, contain their sentiments on the nature of God, of the soul, of the sensible world, etc. From the two theologies, the bracmanic and the popular, we have composed the holy science or of the virtue of Harmachâstram [Dharmacastras???], which contains the practice of the different religions, of the sacred or superstitious, civil or profane rites, with the laws for the administration of Justice.[???!!!] The treatises of Harmachàstram, by different authors, have multiplied ad infinitum. I will not dwell any longer on a matter which would require a large separate work, and the knowledge of which will apparently never be more than superficial.

-- Letter From Father Pons, Missionary of the Company of Jesus, to Father Du Halde, of the same Company. At Careical, on the coast of Tanjaour; in the East Indies, November 23, 1740. From "Lettres Edifiantes Et Curieuses, Ecrites Des Missions Etrangeres", by Charles Le Gobien

Usage 'is highest dharma,' which again consists in true knowledge, and 'the prudent twice-born man will ever be intent on this.' Where, then, is 'usage to be found? An answer is afforded by Manu I. 108, quoted above. Other constituents of dharma are mentioned in II. 12: 'The Veda, tradition, good custom, and what is pleasing to one's self, that (the wise) have plainly declared to be the fourfold definition of dharma.'' Evidently, usage is to be discovered by searching the Veda and dharmacastras (see II. 10), and one's own conscience.

But it is only a twice-born man who can so discover his usage and dharma: Cudras, and women, and all others must look elsewhere for information.

-- Indian Usage and Judge-Made Law in Madras, by James Henry Nelson, M.A.

Dharmaśāstra is a genre of Sanskrit theological texts, and refers to the treatises (śāstras) of Hinduism on dharma. There are many Dharmashastras, variously estimated to be 18 to about 100, with different and conflicting points of view. Each of these texts exist in many different versions, and each is rooted in Dharmasutra texts dated to 1st millennium BCE that emerged from Kalpa (Vedanga) studies in the Vedic era.[???]

The textual corpus of Dharmaśāstra were composed in poetic verses, are part of the Hindu Smritis, constituting divergent commentaries and treatises on duties, responsibilities and ethics to oneself, to family and as a member of society.The texts include discussion of ashrama (stages of life), varna (social classes), purushartha (proper goals of life), personal virtues and duties such as ahimsa (non-violence) against all living beings, rules of just war, and other topics.

Dharmaśāstra became influential in modern colonial India history, when they were formulated by early British colonial administrators to be the law of the land [???] for all non-Muslims (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs) in South Asia, after Sharia i.e. Mughal Empire's Fatawa-e-Alamgiri set by Emperor Muhammad Aurangzeb, was already accepted as the law for Muslims in colonial India.

-- Dharmaśāstra, by Wikipedia

Eugen Julius Theodor Hultzsch
Born 29 March 1857
Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony
Died 16 January 1927 (aged 69)
Occupation Indologist, Sanskritist, epigraphist

Eugen Julius Theodor Hultzsch (29 March 1857 – 16 January 1927) was a German indologist and epigraphist who is known for his work in deciphering the inscriptions of Ashoka.

Early life and education

Born in Dresden on 29 March 1857, Hultzsch studied at the Dresden College of the Sacred Cross and the University of Lipsia, where he studied Oriental languages.[1] On completion of his graduation, Hultzsch moved to Vienna, where his passion for Sanskrit began.[1] In 1886, Hultzsch moved to and settled down in India, where he was employed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as Chief Epigraphist to the Government of Madras.[1]

Career in epigraphy

Hultzsch joined the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1886 when the Epigraphy section of the ASI was formed and was the ASI's first chief epigraphist. Hultzsch deciphered inscriptions in a number of Hindu temples in South India and later published them. He edited volumes 3 to 8 and a part of volume 9 of Epigraphia Indica.

Among his best known work are his decipherment of the inscriptions of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. In South India, he is remembered for his deciphering of the inscriptions in the Pancha Rathas in December 1886 and the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur in October 1887. The inscriptions on the Pancha Rathas were published in volume one of the book South Indian Inscriptions while those of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in volume 2.

Later life

In 1903, Hultzsch resigned from the ASI and returned to Europe, where he served as professor of Sanskrit at the University of Halle.[1] Hultzsch was succeeded as Chief Epigraphist by V. Venkayya.[1] Hultzsch died on 16 January 1927 at the age of sixty-nine.


1. Pradeep Chakravarthy (2010-07-01). "Recording the wall writings".


• "Prominent Epigraphists of Sanskrit and Dravidian". Archaeological Survey of India.
• Biography in The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915)
• Hultzsch's 1925 edition of the Inscriptions of Aśoka at
• Janert, Klaus Ludwig (1974), "Hultzsch, Eugen" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 10, p. 31 f.


Eugen Hultzsch, German professor
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/13/21

Eugen Hultzsch, born March 29, 1857 in Dresden, died January 16, 1927 in Halle, was a German Sanskrit critic, son of Theodor Hultzsch.

Hultzsch was a private lecturer in Vienna 1882-1886, then got a job in India and collected on a six-month trip in northern India 1884-1885 manuscripts and inscriptions in large numbers and was 1886-1903 employed as an official epigraphist ("government epigraphist") for "Madras presidency". In 1903, Pischel was succeeded as Pischel 's successor as regular professor of Sanskrit in Halle. Hultzsch published "Epigraphia Indica", M III-VIII (1894-1906).

Bibliography (in selection)

• Prolegomena zu Vasantaraja's Shakuna (1879)
The Band-hayanad-harmachastra (1884)
• South-Indian inscriptions (3 volumes, 1890-1903)
• Reports on Sanskrit manuscripts in Southern India number 1-3 (1895-1905)
• Parijatamanjari (1906)
• Anandahhatta's Tarkasamgraha (1907)


• Hultzsch, Eugen in Nordisk familjebok (second edition, 1909)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun May 15, 2022 3:54 am

Observations: Geographiques saites en 1734 par des Peres Jesuites, pendant leur voyage de Chandernagor a Dely & a Jaepour [Observations: Geographies known in 1734 by Jesuit Fathers, during their journey from Chandernagor to Dely & Jaepour]
Lettres Edifiantes [Lettres, 1781, 15:337-349]


Pere Pons arrived in India in 1726 and after spending a few years in Thanjavur was appointed superior of the French Mission in Bengal. Other than compiling a Sanskrit grammar, and a treatise on Sanskrit poetics that was sent to Europe, he visited Delhi and Jaipur with Pere Boudier, mentioned earlier, to make some astronomical observations [Bamboat 1933: 95]. We find an account of this in a note entitled 'Observations: Geographic Expedition Undertaken in 1734 by Jesuit Fathers During Their Voyage from Chandernagor to Delhi to Jaipur' in the Lettres Edifiantes [Lettres, 1810, 15:269-91]. [Lettres, 1781, 15:337-349] In fact, this is a report on the very observations mentioned earlier in our discussion on Gaubil. The report begins by pointing out that the raja of Amber, Sawai Jai Singh, a savant [learned person] in astronomy, for whom the Jesuits had undertaken this expedition, had a number of astronomers working for him [Lettres 1810. 15: 269]. Jai Singh had requested the superior general of the church at Chandernagore, Boudier, to send Jesuit fathers stationed at Chandernagore to make some observations; and so Peres Pons and Boudier set out for Delhi and Jaipur.

The motivations behind this expedition have been recorded by Eric Forbes [Forbes 1982].10 Jai Singh's first contact with European astronomy appeared to reinforce his conviction that his large masonry observatories yielded more accurate results than iron astrolabes and sextants. He failed initially to appreciate the point that the source of his error was a faulty theoretical basis for computing lunar and planetary motions adopted by La Hire. In his letter to Pere Boudier, Jai Singh informed the former that he recognised this failing on mastering La Hire's book, and then wished to investigate whether other tables existed, and if so its underlying theoretical principles [Forbes 1982: 238]. And while Boudier was a "skilled telescopic observer", he was not equipped to answer Jai Singh's queries [Forbes 1982: 238]. Peres Boudier and Pons agreed to undertake the 1,000 mile journey to Jaipur on January 6, 1734 in the hope that they could establish a Christian mission at Jaipur. They reached Jaipur nine months later, but were forced to return shortly on account of ill health. When they were not making their observations, Forbes writes, they spent their time trying to convince the local brahmins of "Indian astronomy's indebtedness to ancient Greek culture" [Forbes 1982: 240].

The document in the Lettres reports their observations of latitudes and longitudes of about 60 Indian towns and cities, the course of rivers they encountered during the course of their journey, the occultation of the Jovian satellites, and finally their observation regarding two eclipses that occurred in 1734. Appendix I provides a list of the latitudes and longitudes of some of the cities and towns obtained by them. However, there is an error of 35" in his latitude measurements of the observatory sites at Jaipur and Delhi [Sharma 1982: 347].

Throughout the 18th century one of the crucial obstacles for reconstructing the geography of India was the paucity of data on geographical latitudes and longitudes. The condition was further exacerbated by the non-standardisation of the Indian mile vis-a-vis the European mile, given the fact that the Indian mile varied from region to region of the country [Sen 1982: 1]. The Jesuits set about mapping this terrain. The method employed for determining these parameters required that the latitude and longitude of Chandernagor be known through a large number of astronomical observations. The route followed was carefully mapped as they travelled from one station to a neighbouring one. All along, the time was scrupulously noted with a time piece on hand, that was calibrated for the Paris meridian. The time spent was then compared with the speed of the vehicle. In addition, the detours along the route were carefully marked, and the speed of the air noted, a compass provided the directional readings [Lettres 1810, 15: 273]. This procedure was repeated all the way from Chandernagor to Kassimbazar to Patna to Agra to Delhi till they reached Jaipur. From Patna to Agra they could not use the compass since they were travelling by cart. Their observations had thus to be supplemented by surveying the course of the sun. Furthermore, throughout the voyage, as is done on sea, they had to correct their estimates by obtaining the latitudes of several locations [Lettres 1810. 15: 274]. No observations were made between Chandernagor and Kassimbazar since they covered this distance by the waterway, and the meandering path of the Ganges would have required that they spend a great deal of time to obtain a just estimate. In addition, they spent some time covering the distance at night [Lettres 1810, 15: 274.] On examining a number of naval maps, they found that Calcutta was marked more towards the east than Chandernagor, while in fact it was more to the west. Boudier and Pons found it surprising that the pilots sailing on the Ganges from one town to the next had not corrected this error. In addition, the report contains observations of the meridional heights of stars in 1734 taken from several towns [Lettres 1810, 15: 280-83].

At Kassimbazar, the French Jesuits carried out observations to calculate longitudes in 1734. These observations related to the immersion of the first satellite of Jupiter on January 30 at 15 hours, 41. On the same day, the passage of Beta Polaris was noted at 14 hours, 2 minutes and a fraction of a second [Lettres 1810, 15: 284-85]. At that moment a second star passed the vertical of the North Star at 16 hours 21 minutes and 30 seconds. From the passage of these two stars across the vertical of the North Star the time of the immersion of the satellite was obtained. During this period the time elapsed was 2 minutes and 50 seconds, and the hour of immersion was corrected to 15 hours 38 minutes and 30 seconds. At Fatehpour, the immersion of the first satellite on April 2 commenced at 13 hours 45 minutes and a fraction of a second. On the same day, the height of the tail of Leo towards the west was 46 degrees 9 minutes at 13 hours 50 minutes and a fraction of a second, and the height of the brightest star in Aquila towards the east, was 19 degrees 1 minute 30 seconds at 13 hours 57 minutes and about 10 seconds [Lettres 1810. 15: 285]. From the height of the two stars it was concluded that the time elapsed was 1 minute 26 seconds, the corrected hour of immersion was 13 hours 43 minutes and 34 seconds. Based on Pere Gaubil's observation of the time of immersion in Beijing on the April 11, 1734 [Lettres 1810. 15: 285], the difference between the meridian at Paris and Fatehpur was calculated at 5 hours and 13 minutes. This could be calculated differently. At a known time, the interval between the immersion on April 2 and 11, was 8 degrees 20 hours and 25 minutes, that could be subtracted from the time of observation at Beijing. On April 2, 16 hours 6 minutes and 57 seconds was the time of immersion at Beijing. But at Fatehpur it was observed at 13 hours 43 minutes 34 seconds. This gives a difference of 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds, that must be subtracted from the longitude of Beijing, which was 7 hours 36 minutes: The difference between the meridians at Paris and Fatehpur was 5 hours 12 minutes 37 seconds or 5 hours 13 minutes [Lettres 1810, 15: 286]. A similar exercise was carried out in the case of Agra [Lettres 1810 15: 287]. Gaubil responded to the longitude measurements based on the observations of the occultation of the Jovian satellites, pointing out the errors in Boudier's calculations and that Boudier was unaware of stellar aberration [Gaubil, cited in Sharma. 1982: 347]. However, in the case of Delhi a solar eclipse that occurred on May 3, 1734 was used to obtain the longitude. The eclipse commenced at 3 hours 57 minutes and 11 seconds, but it was difficult to decide the end of the eclipse since the sky was cloudy. The corrected time for the eclipse was 3 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds and finished at 5 hours 58 minutes and 3 seconds [Lettres 1810. 15: 268]. In a letter Pere Gaubil had mentioned that the Swedish astronomer Celsius had observed the end of this eclipse at Rome at 11 hours 52 minutes and 1 second. Using the method developed by La Hire, the eclipse commenced at Delhi, when the time in Rome was 11 hours 40 minutes and 5 seconds in the morning, and finished at 1 hour 39 minutes 40 seconds in the afternoon. This gives the difference between the meridians at Rome and Delhi as 4 hours 19 minutes and 4 seconds for the commencement of the eclipse and 4 hours 18 minutes and 18 seconds for the end of the eclipse. These differ by 46 seconds, half of which is 23 seconds. Adding this to the smaller of the two figures, we get the mean difference of 4 hours 18 minutes and 41 seconds, to which we add the difference between the meridians of Rome and Paris, which is 41 minutes and 20 seconds. Thus the difference between the meridians of Paris and Delhi is 5 hours and 1 second [Lettres 181-0, 15: 288].

On December 1, 1732 there was a total immersion of the moon at 22 'gharis' (the Indian unit ghari = 24 minutes, and each ghari = 60 'palas' ) 7 'pols' after sun set was observed at Jaipur. The emersion commenced at 26 gharis 13 pols and a half after sun set. Thus the middle of the eclipse was at 9 hours 41 minutes 24 seconds after the sun set. In their calculation the brahmins had not taken account of the effects of refraction, and the fact that the sun set at 5 hours 12 minutes 48 seconds, consequently the middle of the eclipse was at 14 hours 54 minutes 12 seconds [Lettres 1810. 15: 289]. According to Cassini's observation at the Paris Observatory, the middle of the eclipse was 9 hours 58 minutes 38 seconds. Hence, the difference between the meridians of Paris and Jaipur was 4 hours 55 minutes 34 seconds [Lettres 1810. 15: 290]. While Gaubil had made his observations of the satellite of Jupiter using a 20-foot focal length telescope, the Jesuits during their expedition used one that was a refracting telescope of focal length 17-feet [Lettres 1810. 15: 290].

Perusing these records, we recognise firstly the importance and authority of Gaubil among the Jesuit astronomers in India, for he appeared to be providing them the numbers that they considered standard, and thus aided their calibration. It was Gaubil who forwarded their results to Cassini, and thus the latter was the final authority certifying the results of the expedition. Secondly, the study of the motion of the stars and the planets, enabled the savants, through the Jesuits to map the co-ordinates of the globe, symbolically weaving Paris, Rome, Delhi, Jaipur and Beijing into the new fabric of modern science of which the Jesuits were the prominent cultural vectors, and subsequently the agents of cultural imperialism.

-- French Jesuit Scientists in India: Historical Astronomy in the Discourse on India, 1670-1770, by Dhruv Raina

The Bracmanes cultivated almost every part of mathematics; algebra was not unknown to them: but astronomy, the end of which was astrology, was always the principal object of their mathematical studies, because the superstition of the great and the people made it more useful to them. They have several methods of astronomy. A Greek scholar, who, like Pythagoras, once traveled in India, having learned the sciences of the Bracmanas, taught them in his turn his method of astronomy; and in order that his disciples might make it a mystery to others, he left them in his work the Greek names of the planets, the signs of the zodiac, and several terms[???] like hora (twenty-fourth part of a day), Kendra (center), etc. I had this acquaintance at Dely, and it served me to make the astronomers of Raja Jaesing, who are in large numbers in the famous observatory which he had built in this capital, feel that formerly masters had come to them [from] Europe.[!!!]

When we arrived at Jaëpur, the prince, to convince himself of the truth of what I had advanced[???], wanted to know the etymology of these Greek words, which I gave him. I also learned from the Bracmanas of Hindustan, that the most esteemed of their authors had placed the sun at the center of the movements of Mercury and Venus. Raja Jaësing will be regarded in the centuries to come as the restorer of Indian astronomy. The tables of M. de la Hire, under the name of this Prince,[!!!] will be current everywhere in a few years.[!!!]

-- Letter From Father Pons, Missionary of the Company of Jesus, to Father Du Halde, of the same Company. At Careical, on the coast of Tanjaour; in the East Indies, November 23, 1740. From "Lettres Edifiantes Et Curieuses, Ecrites Des Missions Etrangeres", by Charles Le Gobien

Le Raja d'Amber, Jassing Savae, dont les Gazettes d'Europe firent mention en 1728 ou 1729, au sujet d'un voyage en Portugal que le Reverend Pere Figueredo, Jesuite Portugais, fit par ses ordres, mourut en 1743. C'etoit un Prince riche, puissant & scavant dans l'Astronomie, pour laquelle il avoit fait des depenses immenses. Il entretenoit plusieurs Astronomes, qui observoient jour & nuit sans discontinuer, dans differens observatoires, batis magnifiquement a sex frais, sur-tout a Dely, dans un grand fauxbourg dependant de lui, appelle pour cette raison Jassing-Poura; & a Jaepour, ville considerable & grande au moins comme Orleans, qu'il a fait batir a un peu plus d'une lieue d'Amber, & ou il faisoit son sejour ordinaire. Toutes les rues de cette ville sont larges & tirees au cordeau, & elle est, dit-on, en petit ce que Dely est en grand.

Ce Prince ayant demande des Peres Jesuites de Chandernagor; l'esperance de le rendre encore plus favorable aux Chretiens, en faveur de qui il avoit deja commence une eglise dans sa nouvelle ville, determina leur superieur general dans les Indes a lui en envoyer deux, qui partirent de Chandernagor le 6 Janvier de l'annee 1734, & qui firent les observations geographiques qu'on va rapporter. C'est tout ce que leur a permis de faire en ce genre l'incommodite des voyages en ce pays-ci, sur-tout lorsqu'il faut les faire par terre, & leur mauvaise sante, tous les deux avant leur retour ayant pense mourir de maladie, causee par les fatigues & les mauvaises eaux qu'on est oblige de boire en chemin.

Table de la latitude des Lieux suivans, & de leur longitude, par rapport a l'Observatoire Royal de Paris.

Noms Des Lieux. / long. / est. / latit. / nord.

x Jaepour, a l'observatoire, dans l'enceinte du Palais du Raja / 73m / 50s / 26 m / 56 s

= Naella / 73m / 57s / 26m / 56s

= Parasaoli / 74 / 13 / 26 / 59

oo Onn'apasscule nom / 74 / 30 / 27 / 1

oo de ces deux endroits / 74 / 42 / 27 / 10

Balodar / 75 / 3 / 27 / 20

Dig / 75 / 22 / 27 / 25

x Matoura / 75 / 49 / 27 / 30

Gaugat / 76 / 1 / 27 / 13

xx Agra / 76 / 9 / 27 / 10

xx Dely, a l'observatoire du Raja / 75m / 0s / 28m / 37s

Au Palais de l'Empereur Mogol / 75 / 2 / 28 / 41

Faridabad / 75 / 8 / 28 / 27

Parval / 75 / 14 / 28 / 10

Ourel / 75 / 22 / 27 / 56

Chatequi-Sarai / 75 / 37 / 27 / 44

Matoura, Gaugat, Agra comme di-dessus.

Ferosabad / 76 / 27 / 27 / 7

Sacourabad / 76 / 39 / 27 / 4

Jassondnagar / 76 / 49 / 26 / 52

x Etaya / 76 / 57 / 26 / 45

Agitmal / 77 / 14 / 26 / 32

Sicandara / 77 / 28 / 26 / 23

= Drouguedas / 77 / 46 / 26 / 17

x Corregianabad / 78 / 2 / 26 / 9

Cajoua / 78 / 15 / 26 / 5

Fatepour / 78m / 30s / 25m / 56s

Chobe. On prononce cho comme dans le mot chose / 78 / 48 / 25 / 46

Chassadpour / 79 / 3 / 25 / 40

Alemchand / 79 / 17 / 25 / 34

xx Helabas / 79 / 35 / 25 / 26

= Saidabad / 79 / 52 / 25 / 25

= Jagdis / 80 / 8 / 25 / 23

Babouki-Sarai / 80 / 25 / 25 / 23

xx Benarez / 80 / 47 / 25 / 21

Sedraja / 81 / 4 / 25 / 17

= Mounia / 81 / 21 / 25 / 14

Jehanabad / 81 / 40 / 25 / 10

x Sasseram / 81 / 58 / 25 / 5

= Gothaoli / 82 / 13 / 25 / 0

Samsernagar / 82 / 25 / 25 / 7

Mahavelipour / 82 / 41 / 25 / 18

= Novotpour / 82 / 52 / 25 / 29

xx Patna, chez les Reverends Peres Capucins / 83 / 15 / 25 / 38

= Decantpour / 83 / 24 / 25 / 33

Bahar / 83 / 40 / 25 / 33

Dariapour / 83 / 55 / 25 / 28

= Surgegara / 84 / 10 / 25 / 19

Monguere / 84 / 31 / 25 / 20

= Sultanegarge / 84 / 47 / 25 / 20

Baguelpour / 84 / 59 / 25 / 19

Calegam / 85m / 15s / 25m / 18s

= Sacrigalli / 85 / 45 / 25 / 5

x Ragemol / 85 / 55 / 25 / 1

= Bonapour / 86 / 21 / 25 / 44

= Camera / 86 / 33 / 24 / 32

x Cassimbasar, a la loge Francoise / 86 / 40 / 24 / 8

x Moxudabad, sejour ordinaire du Nabab de Bengale / 86 / 41 / 24 / 11

x Chandernagor, a l'eglise de la forteresse / 86 / 5 / 22 / 51

x Colicotta, Colonie Angloise / 86 / 2 / 22 / 33

Balassor, selon les observations du Pere Martin, Jesuite / 84 / 36 / 21 / 29

Pour determiner les longitudes & les latitudes ci-devant, celle de Chandernagor etant connue, par un tres-grand nombre d'observations astronomiques, on a estime le chemin qu'on a fait depuis un lieu jusqu'a l'autre, ayant toujours eu a la main une bonne montre pendant tout le temps qu'on a marche, comparant ce temps avec la vitesse de la voiture, & ayant egard aux detours des chemains; on a eu aussi devant soi, pour connoitre l'air de vent qu'on a suivi, une boussole, & cela, autant qu'on l'a pu scavoir, depuis Cassimbasar jusqu'a Patna, & depuis Agra jusqu'a Dely & jusqu'a Jaepour.

Depuis Patna jusqu'a Agra on n'a pu faire usage de la boussole, parce qu'on etoit en charrette. On y a supplee en prenant garde au cours du soleil; de plus, pendant tout le voyage, on a eu soin, comme on le fait sur mer, de corriger son estime par l'observation de la latitude de plusieurs endroits.

De Chandernagor a Cassimbasar on n'a rien marque, parce qu'on a fait ce chemin par eau, & que les detours du Gange auroient demande qu'on eut employe beaucoup de temps pour faire une estime juste, outre qu'on a plusieurs fois marche pendant la nuit.

On a vu plusieurs cartes marines; dans toutes, Colicotta, Colonie Angloise, est marquee plus a l'est que Chandernagor, au lieu qu'il est certainement tant soit peu plus a l'ouest. Il est etonnant que les pilotes du Gange, qui vont continuellement d'un de ces lieux a l'autre, ne se soient pas corriges de cette erreur.

Outres les observations pour la latitude, on en a fait aussi quelques-unes pour la longitude. On donnera ci-apres les unes & les autres.

Remarques sur le cours des rivieres.

Le Gemna passe a Dely, Matoura, Gaugat, Agra; il passe a cinq quarts de lieues de Faridabad, a dux lieues & demie de Parval ou Paroual, a deux lieues d'Ourel; tous ces endroits sont a la droite du Gemna.

Les lieux suivans sont a la gauche: Pherosobad & Sacourabad, l'un & l'autre a environ trois lieues; Jassondnagard, a deux; Etaya, a une; agitmel & Sicandara, a une lieue & demie; Corregianabad, a deux; Cajoua, a trois & demie; Fatepour, a trois; Chobe, a cinq lieues; Chassadpour, a environ six; Alemehand, a trois & demie. Cette riviere se jette dans le Gange immediatement au-dessous de Helabas, qui est a la gauche du Gemna, & a la droite du Gange: quoique cette derniere riviere conserve son nom, elle ne paroit pas, en cet endroit, plus considerable que l'autre.

La riviere Sonne est une grande riviere. On n'a vu que fort peu de son cours pour aller de Patna a Benarez; on la passe en bateau a une bonne demilieue plus loin que Gothaoly. Elle va a Mahauelipour, passe a moins d'un quart de lieue de Samsernagar, a plus de deux lieues de Novotpour, & va se jetter dans le Gange, a trois ou quatre lieues au-dessus de Patna; les endroits qu'on vient de nommer, sont a la droite de cette riviere.

Les lieux suivans sont a la droite du Gange: Cajopua en est distant d'environ trois lieues; Fatepour, de deux; Chobe, de trois quarts de lieue; Chassadpour, un tiers; Alemchand, trois quarts. Cette riviere passe a Helabaz, ou, comme on l'a dit, elle recoit le Gemna; Saidabad, Jaidis & Benares sont a la gauche du Gange: Saidabad en est eloigne d'une demi-lieue; Jasdis, e'environ une lieue. Benarez est sur le Gange. Cette ville est tres-grande; la plupart de ses maisons sont a plusieurs etages: ce qui est rare dans les Indes, & ce qui fait paroitre les rues etroites; depuis un grand nombre de sieces, elle est la plus fameuse ville de l'Inde, parmi les Gentils qui lui donnent encore assez souvent le nom de Cachi, qu'elle portoit autrefois. Ce qui contribue principalement a la rendre si recommandable, c'est, 1°. les avantages singuliers & beaucoup plus grands que par-tout ailleurs, que les Paiens s'imaginent se procurer en se baignant dans le Gange, en un certain endroit qui est devant cette ville; 2°. une Universite encore aujourd'hui la plus celebre qu'aient les Brames, Ils y enseignent toutes le sciences qui leur sont propres. Quoique l'Empereur Aurenzel, par zele vrai ou affecte pour sa religion, ait detruit beaucoup d'edifices considerables, & diminue le grand nombre de Brames qui y etoient, elle ne laisse pas de conserver une grande partie deson lustre. Les Peres Jesuites y sejournerent deux jours; &, pendant ce temps, un d'eux nomme le Pere Pons, qui scavoit la langue du pays, visita deux fois une grande Communaute de ces Scavans Indiens, a-peu-pres semblable a un monastere de nos Religieux; il confera avec eux particulierement sur la Religion.

Apres Benarez ou Cachi, Matoura, belle & grande ville, dont le Gange baigne le pied de la forteresse qui est batie dans un lieu fort eleve; Matoura, dis-je, tient un des premiers rangs parmi les endroits particulierement consacres, par la credule superstition des Gentils, pour prendre les bains.

Depuis Benarez exclusivement, jusqu'a Chandernagor inclusivement, tout est a la droite du Gange. Sedraja en est eloigne d'environ trois lieues; Mounia, d'environ six; Sehanabad, d'environ neuf ou dix; Sasseram, de douze ou treize; Gothaoly, de dix-huit ou vingt, Samsernagar, d'environ quinze; Mahavelipour, treize; Novotpour, quatre.

Ce fleuve passe a Patna, a Becantpour, a Bahar, a Dariapour; s'eloigne un peu de Surgegera, passe a Menguere, ville considerable, Sultanegange, Baguelpour, Calegam, s'eloigne un peu de Chahabad, passe a Sacrigalli.

C'est ici que commence le royaume de Bengale, en venant de Patna. Il ne seroit pas facile a l'ennemie d'entrer dans ce Royaume par ce cote: car a environ un peu plus d'une lieue avant Sacrigalli, on trouve un endroit nomme Thoriagalli, proche duquel est une porte ou espece de barriere par ou il faut passer, & qu'on n'ouvre que quand il est necessaire; on a soin d'y entretenir des troupes pour la garder. Peu apres cette porte, le chemin va en entrecissant; de sorte qu'on est oblige de marcher tout a fait sur le bord du Gange, jusqu'a ce qu'a environ un bon quart de lieue de Sacrigalli, on entre dans un chemin creux extremement obscur, entre deux montagnes escarpees. Ce chemin va en montant assez rapidement jusqu'a une seconde porte, qui est l'entree de Sacrigalli, & est defendue par un bien plus grand nombre de troupes que la premiere. Au reste, ce chemin creux est si etroit, qu'il n'y peut passer de front qu'une charrette; & asin que les voyageurs ne s'embarrassent point dans ce passage, il est regle que ceux qui viennent de Patna, passent le soir; & ceux qui partent de Sacrigalli, passent le matin; &, s'il etoit necessaire de faire autrement, il faudroit, avant de passer par une de ces portes, faire avertir a l'autre pour qu'on n'y laissat passer personne.

Apres Sacrigalli, le Gange passe a Ragemol, ville considerable; s'eloigne de Cassimbazar d'environ six lieues, passe a Ougly, ou les Maures ont une forteresse; a Chinchusa, colonie Hollandoise; a Chandernagor, colonie Francoise; a Calicolta, colonie Angloise; ce dernier endroit est a la gauche du Gange. Corregianabad, ville considerable, est a la droite d'une petite riviere nommee Rinde, qu'on passe sur un pont de pierre, & qui va se jetter dans le Gemna.

Entre Sedraja & Mounia, on passe a gue deux petites rivieres qui se dechargent dans le Gange; la plus proche de Sedraja s'appelle Caramnassa, & l'autre Savot-dourgaveti.

La riviere Kandoc vient se jetter dans le Gange devant Patna, vers le nord de cette ville.

Cassimbazar & Monudabat, lieu de la residence du Nabab qui gouverne, pour ainsi dire, absolument, un pays aussi etendu que toute la France; Bonapour, Camera sont a la gauche d'un petit bras du Gange, qui s'en separe au-dessous de Ragemol, & qui vient s'y rejoindre a environ douze a treize lieues au-dessus de Chandernagor, a un endroit nomme Noudia, ou il y avoit autrefois une fameuse Universite de Brames. Encore aujourh'hui, ce lieu, d'une assez grande etendue, n'est presque peuple que de personnes de cette caste. Ils y enseignent, mais seulement dans des maisons particulieres, un grand nombre de disciples Brames, auxquels ils apprennent la theologie, la philosophie, l'astronomie Indienne, & c.

Dans la table de la longitude & de la latitude, &c. ci-dessus, on a mis deux croix xx devant le nom des villes le plus considerables, une croix x devant celles qui le sont un peu moins, & cette marque = devant les plus petits endroits.

Ougly, dont on a parle ci-dessus, est a 86 degree 6 min. de longitude, & a 22 degre 56 min. de latitude, a=peu=pres au nord d'Ougli, & attenant a ce lieu est le Bandel des Portugais, autrefois considerable, & aujourd'hui reduit presque a rien.

Chinchura, longitude 86 deg. 7 min., latitude 22 deg. 54 min.

Banquibazar, dont les Allemands ont ete chasses par les Maures en 1744, est a la gauche du Gange, longitude 86 deg. 4 min., latitude 22 deg. 48 min.; vis-a-vis de ce lieu, a la droite du Gange, est un grand & beau jardin appartenant a la Compagnie de France.


English Translation: (Google translate)

The Raja of Amber, Jassing Savae, mentioned in the Gazettes d'Europe in 1728 or 1729, in connection with a trip to Portugal which the Reverend Pere Figueredo, Portuguese Jesuit, made by his orders, died in 1743. [He] was a rich, powerful and learned Prince in Astronomy, for which he had made immense expenses. He maintained several astronomers, who observed day and night without interruption, in different observatories, built magnificently at the expense of fresh air, especially at Dely, in a large suburb dependent on him, called for this reason Jassing-Poura; & at Jaepour, a considerable & large city at least like Orleans, which he had built a little more than a league from Amber, & where he made his usual stay. All the streets of this town are wide & straight-lined, & it is, it is said, on a small scale what Dely is on a large scale.

This Prince having asked for the Jesuit Fathers of Chandernagor; the hope of making him still more favorable to the Christians, in whose favor he had already started a church in his new town, determined their superior general in India to send him two, who left Chandernagor on January 6 year 1734, & who made the geographical observations that we are going to report. This is all that the inconvenience of traveling in this country has allowed them to do in this way, especially when they have to be done by land, and their poor health, both of them having thought before their return die of illness, caused by fatigue and the bad waters that one is obliged to drink on the way.

Table of the latitude of the following places, & their longitude, in relation to the Royal Observatory of Paris.

Place Names. / long. / is. /lat. /north.

x Jaepour, at the observatory, inside the Raja Palace / 73m / 50s / 26 m / 56 s

= Naella / 73m / 57s / 26m / 56s

= Parasaoli / 74 / 13 / 26 / 59

oo Onn'apasscule name / 74 / 30 / 27 / 1

oo from these two places / 74 / 42 / 27 / 10

Balodar / 75 / 3 / 27 / 20

Dig / 75 / 22 / 27 / 25

x Matoura / 75 / 49 / 27 / 30

Gaugat / 76 / 1 / 27 / 13

xx Agra / 76 / 9 / 27 / 10

xx Dely, at the Raja observatory / 75m / 0s / 28m / 37s

At the Palace of the Mogul Emperor / 75 / 2 / 28 / 41

Faridabad / 75 / 8 / 28 / 27

Parval / 75 / 14 / 28 / 10

Ourel / 75 / 22 / 27 / 56

Chatequi-Sarai / 75 / 37 / 27 / 44

Matoura, Gaugat, Agra as above.

Ferosabad / 76 / 27 / 27 / 7

Sacourabad / 76 / 39 / 27 / 4

Jassondnagar / 76 / 49 / 26 / 52

x Etaya / 76 / 57 / 26 / 45

Agitmal / 77 / 14 / 26 / 32

Sicandara / 77 / 28 / 26 / 23

= Druggedas / 77 / 46 / 26 / 17

x Corregianabad/78/2/26/9

Cashew / 78 / 15 / 26 / 5

Fatepour / 78m / 30s / 25m / 56s

Chobe. We pronounce cho as in the word thing / 78 / 48 / 25 / 46

Chassadpur / 79 / 3 / 25 / 40

German / 79 / 17 / 25 / 34

xx Helabas / 79 / 35 / 25 / 26

= Saidabad/79/52/25/25

= Jagdis / 80 / 8 / 25 / 23

Babouki-Sarai / 80 / 25 / 25 / 23

xx Benarez / 80 / 47 / 25 / 21

Sedraja / 81 / 4 / 25 / 17

= Mounia / 81 / 21 / 25 / 14

Jehanabad / 81 / 40 / 25 / 10

x Sasseram / 81 / 58 / 25 / 5

= Gothaoli/82/13/25/0

Samsernagar / 82 / 25 / 25 / 7

Mahavelipur / 82 / 41 / 25 / 18

= Novotpour/82/52/25/29

xx Patna, at the Reverend Capuchin Fathers / 83 / 15 / 25 / 38

= Decantpour / 83 / 24 / 25 / 33

Bahar / 83 / 40 / 25 / 33

Dariapour / 83 / 55 / 25 / 28

= Surgegara/84/10/25/19

Monguere / 84 / 31 / 25 / 20

= Sultanagarge / 84 / 47 / 25 / 20

Bagelpour / 84 / 59 / 25 / 19

Calegam / 85m / 15s / 25m / 18s

= Sacrigali / 85 / 45 / 25 / 5

x Ragemol / 85 / 55 / 25 / 1

= Bonapour / 86 / 21 / 25 / 44

= Camera/86/33/24/32

x Cassimbasar, at the Francoise lodge / 86 / 40 / 24 / 8

x Moxudabad, ordinary stay of the Nabob of Bengal / 86 / 41 / 24 / 11

x Chandernagor, at the fortress church / 86 / 5 / 22 / 51

x Colicotta, English Colony / 86 / 2 / 22 / 33

Balassor, according to the observations of Father Martin, Jesuit / 84 / 36 / 21 / 29

To determine the longitudes and latitudes above, that of Chandernagor being known by a very large number of astronomical observations, we have estimated the distance we have made from one place to another, always having had a good watch in hand the whole time we walked, comparing this time with the speed of the car, and having regard to the detours of the roads; we also had in front of us, to know the air of the wind that we followed, a compass, & that, as far as we could know, from Cassimbasar to Patna, & from Agra to Dely & to Jaepour.

From Patna to Agra we could not use the compass, because we were in a cart. We have made up for it by taking care in the course of the sun; moreover, during the whole voyage, care was taken, as one does at sea, to correct one's estimation by observing the latitude of several places.

From Chandernagor to Cassimbasar we have not marked anything, because we made this way by water, and the detours of the Ganges would have required that we had employed a lot of time to make a fair estimate, besides that we have several times walking at night.

We saw several nautical charts; in all, Colicotta, English Colony, is marked further east than Chandernagor, whereas it is certainly somewhat further west. It is astonishing that the pilots of the Ganges, who go continuously from one of these places to another, have not corrected themselves from this error.

Besides the observations for latitude, some have also been made for longitude. We will give both of them below.

Remarks on the course of rivers.

The Gemna passes through Dely, Matoura, Gaugat, Agra; it passes five-quarters of a league from Faridabad, two and a half leagues from Parval or Paroual, two leagues from Ourel; all these places are to the right of the Gemna.

The following places are on the left: Pherosobad & Sacourabad, both about three leagues away; Jassondnagard, has two; Etaya, has one; agitmel & Sicandara, a league and a half away; Corregianabad, has two; Cajoua, at three and a half; Fatepour, at three; Chobe, five leagues away; Chassadpour, has about six; Alemehand, at three and a half. This river flows into the Ganges immediately below Helabas, which is to the left of the Gemna, and to the right of the Ganges: although this last river retains its name, it does not appear, in this place, more considerable than the other.

The Sonne river is a big river. We have seen very little of its course to go from Patna to Benarez; we pass it by boat a good half league further than Gothaoly. It goes to Mahauelipour, passes less than a quarter of a league from Samsernagar, more than two leagues from Novotpour, and goes to throw itself into the Ganges, three or four leagues above Patna; the places just named are to the right of this river.

The following places are to the right of the Ganges: Cajopua is about three leagues distant; Fatepour, of two; Chobe, three quarters of a league; Chassadpour, a third; Alemchand, three quarters. This river passes at Helabaz, where, as has been said, it receives the Gemna; Saidabad, Jaidis & Benares are on the left of the Ganges: Saidabad is half a league away; Once upon a time, about a league. Benarez is on the Ganges. This city is very large; most of its houses have several floors: which is rare in India, and which makes the streets appear narrow; for a great number of centuries it has been the most famous city in India among the Gentiles, who still quite often give it the name of Cachi, which it formerly bore. What mainly contributes to make it so recommendable is, 1. the singular advantages, and much greater than anywhere else, that the Pagans imagine themselves procuring by bathing in the Ganges, in a certain place which is in front of this city; 2. a University still today the most famous that the Brames have, they teach there all the sciences which are specific to them. Although the Emperor Aurenzel, out of true or affected zeal for his religion, destroyed many considerable buildings, and diminished the great number of Brames who were there, it does not fail to retain a large part of its luster. The Jesuit Fathers stayed there for two days; &, during this time, one of them named Father Pons, who knew the language of the country, twice visited a large community of these Indian scavans, somewhat similar to a monastery of our monks; he conferred with them particularly on Religion.

After Benarez or Cachi, Matoura, a beautiful and large city, whose Ganges bathes the foot of the fortress which is built in a very high place; Matoura, I say, holds one of the first ranks among the places specially consecrated, by the credulous superstition of the Gentiles, for taking baths.

From Benarez exclusively to Chandernagor inclusive, everything is to the right of the Ganges. Sedraja is distant from it about three leagues; Mounia, about six; Sehanabad, about nine or ten; Sasseram, twelve or thirteen; Gothaoly, eighteen or twenty, Samsernagar, about fifteen; Mahavelipour, thirteen; Novotpour, four.

This river passes at Patna, at Becantpour, at Bahar, at Dariapour; moves away a little from Surgegera, passes through Menguere, a considerable town, Sultanegange, Bagelpour, Calegam, moves away a little from Chahabad, passes through Sacrigalli.

It is here that the kingdom of Bengal begins, coming from Patna. It would not be easy for the enemy to enter this Kingdom from this side: for about a little more than a league before Sacrigalli, there is a place called Thoriagalli, near which is a door or a sort of barrier through which it is necessary to pass, and which one opens only when it is necessary; care is taken to maintain troops there to guard it. Shortly after this door, the road goes in intersecting; so that one is obliged to walk completely on the edge of the Ganges, until at about a good quarter of a league from Sacrigalli, one enters an extremely dark sunken road, between two steep mountains. This path goes up quite steeply to a second gate, which is the entrance to Sacrigalli, and is defended by a much larger number of troops than the first. Besides, this sunken road is so narrow that only a cart can pass abreast; & so that travelers do not embarrass themselves in this passage, it is a rule that those who come from Patna, pass in the evening; & those who leave Sacrigalli, pass in the morning; &, if it were necessary to do otherwise, it would be necessary, before going through one of these doors, to warn the other so that no one was allowed to pass through it.

After Sacrigalli, the Ganges passes Ragemol, a considerable town; moves away from Cassimbazar about six leagues, passes to Ougly, where the Moors have a fortress; at Chinchusa, a Dutch colony; at Chandernagor, French colony; at Calicolta, an English colony; this last place is to the left of the Ganges. Corregianabad, a considerable city, is to the right of a small river called Rinde, which one crosses over a stone bridge, and which is going to throw itself into the Gemna.

Between Sedraja & Mounia, we ford two small rivers which empty into the Ganges; the nearest to Sedraja is called Caramnassa, and the other Savot-Dourgaveti.

The Kandoc river comes to throw itself into the Ganges in front of Patna, towards the north of this city.

Cassimbazar & Monudabat, place of residence of the Nabob who governs, so to speak, absolutely, a country as extensive as all of France; Bonapour, Camera are to the left of a small arm of the Ganges, which separates from it below Ragemol, and which comes to join it about twelve to thirteen leagues above Chandernagor, at a place called Noudia, where there was once a famous University of Brames. Even today, this place, of a fairly large area, is almost populated only by people of this caste. They teach there, but only in private houses, a large number of Brame disciples, to whom they teach Indian theology, philosophy, astronomy, &c.

In the table of longitude & latitude, &c. above, we put two crosses xx in front of the name of the most considerable cities, a cross x in front of those which are a little less, & this mark = in front of the smallest places.

Ougly, mentioned above, is at 86 degree 6 min. of longitude, & at 22 degrees 56 min. of latitude, almost to the north of Ougli, and adjoining this place is the Bandel of the Portuguese, formerly considerable, and today reduced to almost nothing.

Chinchura, longitude 86 deg. 7 min., latitude 22 deg. 54 mins.

Banquibazar, from which the Germans were driven out by the Moors in 1744, is to the left of the Ganges, longitude 86 deg. 4 min., latitude 22 deg. 48 mins; opposite this place, to the right of the Ganges, is a large and beautiful garden belonging to the Compagnie de France.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun May 15, 2022 5:52 am

Giovanni Domenico Cassini
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/14/22

Why the focus on religion? Because the role of colonialism (and generally of economic and political interests) in the birth of Orientalism dwindles to insignificance compared to the role of religion....

It is a central thesis of this book that Europe's discovery of Asian religions was deeply linked to the development of Orientalism and its gradual emancipation from biblical studies. The birth of modern Orientalism was not a Caesarean section performed by colonialist doctors at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Europe's imperialist powers began to dominate large swaths of Asia. Rather, it was the result of a long process that around the turn of the eighteenth century produced a paradigm change....

Voltaire's "Indian" campaign ended up playing a crucial role in raising the kind of questions about origins and ancient religions that played at least as important a role in the establishment of state-supported, university-based Orientalism as did the much-touted colonialism and imperialism. Rather than thirst for political and economic power, what was primarily at work here was ideological power: the power of Europe's long-established worldview and religious ideology that Voltaire provocatively labeled "l'infame" and that he tried to destabilize through an avalanche of articles, pamphlets, and books....

The idea of a pan-Asian religion or doctrine -- conceived either positively as an ancient theology or negatively as an ancient idolatry -- was not only common throughout Diderot's century but dominant. It is a subject well worth exploring; after all, almost every chapter of this book shows that this was a far more influential factor in the birth of Orientalism than the much-evoked and blamed colonialism....

This rich religious and ideological background is also bound to remain invisible when looking through the coarse lens of preconceived ideas such as Edward Said's Orientalist "colonialism" or Western "exploitation."...

We have already seen that the emergence in the European mind of a pan-Asiatic religion (that we now readily identify as Buddhism) did not happen overnight in some nineteenth-century study. Such scenarios of a nineteenth-century "creation" of Buddhism grew on a soil fertilized by several biases. The "Indian" bias links the European discovery of Buddhism to India as Buddhism's country of origin, the "textual" bias to the study of Buddhist texts in Indian languages, and the "colonialist" bias posits that such discovery and study were primarily linked to colonial interests. This accounts for the exaggerated role of British "pioneers" in recent studies. Charles Allen's "men who discovered India's lost religion," for example, are without exception British colonialist "Sahibs" (Allen 2002)....

The discovery of long-vanished Indian Buddhism, by contrast, indeed happened to a large extent in the nineteenth-century "European philological workshop" (Masuzawa 2005:126). The present chapter will show, however, that prior to that there were "workshops" not manned by Sanskritists but rather by French missionaries and by academics who studied and translated Arabic and Chinese sources long before the first British colonialists began to dabble in Sanskrit....

"Orientalism" has been portrayed by Edward Said in his eponymous book, first published in 1979, as a very influential, state-sponsored, essentially imperialist and colonialist enterprise. For Said, the Orientalist ideology was rooted in ....

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

[A] false dichotomy) is a logical fallacy, which occurs when a limited number of options are incorrectly presented as being mutually exclusive to one another.

-- False Dilemmas and False Dichotomies: What They Are and How to Respond to Them, by Effectiviology

[T]he director of the Paris observatory in the 1670s Gian-Domenico Cassini (1624-1712) submitted a proposal to the minister Colbert to send Jesuits to China to make some astronomical observations, and to advance their knowledge of latitudes, longitudes and magnetic declinations....One of the missions that was sent to Thailand finally landed up in Pondicherry.

A leading French astronomer stationed in China was Pere Antoine Gaubil (1689-1759), whose astronomical researches had exercised influence on the French astronomer, theorist and mathematical physicist, Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827)....

Pere Gaubil was in constant touch with the French Jesuit astronomer and cartographer Pere Claude Stanisla Boudier (1687-1757) stationed at Chandernagor in India. Boudier's reputation as an astronomer earned him an invitation to Jai Singh' s court in 1734. During his journey to and sojourn at Jaipur, he, like his counterparts in China determined the longitude of 63 Indian cities, in addition to measuring the meridional altitudes of a few stars. [Ansari 1985: 372]. In addition, he observed the first satellite of Jupiter on April 2, 1734 at Fatehpur, and again at Jaipur on August 15 of the same year. He also observed the solar eclipse of May 3, 1734 at Delhi and had earlier reported the lunar eclipse of December 1, 1732....

Pere Pons arrived in India in 1726 and after spending a few years in Thanjavur was appointed superior of the French Mission in Bengal. Other than compiling a Sanskrit grammar, and a treatise on Sanskrit poetics that was sent to Europe, he visited Delhi and Jaipur with Pere Boudier, mentioned earlier, to make some astronomical observations ...

Perusing these records, we recognise firstly the importance and authority of Gaubil among the Jesuit astronomers in India, for he appeared to be providing them the numbers that they considered standard, and thus aided their calibration. It was Gaubil who forwarded their results to Cassini, and thus the latter was the final authority certifying the results of the expedition. Secondly, the study of the motion of the stars and the planets, enabled the savants, through the Jesuits, to map the co-ordinates of the globe, symbolically weaving Paris, Rome, Delhi, Jaipur and Beijing into the new fabric of modern science of which the Jesuits were the prominent cultural vectors, and subsequently the agents of cultural imperialism.

-- French Jesuit Scientists in India: Historical Astronomy in the Discourse on India, 1670-1770, by Dhruv Raina

Giovanni Domenico Cassini
Born: 8 June 1625, Perinaldo, Republic of Genova
Died: 14 September 1712 (aged 87), Paris, France
Nationality: Italian, French
Alma mater: The Jesuit College at Genoa
Known for: Cassini Division; Cassini identity; Cassini's laws; Cassini oval; First to observe the division in the rings of Saturn
Scientific career
Fields: Mathematics, astrology, astronomy, engineering
Institutions: University of Bologna

Giovanni[a] Domenico Cassini, also known as Jean-Dominique Cassini (8 June 1625 – 14 September 1712) was an Italian (naturalised French)[1] mathematician, astronomer and engineer. Cassini was born in Perinaldo,[2][3] near Imperia, at that time in the County of Nice, part of the Savoyard state.[4][5] Cassini is known for his work on astronomy and engineering. He discovered four satellites of the planet Saturn and noted the division of the rings of Saturn; the Cassini Division was named after him. Giovanni Domenico Cassini was also the first of his family to begin work on the project of creating a topographic map of France.

The Cassini space probe, launched in 1997, was named after him and became the fourth to visit the planet Saturn and the first to orbit the planet.


Time in Italy

Cassini was the son of Jacopo Cassini, a Tuscan, and Giulia Crovesi. In 1648 Cassini accepted a position at the observatory at Panzano, near Bologna, to work with Marquis Cornelio Malvasia, a rich amateur astronomer, initiating the first part of his career.[6] During his time at the Panzano Observatory, Cassini was able to complete his education under the scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi. In 1650 the senate of Bologna appointed him as the principal chair of astronomy at the University of Bologna.[6]

While in his position in Bologna, he observed and wrote a treatise on the comet of 1652. He was also employed by the senate of Bologna as hydraulic engineer, and appointed by Pope Alexander VII inspector of fortifications in 1657. He was subsequently director of waterways in the papal states.[7]

In San Petronio, Bologna, Cassini convinced church officials to create an improved sundial meridian line at the San Petronio Basilica, moving the pinhole gnomon that projected the Sun's image up into the church's vaults 66.8 meters (219 ft) away from the meridian inscribed in the floor. The much larger image of the Sun's disk projected by the camera obscura effect allowed him to measure the change in diameter of the Sun's disk over the year as the Earth moved toward and then away from the Sun. He concluded the changes in size he measured were consistent with Johannes Kepler's 1609 heliocentric theory, where the Earth was moving around the Sun in an elliptical orbit instead of the Ptolemaic system where the Sun orbited the Earth in an eccentric orbit.[8]

Cassini remained in Bologna working until Colbert recruited him to come to Paris to help set up the Paris Observatory. Cassini departed from Bologna on 25 February 1669.[6]

Moving to France

An engraving of the Paris Observatory during Cassini's time. The tower on the right is the "Marly Tower", a dismantled part of the Machine de Marly, moved there by Cassini for mounting long focus and aerial telescopes.

Cassini's determinations of the rotational periods of Jupiter and Mars in 1665–1667 enhanced his fame, and in 1669, with the reluctant assent of the Pope, he moved to France and through a grant from Louis XIV of France helped to set up the Paris Observatory, which opened in 1671;[7] he would remain the director of the observatory for the rest of his career until his death in 1712. For the remaining forty-one years of his life Cassini served as astronomer/astrologer to Louis XIV ("The Sun King"); serving the expected dual role yet focusing the overwhelming majority of his time on astronomy rather than the astrology he had studied so much in his youth. Cassini thoroughly adopted his new country, to the extent that he became interchangeably known as Jean-Dominique Cassini, although that is also the name of his great-grandson, Dominique, comte de Cassini.

During this time, Cassini's method of determining longitude was used to measure the size of France accurately for the first time. The country turned out to be considerably smaller than expected, and the king quipped that Cassini had taken more of his kingdom from him than he had won in all his wars.

On 14 July 1673 Cassini obtained the benefits of French citizenship. In 1674 he married Geneviève de Laistre, the daughter of the lieutenant general of the comté of Clermont. "From this marriage Cassini had two sons; the younger, Jacques Cassini, succeeded him as astronomer and geodesist under the name of Cassini II."[6]

In 1711 Cassini went blind and he died on 14 September 1712 in Paris at the age of 87.[2]


Cassini observed and published surface markings on Mars (earlier seen by Christiaan Huygens but not published), determined the rotation periods of Mars and Jupiter, and discovered four satellites of Saturn: Iapetus and Rhea in 1671 and 1672, and Tethys and Dione (1684).[9] Cassini was the first to observe these four moons, which he called Sidera Lodoicea (the stars of Louis), including Iapetus, whose anomalous variations in brightness he correctly ascribed as being due to the presence of dark material on one hemisphere (now called Cassini Regio in his honour). In addition he discovered the Cassini Division in the rings of Saturn (1675).[6] He shares with Robert Hooke credit for the discovery of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter (ca. 1665). Around 1690, Cassini was the first to observe differential rotation within Jupiter's atmosphere.

In 1672 he sent his colleague Jean Richer to Cayenne, French Guiana, while he himself stayed in Paris. The two made simultaneous observations of Mars and, by computing the parallax, determined its distance from Earth. This allowed for the first time an estimation of the dimensions of the Solar System: since the relative ratios of various sun-planet distances were already known from geometry, only a single absolute interplanetary distance was needed to calculate all of the distances.

In 1677, the English philosopher John Locke visited Cassini in Paris. He writes, "At the Observatory, we saw the Moon in a twenty-two foot glass, and Jupiter, with his satellites, in the same. The most remote was on the east, and the other three on the west. We also saw Saturn and his rings, in a twelve-foot glass, and one of his satellites."[10]

Cassini initially held the Earth to be the centre of the Solar System, though later observations compelled him to accept the model of the Solar System proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, and eventually that of Tycho Brahe. "In 1659 he presented a model of the planetary system that was in accord with the hypothesis of Nicolaus Copernicus. In 1661 he developed a method, inspired by Kepler's work, of mapping successive phases of solar eclipses; and in 1662 he published new tables of the sun, based on his observations at San Petronio."[6] Cassini also rejected Newton's theory of gravity, after measurements he conducted which wrongly suggested that the Earth was elongated at its poles. More than forty years of controversy about the subject were closed in favour of Newton's theory after the measurements of the French Geodesic Mission (1736 to 1744) and the Lapponian expedition in 1737 led by Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis.

Cassini was also the first to make successful measurements of longitude by the method suggested by Galileo, using eclipses of the Galilean satellites as a clock.

In 1683, Cassini presented the correct explanation of the phenomenon of zodiacal light.[7] Zodiacal light is a faint glow that extends away from the Sun in the ecliptic plane of the sky, caused by dusty objects in interplanetary space.

Cassini is also credited with introducing Indian Astronomy to Europe. In 1688, the French envoy to Siam (Thailand), Simon de la Loubère, returned to Paris with an obscure manuscript relating to the astronomical traditions of that country, along with a French translation. The Siamese Manuscript [Rules of the Siamese Astronomy, for calculating the Motions of the Sun and Moon, translated from the Siamese, and since examined and explained by M. Cassini, a Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Excerpt from "A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam, by Monsieur De La Loubere, Envoy Extraordinary from the French King, to the King of Siam, in the years 1687 and 1688. Wherein a full and curious Account is given of the Chinese Way of Arithmetick, and Mathematick Learning. In Two Tomes, Illustrated with Sculptures. Done out of French, by A.P. Gen. R.S.S. 1693", Tome II, Pg. 186], as it is now called, somehow fell into Cassini's hands.
[T]he director of the Paris observatory in the 1670s Gian-Domenico Cassini (1624-1712) submitted a proposal to the minister Colbert to send Jesuits to China to make some astronomical observations, and to advance their knowledge of latitudes, longitudes and magnetic declinations....One of the missions that was sent to Thailand finally landed up in Pondicherry.

-- French Jesuit Scientists in India: Historical Astronomy in the Discourse on India, 1670-1770, by Dhruv Raina

A Greek scholar, who, like Pythagoras, once traveled in India, having learned the sciences of the Bracmanas, taught them in his turn his method of astronomy; and in order that his disciples might make it a mystery to others, he left them in his work the Greek names of the planets, the signs of the zodiac, and several terms like hora (twenty-fourth part of a day), Kendra (center), etc. I had this acquaintance at Dely, and it served me to make the astronomers of Raja Jaesing, who are in large numbers in the famous observatory which he had built in this capital, feel that formerly masters had come to them [from] Europe.

When we arrived at Jaëpur, the prince, to convince himself of the truth of what I had advanced, wanted to know the etymology of these Greek words, which I gave him.... Raja Jaësing will be regarded in the centuries to come as the restorer of Indian astronomy. The tables of M. de la Hire, under the name of this Prince, will be current everywhere in a few years.

-- Letter From Father Pons, Missionary of the Company of Jesus, to Father Du Halde, of the same Company. At Careical, on the coast of Tanjaour; in the East Indies, November 23, 1740. From "Lettres Edifiantes Et Curieuses, Ecrites Des Missions Etrangeres", by Charles Le Gobien

He was intrigued enough by it to spend considerable time and effort deciphering its cryptic contents, also determining on the way that the document originated in India.[11]

Curiously enough the first definite information respecting the Hindu system of astronomy, came to Europe from Siam, where, in the early centuries of our era, there was a flourishing Hindu state. In 1687 Louis XIV sent M. de la Loubere on an embassy to Siam, and he brought back with him a portion of a manuscript containing rules for computing the places of the sun and moon. This was submitted to the celebrated John Dominic Cassini, the Italian astronomer, whom Louis had brought to Paris to take charge of his observatory. In his hands the calculations described, without indication of the meaning of the constants employed, were lucidly explained. [!!!] His memoir was published in 1691, in De la Loubere's Relation de Siam (tome ii.), and afterwards reprinted with other papers by Cassini in the eighth volume of the Memoires de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, for 1666 to 1699 (pp. 279-362).

Cassini's principal deductions from the Siamese manuscript were -- (1) That the sidereal year employed was of 365d. 6h. 12m. 36s., being the 800th part of 292,207 days; (2) That the epoch of the constants was Saturday, 21st March, 638 A.D. at new moon (the mean conjunction occurring at Siam about 3h. 15m. A.M.) and when there was a considerable eclipse of the sun at 5h. 19m. P.M., 1 [I have revised the times from modern tables, assuming the longitude of Siam at 6h. 42m. E. from Greenwich; Cassini (Mem, de l'Acad, tome viii. p. 311) adopted 6h. 34m. E. from Paris, which is only 1-1/2m. in excess of this.] which eclipse, however, could not have been visible to the east of Orissa; (3) That since a correction to that effect is applied to the results, the rules and data were originally arranged for a place about 18-1/4°to the west of Siam: this he conjectures to have been "Narsinga,"2 [Mem. de l'Acad. 1666-1699, tome viii. p. 309.] which Bailly places "in Orissa" in lat. 17° 22' N., that is, about Pittapuram in the Godavari district; but Bailly suggests Benares as a more probable place, and "having about the same longitude";3 [Astron. Indienne et Orientale, p. 12.] (4) That at the epoch the sun's apogee was at 20° of Cancer, and the moon's at 21° of Capricorn; (5) That to the revolution of the moon's apsis a period of 3232 days was allowed; (6) That the greatest equation of the centre for the sun was 2° 12', though he gives a short table from the manuscript on the same page, which states it at 2° 14', while Bailly, professing to quote Cassini's figures, says4 [Astron. Indienne, p. viii. 7, 44.] he found it to be 2° 10' 32" -- which is the value assigned in the Surya Siddhanta, and which Bailly himself had obtained from another Indian work.5 [Mem. de l'Acad. tome viii. p. 304.] The moon's greatest equation of the centre Cassini found to be 4° 56'; (7) That the civil year began with the month of Karttika; (8) And that the constants employed made the artificial day or tithi bear to the civil or natural day the ratio of 692:703; hence 703 lunar months are equal to 20,760 days, and the synodical month was 29d. 12h. 44m. 2-39s.; and as 228 solar months were made equal to 235 lunar ones, he concluded that in 13,357 years there are 165,205 lunar months and 487,860 days, whence he deduced a tropical year of 365d. 5h. 55m. 13-77s., or almost exactly the same as Ptolemy's value.

7. With respect to these results, it may be noted -- (1) That the sidereal year of 365d. 6h. 12m. 36s. is exactly that of the now missing Paulisa-Siddhanta, and, from Al-Beruni's account of it, we learn that it used the same numbers as the Siamese to determine the year, viz. 292,207 days as the measure of 800 years.1 [Al-Beruni's India, Sachau's transl. vol. ii. p. 58; see below § 38.] (2) The ratio of the tithi to the natural day is a usual approximation in Hindu astronomy, giving 1 kshaya tithi in 64-1/11 or 63-10/11 days.2 [Wilkinson's Siddhanta S'iromani, Goladhyaya, iv. 12, where it is misprinted 64-1/11 for 64-1/11; conf. also Al-Beruni's India, Sachau's tr. vol. ii. pp. 37, 47, 52, and 54.] (3) But the ratio of 228 solar months (6939-6871 days), is introduced in the computations only where so close an approximation could produce no sensible error in the results; and Cassini has, perhaps, been misled here by the natural supposition that a tropical year must be as material an element in Hindu as it is in European astronomy. (4) From Al-Beruni, again, we learn that Pulisa assigned 488,219 revolutions of the moon's apsis to a Chaturyuga,3 [Al-Beruni's India, vol. ii. p. 18: the exact value with this element is 3231-98752 days, the difference between this and 3232 days amounts only to one day in 80-2 revolutions, or 686 years.] or almost exactly 3232 days to a revolution. We might infer, then, that the other elements used were also taken from the Paulisa-Siddhanta -- that the lunar month, for example, was of 29d. 12h. 44m. 2-75s. -- but that they had been engrossed in a Karana for the calculation of horoscopes and almanacs. This points, however, to Siam and the Eastern Peninsula as a promising field of search for the Paulisa1 [This portion of the paper was written before Thibaut's Panchasiddhantika, of Varaha Mihira, reached this country. It contains an outline of the Paulisa Siddhanta.] and possibly others of the Siddhantas that have been lost in India.

8. The next contribution to our knowledge of this subject is to be found in an appendix to the Historia Regni Graecorum Bactriani of T.S. Bayer (1694-1738), and is titled "Christophori Theodosii Waltheri Doctrina Temporum Indica ex libris Indicis et Brahmanum institutione, A.C. clclccxxxiii Trangambarae digesta, simul cum Paralipomenis recentioribus."2 [Petropoli, 1738.] The author remarks that Ptolemy alone divided the day into sixty parts, as the Hindus do, and these again sexagesimally. He cites the Hindu divisions of time from Amarasimha; gives the names of the nine graha in Sanskrit and Tamil; of the days of the week; of the months; the signs of the zodiac; the nakshatras, yogas, karanas; of the tithis in Sanskrit, Persian, and Dekhani; and an account of the yugas, and of the Panchanga or kalendar. To this curious tract is added a long note by Leonard Euler on the Hindu year of 365d. 6h. 12m. 30s.

9. Beschi had also given some account of the Indian almanac in his Tamil Grammar, published in 1738;3 [Beschi († 1742) also published Tiruchabei Kanidam, a Tamil work on astronomy.] but no contribution of real importance to Hindu astronomy was made for about eighty years after Cassini's paper.

-- Burgess, James (1893). "Notes on Hindu Astronomy and the History of Our Knowledge of It". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: 722–723.

The Pauliṣa Siddhānta (literally, "The scientific-treatise of Pauliṣa Muni") refers to multiple Indian astronomical treatises, at least one of which is based on a Western source. "Siddhānta" literally means "doctrine" or "tradition".

It is often mistakenly thought to be a single work and attributed to Paul of Alexandria (c. 378 CE). However, this notion has been rejected by other scholars in the field, notably by David Pingree who stated that "...the identification of Paulus Alexandrinus with the author of the Pauliṣa Siddhānta is totally false". Similarly, K. V. Sarma writes that it is from a Greek source, known only as Pauliṣa.

The Alberuni wrote that the Siddhanta is based to the teaching of a Greek named Paulus.

The earlier Pauliṣa-siddhānta dates from the third or fourth century, and the later Pauliṣa-siddhānta from the eighth century.

Similar to the Yavanajātaka ("The Sayings of the Greeks"), the Pauliṣa Siddhānta is an example of Hellenistic astronomy (especially the Alexandrian school) in India during the first centuries CE.

The Pauliṣa Siddhānta was particularly influential on the work of the Indian astronomer Varāhamihira. It was considered one of "The Five Astronomical Canons" in India in the 5th century.

-- Paulisa Siddhanta, by Wikipedia

His explication of the manuscript appeared in La Loubère's book on the Kingdom of Siam in 1691,[12].

Ziegenbalg attributes the decline of the Catholic missions in part to the rivalry between their orders, and mentions the visit of the Papal legate Charles de Tournon to Pondicherry in 1703-1704, and his desire to rid the church of 'heathen' elements introduced by the missionaries, such as "the smearing of ash on the forehead, the shameful difference in the church and in the distribution of holy communion between high and low castes, the play-acting in Brahman habits, etc." He reports also what he has heard of Jesuit missions in China and Thailand, claiming that everywhere Jesuit cunning and unscrupulousness has eventually led to their ruin. [Many of the Jesuits in the Carnatic mission had been forced to leave Thailand in 1688.]

-- Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the Tranquebar Mission, and `the Roman Horror'
in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau, eds., Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, vol. 2 (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006), 797–811, by Will Sweetman

Elizabeth (Lisa) Lyons is another great collector of Thai manuscripts who was living in Bangkok around the same time as Sarah Bekker. ...

One of the many items Lyons acquired for the Penn collection was as beautiful as Bekker’s Abhidhamma chet gamphi (Penn Libraries Ms. Coll. 990, Item 5). However, the authors found it, with some help from Forrest McGill at the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), a bit “too beautiful.” They examined this manuscript held in the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Ms. 89-13-251). Initially this manuscript was loosely dated to the 1870s, but unlike manuscripts in other collections (including Penn’s), there was very little damage. The condition of the manuscript, including the cover, was remarkable. The authors were very pleased, and when they opened the manuscript they were further impressed with the quality of the paper and the dark color of the text (thin mul style khom script). There was no water damage and no marginalia or corrections (again—remarkable). The quality of the paintings is what was really striking. The colors were vibrant, the details fine, and the scenes iconic. The gold used in the paintings (a common feature of Thai manuscripts is to have actual gold leaf in paint) had not faded and was much thicker than any other example from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. It was a perfect manuscript for a museum display, the authors thought, as it would be appreciated for its beauty and show the value of good conservation efforts. However, they were a little suspicious of the dating to 1870s by Lyons and furthermore had not encountered a manuscript of this quality. McDaniel asked Forrest McGill for his opinion, and he immediately assumed it was made post-1950s and suggested, a suggestion the authors now think is correct, that it could be a forgery. McGill had seen forgeries like this done by a local artist from Thailand who had attempted to pass on fake manuscripts to foreign institutions in the 1970s. That suggestion led Kerekes and McDaniel to look closely at the paintings and compare them to others they had seen in other manuscripts. Indeed, one painting is directly copied, it seems, from a Phra Malai manuscript now held at the Chester Beatty Library (and mentioned in another article in this issue). In one painting, four monks with grotesque faces are seen reading a large manuscript, drinking tea, and chewing betel nut (a nice piece of social historical evidence for sure) while a half-naked woman and her children ignore the monks and play a board game in front of them (F.A6.L). The right side of the same folio depicts two men drinking tea and smiling coyly at each other on the grounds of a monastery, while a third man is seen in the window of the monastery in a way that suggests he is either napping or being pleasured orally by an unseen person. These scenes appear in other extant Thai manuscripts, but here the paintings in the Penn manuscript and the Chester Beatty Library (whose date we can confirm as from the nineteenth century) are nearly identical and the scenes are unique enough that there is no other explanation besides direct copying. It is known that the forger in question knew several manuscripts in Western collections. In another scene, the artist seems to have been trying to have a little salacious, or perhaps perverted, fun. In a common scene from Phra Malai manuscripts, we find men fighting with knives. This scene represents the fate of human beings near the end of the world. However, in this particular painting, the artist inserts a woman into the middle of the fight and graphically depicts her having intercourse with one of the fighting men. One could interpret this as a rape scene, but the woman is smiling and the other men seem to ignore her (F.B26.R). This is certainly unusual, even though Thai artists in the nineteenth century sometimes inserted scenes suggesting sexual encounters. There is little evidence from older manuscripts that graphically depict intercourse or fully naked women and men.

Kerekes noted two particular features of this “too beautiful” manuscript that also led the authors to suspect a late forgery. First, there are clearly newer painted folios that have been inserted into an older text as scenes from cleverly hidden and glued page breaks (F.B42.TB.LR). This could be a sign that an older text was added to make this new text larger or that paintings were removed and sold from an older manuscript and new paintings inserted. Second, on one page is a short sentence in modern Thai script in a manuscript that is otherwise in the Thai language in khom script (F.A12.B.M). The line tells the reader to take a break and drink tea! This is not found in other manuscripts and seems to have been a clever little joke. In conclusion, sometimes certain manuscripts are too good to be true, and forgeries do exist. Collectors often pay significant amounts of money for manuscripts, and when markets are created, sometimes, as in all situations, people rise to supply goods for that new market. When that market is premodern art, artists are sometimes tempted to create a “supply.”


Collections and collectors of Siamese/Thai manuscripts in the United States are vast in number and largely unexplored. This short overview was designed to be a roadmap for future scholars who seek to investigate individual manuscripts held at the University of Pennsylvania, The Walters Art Museum, and other collections, or begin to fully investigate the unstudied collections of Cornell, the University of Michigan, or the Library of Congress.

-- Siamese Manuscript Collections in the United States, by Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes, University of Pennsylvania and Justin McDaniel, University of Pennsylvania


Attracted to the heavens in his youth, his first interest was in astrology. While young he read widely on the subject of astrology, and soon was very knowledgeable about it; this extensive knowledge of astrology led to his first appointment as an astronomer. Later in life he focused almost exclusively on astronomy and all but denounced astrology as he became increasingly involved in the Scientific Revolution.

In 1645 the Marquis Cornelio Malvasia, a senator of Bologna with a great interest in astrology, invited Cassini to Bologna and offered him a position in the Panzano Observatory, which he was constructing at that time. Most of their time was spent calculating newer, better, and more accurate ephemerides for astrological purposes using the rapidly advancing astronomical methods and tools of the day.


In 1653, Cassini, wishing to employ the use of a meridian line, sketched a plan for a new and larger meridian line but one that would be difficult to build. His calculations were precise; the construction succeeded perfectly; and its success gave Cassini a brilliant reputation for working with engineering and structural works.[6]

Cassini was employed by Pope Clement IX in regard to fortifications, river management, and flooding of the Po River. "Cassini composed several memoirs on the flooding of the Po River and on the means of avoiding it; moreover, he also carried out experiments in applied hydraulics."[6] In 1663 he was named superintendent of fortifications and in 1665 inspector for Perugia.[6] The Pope asked Cassini to take Holy Orders to work with him permanently but Cassini turned him down because he wanted to work on astronomy full-time.

In the 1670s, Cassini began work on a project to create a topographic map of France, using Gemma Frisius's technique of triangulation. The project was continued by his son Jacques Cassini and eventually finished by his grandson César-François Cassini de Thury and published as the Carte de Cassini in 1789[13] or 1793.[14] It was the first topographic map of an entire country.


• Specimen observationum Bononiensium (in Latin). Bologna: eredi Evangelista Dozza (1.). 1656.
• Martis circa axem proprium revolubilis observationes Bononiae habitae (in Latin). Bologna: eredi Evangelista Dozza (1.). 1666.
• Spina celeste meteora osservata in Bologna il mese di marzo 1668 (in Italian). Bologna: Emilio Maria Manolessi & fratelli. 1668.
• Observations astronomiques faites en divers endroits du royaume, pendant l'année 1672 (in French).
• Abregé des observations et des reflections sur la comete qui a paru au mois de Decembre 1680, et aux mois de Ianvier, Fevrier et Mars de cette annee 1681 (in French). Paris: Estienne Michallet. 1681.
• Cassini, Giovanni Domenico (1682). Raccolta di varie scritture, e notitie concernenti l'interesse della remotione del Reno dalle Valli fatta in Bologna l'anno 1682. (In Bologna): [s.n.]
• Elemens de l'astronomie (in French). Paris: Imprimerie Royale. 1684.
• Découverte de la lumiere celeste qui paroist dans le zodiaque (in French). Paris: Imprimerie Royale. 1685.
• Régles de l'astronomie indienne pour calculer les mouvemens du soleil et de la lune (in French). Paris: Sébastien Mabre-Cramoisy, veuve. 1689.
• De l'origine et du progres de l'astronomie et de son usage dans la geographie et dans la navigation (in French). Vol. 1. Paris: Imprimerie Royale. 1693.
• Hypotheses et les tables des satellites de Jupiter, reformeés sur de nouvelles observations (in French). Paris: Jean Anisson. 1693.
• Meridiana del tempio di S. Petronio tirata e preparata per le osservazioni astronomiche l'anno 1655 (in Italian). Bologna: eredi Vittorio Benacci. 1695.
• Description et usage du planisphere céleste (in French).
• Cassini's works digitalized and available on the digital library of Paris Observatory

See also

• 24101 Cassini, an asteroid
• Aerial telescope – large telescopes used by Cassini
• Cassini (lunar crater)
• Cassini (Martian crater)
• Cassini Division in Saturn's rings
• Cassini oval
• Cassini Regio, dark area on Iapetus
• Cassini–Huygens Mission to Saturn
• Cassini's identity for Fibonacci numbers
• Cassini's laws
• History of the metre
• Neith (hypothetical moon)
• Seconds pendulum


1. His name may also be spelled Giovan Domenico Cassini or Gian Domenico Cassini.
1. Joseph A. Angelo, Encyclopedia of Space and Astronomy, Infobase Publishing – 2014, page 114
2. "Giovanni Domenico Cassini (June 8, 1625 – September 14, 1712)". Messier Retrieved 31 October 2012.
3. "Giovanni Domenico Cassini: The rings and moons of Saturn". Surveyor in Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
4. Augusto De Ferrari (1978), "Cassini, Giovan Domenico" Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 21 (Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana).
5. Gandolfo, Andrea. La provincia di Imperia: storia, arti, tradizioni. Blue Edizioni, 2005.
6. Cassini, Gian Domenico (Jean-Dominique) (Cassini I). Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. pp. 100–104. retrieved 30 May 2013.
7. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Clerke, Agnes Mary (1911). "Cassini s.v. Giovanni Domenico Cassini". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 459.
8. Broad, William J. (19 October 1999). "How the Church Aided 'Heretical' Astronomy". New York Times.
9. Van Helden, Albert (2009). "The beginnings, from Lipperhey to Huygens and Cassini". Experimental Astronomy. 25 (1–3): 3. Bibcode:2009ExA....25....3V. doi:10.1007/s10686-009-9160-y.
10. Locke, John (1864). The life and letters of John Locke : with extracts from his journals and common-place books. London: Bell & Daldy. p. 73.
11. Burgess, James (1893). "Notes on Hindu Astronomy and the History of Our Knowledge of It". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: 722–723.
12. de La Loubère, Simon (1693). A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam. Translated by A.P. pp. 64–65. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
13. "Cesar-Francois Cassini de Thury (French surveyor)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
14. "How topographic map is made – making, history, used, History, Map Scales, Symbols, and Colors, The Manufacturing Process of topographic map, Quality Control, The Future". 2 September 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.

Further reading

• Dominique, comte de Cassini, Giovanni Dominico Cassini biography
• Barkin, Iu. V. (1978). "On Cassini's laws". Astronomicheskii Zhurnal. 55: 113–122. Bibcode:1978SvA....22...64B.
• Connor, Elizabeth (1947). "The Cassini Family and the Paris Observatory". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets. 5 (218): 146–153. Bibcode:1947ASPL....5..146C.
• Cassini, Anna, Gio. Domenico Cassini. Uno scienziato del Seicento, Comune di Perinaldo, 1994. (Italian)
• Giordano Berti (a cura di), G.D. Cassini e le origini dell'astronomia moderna, catalogo della mostra svoltasi a Perinaldo -Im-, Palazzo Comunale, 31 agosto – 2 novembre 1997. (Italian)
• Giordano Berti e Giovanni Paltrinieri (a cura di), Gian Domenico Cassini. La Meridiana del Tempio di S. Petronio in Bologna, Arnaldo Forni Editore, S. Giovanni in Persiceto, 2000. (Italian)
• De Ferrari, Augusto (1978). "Cassini, Giovan Domenico". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (in Italian). Enciclopedia Italiana. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
• Narayanan, Anil, History of Indian Astronomy: The Siamese Manuscript, Lulu Publishing, 2019.

External links

• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Giovanni Domenico Cassini". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Giovanni Domenico Cassini", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
• Giovanni Domenico Cassini – complete digitization of 14 volumes belonging to the Old Fund's Department of Astronomy, University of Bologna, held to mark the celebrations of the Cassini in 2005 (website in Italian)
• Giovanni Cassini Biography
• — Jean-Dominique Cassini: Astrology to astronomy -ESA
• Earth shape
• Virtual exhibition on Paris Observatory digital library
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Part 1 of 2

Surya Siddhanta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/15/22

The Surya Siddhanta (IAST: Sūrya Siddhānta; lit. 'Sun Treatise') is a Sanskrit treatise in Indian astronomy from the late 4th-century or early 5th-century CE,[1][2] in fourteen chapters.[3][4][5] The Surya Siddhanta describes rules to calculate the motions of various planets and the moon relative to various constellations, diameters of various planets, and calculates the orbits of various astronomical bodies.[6][7] The text is known from a 15th-century CE palm-leaf manuscript, and several newer manuscripts.[8]

pp. 15–18.

1.5 Surya-Siddhanta

According to the early eleventh-century author Alberuni, the Surya-siddhanta (or some work of the same name) was composed by Lata (Sachau, 1910, p. 153). According to the text itself, it was spoken by an emissary of the sun-god to the Asura (demon) named Maya at the end of Krta-yuga, over two million years ago.

In his translation of the Surya-siddhanta, Ebenezer Burgess notes that some manuscripts seem to connect Maya with the Roman Empire. In the manuscripts without commentary, the sun-god is presented as saying to Maya, "Go therefore to Romaka-city, thine own residence; there, undergoing incarnation as a barbarian, owing to the curse of Brahma, I will impart to thee this science" (Burgess, 1860, p. 3). If Romaka is actually Rome (or a Roman city), this could be interpreted as evidence that the Surya-siddhanta was derived from Greco-Roman astronomy. Of course, it might also be seen as evidence of tampering with the text. [!!!]

The Surya-siddhanta in its present form can be dated firmly as far back as the fifteenth century A.D. There exists a fifteenth-century palm leaf manuscript (No. XXI. N. 8 of the Adyar Library, Madras) of the text of the Surya-siddhanta along with a commentary by Paramesvara (Shukla, 1957, p. 1). We will have occasion to refer to this manuscript in Appendix 8, where we argue that remnants of advanced astronomical knowledge may survive in the Surya-siddhanta.

The astronomy of the Surya-siddhanta presents an epicyclic theory of planetary motion similar to that of Claudius Ptolemy, but it also has many features that may be of Indian origin. It begins with a detailed discussion of the Indian system of world chronology known as the yuga system. This system is based on a catur-yuga of 4,320,000 solar years and a kalpa of one thousand catur-yugas.

In the Surya-siddhanta, these immense periods of time are used as a convenient device for presenting the orbits of the planets. The orbits are described by a series of cycles and epicycles that are combined trigonometrically to reproduce observed planetary motions. Each cyclic period is defined by giving its number of revolutions in a kalpa. Since this is given as a whole number, it follows that all planetary motions will return exactly to their starting point in one kalpa. A similar idea is found in the "great year" of Hellenistic astronomy, and the idea of cyclic time is also prominent in the Indian Puranas and in the Mahabharata.

The Surya-siddhanta describes the periodic motions of the sun, moon, and planets with good accuracy. It also gives the earth-moon distance to within about 11% of the modern value. However, its figures for the distances of the sun and planets are unrealistically small. They are calculated on the assumption that the sun, moon, and planets all move with the same (mean) speed in their orbits, and therefore orbital radii are proportional to orbital periods.

In contrast, Kepler's third law makes the radius proportional to the 2/3 power of the period. For the planets, the proportionality constant in Kepler's law is also much larger than the one used in Surya-siddhanta, which is based on the orbit of the moon.

It is noteworthy that Ptolemy also made the planetary orbits much too small, but he used a different approach. Each geocentric orbit ranges from its perigee (point closest to the earth) to its apogee (furthest point). His idea was that the apogee of each orbit must equal the perigee of the next one out, so that there would be no unused space (see Appendix 4). The result is that the orbit of Saturn is smaller than the earth's orbit as we know it today.

In the Surya-siddhanta, the motion of the planets is said to be controlled by cords of air. The text explains that

Forms of Time, of invisible shape, stationed in the zodiac (bhagana), called the conjunction (sighrocca), apsis (mandocca), and node (pata), are the causes of the motion of the planets. The planets, attached to these beings[???] by cords of air, are drawn away by them, with the right and left hand, forward or backward, according to nearness, toward their own place. A wind, moreover, called provector (pravaha) impels them toward their own apices (ucca): being drawn away forward and backward, they proceed by a varying motion (Burgess, 1860, p. 53).

It is interesting to compare this with the cosmology of the Puranas, where we find similar ideas. In the Bhagavata Purana, the rotation of the stars and planets around the polar axis is said to be caused by the daksinavarta wind. This is called the pravaha wind in the Visnu Purana, where a more detailed account is given of the control of planetary motions by cords of air:
I have thus described to you, Maitreya, the chariots of the nine planets, all which are fastened to Dhruva by aerial cords. The orbs of all the planets, asterisms, and stars are attached to Dhruva, and travel accordingly in their proper orbits, being kept in their places by their respective bands of air (Wilson, 1980, p. 346).

Chapters 4-6 of the Surya-siddhanta present rules for calculating the times of solar and lunar eclipses. These are based on the same theory of eclipses used in modern astronomy. However, the ascending node of the moon is identified as Rahu, the eclipse demon of the Puranas (see Section 3.4.1). Rahu's counterpart, Ketu, is not mentioned (Burgess, 1860, p. 56).

The Surya-siddhanta contains a chapter on cosmology and geography, in which the earth is portrayed as a self-supporting globe floating in space and surrounded by the planetary orbits. The Puranic Mount Meru is defined as a literal polar axis, passing through the poles, with dwellings of the gods at the northern end and dwellings of the demons at the southern end. In the four quarters, extending south from the north pole to the equator, are four continents with four equatorial cities, as follows (Burgess, 1860, p. 286).

Jambudvipa in Surya-siddhanta

Direction / Continent / City

east / Bhadrasva / Yamakoti
south / Bharata / Lanka
west / Ketumala / Romaka
north / Kuru / Siddhapura

These can be compared with the continents (varsas) of the Puranic Jambudvipa (see also Section 2.4.1). The general view of scholars is that the flat Jambudvipa was adapted to the earth globe when Greek astronomy was introduced into India. However, we argue in this work that Jambudvipa of the Puranas was understood as a planisphere model of the earth when the Puranic texts were written. Thus the idea of an earth globe was originally there in the Puranic Jambudvipa. Whether or not this idea was imported from the Greeks is hard to say. The accepted dates for the surviving recensions of the Puranas would allow this, and Ptolemy is known to have authored a work on the planisphere projection, mapping a globe onto a plane.

Pg. 19-46

2. The Islands and Oceans of Bhu-mandala

2.1 Overview of Bhu-Mandala

The main focus of Bhagavata cosmology is on Bhu-mandala -- the "circle of the earth" -- and we will therefore begin by giving an overview of its qualitative and quantitative features. The structure of Bhu-mandala turns out to be primarily astronomical in nature, and we will discuss this in detail in later chapters.
astronomy: the study of objects and matter outside the earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties.

-- Astronomy, by Merriam-Webster

At the same time, its qualitative features refer both to earthly geography and to the world of demigods. Some of the qualitative details appear to be derived from a historical background that begins with the descriptive geography of India and adjoining parts of Asia. In this chapter we will look briefly at this history, but since it is difficult to reconstruct, our main emphasis throughout this book will be on the cosmology of the Bhagavatam as it stands in its present form.

Bhu-mandala is a disk that bisects the sphere of the Brahmanda, the Puranic universe, and it has the same diameter as this sphere. The most noteworthy feature of Bhu-mandala is that it is described in the Bhagavatam and other Puranas in geographical terms. The central region of Bhu-mandala is divided into seven annular or ring-shaped "islands" and "oceans" which alternate, forming a bull's eye pattern. Here the Sanskrit word for island is dvipa, which literally means two waters. This term is appropriate, since most of the dvipas are rings with an ocean on the inside and on the outside.

The seven dvipas and oceans are collectively called Sapta-dvipa, and they are surrounded by three larger ring-shaped regions which extend out to the edge of Bhu-mandala. Since they are presented as parts of the earth, many scholars have attempted to identify the seven dvipas with earthly regions or countries. Thus Colonel Wilford, an early Indologist, interpreted the dvipas as seven "climates", or zones of latitude, and he assigned specific countries to them, more or less by imagination (Wilson, 1980, p. 292).

Figure 2.1 Sapta-dvipa (with dvipas labeled and shown as equal bands).

Figure 2.2 Francis Wilford's interpretation of Sapta-dvipa as a series of "climates" in the northern hemisphere (Asiatic Researches, vol. 8, p. 367). Note the subdiagram of Jambudvipa's mountain ranges, just to the north of India.

M. P. Tripathi and D. C. Sircar identify Sakadvipa as the land of the Sakas -- the Greek Scythia -- corresponding to Sakasthana (Seistan in East Iran) and areas to the north of this region. Sircar identifies Kusadvipa with the ancient land of Kush, which he thinks is Ethiopia (Sircar, 1960, pp. 163-64). But Tripathi disagrees and identifies Kusadvipa with the land of the Kushans, powerful people from Central Asia who invaded northern India in the early centuries of our era (Tripathi, 1969, p. 181).

It is possible that the dvipas originally did refer to regions of this earth, but in the existing Puranas they are defined as gigantic circles that do not at all correspond to irregular earthly land masses.[!!!] We will argue that these structures play an essentially astronomical role in Puranic cosmology, although Wilford's climate theory is not completely off the mark.

The features of Bhu-mandala are all defined quantitatively using a unit, called the yojana, which is about eight miles in length. The innermost island of Bhu-mandala is Jambudvipa, which has the form of a disk 100,000 yojanas in diameter. Jambudvipa is surrounded by the salt water ocean (Lavanoda), which is a ring 100,000 yojanas across from its inner to its outer edge. This ocean, in turn, is surrounded by the ring-shaped island of Plaksadvipa, which is 200,000 yojanas across. The successive islands and oceans enlarge in as indicated in Table 2.1 (with distances expressed in thousands of yojanas).

In this table, thickness is the distance from the inner radius of a ring-shaped feature to its outer radius. The seven islands and oceans follow the rule that the thickness of an ocean equals the thickness of the island it surrounds and the thickness of that island is twice the thickness of the ocean it surrounds. The circular Jambudvipa is an exception. It surrounds no ocean, and its thickness is its diameter.

The doubling of thicknesses is belied by Figure 2.1, where we show the seven oceans and islands as equal bands. We do this because the oceans and islands do not fit easily in one picture if the doubling rule is followed. For this reason, most traditional diagrams of Bhu-mandala show equal bands.

Table 2.1. Sizes of the Circular Features of Bhu-mandala

Feature 13. called Manasottara Mountain, is a circular mountain range, reminiscent of some of the large craters on the moon. Since it cuts Puskaradvipa in half (see 5.20.30), we listed it in the table as "1/2 Island & mtn." Manasottara Mountain links Bhu-mandala with the orbit of the sun. The axle of the sun's chariot is said to rest at one end on Mount Meru in the center of Bhu-mandala. On the other end, it is supported by a wheel that rolls continuously on the circular track of Manasottara Mountain.[???] As we will see, this solar chariot plays a key role in the astronomical interpretation of Bhu-mandala.

Figure 2.3 The region called Loka (inhabited), with the Golden Land (Kancanibhumi), Lokaloka Mountain, and Aloka-varsa.

The Inhabited Region (Loka) is an exception to the rule of doubling that applies to Sapta-dvipa. Its width is defined in the Bhagavatam verse 5.20.35 to be equal to the radius of Manasottara Mountain, and this is somewhat more than twice the thickness of Svadudaka, the ring that it immediately surrounds. The next ring, called the Golden Land (Kancanibhumi), is assigned a thickness that brings its outer radius to exactly half the radius of Bhu-mandala. This is a bit over twice the radius of Loka. Thus the table of distances is generated (roughly) by doubling, but this doubling is carried out in different ways in different parts of the table.

We note that "Loka" means an inhabited area. In contrast, the Bhagavatam states that the Golden Land is uninhabited. The fifteenth-century commentator, Sridhara Swami, clarifies the dimensions of these two regions as follows. He says that the distance from Manasottara to Meru equals the width of the inhabited earth beyond Svadudaka, and it is 1-1/2 koti and 7-1/2 lakhs (15,750,000) of yojanas. Beyond this is another, golden land measuring eight koti; and thirty-nine lakhs (83,900,000) of yojanas. This reading gives the figures listed in our table. (Here koti and lakh are commonly used terms in Sanskrit designating ten million and one hundred thousand, respectively.)

There is one other circular mountain in addition to Manasottara. This is Lokaloka Mountain, with a radius of 125,000 thousand yojanas (see 5.20.38). This circle divides the illuminated region of Bhu-mandala from the dark, uninhabited region, called Alok-varsa, which extends from Lokaloka to the shell of the Brahmanda.


In addition to their bare dimensions, the dvipas are vividly described as populated geographical regions. With one exception, each dvipa is named after a prominent plant said to grow there. The "oceans" are named after various liquids, such as salt water, sugarcane juice, and liquor. The inhabitants of the dvipas are described, and they are said to worship the Supreme God in the form of various demigods. This information is summed up in the following table. In the third column, the terms fire, water, and air refer to the demigods presiding over these elements.

Table 2.2. The Oceans and Dvipas of Bhu-mandala

The five dvipas from Plaksadvipa to Sakadvipa follow a simple pattern, and each is described in a few lines in the Bhagavatam. Each of these dvipas is divided into seven regions called varsas, with seven mountains and seven rivers. Each varsa is ruled by a grandson of Maharaja Priyavrata, a famous personality who is said to have created a second sun by following 180° behind the sun on a brilliantly glowing chariot. The oceans are said to have been ruts, created by his chariot wheels.

According to the table, Kusadvipa is named after a kind of grass. It is noteworthy that a person performing a Vedic fire sacrifice will traditionally sit on a mat made of kusa grass and offer ghee into the fire. Therefore it may be no coincidence that fire is worshiped in Kusadvipa, which is surrounded by the Ghee Ocean.

In addition to its geography, founding kings, and peoples, each of the dvipas surrounding Jambudvipa is described as having a particular, unusual feature. These are listed as follows:

Table 2.3. Unique Features of Dvipas

Figure 2.4. The Plaksa tree (Ficus infectoria), with a fire of seven flames at its root.

These picturesque accounts of the islands and oceans of Bhu-mandala have sometimes invoked ridicule, as when Lord Macaulay disparaged seas of treacle in his "Minute on Indian Education" (Macaulay, 1952, p. 723). Certainly, this is not geography in the familiar European sense of the term. However, as we will see later on, the geography of Bhu-mandala encodes a combination of astronomical and geographical maps which is both rational and scientific.[???] It appears that the elements of Bhu-mandala geography have either been introduced or adapted to convey a number of meaningful messages, some of which may still remain obscure. This process may be linked to the historical development of Puranic cosmology, and we now turn to this topic.


If we survey traditional Sanskrit cosmological texts, we find a number of variations in the nomenclature and layout of the geography of Bhu-mandala. Followers of the Puranas traditionally say that such variations pertain to different kalpas, or periods of creation, but modern scholars tend to see them in historical terms. In this section, we will carry out a comparative study of texts to see what we can learn about the historical development of cosmological ideas.1 [The references used in this study are: Bhagavata P. Bhaktivedanta, 1982; Visnu P. Wilson, 1980; Kurma P. Tagare, 1981; Vayu P. Tagare, 1987; Siva P., 1990; Narosimha P., Jena, 1987: Narada P., Tagare, 1980; Markandeya P., Pargiter, 1981; Vamana P., Mukhopadhyaya, 1968; Siddhanta-siromani, Wilkinson, 1861: Varaha P., Bhattacharya, 1981; Matsya P., Taluqdar, 1916; Mahabharata, Ganguli, 1970; Padma P., Deshpande, 1988: Ramayana, Shastri, 1976.]

Our main conclusion from the study is that the cosmology of the Bhagavatam is unified and well organized, in contrast to many other Puranas (and related texts) that present cosmology in an incomplete or inconsistent way. We seem to see a historical process of imperfect preservation, rather than one of creative development. Unfortunately, the creative phase of Puranic cosmology largely remains hidden, at least as far this study is concerned.

The Puranas largely agree on the names applied to the features of Bhu-mandala, but they may permute them, and some Puranas omit features present in others. Table 2.4 summarizes the situation found in eleven readily available Puranas, in the Mahabharata, and in the Jyotisa text, Siddhanta-siromani. In this table, the feature numbers from Table 2.1 (p. 22) are used to indicate the sequence of Bhu-mandala features listed in each text. The features run from Jambudvipa (1) in the center, out to the outermost feature mentioned. (Number 17a stands for the Golden Land, Kancanibhumi, which in Table 2.1 was combined with feature 17b, the Lokaloka Mountain.)

Table 2.4 Different Versions of Bhu-mandala.

Several observations can be made here. First of all, the Siddhanta-siromani, the Matsya and Varaha Puranas, and the Mahabharata differ as a group from the other Puranas in the table. In the first three of these texts, Plaksadvipa (3) is replaced by Gomedadvipa (3') and switched with Sakadvipa (11).

In the Mahabharata, Plaksadvipa is missing, even though Sanjaya, the narrator, says he will describe seven islands (Ganguli, vol. V, p. 24). Only six islands are mentioned (respectively 1, 11, 7, 5, 9, 14), as well as five oceans (respectively 2, 8, 12, 6, 15). The relationship between the islands and oceans is not indicated, and we have therefore arranged them in the table (preserving order) so as to line up as much as possible with the Matsya Purana
. The good matches indicate a strong relationship between the arrangement given in the Mahabharata and the one given in this Purana.

In the Puranas, the seven dvipas and oceans of Bhu-mandala are alternating concentric rings, and their sizes are generally given by the doubling rule of Table 2.1 (p. 22). But in the Mahabharata, it is not clear that dvipas are intended to be concentric rings. Dvipas are said to be surrounded by oceans, but oceans are not said to be surrounded by dvipas. The dvipas in the Mahabharata are said to double as one goes north, but no mention is made of their extent in other directions. Doubling is applied even more extensively in the Mahabharata than in the Puranas, since various mountains are also said to double in size as one goes north (Ganguli, vol. V, pp. 26-27).

Since the Mahabharata is generally dated before the Puranas, one might suppose that its cosmography is ancestral to Puranic cosmography. This is possible. But the cosmography of the Mahabharata is incomplete and unsystematic, and if it does represent an ancestral system, it presents only a fragment of that system -- whatever it may have been.

This naturally leads to the thought that the text of the Mahabharata has become corrupt, and this idea is not new. For example, in his Mahabharatatatparyanirnaya, verses 2.3-4, the thirteenth-century philosopher and religious teacher, Madhavacarya, stated that

In some places (of the Mahabharata) verses have been interpolated [inserting something of a different nature into something else] and in others verses have been omitted. In some places, the verses have been transposed and in others, different readings have been given out of ignorance or otherwise.

Though the works are really indestructible, they must be deemed to be mostly altered. Mostly all of them have disappeared and not even one crore [ten million] (out of several crores of slokos) now exists
(Resnick, 1999).

Many Puranas also present cosmography in an inconsistent fashion. For example, the Varaha Purana mentions duplicate names for three of the oceans. (These are indicated by stacking one alternative above the other in the table.) The Padma Purana contains a nearly verbatim copy of cosmological material from the Mahabharata -- with the interlocutors Sanjaya and Dhrtarastra being replaced by the Puranic narrator, Suta, and a group of sages. But in another place, it gives a different list following the pattern of the Bhagavatam. Thus the Padma Purana contains a mixture of material from different works.[!!!]

Figure 2.5 Approximate cosmographical map, based on the account in the Ramayana of the travels of the Vanaras (monkeys) in search of Sita (after Ali, 1966, p. 23).

The Ramayana does not mention doubling, and its earth, bounded by dark, inaccessible regions, does not seem to have a succession of alternating oceans and islands. The center is India, and Mount Meru is placed to the west rather than to the north. On the east there is an island of Yava, which might be Java. There is also a Milk Ocean (Ksiroda) and a fresh water sea (Jalada). The Salmali tree of Garuda is located in the east, and the Kraunca mountain is placed in the Himalayas to the north. Apart from this, there is little to remind us of the Puranic Bhu-mandala.

Although the Ramayana may seem to represent an earlier stage in the development of the cosmology, there are earlier references to oceans and land areas that surround one another and double in size from one to the next. For example, the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad states that "This world is thirty-two times the space crossed by the sun's chariot in a day. The earth twice as that, surrounds it. Surrounding that earth is the ocean twice as large. Then, in between, there is the space as fine as a razor's edge, or as subtle as the wing of a fly" (Sivananda, 1985, p. 294). The Upanisads are generally thought to be much earlier than the Ramayana, but this description is reminiscent of the Puranas, which are held to be later. The reference to the sun's motion suggests that the "earth" and the "ocean" must be extremely large, and this is also seen in the Puranas. The "space as fine as a razor's edge" has been described as a minute opening between the two hemispherical shells of the Brahmanda through which souls may pass.[!!!]

Figure 2.6 Cosmographical diagram described by Yajnavalkya in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 3.3.2. Note: the sun's orbit corresponds to the dot in the middle of the globe.

The first nine Puranas agree on feature names and their order, but some of them list fewer features than others. These Puranas all seem to reflect a single system different from the one in the Matsya Purana. The Bhagavatam, followed by the Visnu Purana, gives the most detailed list of ring-structures in Bhu-mandala. At the same time, some Puranas, such as the Vayu, give much more detailed accounts of the geography of Jambudvipa than the Bhagavatam.

We may ask whether the Puranas with longer lists added some features, or whether the ones with shorter lists dropped some. Our impression on reading the texts is that in many cases, the Puranas refer to the geography of Bhu-mandala in a very cursory way, as though the reader was expected to be already familiar with it.[???] Thus some Puranas neglect to mention all of the feature names.

Since the Bhagavatam differs from all of the other Puranas in its assignment of the Milk (10) and Curd (12) Oceans (Table 2.1, p. 22), it appears that these have been switched for some reason in the Bhagavatam. Likewise, feature 16 (Loka) is listed only in the Bhagavatam, and we can ask whether it is unique to this text. The answer is that indirect evidence suggests that the Bhagavatam's calculations for Loka and the Golden Land were used in other texts as well.

Thus the Bhagavatam makes the radius of Lokaloka one fourth the diameter of the Brahmanda, and the distance from the Sweet Water Ocean to Lokaloka Mountain comes to about ten crores of Yojanas, where a crore is ten million. (The exact figure is 99,650,000 yojanas.) H. H. Wilson finds similar figures in the Siva Tantra. He says, "According to the Siva Tantra, the golden land is ten crores of Yojanas, making, with the seven continents, one fourth of the whole measurement" (Wilson, 1980, p. 294). Thus the Bhagavatam's calculations -- which make use of feature 16 -- appear to be reflected in the Siva Tantra, and they may have a further, unknown background.

In contrast, the Visnu and Kurma Puranas (which are closest to the Bhagavatam in Table 2.4) both say that the Golden Land has twice the thickness of the Sweet Water Ocean (Svadudaka). This results in a radius of 38,150,000 yojanas for LokaIoka Mountain. All of the Puranas agree that the Brahmanda is 250,000,000 yojanas in radius, and so the radius of Lokaloka Mountain comes to about 15% of the universal radius.

Il is not clear whether this version came before that of the Bhagavatam or after it. But if we assume the former, it is hard to say why the boundary of the Brahmanda was placed so far away from Lokaloka Mountain. The Visnu Purana cannot produce a figure as large as the universal radius by further doubling. For example, doubling thickness again by adding twice the Golden Land would bring one out to only 63,750,000 yojanas. In contrast, the Bhagavatam does generate the universal radius by doubling, and this involves feature 16.

In summary, it does not seem possible at present to trace the geography of Bhu-mandala back to its origins. The existing texts do not explain their calculations, and many of them appear to be corrupt and incomplete. At some point, descriptive geography (perhaps represented by the Ramayana) must have given way to a quasi-geographical system based on circles of immense size. As we will argue later on, the motivation for this was apparently astronomical and involved an analogy between the earth and the sun's path through the heavens. It could have happened at any time in the development of the tradition leading up to the Bhagavatam.

Figure 2.7 The Visnu Purana places the Golden Land directly outside of Sapta-dvipa, with a thickness twice that of the Sweet Water Ocean. This gives the surrounding Lokaloka Mountain a radius only 15% of the radius of the Brahmanda, as shown here. (Compare with the Bhagavatam's version in Figure 1 of the Introduction.


In the Puranas, Jambudvipa is a disk 100,000 yojanas in diameter situated in the center of Bhu-mandala. In the center of Jambudvipa is Mount Meru (or Sumeru) which, in one interpretation, corresponds astronomically to the polar axis of the earth. But even though the center point of Meru may represent the north pole, the cardinal directions east, west, north, and south are defined from it. We will argue later on that Jambudvipa also represents a local map centered on the Pamir mountains, and these cardinal directions are appropriate for this map (see Section 5.1).

On the top of Mount Meru, the cardinal directions and intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest) are marked by the eight cities of the Loka-paIas, surrounding the central city of Brahma. It turns out that this arrangement of directional demigods is related to a system of Indian architecture in which a building site on the earth is identified with the ecliptic -- the path of the sun through the heavens. This is discussed below, in Section 2.5. It is significant, because a key interpretation of the earth-mandala is that it represents the ecliptic and the planetary orbits.

The disk of Jambudvipa is divided in the Puranas into nine varsas, or continents, by a series of mountain ranges, as shown in Figure 2.9. The disk is first of all divided into seven horizontal strips by six ranges that run east-west. In the Bhagavatam, each range is said to be 10,000 yojanas high and 2,000 yojanas wide. The three strips to the north and the three to the south are single varsas, and they are said to extend for 9,000 yojanas in a north-south direction. This leaves 34,000 yojanas for the seventh strip, which consists of three varsas. These features and their north-south dimensions are listed in Table 2.5, going from north to south.

Figure 2.8 Close-up of Jambudvipa, showing Brahmapuri on top of Mount Sumeru.

Figure 2.9 Map of Jambudvipa, with mountain ranges shown in black and the base of Mount Meru shown in the center.

Table 2.5 Geographical Features of Jambudvipa, from North to South

According to 5.16.8, the east-west length of these mountains is supposed to be reduced by a little more than 10% as one goes from mountain to mountain from the center outward. This is roughly true if we extend each mountain range until it meets the circular boundary of Jambudvipa. These lengths appear in Table 2.6.

The central strip is divided into three varsas (making nine in total) by two mountain chains that run north-south and extend for 2,000 yojanas. Their north-south length must be 34,000 yojanas. Taking their width in the east-west direction to be 2,000 yojanas, and taking Ilavrta-varsa in the center to be square, the east-west dimensions of these features are in Table 2.7.

Table 2.6 Lengths of Mountains in Jambudvipa, from North to South

Table 2.7 Features Ranging from West to East in Jambudvipa

The inhabitants and topography of Jambudvipa are described in considerable detail. In 5.17.11, Bharata-varsa is singled out as the field of fruitive activities, and the other eight varsas are said to be meant for elevated persons who are enjoying the remainder of their pious credits after returning from the heavenly planets. This suggests that, in one sense, Bharata-varsa is the entire earth and the other eight varsas represent otherworldly, heavenly regions. This is one of the major interpretations of Jambudvipa and Bhu-mandala, and it is discussed in Chapter 6.

Within lIavrta-varsa there are a number of mountains and rivers surrounding Mount Meru. Meru is described in 5.16.7 as being 100,000 yojanas high, with 16,000 yojanas extending beneath the earth and 84,000 yojanas above the earth. It is said to be 32,000 yojanas in diameter at the top and 16,000 yojanas in diameter at the base.

Table 2.10 This diagram of Jambudvipa shows the Deities worshiped in different varsas, nearly accordingly to the Bhagavatam. It is copied from a painting on the wall of the compound of the Kutalmanika temple in Kerala.

Table 2.8 Worship in Jambudvipa

Mount Meru is therefore in the form of an inverted cone, and it is compared to the pericarp or seed pod of the lotus flower of Bhu-mandala. In the Vayu Purana, Meru is said to be four-sided, with the colors white (east), yellow (south), black (west), and red (north) (Tagare, 1987, pp. 237-38).

In each varsa it is said that an avatara of Visnu is worshiped by a particular famous devotee. In this way, Jambudvipa also plays the role of a divine mandala representing the faith of the Vaisnavas, for whom the Bhagavatam is an important sacred text. The avataras and their worshipers are listed in Table 2.8.

In Bharata-varsa, Nara-narayana is said to be worshiped by Narada Muni in Badarikasrama, a famous site of pilgrimage for thousands of Hindus. This provides a link with a known location in the Himalayas, but we do not have earthly counterparts for the other centers of worship.

2.4.1 Jambudvipa in the Mahabharata

The Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata describes a circular island called Sudarsana which is very similar to the Puranic Jambudvipa. The geographical layout of this island is the same as that in Tables 2.5 and 2.7, with the exception that the vertical spacing between the east-west ranges is set at 1,000 yojanas (Ganguli, vol. V, pp. 13-14). However, the height of Mount Meru, situated between the MaIyavan and Gandhamadana mountains, is defined to be 84,000 yojanas, as in the Puranas.

Figure 2.11 Circular continent of Sudarsana, as described in the Mahabharata (after Ali, 1966, pp. 32-33). This corresponds to Jambudvipa in the Puranas

While Sudarsana corresponds to the Puranic Jambudvipa, the term Jambudvipa is used in a different sense in the Mahabharata. Thus, in the Bhisma Parva it is said that "Jamvu Mountain" extends over 18,600 yojanas and the Salt Ocean is twice as big. Sikadvipa is twice as big as Jambudvipa, and another ocean surrounding Sakadvipa is twice the size of that island (Ganguli, vol. V, p. 24). Except for the small size of Jambudvipa, this sounds like Puranic geography as given in the Matsya Purana.

But in the Santi Parva, it is said that
King Yudhisthira once ruled Jambudvipa, Krauncadvipa on the west of Meru and equal to Jambudvipa, Sakadvipa on the east of Meru and equal to Krauncadvipa, and Bhadrasva, on the north of Meru and equal to Sakadvipa (Ganguli, vol. VIll, p. 24). This gives us three dvipas and one varsa arranged as equal units around Meru in the cardinal directions. This geographical arrangement is clearly quite different from the one given in the Bhisma Parva.

Then again, if we look back to the Bhisma Parva, we find the statement that "Beside Meru are situated, O lord, these four islands, viz., Bhadraswa, and Kelumala, and Jamvudwipa otherwise called Bharata, and Uttar-Kuru which is the abode of persons who have achieved the merit of righteousness" (Ganguli, vol. V, p. 14). It appears that the Mahabharata is reporting different geographical systems without attempting to systematically reconcile them.

Figure 2.12 This diagram is based on a text from the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. It differs from the Puranas and other parts of the Mahabharata by defining Jambudvipa as one of four regions surrounding Mount Meru.[/i]

According to Joseph Schwartzberg, [i]an earlier Hindu and Buddhist map of the earth placed four continents in the cardinal directions around Mount Meru, with the continent called Bharata or Jambudvipa to the south (Schwartzberg, 1987, p. 336). The Surya-siddhanta follows this pattern by putting Bhadrasva to the east, Bharata to the south, Ketumala to the west, and Kuru to the north
(Burgess, 1860, p. 286).

In Figure 2.13, published by the early Indologist Francis Wilford, Jambudvipa is presented as a lotus, with four continents arranged around Meru as listed in the Surya-siddhanta (Wilford, 1805). Note that Kuru-varsa (Curu) is identified as Siberia, so that Meru falls somewhere in the mountainous region north of India. Additional lands near India have been added as extra petals.

Schwartzberg maintains that the original system of four continents was modified over time until it took the form given in Figure 2.9. This may be true, but we may also be dealing with independent traditions making use of the same set of names for islands and continents.

Figure 2.13 Jambudvipa, depicted as a lotus flower by the early Indologist Francis Wilford.

We can distinguish between the two maps of Jambudvipa on purely functional grounds. In relation to actual earthly geography, the four-continent map simply assigns names to lands in the four cardinal directions around Mount Meru (which lies somewhere to the north of India). In contrast, the map in Figure 2.9 gives a more detailed picture of the mountain ranges and valleys in this part of south-central Asia (see Chapter 5). This may explain how these two systems could coexist in the same text.[???]

A basic theme of this study is that models in the Bhagavatam are sometimes used to convey more than one meaning (see the Introduction to Bhagavata Cosmology). Here it appears that the Mahabharata is using geographical terms (such as Sakadvipa) with more than one meaning. One might argue that as alternative meanings accumulated over a long period of time, commentators became tolerant of apparently conflicting meanings, and they tended to resolve conflicts by looking at statements from the standpoint of local context.


Concluding this chapter, we show how an apparently minor detail of Jambudvipa is connected with the astronomy of the ecliptic and with rich astronomical traditions of Indochina. This connection provides data which corroborates the close correlations between Bhu-mandala and modern astronomy [???!!!] that we will discuss in Chapter 4.

The Bhagavatam verse 5.21.7 describes four cities of the demigods situated on Manasottara mountain in the cardinal directions:

Table 2.9 Directional Cities on Manasottara Mountain.

It turns out that these cities are connected with a larger system of directional demigods, and these in turn are connected with the traditional Indian system of architecture known as Vastu Sastra.


Angkor Wat, a Hindu-Buddhist temple and World Heritage Site, is the largest religious monument in the world. This Cambodian temple deploys the same circles and squares grid architecture as described in Indian Vāstu Śastras.

Vastu shastra (vāstu śāstra - literally "science of architecture") are texts on the traditional Indian system of architecture. These texts describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry. The designs aim to integrate architecture with nature, the relative functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefs utilising geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry, and directional alignments.

Vastu Shastra are the textual part of Vastu Vidya - the broader knowledge about architecture and design theories from ancient India. Vastu Vidya is a collection of ideas and concepts, with or without the support of layout diagrams, that are not rigid. Rather, these ideas and concepts are models for the organisation of space and form within a building or collection of buildings, based on their functions in relation to each other, their usage and the overall fabric of the Vastu. Ancient Vastu Shastra principles include those for the design of Mandir (Hindu temples), and the principles for the design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, water works, shops and other public areas.

In contemporary India, states Chakrabarti, consultants that include "quacks, priests and astrologers" fueled by greed are marketing pseudoscience and superstition in the name of Vastu-sastras. They have little knowledge of what the historic Vastu-sastra texts actually teach, and they frame it in terms of a "religious tradition", rather than ground it in any "architectural theory" therein....

According to Chakrabarti, Vastu Vidya is as old the Vedic period and linked to the ritual architecture. According to Michael W. Meister, the Atharvaveda contains verses with mystic cosmogony which provide a paradigm for cosmic planning, but they did not represent architecture nor a developed practice.

Vastu sastras are stated by some to have roots in pre-1st-century CE literature, but these views suffer from being a matter of interpretation. For example, the mathematical rules and steps for constructing Vedic yajna square for the sacrificial fire are in the Sulba-sutras dated to 4th-century BCE. However, these are ritual artifacts and they are not buildings or temples or broader objects of a lasting architecture. Varahamihira's Brihat Samhita dated to about the sixth century CE is among the earliest known Indian texts with dedicated chapters with principles of architecture. For example, Chapter 53 of the Brihat Samhita is titled "On architecture", and there and elsewhere it discusses elements of vastu sastra such as "planning cities and buildings" and "house structures, orientation, storeys, building balconies" along with other topics....

By 6th century AD, Sanskrit texts for constructing palatial temples were in circulation in India. Vāstu-Śastras include chapters on home construction, town planning, and how efficient villages, towns and kingdoms integrated temples, water bodies and gardens within them to achieve harmony with nature....

The Silpa Prakasa of Odisha, authored by Ramachandra Bhattaraka Kaulachara sometime in ninth or tenth century CE, is another Vāstu Śastra. Silpa Prakasa describes the geometric principles in every aspect of the temple and symbolism such as 16 emotions of human beings carved as 16 types of female figures.... in Saurastra tradition of temple building found in western states of India, the feminine form, expressions and emotions are depicted in 32 types of Nataka-stri[???] compared to 16 types described in Silpa Prakasa. Silpa Prakasa provides brief introduction to 12 types of Hindu temples....

Vāstu Śastra Vidya was ignored, during colonial era construction, for several reasons. These texts were viewed by 19th and early 20th century architects as archaic, the literature was inaccessible being in an ancient language not spoken or read by the architects, and the ancient texts assumed space to be readily available....

Vastu Shastra is a pseudoscience, states Narendra Nayak – the head of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations. In contemporary India, Vastu consultants "promote superstition in the name of science". Astronomer Jayant Narlikar states Vastu Shastra has rules about integrating architecture with its ambience, but the dictates of Vastu and alleged harm or benefits being marketed has "no logical connection to environment". He gives examples of Vastu consultants claiming the need to align the house to magnetic axis for "overall growth, peace and happiness, or that "parallelogram-shaped sites can lead to quarrels in the family", states Narlikar. This is pseudoscience....

Many Agamas, Puranas and Hindu scriptures include chapters on architecture of temples, homes, villages, towns, fortifications, streets, shop layout, public wells, public bathing, public halls, gardens, river fronts among other things. In some cases, the manuscripts are partially lost, some are available only in Tibetan, Nepalese or South Indian languages, while in others original Sanskrit manuscripts are available in different parts of India.

-- Vastu shastra, by Wikipedia

Figure 2.14 The asta-dikpalaka, the rulers of the eight directions (after Dubreuil-Jouveau, 1937, p. 107.

Verse 5.16.29 mentions cities of eight Loka-palas, or lords of the worlds, beginning with lndra. These cities are said to be situated on top of Mount Sumeru, surrounding the city of Lord Brahma (Brahmapuri). The Loka-palas are also known as the Asta-dik-palaka, or eight lords of the directions. They are situated as follows (Dubreuil-Jouveau, 1937, p. 107):

Table 2.10 The Cities of Brahma and the Eight Loka-palas

Figure 2.15 The figure of the Vastupurusa in the 8x8 Vastupurusa-mandala

Note that with the exception of Kuvera in the north, the lords of the cardinal directions are the same as the demigods ruling the cardinal points of Minasottara mountain.

In Vastu Sastra, the layout of a temple or residential house is based on an 8x8 or 9x9 grid of squares, known as the Vastupurusamandala. This grid is associated with the figure of a person called the Vastupurusa, as indicated for the 8x8 grid in the illustration. These grids are always aligned with the cardinal directions.

There are 28 squares in the outer border of the 8x8 grid, and 32 squares in the outer border of the 9x9 grid. These are associated with demigods called Padadevatas. The central 3x3 squares of the 9x9 grid are dedicated to Brahma, and thus the entire grid resembles the top of Mount Sumeru, with Brahmapuri in the center.
This is enhanced by the close similarity between the eight Loka-palas and the eight Padadevatas situated at the cardinal and intermediate directions.

Table 2.11 The 32 Padadevatas and the Loka-palas

For the 9x9 grid, the Padadevatas are listed in the table below. Different sources give small variants in the list of Padadevatas, and in the first three columns we give three lists from (1) (Kramrisch, 1946, p. 32), (2) (Tarkhedkar, 1995, p. 31), and (3) (Sthapati, 1997, p. 205).

The eight Loka-palas are listed for comparison in the fourth column of the table. The demigods are listed in groups of nine for each side of the 9x9 square, and each corner demigod therefore comes at the end of one list and the beginning of the next one. The corner demigods should be compared with the Loka-palas for the intermediate directions, and the demigods in the center squares of the sides should be compared with the Loka-palas for the cardinal directions. The similarity is close enough to indicate a strong connection between the Vastu Sastras and the Puranic lords of the directions. Note that the Padadevata for the center of the northern side is listed as Soma. This disagrees with the Loka-pala list, which has Kuvera, but it agrees with 5.21.7.

There is a connection between the Vastupurusamandala and the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the path of the sun against the background of stars, and in Indian astronomy it is marked by 27 or 28 constellations called naksatras. The Vistupurusamandala, which is situated on the earth, is linked with the ecliptic in the heavens by identifying the four cardinal directions with the solstices and equinoxes and by identifying 28 intermediate directions with the naksatras.

The Indian art historian Stella Kramrisch described this connection as follows for the 9x9 Vastupurusamandala with 32 squares in its border:

The 27 and 28 divisions of the Ecliptic become fixed in position like a great, fixed, square dial with the numbers ranging not along the equator, but along the Ecliptic itself. The square, cycle of the Ecliptic, would thus have to be sub-divided into 27 or 28 compartments. Instead of this, the number of Naksatras is augmented to 32, so that each field of the border represents a lunar mansion or Naksatra. In the Vastumandala their number is thus adjusted to the helio-planetary cosmogram of the Prthivimandala. There, the four cardinal points, with reference to the Ecliptic are the equinoxial and solstitial points in the annual cycle. The soIar cycles of the days and years are shown in the Vastumandala together with the lunations, the monthly revolutions of the moon around the earth. The soIar-spatial symbolism is primary and the lunar symbolism is accommodated within the Vastu-diagram (Kramrisch, 1946. p. 31).

According to Kramrisch, the Vastumandala represents a composite of different traditions, and she also mentions a different scheme in which naksatras and their presiding demigod are linked to the cardinal directions (Kramrisch, 1946, p. 34). These demigods are said to rule over positions of entrances to the planned building, and they differ from the 32 Padadevatas.

The ecliptic/Vastumandala link represents a scheme in which part of the earth (where a building is to be erected) is identified with the ecliptic in the sky. There is a similar identification in the Bhagavatam, where the earth-disk, Bhu-mandala, represents the ecliptic plane. It may therefore be significant that the Puranic Loka-palas on Mount Meru are connected with the Vastupurusamandala of Vastu Sastra.[???!!!]

Adrian Snodgrass describes the symbolism of the Vastupurusamandala, and he also relates it to a cosmological account in which the Trayastrimsa Heaven of lndra is situated on Mount Meru, along with 32 directional demigods representing the equinoxes and solstices and the 28 naksatra divisions of the ecliptic. He points out that this symbolism was reflected in the medieval Burmese kingdom of Pegu, in which 32 provinces surrounding the capital city represented the ecliptic and the Loka-palas (Snodgrass, 1990, pp. 210-11 ).

Snodgrass also points out that elaborate astronomical symbolism was built into the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Thus
Angkor Wat "incorporates at least twenty-two significant alignments to equinoctial and solstitial solar risings" (Snodgrass, 1990, p. 216). This implies that Hindu temple builders in Indochina must have been interested in making quantitative astronomical observations, and it may indicate some of the practical astronomy lying behind the Vastumandala concept.

Snodgrass also listed over thirteen different astronomical quantities that were built into the temple of Angkor Wat in multiples of a unit of length called the hat (Sanskrit hasta). For example, "the interior axial lengths of the nine chambers in the central tower are 27 on the east-west axis and 28 on the north-south axis, referring to the 27 or 28 lunar mansions (naksatra) and to the 28 days on which the moon is visible each month" (Snodgrass, 1990, p. 217).

An interesting feature is the latitude of Angkor Wat, which equals the local elevation of the polar axis. This is expressed in the building by several lengths of 13.43 hat, where one hat represents one degree of latitude. This is accurate to 60-90 seconds of arc (Snodgrass, 1990, p. 221). Also, several lengths of 432, 864, 1,296, and 1,728 hat in different parts of the building express the four yugas -- time periods which endure for corresponding numbers of millennia (Snodgrass, 1990, p. 223). (The yuga system is discussed in Section 8.4.)

The hat itself is 0.43454 meters, which is very close to the 0.432 meter hasta discussed in Section 4.5 on the length of the yojana (Snodgrass, 1990, p. 217). This unit, in turn, emerges independently in the study of the correlation between planetary orbits and Bhu-mandala reported in Section 4.4.

-- The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe, by Richard L. Thompson [For Sale in Asia Only], 2000

It was composed or revised c. 800 CE from an earlier text also called the Surya Siddhanta.[5] The Surya Siddhanta text is composed of verses made up of two lines, each broken into two halves, or pãds, of eight syllables each.[9]

As described by al-Biruni, the 11th-century Persian scholar and polymath, a text named the Surya Siddhanta was written by one Lāta.[8] The second verse of the first chapter of the Surya Siddhanta attributes the words to an emissary of the solar deity of Hindu mythology, Surya, as recounted to an asura called Maya at the end of Satya Yuga, the first golden age from Hindu texts, around two million years ago.[8][10]

The text asserts, according to Markanday and Srivatsava, that the earth is of a spherical shape.[4] It treats Sun as stationary globe around which earth and other planets orbit. It calculates the earth's diameter to be 8,000 miles (modern: 7,928 miles),[6] the diameter of the moon as 2,400 miles (actual ~2,160)[6] and the distance between the moon and the earth to be 258,000 miles[6] (now known to vary: 221,500–252,700 miles (356,500–406,700 kilometres).[11] The text is known for some of earliest known discussion of sexagesimal fractions and trigonometric functions.[1][2][12]

The Surya Siddhanta is one of several astronomy-related Hindu texts. It represents a functional system that made reasonably accurate predictions.
[13][14][15] The text was influential on the solar year computations of the luni-solar Hindu calendar.[16] The text was translated into Arabic and was influential in medieval Islamic geography.[17] The Surya Siddhanta has the largest number of commentators among all the astronomical texts written in India. It includes information about the orbital parameters of the planets, such as the number of revolutions per Mahayuga, the longitudinal changes of the orbits, and also includes supporting evidence and calculation methods.[9]
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Textual history

Further information: Jyotisha

In a work called the Pañca-siddhāntikā composed in the sixth century by Varāhamihira, five astronomical treatises are named and summarised: Paulīśa-siddhānta, Romaka-siddhānta, Vasiṣṭha-siddhānta, Sūrya-siddhānta, and Paitāmaha-siddhānta.: 50  Most scholars place the surviving version of the text variously from the 4th-century to 5th-century CE,[18][19] although it is dated to about the 6th-century BC by Markandaya and Srivastava.[20]

1 Introduction

Anthropologists and archaeologists agree that the beginning of civilization in India was around 4000 B.C. in the northwestern and central areas. Not much is known about the early period, but it is generally believed that by early in the 3ed millennium B.C. this civilization had developed a primitive village culture. Then, in a still unexplained great advance, these people developed one of the world's earliest civilizations.

Until recently little work has been done to collect and collate information on the contributions of the ancient Indians in the field of oceanography; this is because scientists are generally not familiar with the original sources, while classical scholars pass by the most valuable work as of no literary merit. In this article a survey has been made of the contribution by Indians to physical oceanography from the Harappan times (about 3000 B.C.) to 1947. The study has been classified into seven historical periods, viz.: Indo-Aryan (3000-600 B.C.), Jain and Buddhist (600·325 B.C.), Mauryan and Kushan (322 B.C.-320 A.D.), Gupta and Harsha (320-650 A.D.), Rajput (650-1200 A.D.), Muslim (1200-1757 A.D.), and British (1757-1947 A.D.). It may be noted here that certain events, not specifically oceanographic, have also been discussed to project a comprehensive picture of the intellectual thinking of the ancient Indians.

[pgs. 552 missing]

6 m. Hence, to effectively operate the dock it was essential for the Harappans to have a good knowledge of the tides in the area. A close study of the Lothal dock reveals that the Harappan ocean-engineers had also solved the problems of desilting in the dock and the maintenance of a constant water level in the channel (Rao 1956-1957,1970, 1973). Three perforated stone anchors and a Persian Gulf seal have been found at Lothal.

An Indus type of seal found in Mesopotamia has been dated from 2950-2220 B.C. (Wheeler 1964). Indian teak has been found in the Babylonian remains of the 3rd millennium (Sircar 1967).
The above finds give positive evidence that trade with west Asian ports had been well established in the Bronze Age.[???!!!] The outstanding feature of the wind system over the Arabian Sea is a seasonal reversal of its direction, associated with the northeast and southwest monsoon seasons. Without the knowledge of these changing winds the Harappan vessels could not have made their voyages; thus the Harappan sailors must have had at least a conceptual knowledge of the monsoon winds.
“Assumptions are the mother of all f***-ups” -- Anon
"Necessity is the mother of invention" -- Proverb

Trade at Lethal seems to have declined around 1500 B.C., followed by the decline (or migration) of the Harappan civilization.

Vedic Period (1500 8.C.-600 B.C.)

Figure 1b. An Artist's concept of the Lothal dock (after Rao 1973).

The end of Harappan civilization caused much turmoil in the Indian sub-continent, and until 600 B.C. little archaeological evidence of maritime activity is available. However, a survey of the Hindu epics has been made to gather information on maritime activity during the Vedic period.[???!!!] Prabasa (Somnath), the place of Hindu holy rites in the epic Mahabharata, has been identified as a Vedic port on the Kathiawar coast. Mula-Dwarka, an estuarine port in the village of

[pgs. 554-555 missing]

of the maritime activity of the Indians. It seems that the Indians established colonies in west Asia, and it is believed that an Indian colony in the region of the upper Euphrates River west of Lake Van was established as early as the 2nd century B.C. Socotra Island (Sukhatara Davipa in Sanskrit) was also colonized.

In the Periplus the name of the sea goddess of Gujarat, Sikotari-mata, is mentioned. A number of Indian ports are also cited in Periplus: Hastabra (Hatab on the Kathiawar coast); Colliena (Kalyana); Mandager (Mandad); Palaeputmae (Pal) near Bombay. Muziris (Fig. 1c) near Cranganore, in South Canara, is also referred to in Periplus; this site has been excavated and the evidence should shows that it was in operation during the 1st to 2nd century A.D. (Ramachandran 1970, Rao 1970).

Though Greek writers mention ports on the eastern coast of India, evidence from the Tamil literature, viz. Chilappathikaram seems to be more accurate. It describes the ports of Poompohar (Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu); Poduke or Paduca (Arikamedu near Pondicherry); and Kaimapara (Konark in Orissa). Excavations at Kaveripattinam have exposed a brick jetty dateable to 300 B.C. Excavations conducted at Paduca have identified a warehouse of the 1st century A.D.; Paduca was a Roman trade-treaty port, and Roman pottery of the 1st century A.D. has been unearthed there (Ramachandran 1970, Rao 1970). At Dhanyakatka near Amaravati in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, an embarkment with wharf and a navigational channel, with rouletted ware, dated as about 200 B.C., have been discovered. At Tamlik or Tamralipti on the mouth of the Ganga, an estuarine port dating from the 2nd to 3rd century A.D. has been unearthed (Ramachandran 1970, Rao 1970). The tidal bore in the river Ganga and its tributaries is an important oceanographic feature in the area; navigators for the above period must have had knowledge of these tidal bores, otherwise they would not have been able to operate their boats.

Figure 1c. Ancient sea routes connecting India with the Arabian and south-east Asian countries (after Ramachandran 1970)

Literature on ship building is lacking in the earlier Indian writings. The only book that discusses ship building is Yuktikalpatara, written by Bhoja, King of Dhara (4th century A.D.). Details on the type of wood to be used, dimensions of ships, decorations, furnishings, mast size, cabin size, etc., are presented, including a list of a few selected metals to be used for construction. The use of iron nails for joining the bottom planks was prohibited because it was supposed that they would be attracted by magnetic reefs, exposing ships to danger; the concept of magnetic reefs was widespread up to the 14th century A.D. (Gopal 1970, Ramachandran 1970).

There are five important Hindu astronomical books known as Siddhantas. Surya Siddhanta is the oldest (about the 6th century B.C.). According to Al-Biruni it was written by Lata. The book is divided into 14 chapters (Table 1). According to Surya Siddhanta the earth is a sphere. Five planets and their ascending and descending modes are mentioned, noting that planets do not describe perfect circles, but move in epicycles (Filliozat 1963). The Paitamaha Siddhanta (second half of the 1st century A.D.) provides a method of locating moving celestial bodies relative to a fixed point and expresses angular distances in degrees and minutes. It uses the 12 rasi (zodiac) signs dividing the sky into 12 parts, each of 30°, thus giving a precise method for the determination of angular distance (Filliozat 1963). The Paulisa Siddhanta also includes methods for calculating the exact length of a day and predicting eclipses. Vasistha Siddhanta gives a method for determining the exact length of the day, a rough means for predicting eclipses, a method of locating moving celestial bodies by fixed points of reference and expressing angular distances in degrees and minutes (Filliozat 1963).

The Romaka Siddhanta (sometime between the 2nd and the 6th centuries A.D.) gives a lunar-solar cycle and a method for evaluating the length of the year, which agrees with the techniques of Ptolemy and Hipparchos. Romaka Siddhanta is more accurate than Paitamaha Siddhanta. Romaka Siddhanta also gives 150 tables of equations of anomaly (Filliozat 1963). Pancha Siddhanta, written by Varahamihira, summarizes the concepts of earlier Siddhantas. In addition it describes the conjunctions and motions of celestial bodies and various meteorological phenomena (Filliozat 1963).
Table 1. Chapters of Surya Siddhanta

Chapter no. / Subject of discussion

1 / Measurement of time
2 / Sine tables*
3 / Meridians, cardinal points, equinoxes and solstices
4 & 5 / Eclipses of moon and sun
6 / Graphical projection of eclipses
7 / Planetary motions
8 / Inclination of the nakshatras (constellations) to the eliptic
9 / Helical rising and setting of stars
10 / Relative motions of sun and moon
11 / Evil conjunctions
12 / Cosmography
13 / Elementary astronomical instruments
14 / Computations of the calendar

5 Gupta and Harsha Period (320 A.D.-650 A.D.)

The Gupta period (320 A.D,-A76 A.D.) is known as the golden age of Indian history. Indian science and arts reached their creative peaks.

Aryabhatiya, a comprehensive astronomical text written by Aryabhata (late 5th or early 6th century A.D.), introduced the principles of epicycles and the rotation of the earth (Filliozat 1963).
Aryabhata mentions in the Aryabhatiya that he was 23 years old 3,600 years into the Kali Yuga, but this is not to mean that the text was composed at that time. This mentioned year corresponds to 499 CE, and implies that he was born in 476....

It is fairly certain that, at some point, he went to Kusumapura for advanced studies and lived there for some time. Both Hindu and Buddhist tradition, as well as Bhāskara I (CE 629), identify Kusumapura as Pāṭaliputra, modern Patna. A verse[???] mentions that Aryabhata was the head of an institution (kulapa) at Kusumapura, and, because the university of Nalanda[???] was near Pataliputra at the time and had an astronomical observatory, it is speculated that Aryabhata might have been the head of the Nalanda university as well. [Taranatha also connects Aryadeva, a philosopher of the Madhyamika school of Buddhism of the early fourth century AD, with Nalanda.4 (History of Buddhism in India, Calcutta, by Chattopadhyay, D.P.) -- Nalanda Mahavihara: Victim of a Myth regarding its Decline and Destruction, by O.P. Jaiswal] Aryabhata is also reputed to have set up an observatory at the Sun temple in Taregana, Bihar....

The Arya-siddhanta, a lost work on astronomical computations, is known through the writings of Aryabhata's contemporary, Varahamihira [c. 505 – c. 587], and later mathematicians and commentators, including Brahmagupta and Bhaskara I....

Direct details of Aryabhata's work are known only from the Aryabhatiya. The name "Aryabhatiya" is due to later commentators. Aryabhata himself may not have given it a name....

The extreme brevity of the text was elaborated in commentaries by his disciple Bhaskara I (Bhashya, c. 600 CE) and by Nilakantha Somayaji in his Aryabhatiya Bhasya, (1465 CE).

-- Aryabhata, by Wikipedia

Brahmasphuta Siddhanta and Khandakhadyaka (6th or early 7th century A.D.) written by Brahmagupta, describe the mean and true planetary motions and conjunctions of planets (Filliozat 1963). Mahabhaskariya (7th century A.D.), written by Bhaskara I, records the longitudes of planets, and their connection with time, place and directions.

6 Rajput Period (650 A.D.-1200 A.D.)

This period of history has been well documented. Dhanapala's Tilakamajari gives a good account of the ships and shipping industry of the period. It tells about the regulations of sails and masts, types of anchors, naval expeditions, and the importance of astronomical knowledge for navigation (Gopal 1970, Ramachandran 1970).

The Tamil book, Permapanarrupadai, mentions important naval battles of the period. Raja Raja in 983 A.D. led successful expeditions against Sri Lanka. Rajendra conquered Kadarma (Kedah of the Malay Peninsula) (Gopal 1970). It may be pointed out here that in those days naval victory was closely associated with a knowledge of wind and waves, and that there is every likelihood that Indians of those days had a good knowledge of these oceanographic parameters. The navigation of Indian ships was facilitated by the presence of the compass, which had been discovered by ancient Indians.

An important treatise on astronomy and mathematics, Siromani Siddhanta, was compiled by Bhaskar II. This deals with arithmetic, algebra, motion of planets, etc.

7 Muslim Period (1200 A.D.-1757 A.D.)

During this period Indian astronomers and mathematicians came in close contact with their counterparts from Arabia and China. Jacques Devitry, in his book History of Jerusalem (1218 A.D.), mentions the use of compass by ancient Indian navigators. Abu Hanifa Dainuri, the Arab pilot (12th century A.D.), included 12 of the 16 types of winds in his work on nautical science from the Jain book Avasyakacurni (Ral 1970). Din Ahmed Ibra Majid, an Arab navigator, prepared a map of the Indian Ocean based on ancient literature; this map is presented in his book Mohit (1554 A.D.), and he also discusses monsoon winds. Dampier, the 17th century buccaneer, published a detailed chart of winds over the Indian Ocean; he also mentioned the cyclonic storms in the Indian seas.

Europeans started coming to India by the end of the 15th century A.D. However, the Indians retained their supremacy in the seas around India until the mid- 18th century A.D. The Russian voyager, Afaniasing Nikitia, came to India in 1469 A.D. on an Indian ship. A good description of the Indian shipping activities of the Muslim period was presented by Marco Polo, who visited India in the 13th century A.D.

8 British Period (1757 A.D.-1947 A.D.)

The late Muslim and early British periods are the history of battles for naval supremacy among the various European nations that came to India for trade. During this period the Indian sub-continent was in great turmoil. It was only after the British established themselves in India that they contributed significantly to the knowledge of physical oceanography. The Madras Meteorological Observatory was established in 1792. James Copper published the first climatological atlas on the winds and cyclones in the Indian seas in 1801, based on the reports of the ships plying the Indian Ocean. The tidal observations in the Hooghly (at Calcutta) were started in 1767 (Wadia 1938).

The establishment of the Trigonometrical Survey and Pratt's work, with other evidence from Bongner and Maryrertuis, led to the theory of isostasy (Chapin 1952. Glass 1955. Pratt 1855. Wadia 1938).

The hydrographic surveys in the Indian coastal areas were begun in 1832 by the Indian Navy. The marine survey department of the Indian Navy was established in 1874, and RIMS Investigator I was commissioned in 1881. In 1908 Investigator I was replaced by Investigator 11 (Rao 1938). The systematic collection of physical oceanographic data started after Sewell took over as Surgeon-Naturalist (Sewell 1925, 1929, 1952). Raman (1921, 1922) made some of the earliest observations on the optical properties of the sea. Some work was also done on coastal dynamics and harbor engineering during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century (Ash 1938). The various oceanographic ships which passed through the Indian Ocean also contributed to the knowledge of physical oceanography.


The authors thank Mr. K. Satyanarayana, editor, Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, and Dr. A. K. Malhotra, Manager of Projects, E. I. L., for their keen interest and valuable suggestions.

-- Physical Oceanography in India: An Historical Sketch, by Sucharit Markanday and P.S. Srivastava

According to John Bowman, the version of the text existed between 350 and 400 CE wherein it referenced sexagesimal fractions and trigonometric functions, but the text was a living document and revised through about the 10th-century.[18] One of the evidence for the Surya Siddhanta being a living text is the work of medieval Indian scholar Utpala, who cites and then quotes ten verses from a version of Surya Siddhanta, but these ten verses are not found in any surviving manuscripts of the text.[21] According to Kim Plofker, large portions of the more ancient Sūrya-siddhānta was incorporated into the Panca siddhantika text, and a new version of the Surya Siddhanta was likely revised and composed around 800 CE.[5] Some scholars refer to Panca siddhantika as the old Surya Siddhanta and date it to 505 CE.[22]

Vedic influence

The Surya Siddhanta is a text on astronomy and time keeping, an idea that appears much earlier as the field of Jyotisha (Vedanga) of the Vedic period. The field of Jyotisha deals with ascertaining time, particularly forecasting auspicious dates and times for Vedic rituals.[23] Vedic sacrifices state that the ancient Vedic texts describe four measures of time – savana, solar, lunar and sidereal, as well as twenty seven constellations using Taras (stars).[24] According to mathematician and classicist David Pingree, in the Hindu text Atharvaveda (~1000 BCE or older) the idea already appears of twenty eight constellations and movement of astronomical bodies.[13]

According to Pingree, the influence may have flowed the other way initially, then flowed into India after the arrival of Darius and the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley about 500 BCE. The mathematics and devices for time keeping mentioned in these ancient Sanskrit texts, proposes Pingree, such as the water clock may also have thereafter arrived in India from Mesopotamia. However, Yukio Ohashi considers this proposal as incorrect,[25] suggesting instead that the Vedic timekeeping efforts, for forecasting appropriate time for rituals, must have begun much earlier and the influence may have flowed from India to Mesopotamia.[26]Ohashi states that it is incorrect to assume that the number of civil days in a year equal 365 in both Indian(Hindu) and Egyptian–Persian year.[27] Further, adds Ohashi, the Mesopotamian formula is different than Indian formula for calculating time, each can only work for their respective latitude, and either would make major errors in predicting time and calendar in the other region.[28]

Kim Plofker states that while a flow of timekeeping ideas from either side is plausible, each may have instead developed independently, because the loan-words typically seen when ideas migrate are missing on both sides as far as words for various time intervals and techniques.[29][30]

Greek influence

It is hypothesized that contacts between the ancient Indian scholarly tradition and Hellenistic Greece via the Indo-Greek Kingdom after the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great, specifically regarding the work of Hipparchus (2nd-century BCE), explain some similarities between Surya Siddhanta and Greek astronomy in the Hellenistic period. For example, Surya Siddhanta provides table of sines function which parallel the Hipparchian table of chords, though the Indian calculations are more accurate and detailed.[31] According to Alan Cromer, the knowledge exchange with the Greeks may have occurred by about 100 BCE.[32] According to Alan Cromer, the Greek influence most likely arrived in India by about 100 BCE.[32] The Indians adopted the Hipparchus system, according to Cromer, and it remained that simpler system rather than those made by Ptolemy in the 2nd century.[33]

The influence of Greek ideas on early medieval era Indian astronomical theories, particularly zodiac symbols (astrology), is broadly accepted by the Western scholars.[31] According to Pingree, the 2nd-century CE cave inscriptions of Nasik mention sun, moon and five planets in the same order as found in Babylon, but "there is no hint, however, that the Indian had learned a method of computing planetary positions in this period".[34] In the 2nd-century CE, a scholar named Yavanesvara translated a Greek astrological text, and another unknown individual translated a second Greek text into Sanskrit. Thereafter started the diffusion of Greek and Babylonian ideas on astronomy and astrology into India.[34] The other evidence of European influential on the Indian thought is Romaka Siddhanta, a title of one of the Siddhanta texts contemporary to Surya Siddhanta, a name that betrays its origin and probably was derived from a translation of a European text by Indian scholars in Ujjain, then the capital of an influential central Indian large kingdom.[34]

According to mathematician and historian of measurement John Roche, the astronomical and mathematical methods developed by Greeks related arcs to chords of spherical trigonometry.[35] The Indian mathematical astronomers, in their texts such as the Surya Siddhanta, developed other linear measures of angles, made their calculations differently, "introduced the versine, which is the difference between the radius and cosine, and discovered various trigonometrical identities".[35] For instance "where the Greeks had adopted 60 relative units for the radius, and 360 for circumference", the Indians chose 3,438 units and 60x360 for the circumference thereby calculating the "ratio of circumference to diameter [pi, π] of about 3.1414".[35] The Surya Siddhanta was one of the two books in Sanskrit that were translated into Arabic in the later half of the eighth century during the reign of Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur.[citation needed]

Importance in history of science

Astronomical calculations: Estimated time per sidereal revolution[36]

Planet / Surya Siddhanta / Ptolemy / 20th-century

Mangala (Mars) 686 days, 23 hours, 56 mins, 23.5 secs 686 days, 23 hours, 31 mins, 56.1 secs 686 days, 23 hours, 30 mins, 41.4 secs
Budha (Mercury) 87 days, 23 hours, 16 mins, 22.3 secs 87 days, 23 hours, 16 mins, 42.9 secs 87 days, 23 hours, 15 mins, 43.9 secs
Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) 4,332 days, 7 hours, 41 mins, 44.4 secs 4,332 days, 18 hours, 9 mins, 10.5 secs 4,332 days, 14 hours, 2 mins, 8.6 secs
Shukra (Venus) 224 days, 16 hours, 45 mins, 56.2 secs 224 days, 16 hours, 51 mins, 56.8 secs 224 days, 16 hours, 49 mins, 8.0 secs
Shani (Saturn) 10,765 days, 18 hours, 33 mins, 13.6 secs 10,758 days, 17 hours, 48 mins, 14.9 secs 10,759 days, 5 hours, 16 mins, 32.2 secs

The tradition of Hellenistic astronomy ended in the West after Late Antiquity. According to Cromer, the Surya Siddhanta and other Indian texts reflect the primitive state of Greek science, nevertheless played an important part in the history of science, through its translation in Arabic and stimulating the Arabic sciences.[37][38] According to a study by Dennis Duke that compares Greek models with Indian models based on the oldest Indian manuscripts such as the Surya Siddhanta with fully described models, the Greek influence on Indian astronomy is strongly likely to be pre-Ptolemaic.[14]

The Surya Siddhanta was one of the two books in Sanskrit translated into Arabic in the later half of the eighth century during the reign of Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur. According to Muzaffar Iqbal, this translation and that of Aryabhatta was of considerable influence on geographic, astronomy and related Islamic scholarship.[39]


The contents of the Surya Siddhanta is written in classical Indian poetry tradition, where complex ideas are expressed lyrically with a rhyming meter in the form of a terse shloka.[40] This method of expressing and sharing knowledge made it easier to remember, recall, transmit and preserve knowledge. However, this method also meant secondary rules of interpretation, because numbers don't have rhyming synonyms. The creative approach adopted in the Surya Siddhanta was to use symbolic language with double meanings. For example, instead of one, the text uses a word that means moon because there is one moon. To the skilled reader, the word moon means the number one.[40] The entire table of trigonometric functions, sine tables, steps to calculate complex orbits, predict eclipses and keep time are thus provided by the text in a poetic form. This cryptic approach offers greater flexibility for poetic construction.[40][41]

The Surya Siddhanta thus consists of cryptic rules in Sanskrit verse. It is a compendium of astronomy that is easier to remember, transmit and use as reference or aid for the experienced, but does not aim to offer commentary, explanation or proof.[19] The text has 14 chapters and 500 shlokas. It is one of the eighteen astronomical siddhanta (treatises), but thirteen of the eighteen are believed to be lost to history. The Surya Siddhanta text has survived since the ancient times, has been the best known and the most referred astronomical text in the Indian tradition.[7]

The fourteen chapters of the Surya Siddhanta are as follows, per the much cited Burgess translation:[4][42]

Chapters of Surya Siddhanta

Chapter # / Title / Reference

1 Of the Mean Motions of the Planets [43]
2 On the True Places of the Planets [44]
3 Of Direction, Place and Time [45]
4 Of Eclipses, and Especially of Lunar Eclipses [46]
5 Of Parallax in a Solar Eclipse [47]
6 The Projection of Eclipses [43]
7 Of Planetary Conjunctions [48]
8 Of the Asterisms [49]
9 Of Heliacal (Sun) Risings and Settings [50]
10 The Moon's Risings and Settings, Her Cusps [51]
11 On Certain Malignant Aspects of the Sun and Moon [52]
12 Cosmogony, Geography, and Dimensions of the Creation [53]
13 Of the Armillary Sphere and other Instruments [54]
14 Of the Different Modes of Reckoning Time [55]

The methods for computing time using the shadow cast by a gnomon are discussed in both Chapters 3 and 13.

Description of Time

The author of Surya Siddhanta defines time as of two types: the first which is continuous and endless, destroys all animate and inanimate objects and second is time which can be known. This latter type is further defined as having two types: the first is Murta (Measureable) and Amurta (immeasureable because it is too small or too big). The time Amurta is a time that begins with an infinitesimal portion of time (Truti) and Murta is a time that begins with 4-second time pulses called Prana as described in the table below. The further description of Amurta time is found in Puranas where as Surya Siddhanta sticks with measurable time.[56]

Time described in Surya Siddhanta[56]

Type / Surya Siddhanta Units / Description / Value in modern units of time

Amurta Truti 1/33750 seconds 29.6296 micro seconds
Murta Prana - 4 seconds
Murta Pala 6 Pranas 24 seconds
Murta Ghatika 60 Palas 24 minutes
Murta Nakshatra Ahotra 60 Ghatikas One Sidereal day

The text measures a savana day from sunrise to sunrise. Thirty of these savana days make a savana month. A solar (saura) month starts with the entrance of the sun into a zodiac sign, thus twelve months make a year.[56]

North pole star and South pole star

Surya Siddhanta asserts that there are two pole stars, one each at north and south celestial pole. Surya Siddhanta chapter 12 verse 43 description is as following:

मेरोरुभयतो मध्ये ध्रुवतारे नभ:स्थिते। निरक्षदेशसंस्थानामुभये क्षितिजाश्रिये॥१२:४३॥

This translates as "On both sides of the Meru (i.e. the north and south poles of the earth) the two polar stars are situated in the heaven at their zenith. These two stars are in the horizon of the cities situated on the equinoctial regions".[57]

The Sine table

The Surya Siddhanta provides methods of calculating the sine values in chapter 2. It divides the quadrant of a circle with radius 3438 into 24 equal segments or sines as described in the table. In modern-day terms, each of these 24 segments has angle of 3.75°.[58]

Table of Sines [59]

No. / Sine / 1st order differences / 2nd order differences / No. / Sine/ 1st order differences / 2nd order differences

0 0 - - 13 2585 154 10
1 225 225 1 14 2728 143 11
2 449 224 2 15 2859 131 12
3 671 222 3 16 2978 119 12
4 890 219 4 17 3084 106 13
5 1105 215 5 18 3177 93 13
6 1315 210 5 19 3256 79 14
7 1520 205 6 20 3321 65 14
8 1719 199 8 21 3372 51 14
9 1910 191 8 22 3409 37 14
10 2093 183 9 23 3431 22 15
11 2267 174 10 24 3438 7 15
12 2431 164 10

The 1st order difference is the value by which each successive sine increases from the previous and similarly the 2nd order difference is the increment in the 1st order difference values. Burgess says, it is remarkable to see that the 2nd order differences increase as the sines and each, in fact, is about 1/225th part of the corresponding sine.[59]

Calculation of tilt of Earth's axis (Obliquity)

The tilt of the ecliptic varies between 22.1° to 24.5° and is currently 23.5°.[60] Following the sine tables and methods of calculating the sines, Surya Siddhanta also attempts to calculate the Earth's tilt of contemporary times as described in chapter 2 and verse 28, the obliquity of the Earth's axis, the verse says "The sine of greatest declination is 1397; by this multiply any sine, and divide by radius; the arc corresponding to the result is said to be the declination".[61] The greatest declination is the inclination of the plane of the ecliptic. With radius of 3438 and sine of 1397, the corresponding angle is 23.975° or 23° 58' 30.65" which is approximated to be 24°.[62]

Planets and their characteristics

Question: How Can the Earth Be a Sphere?

Thus everywhere on the terrestrial globe (bhūgola),
people suppose their own place higher,
yet this globe (gola) is in space where there is no above nor below.

—Surya Siddhanta, XII.53
Translator: Scott L. Montgomery, Alok Kumar[7][63]

The text treats earth as a stationary globe around which sun, moon and five planets orbit. It makes no mention of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.[64] It presents mathematical formulae to calculate the orbits, diameters, predict their future locations and cautions that the minor corrections are necessary over time to the formulae for the various astronomical bodies.[9]

The text describes some of its formulae with the use of very large numbers for "divya-yuga", stating that at the end of this yuga, Earth and all astronomical bodies return to the same starting point and the cycle of existence repeats again.[65] These very large numbers based on divya-yuga, when divided and converted into decimal numbers for each planet, give reasonably accurate sidereal periods when compared to modern era western calculations.[65]

Sidereal Periods[65]

-- / Surya Siddhanta / Modern Values

Moon 27.322 days 27.32166 days
Mercury 87.97 days 87.969 days
Mars 687 days 686.98 days
Venus 224.7 days 224.701 days
Jupiter 4,332.3 days 4,332.587 days
Saturn 10,765.77 days 10,759.202 days


See also: Astronomical basis of the Hindu calendar

The solar part of the luni-solar Hindu calendar is based on the Surya Siddhanta.[66] The various old and new versions of Surya Siddhanta manuscripts yield the same solar calendar.[67] According to J. Gordon Melton, both the Hindu and Buddhist calendars that are in use in South and Southeast Asia are rooted in this text, but the regional calendars adapted and modified them over time.[68][69]

The Surya Siddhanta calculates the solar year to be 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes and 36.56 seconds.[70][71] On average, according to the text, the lunar month equals 27 days 7 hours 39 minutes 12.63 seconds. It states that the lunar month varies over time, and this needs to be factored in for accurate time keeping.[72]

According to Whitney, the Surya Siddhanta calculations were tolerably accurate and achieved predictive usefulness. In Chapter 1 of Surya Siddhanta, "the Hindu year is too long by nearly three minutes and a half; but the moon's revolution is right within a second; those of Mercury, Venus and Mars within a few minutes; that of Jupiter within six or seven hours; that of Saturn within six days and a half".[73]

The Surya Siddhanta was one of the two books in Sanskrit translated into Arabic during the reign of 'Abbasid caliph al-Mansur (r. 754–775 AD). According to Muzaffar Iqbal, this translation and that of Aryabhata was of considerable influence on geographic, astronomy and related Islamic scholarship.[39]


• The Súrya-Siddhánta, an antient system of Hindu astronomy ed. FitzEdward Hall and Bápú Deva Śástrin (1859).
• Translation of the Sûrya-Siddhânta: A text-book of Hindu astronomy, with notes and an appendix by Ebenezer Burgess Originally published: Journal of the American Oriental Society 6 (1860) 141–498. Commentary by Burgess is much larger than his translation.
• Surya-Siddhanta: A Text Book of Hindu Astronomy translated by Ebenezer Burgess, ed. Phanindralal Gangooly (1989/1997) with a 45-page commentary by P. C. Sengupta (1935).
• Translation of the Surya Siddhanta by Bapu Deva Sastri (1861) ISBN 3-7648-1334-2, ISBN 978-3-7648-1334-5. Only a few notes. Translation of Surya Siddhanta occupies first 100 pages; rest is a translation of the Siddhanta Siromani by Lancelot Wilkinson.

See also

• Hindu units of measurement
• Indian science and technology


1. Menso Folkerts, Craig G. Fraser, Jeremy John Gray, John L. Berggren, Wilbur R. Knorr (2017), Mathematics, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Quote: "(...) its Hindu inventors as discoverers of things more ingenious than those of the Greeks. Earlier, in the late 4th or early 5th century, the anonymous Hindu author of an astronomical handbook, the Surya Siddhanta, had tabulated the sine function (...)"
2. John Bowman (2000). Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 596. ISBN 978-0-231-50004-3., Quote: "c. 350-400: The Surya Siddhanta, an Indian work on astronomy, now uses sexagesimal fractions. It includes references to trigonometric functions. The work is revised during succeeding centuries, taking its final form in the tenth century."
3. Gangooly, Phanindralal, ed. (1935) [1st ed. 1860]. Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta, A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy; With notes and an appendix. Translated by Burgess, Rev. Ebenezer. University of Calcutta.
4. Markanday, Sucharit; Srivastava, P. S. (1980). "Physical Oceanography in India: An Historical Sketch". Oceanography: The Past. Springer New York. pp. 551–561. doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-8090-0_50. ISBN 978-1-4613-8092-4., Quote: "According to Surya Siddhanta the earth is a sphere."
5. Plofker, pp. 71–72.
6. Richard L. Thompson (2007). The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 16, 76–77, 285–294. ISBN 978-81-208-1919-1.
7. Scott L. Montgomery; Alok Kumar (2015). A History of Science in World Cultures: Voices of Knowledge. Routledge. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-1-317-43906-6.
8. Thompson, Richard L. (2007). The Cosmology of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 15–18. ISBN 978-81-208-1919-1.
9. Burgess, Ebenezer (1935). Translation of the Surya Siddhanta. University of Calcutta.
10. Gangooly 1935, p. ix (Introduction): Calculated date of 2163102 B.C. for "the end of the Golden Age (Krta yuga)" mentioned in Surya Siddhanta 1.57.
11. Murphy, T W (1 July 2013). "Lunar laser ranging: the millimeter challenge" (PDF). Reports on Progress in Physics. 76 (7): 2. arXiv:1309.6294. Bibcode:2013RPPh...76g6901M. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/76/7/076901. PMID 23764926. S2CID 15744316.
12. Brian Evans (2014). The Development of Mathematics Throughout the Centuries: A Brief History in a Cultural Context. Wiley. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-118-85397-9.
13. David Pingree (1963), Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran, Isis, Volume 54, Part 2, No. 176, pages 229-235 with footnotes
14. Duke, Dennis (2005). "The Equant in India: The Mathematical Basis of Ancient Indian Planetary Models". Archive for History of Exact Sciences. Springer Nature. 59 (6): 563–576. Bibcode:2005AHES...59..563D. doi:10.1007/s00407-005-0096-y. S2CID 120416134.
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16. Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6., Quote: "The solar calendar is based on the Surya Siddhanta, a text of around 400 CE."
17. Canavas, Constantin (2014), "Geography and Cartography", The Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Science, and Technology in Islam, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref:oiso/9780199812578.001.0001, ISBN 978-0-19-981257-8, retrieved 2020-07-19
18. John Bowman (2005). Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 596. ISBN 978-0-231-50004-3., Quote: "c. 350-400: The Surya Siddhanta, an Indian work on astronomy, now uses sexagesimal fractions. It includes references to trigonometric functions. The work is revised during succeeding centuries, taking its final form in the tenth century."
19. Carl B. Boyer; Uta C. Merzbach (2011). A History of Mathematics. John Wiley & Sons. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-470-63056-3.
20. Markanday, Sucharit; Srivastava, P. S. (1980). "Physical Oceanography in India: An Historical Sketch". Oceanography: The Past. Springer New York. pp. 551–561. doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-8090-0_50. ISBN 978-1-4613-8092-4., Quote: "According to Surya Siddhanta the earth is a sphere."
21. Romesh Chunder Dutt, A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Based on Sanscrit Literature, vol. 3, ISBN 0-543-92939-6 p. 208.
22. George Abraham (2008). Helaine Selin (ed.). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer Science. pp. 1035–1037, 1806, 1937–1938. ISBN 978-1-4020-4559-2.
23. James Lochtefeld (2002), "Jyotisha" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 326–327
24. Friedrich Max Müller (1862). On Ancient Hindu Astronomy and Chronology. Oxford University Press. pp. 37–60 with footnotes.
25. Yukio Ohashi 1999, pp. 719–721.
26. Yukio Ohashi 1993, pp. 185–251.
27. Yukio Ohashi 1999, pp. 719–720.
28. Yukio Ohashi (2013). S.M. Ansari (ed.). History of Oriental Astronomy. Springer Science. pp. 75–82. ISBN 978-94-015-9862-0.
29. Plofker 2009, pp. 41–42.
30. Sarma, Nataraja (2000). "Diffusion of astronomy in the ancient world". Endeavour. Elsevier. 24 (4): 157–164. doi:10.1016/s0160-9327(00)01327-2. PMID 11196987.
31. "There are many evident indications of a direct contact of Hindu astronomy with Hellenistic tradition, e.g. the use of epicycles or the use of tables of chords which were transformed by the Hindus into tables of sines. The same mixture of elliptic arcs and declination circles is found with Hipparchus and in the early Siddhantas (note: [...] In the Surya Siddhanta, the zodiacal signs are used in similar fashion to denote arcs on any great circle." Otto Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, vol. 9 of Acta historica scientiarum naturalium et medicinalium, Courier Dover Publications, 1969, p. 186.
32. "The table must be of Greek origin, though written in the Indian number system and in Indian units. It was probably calculated around 100 B.C. by an Indian mathematicisn familiar with the work of Hipparchus." Alan Cromer, Uncommon Sense : The Heretical Nature of Science, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 111.
33. "The epicyclic model in the Siddnahta Surya is much simpler than Ptolemy's and supports the hypothesis that the Indians learned the original system of Hipparchus when they had contact with the West." Alan Cromer, Uncommon Sense : The Heretical Nature of Science, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 111.
34. David Pingree (1963), Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran, Isis, Volume 54, Part 2, No. 176, pages 233-238 with footnotes
35. John J. Roche (1998). The Mathematics of Measurement: A Critical History. Springer Science. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-387-91581-4.
36. Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
37. "Surya Siddhanta the basis of space studies, says Governor". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 2020-01-24. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
38. Alan Cromer (1993), Uncommon Sense : The Heretical Nature of Science, Oxford University Press, pp. 111-112.
39. Muzaffar Iqbal (2007). Science and Islam. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 36–38. ISBN 978-0-313-33576-1.
40. Arthur Gittleman (1975). History of mathematics. Merrill. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-0-675-08784-1.
41. Raymond Mercier (2004). Studies on the Transmission of Medieval Mathematical Astronomy. Ashgate. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-86078-949-9.
42. Enrique A. González-Velasco (2011). Journey through Mathematics: Creative Episodes in Its History. Springer Science. pp. 27–28 footnote 24. ISBN 978-0-387-92154-9.
43. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 1
44. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 54
45. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 108
46. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 143
47. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 161
48. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 187
49. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 202
50. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 255
51. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 262
52. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 273
53. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 281
54. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 298
55. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 310
56. Deva Shastri, Pandit Bapu. Translation of the Surya Siddhanta. pp. 2–3.
57. Deva Sastri, Pundit Bapu (1861). The Translation of Surya Siddhanta (PDF). Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press. pp. 80–81.
58. Deva Shastri, Pundit Bapu (1861). Translation of the Surya Siddhanta. pp. 15–16.
59. Burgess, Rev. Ebenezer (1860). Translation of the Surya Siddhanta. p. 115.
60. "Milutin Milankovitch". 2000-03-24. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
61. Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. p. 65. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
62. Burgess, Rev. Ebenezer (1860). Translation of the Surya Siddhanta. p. 118.
63. P Gangooly (1935, Editor), Translator: Ebenezzer Burgess, Translation of Surya Siddhanta: A Textbook of Hindu Astronomy, University of Calcutta, page 289 verse 53
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66. Roshen Dalal (2010). The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin Books. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-14-341517-6.
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68. J. Gordon Melton (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 161–162. ISBN 978-1-59884-205-0.
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73. William Dwight Whitney (1874). Oriental and Linguistic Studies. Scribner, Armstrong. p. 368.


• Pingree, David (1973). "The Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy". Journal for the History of Astronomy. SAGE. 4 (1): 1–12. Bibcode:1973JHA.....4....1P. doi:10.1177/002182867300400102. S2CID 125228353.
• Plofker, Kim (2009). Mathematics in India. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12067-6.
• Pingree, David (1981). Jyotihśāstra : Astral and Mathematical Literature. Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3447021654.
• K. V. Sarma (1997), "Suryasiddhanta", Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures edited by Helaine Selin, Springer, ISBN 978-0-7923-4066-9
• Yukio Ôhashi (1999). "The Legends of Vasiṣṭha – A Note on the Vedāṅga Astronomy". In Johannes Andersen (ed.). Highlights of Astronomy, Volume 11B. Springer Science. ISBN 978-0-7923-5556-4.
• Yukio Ôhashi (1993). "Development of Astronomical Observations in Vedic and post-Vedic India". Indian Journal of History of Science. 28 (3).
• Maurice Winternitz (1963). History of Indian Literature, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0056-4.

Further reading

• Victor J. Katz. A History of Mathematics: An Introduction, 1998.

External links

Sanskrit Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Surya Siddhanta (सूर्यसिद्धान्त): Sanskrit text

• Surya Siddhantha Planetary Model
• Surya Siddhanta Sanskrit text in Devanagari
• Remarks on the Astronomy of the Brahmins, John Playfair (Archive)
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Simon de la Loubère
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/15/22

Simon de la Loubère (21 April 1642 – 26 March 1729)[1] was a French diplomat to Siam (Thailand), writer, mathematician and poet. He is credited with bringing back a document which introduced Europe to Indian astronomy, the "Siamese method" of making magic squares, as well as one of the earliest description of parachutes.


The Siamese method, or De la Loubère method, is a simple method to construct any size of n-odd magic squares (i.e. number squares in which the sums of all rows, columns and diagonals are identical). The method was brought to France in 1688 by the French mathematician and diplomat Simon de la Loubère, as he was returning from his 1687 embassy to the kingdom of Siam. The Siamese method makes the creation of magic squares straightforward.

De la Loubère published his findings in his book A new historical relation of the kingdom of Siam (Du Royaume de Siam, 1693), under the chapter entitled The problem of the magical square according to the Indians. Although the method is generally qualified as "Siamese", which refers to de la Loubère's travel to the country of Siam, de la Loubère himself learnt it from a Frenchman named M.Vincent (a doctor, who had first travelled to Persia and then to Siam, and was returning to France with the de la Loubère embassy), who himself had learnt it in the city of Surat in India...

The method

The method was surprising in its effectiveness and simplicity...

First, an arithmetic progression has to be chosen (such as the simple progression 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 for a square with three rows and columns (the Lo Shu square)).

Then, starting from the central box of the first row with the number 1 (or the first number of any arithmetic progression), the fundamental movement for filling the boxes is diagonally up and right (↗), one step at a time. When a move would leave the square, it is wrapped around to the last row or first column, respectively.

If a filled box is encountered, one moves vertically down one box (↓) instead, then continuing as before.

Order-3 magic squares


Order-5 magic squares


Other sizes

Any n-odd square ("odd-order square") can be thus built into a magic square. The Siamese method does not work however for n-even squares ("even-order squares", such as 2 rows/ 2 columns, 4 rows/ 4 columns etc...).


Other values

Any sequence of numbers can be used, provided they form an arithmetic progression (i.e. the difference of any two successive members of the sequence is a constant). Also, any starting number is possible. For example the following sequence can be used to form an order 3 magic square according to the Siamese method (9 boxes): 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 (the magic sum gives 75, for all rows, columns and diagonals).


Other starting points

It is possible not to start the arithmetic progression from the middle of the top row, but then only the row and column sums will be identical and result in a magic sum, whereas the diagonal sums will differ. The result will thus not be a true magic square:


Rotations and reflections

Numerous other magic squares can be deduced from the above by simple rotations and reflections.


A slightly more complicated variation of this method exists in which the first number is placed in the box just above the center box. The fundamental movement for filling the boxes remains up and right (↗), one step at a time. However, if a filled box is encountered, one moves vertically up two boxes instead, then continuing as before.


Numerous variants can be obtained by simple rotations and reflections. The next square is equivalent to the above (a simple reflexion): the first number is placed in the box just below the center box. The fundamental movement for filling the boxes then becomes diagonally down and right (↘), one step at a time. If a filled box is encountered, one moves vertically down two boxes instead, then continuing as before.[6]


These variations, although not quite as simple as the basic Siamese method, are equivalent to the methods developed by earlier Arab and European scholars, such as Manuel Moschopoulos (1315), Johann Faulhaber (1580–1635) and Claude Gaspard Bachet de Méziriac (1581–1638), and allowed to create magic squares similar to theirs.

-- Siamese method, by Wikipedia

Chinese geomantic figures, the Pu-Kwa (Par-k'a) and the Me- wa, enter largely into the calculations of the Lama astrologer, and these are usually figured on the belly of a spread tortoise, as in the above figure, whose paws sometimes grasp a pole surmounted by or transfixing a frog.

The Pu-Kwa or Par-k'a symbolize the great productive and antagonistic powers of nature, as summarized in a most interesting manner by Dr. Legge.
The first character, pu, is the Chinese symbol for divining by the lines produced through a certain process on the back of a tortoise-shell. It consists of two lines,10 which may possibly, says Dr. Legge, have been intended to represent the lines appearing on the shell. The second character, Kwa, was the symbol for divining by means of the eight famous trigrams of Fu-hsi, themselves called "the eight Kwa." They are not characters, but lineal figures composed of whole and divided lines, on which was built up the mysterious book called the Yi-Kin, or "Book of Changes," with its sixty-four hexagrams. The eight trigrams are here shown: —


The whole lines in the figures are styled "the strong," and the divided lines "the weak." The two represent the two forms of the subtle matter, whether eternal or created is not said, of which all things are composed. Under one form the matter is active and is called Yang; under the other it is passive, and is called Yin. Whatever is strong and active is of the Yang nature; whatever is weak and passive is of the Yin. Heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, male and female, ruler and minister, are examples of these antinomies.

The aggregate of them makes up the totality of being, and the Yi is supposed to give in its diagram a complete picture of the phenomena of that totality. It does not give us a sexual system of nature, though of course the antinomy of sex is in it; but the lines on which it is constructed embrace other antinomies as well. Authority and power on one side; inferiority and docility on the other.

Further, the hidden operation in and through which the change takes place in nature is said to be that of the Kwei shan,11 usually meaning "spirits," but here held to be technical. "Shan is Yang, and indicates the process of expanding; Kwei is yin, and indicates the process of contracting." The fashion of the world is continually being altered. We have action and reaction, flux and reflux, and these changes are indicated in the diagrams, which are worked in divination by manipulating a fixed number of stalks of a plant called shih (Ptarmica Sibirica), and, indeed, the form of the trigrams themselves is suggestive of divination by twigs.

The usual geomantic arrangement of the Par-k'a is given in figure. Individually they are named Heaven, Earth, Fire, Thunder, Mountains, Celestial Water, Terrestrial Water, though the fourth and eighth are sometimes called Iron and Tree. And Mountain, Iron, and Water are said to be sons of the Earth and Heaven, while Wind, Fire, and Tree are their daughters.

It is remarkable, however, that while the Chinese use only the hexagrams for divination purposes, the Tibetans use only the trigrams in this way.

The Nine Mewa are arranged in the form of a quadratic square or circle, and the figures usually, as in a magic square, so disposed as to give the same total in all directions.


The spirits of the seasons also powerfully influence the luckiness or unluckiness of the days. It is necessary to know which spirit has arrived at the particular place and time when an event has happened or an undertaking is entertained. And the very frequent and complicated migrations of these aerial spirits, good and bad, can only be ascertained by the Lamas. The most malignant of these evil spirits are a black dog, a monster with a dragon-tail, a man on horseback, and the fabulous Phoenix; and the seasons are specially assigned to these in the order of spring, summer, autumn, and winter respectively.

The almanac which the Lamaist astrologer uses, gives for each day the six presiding influences. Thus the page of the almanack for the first day of the third month of 1891 (Iron-horse) gives: —


And the general record for the particular month is: This month's star is moderate and the celestial Mansion is the sheep. Nidana, Avidya. Element is mid-summer, and named Great Fire-Horse. It is time for plants budding and marshes, thunder and birds. The empty vase is in the east (... do not go E.). On the 15th day the Teacher taught the Kalacakra; it is a holiday. Thursday, Sunday, and Tuesday are good. Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday are bad. The "Yas" road (i.e., the road on which cake and the devil's image are to be thrown) is N.W. The "Zin-p'un" (a kind of genius loci) in the Ox and Sheep days at dawn passes from W. to E. (... at that time be careful).

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Anthropological Institute, etc., Surgeon-Major H.M. Bengal Army, 1895

Mission to Siam

Simon de la Loubère led an embassy to Siam (modern Thailand) in 1687 (the "La Loubère-Céberet mission").[2]: 2  The embassy, composed of five warships, arrived in Bangkok in October 1687 and was received by Ok-khun Chamnan. La Loubère returned to France on board the Gaillard on 3 January 1688, accompanied by the Jesuit Guy Tachard, and a Siamese embassy led by Ok-khun Chamnan.[2]: 3 

Upon his return, La Loubère wrote a description of his travels, as had been requested by Louis XIV, published under the title Du Royaume de Siam: "It was by the orders, which I had the honours to receive from the King upon leaving for my voyage to Siam, that I observed in that country, as exactly as possible, all that appeared to be the most singular.[3]

Loubère also brought back with him an obscure manuscript relating to the astronomical traditions of Siam, which he passed on to the famous French-Italian astronomer Jean Dominique Cassini. The Siamese Manuscript, as it is now called, intrigued Cassini enough so that he spent a couple years deciphering its cryptic contents, determining on the way that the document originated in India.[4] His explication of the manuscript appeared in La Loubere's book on the Kingdom of Siam in 1691,[5]: 64–65  which laid the first foundation of European scholarship on Indian astronomy.[6]

French career

A description of the Siamese method for creating magic squares, in the English translation of Simon de la Loubère's book

La Loubère was elected member of the Académie française (1693–1729), where he received Seat 16, following the 1691 publication of his book Du Royaume de Siam.[2]: 59 

La Loubère was a friend of the German scientist Gottfried Leibniz, and once wrote that he had "no greater joy than (to discuss) philosophy and mathematics" with him (22 January 1681 correspondence).[3]

Magic square

La Loubère brought to France from his Siamese travels a very simple method for creating n-odd magic squares, known as the "Siamese method" or the "La Loubère method",[7][8][9] which apparently was initially brought from Surat, India, by another Frenchman by the surname of Vincent, who was sailing on the return ship with La Loubère.[5]: 238 

Siamese parachute

La Loubère is also famous for making one of the earliest account of a parachute following his embassy to Siam.[???] He reported in his 1691 book that a man would jump from a high place with two large umbrellas to entertain the king of Siam, landing into trees, rooftops, and sometimes rivers.[!!!][5]: 47–48 [10]


• Du Royaume de Siam, 1691 Full text in French or English translation
• Traité de l'origine des jeux floraux de Toulouse (1715)
• De la Résolution des équations, ou de l'Extraction de leurs racines, 1732 Full text

See also

• France-Thailand relations


1. BNF 12101988k
2. Tachard, Guy (1999). Smithies, Michael (ed.). A Siamese Embassy Lost in Africa, 1686: The Odyssey of Ok-khun Chamnan. Bangkok: Silkworm Books. ISBN 9747100959. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
3. de la Loubere, Simon (2003). Ames, Glenn J; Love, Ronald S (eds.). Distant Lands and Diverse Cultures: The French Experience in Asia, 1600-1700. Westport CT: Praeger. ISBN 0313308640. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
4. Burgess, James (1893). "Notes on Hindu Astronomy and the History of Our Knowledge of It". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: 722–723.
5. de La Loubère, Simon (1693). A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam. Translated by A.P. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
6. Hands, Joseph (1879). New Views of Matter, Life, Motion, and Resistance. E.W. Allen. p. 466.
7. Eves, Howard W.; Johnson, Phillip E. (1972). Mathematical Circles Squared. Boston: Prindle, Weber & Schmidt. pp. 22. ISBN 0-87150-154-6. OCLC 448077.
8. Weisstein, Eric W. (12 December 2002). CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics. CRC Press. p. 1839. ISBN 978-1-4200-3522-3.
9. Pickover, Clifford A. (2002). The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars: An Exhibition of Surprising Structures Across Dimensions. Princeton University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-691-07041-4.
10. Bull, Stephen (2004). Encyclopedia of Military Technology and Innovation. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-57356-557-8.
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CHAP. XI. What the Siameses do know of the Mathematics. Excerpt from "A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam"
Tome II
by Monsieur De La Loubere
Envoy Extraordinary from the French King, to the King of Siam, in the years 1687 and 1688. Wherein a full and curious Account is given of the Chinese Way of Arithmetick, and Mathematick Learning. In Two Tomes, Illustrated with Sculptures. Done out of French, by A.P. Gen. R.S.S.

Cassini is also credited with introducing Indian Astronomy to Europe. In 1688, the French envoy to Siam (Thailand), Simon de la Loubère, returned to Paris with an obscure manuscript relating to the astronomical traditions of that country, along with a French translation. The Siamese Manuscript, as it is now called, somehow fell into Cassini's hands. He was intrigued enough by it to spend considerable time and effort deciphering its cryptic contents, also determining on the way that the document originated in India. His explication of the manuscript appeared in La Loubère's book on the Kingdom of Siam in 1691.

-- Giovanni Domenico Cassini, by Wikipedia

Tome II, Pg. 64-67

CHAP. XI. What the Siameses do know of the Mathematics.

The great Heat of Siam, repugnant to all application of Mind.

The quick and clear Imagination of the Siamese should seem more proper for the Mathematics, than the other Studies, if it did not soon weary them; but they cannot follow a long thread of Ratiocinations, of which they do foresee neither the end nor the profit. And it must be confessed for their Excuse, that all application of Mind is so laborious in a Climate so hot as theirs, that the very Europeans could hardly study there, what desire soever they might have thereunto.

The Ignorance of the Siameses touching the principal parts of Mathematics.

The Siameses do therefore know nothing in Geometry or Mechanics, because they can be absolutely without them: And Astronomy concerns them only as far as they conceive it may be assistant to Divination. They know only some Practical part thereof, the Reasons of which they disdain to penetrate; but of which they make use in the Horoscopes of particular Persons, and in the Composition of their almanac, which, as it were, is a general Horoscope.

Of the Siamese Calendar, and why they have two Epocha's.

It appears that they have twice caused their Calendar to be reformed by able Astronomers, who, to supply the Astronomical Tables, have taken two arbitrary Epocha's, but yet remarkable for some rare Conjunction of the Planets. Having once established certain Numbers upon these Observations, they by the means of several Additions, Subtractions, Multiplications and Divisions, have given for the following Years the secret of finding the place of the Planets, almost as we find the Epact of every Year, by adding eleven to the Epact of the Year foregoing.

The most Modern is evidently Arbitrary.

The most Modern of the two Siamese Epocha's, is referred to the Year of Grace 638. I gave to Mr. Cassini, Director of the Observatory at Paris, the Siamese Method of finding the place of the Sun and Moon by a Calculation, the ground of which is taken from this Epocha. And the singular Merit which Mr. Cassini has had of unfolding a thing so difficult, and penetrating the Reasons thereof, will doubtless be admired by all the Learned. Now as this Epocha is visibly the ground only of an Astronomical Calculation, and has been chosen rather than another, only because it appear'd more commodious to Calculation than another, it is evident that we must thence conclude nothing which respects the Siamese History; nor imagine that the Year 638, has been more Famous amongst them than another for any Event, from which they have thought fit to begin to compute their Years, as we compute ours, from the Birth of the Saviour of the World.

The most Ancient also appears Arbitrary.

By the same Reason I am persuaded, that their most Ancient Epocha, from which in this Year 1689, they compute 2233 Years, has not been remarkable at Siam for any thing worthy of Memory, and that it proves not that the Kingdom of Siam is of that Antiquity. It is purely Astronomical, and serves as a Foundation to another way of calculating the places of the Planets, which they have relinquished for that new Method which I have given to Mr. Cassini. Some person may discover to them the Mistakes, where in process of time this ancient Method must fall; as in time we have found out the Errors of the Reformation of the Calendar made by the Order of Julius Cesar.

And is not taken from the death of Sommona Codom [Buddha]

The Historical Memoirs of the Siameses reascending, as I have remark'd in the beginning, to 900 Years, or thereabouts, it is not necessary to seek the Foundation of their Kingdom in the 545th Year before the birth of Jesus Christ; nor to suppose that from this time they have enjoyed a Succession of Kings, which they themselves are absolutely ignorant of. And tho' the Siameses do vulgarly report, that this first Epocha, from which they compute, as I have said, 2233 Years is that of the death of their Sommona-Codom [Buddha]; and altho' it refers almost to the time in which Pythagoras liv'd, who has sowed in the West the Doctrine of the Metempsychosis, which he had learnt from the Egyptians, yet it is certain that the Siameses have not any Memoirs of the time in which their Sommona Codom [Buddha] might have lived: And I cannot persuade my self that their Sommona-Codom [Buddha] could be Pythagoras, who was not in the East, not that their ancient Epocha is other than Astronomical and Arbitrary, no more than their Modern Epocha.

Man, -- ennemi de Sommona-Codom. Les Siamois le representent comme une espece de monstre, avec une tete herissee de serpents, un visage fort large et des dents horriblement grandes.

Google translate: Man, -- enemy of Sommona-Codom. The Siamese represent him as a species of monster, with a head bristling with snakes, a very large face and horribly large teeth.
-- Dictionnaire Infernal, by Jacques Collin de Plancy, 1818

Butta, place par les Indiens au rang des Dieux. -- Ne d'une vierge par le cote. Memoires, Vol. XXVI, 771. Appele aussi Puti. -- Sommona-condom chez les Siamois, que M. De Guignes interprete le Semaneen-condom. Ibid. 774. Les Arabes l'appellent Boudasp ou Boudass. -- Les Persans, Schekmouniberkari. -- Les Chinois, Tche-kia ou Chekiameouni, Foteou ou Foto; mais son nom le mieux connu est Fo ou Foto. -- Les Siamois le nomment Prah-poadi-tchaou, Sammana-khutama & Phutta. -- Hyde le derive du persan Butt. -- Leibnitz veut que ce foit le Wodin du nord. -- Chez les Indiens Butta signifie Mercure, 776. Les fables des Indiens, & le peu de detail des historiens, empechent de fixer le temps de sa naissance. -- Masoudi le place fous des regnes inconnus. -- Les Arabes le font naitre dans le Kaschmir, d'ou il passe dans les Indes & fonde le Sabeisme. -- Les Chinois font naitre Fo aussi dans le Kaschmir. Mem. Volume XXVI, 777 & 778. L'accord des Chinois & des Arabes semble exclure le sentiment de ceux qui le font naitre a Siam ou a Ceilan. -- Deux epoques de sa naissance chez les Chinois, dont la difference est de trois cents quarante-quatre ans. Ibidiem, 778 & 779. M. De Guignes, pour les accorder, etablit que le system de cette religion etant fonde sur la metempsycose, ils auront adopte les fondateurs des autres religions, comme de nouvelles apparitions de leur Dieu. -- Les Bonzes trouvent, en consequence, sept Fo, 779. Soutiennent que Vischnou a reparu fous le nom de Krischtenou, & y joignent toutes les circonstances qui indigent J.C. 780. M. De Guignes pense qu'ils ont adopte de meme Zoroastre, & fait voir que l'epoque de Fo, la moins ancienne, quadre avec le temps ou a paru Zoroastre, 780, 781 & 785. Que les Indiens ont connu Zoroastre, 783. Que Darius, roi de Perse, transporte un pyree dans le Kaschmir, & oblige les Rois qui lui etoient foumis a y veniradorer un cypres, 784. D'ou ceux qui venoient au pyree auront pu croire que Zoroastre etoit une nouvelle apparition de Butta. -- Ils conservent des traces du manisine, dans le respect qu'ils portent au feu & a l'arbre casta. -- M. De Guignes conclut que la vraie epoque de Fo fera la plus ancienne des deux, & soutient que ce qu'on troube de Christianisme dans la religion des Indes, provient du commerce des Occidentaux; car on y troube des mots Romains consacres a la religion. -- Naissance de Fo. -- Conformite de ce qu'en disent les historiens Chinois & S. Jerome, 785. Fables que debitent les Chinois a ce sujet. -- Ses differentes renaissances. -- Est le meme que Vischnou, dont la dixieme apparition est sous la figure de Boudha. -- Son mariage. -- A un fils. -- Se retire dans les deserts avec cinque Philosophes. -- Sa mort. -- Devient Dieu, 786. Enseigne a sa mort que tout ce qu'il avoit dit etoit figure. -- Que son veritable sentiment etoit que tout fortoit du neant & y retournoit. -- Son principe favori, suivant les Missionaires, est l'atheisme. -- Ses dernieres paroles produisent deux sectes, l'une suit la doctrine exterieure, l'autre la doctrine interieure. -- Les sectateurs de la doctrine exterieure connus sous les noms de Brahmes, Bonzes, Lamas, Talapoins. -- Leurs principes. -- Nombre de leurs divinites. -- Leur veneration pour l'eau du Gange. -- Leur ame se perfectionne a force de transmigrations, jusqu'a ce qu'elle occupe le corps d'un Samaneen. Memoires, Vol. XXVI, 787 & 788.

Google translate: Butta, placed by the Indians in the rank of the Gods. -- Not of a virgin by the side. Memoirs, Vol. XXVI, 771. Also called Puti. -- Sommona-condom among the Siamese, which M. De Guignes interprets as Semaneen-condom. Ibid. 774. The Arabs call it Boudasp or Boudass. -- The Persians, Schekmuniberkari. -- The Chinese, Tche-kia or Chekiameouni, Foteou or Foto; but its better known name is Fo or Foto. -- The Siamese call it Prah-poadi-tchaou, Sammana-khutama & Phutta. -- Hyde the derivative of the Persian Butt. -- Leibnitz wants it to be the Wodin of the north. -- Among the Indians Butta means Mercury, 776. The fables of the Indians, and the lack of detail of historians, prevent us from fixing the time of his birth. -- Masoudi places him in the realms of the unknown. -- The Arabs give birth to him in Kaschmir, from where he goes to India & founds Sabeism. -- The Chinese are also having Fo born in Kaschmir. Same. Volume XXVI, 777 & 778. The agreement of the Chinese and the Arabs seems to exclude the feeling of those who cause it to be born in Siam or Ceilan. -- Two epochs of his birth among the Chinese, the difference between which is three hundred and forty-four years. Ibidiem, 778 & 779. M. De Guignes, to agree with them, establishes that the system of this religion being founded on metempsychosis, they will have adopted the founders of other religions, as new apparitions of their God. -- The Bonzes find, consequently, seven Fo, 779. Maintain that Vischnou has reappeared in the name of Krischtenou, & add to it all the circumstances which indigate J.C. 780. M. De Guignes thinks that they adopted Zoroaster in the same way, & shows that the time of Fo, the least ancient, squares with time where Zoroaster appeared, 780, 781 & 785. That the Indians knew Zoroaster, 783. That Darius, king of Persia, transports a pyreus in the Kaschmir, and obliges the Kings who were furnished to him to come there to adore a cypress, 784. From where those who came to the pyres could have believed that Zoroaster was a new appearance of Butta. -- They retain traces of the manisine, in the respect they have for fire & the casta tree. -- M. De Guignes concludes that the true period of Fo will be the oldest of the two, & maintains that what is disturbed by Christianity in the religion of the Indies, comes from the trade of Westerners; for there are found Roman words devoted to religion. -- Birth of Fo. -- Conformity with what Chinese historians say & S. Jerome, 785. Fables the Chinese utter on this subject. -- Its different revivals. -- Is the same as Vishnu, whose tenth appearance is under the figure of Buddha. -- His wedding. -- Has a son. -- Withdrew into the deserts with five Philosophers. -- His death. -- Becomes God, 786. Teach at his death that all he had said was a figure. -- That his real feeling was that everything was coming out of nothingness and returning to it. -- His favorite principle, according to the Missionaries, is atheism. -- His last words produce two sects, one following the outer doctrine, the other the inner doctrine. -- The followers of the exterior doctrine known under the names of Brahmes, Bonzes, Lamas, Talapoins. -- Their principles. -- Number of their divinities. -- Their reverence for the water of the Ganges. -- Their soul is perfected by dint of transmigrations, until it occupies the body of a Samaneen. Memoirs, Vol. XXVI, 787 & 788.

-- Table Des Matieres: Contenues dans l'Histoire & dans les Memoires de l'Academie Royale Des Inscriptions Et Belles-Lettres, depuis le Volume XXIII, jusques & compris le Volume XXXII. Tome Trente-troisieme. A Paris, De L'Imprimerie Royale. LM. DCCLXX. [Google translate: Table Of Contents: Contained in the History & in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, from Volume XXIII, up to & including Volume XXXII. Volume Thirty-Third. In Paris, From the Royal Printing. LM. 1770.]

The Variety of Style in their Dates.

But if the Siameses do still make use thereof in their Dates, after having relinquish'd it in their Astronomical Calculations, it is because that in things of Style they do not easily alter the Usages unto which they are accustomed; and yet they cease not to date sometimes with respect to that modern Epocha which they have taken, as I have said, from the Year of our Lord 638. But their first Month is always the Moon of November or December, in which they depart not from the ancient Style, even then when they date the Year according to their new Style; tho' the first Month of the Year, according to this new Style, be the fifth or sixth of the old Style.

What the Siameses do think of the System of the Worlds

This, in few words, is the whole Skill of the Siameses in Astronomy. Moreover, they understand nothing of the true System of the World, because they know nothing by Reason. They believe therefore, like all the East, that the Eclipses are caused by some Dragon, which devours the Sun and Moon (perhaps by reason of the Astronomer's metaphorical way of speaking, that the Eclipses are made in the Head and Tail of the Dragon:) And they make a great noise, with Fire-shovels and Kettles, to scare and drive away this pernicious Animal, and to deliver those beauteous Planets. They believe the Earth Four-square, and of vast Extent, on which the Arch of Heaven rests at its extremities, as if it was one of our Glass-Bells with which we cover some of our Plants in our Gardens. They assert, that the Earth is divided into four habitable parts of the World, so separated one from the other by Seas, that they are, as it were, four different Worlds. In the middle of these four Worlds, they suppose an exceeding high Pyramidal Mountain with four equal sides, called, Aon pra Sommene (Caon signifies, a Mountain, and to Mount:) and from the Surface of the Earth, or the Sea, to the top of this Mountain, which, as they say, touches the Stars, they compute 85,000 lods, and every lod contains about 8,000 Fathoms. They reckon as many lods from the Surface of the Sea to the Foundations of the Mountain; and they likewise reckon 84,000 lods extent of Sea from each of the four sides of this Mountain to every of the four Worlds which I have mentioned. Now our World, which they call Tchiampion, lies, as they report, to the South of this Mountain, and the Sun, Moon and Stars do incessantly turn round it; and it is that, which according to them, makes the Day and Night. At the top of this Mountain is a Heaven, which they call Intratiracha, which is surmounted by the Heaven of Angels. This Sample, which is all I know thereof, will suffice to demonstrate their Gtossness; and if it does not exactly accord to what others have writ before me concerning this matter, we must not more admire the variety of the Siamese Opinions in a thing they understand not, than the contrariety of our Systems in Astronomy, which we pretend to understand.

The Indians are Superstitious proportionably to their extream Ignorance.

The extream Superstition of the Indians is therefore a very natural Consequence of their profound Ignorance; but for their Excuse, some People, more illuminated than them, have not been less Superstitious. Have not the Greeks, and after them the Romans, believed in Judiciary Astrology, Augurs, Presages, and all sorts of Arts invented under pretence of Divining and Predicting? They thought that it was the goodness of the Gods, to bestow on Men some Succors to penetrate Futurities; and the words Divination and Divine are the same word in their Origine, because that according to the ancient Pagans, the Art of Divining was only an Art to consult the Deities. The Siameses are also of opinion, that there is an Art of Prophecying, as there is one of restoring Health to the Sick: And when the King of Siam's Soothsayers are mistaken, he causes them to be bastinado'd, [Bastinado: A form of torture in which the soles of the feet are beaten with whips or cudgels.] not as Impostors, but as negligent persons; as he commands his Physicians to be cudgell'd, when the Remedies they give him, perform not the Effect which is thereby promised.

The Authority of Soothsayers over the Siameses.

This Prince, no more than his Subjects, undertakes no Affair, nor Expedition, till his Diviners, which are all Brames or Peguins, have fix'd him an hour prosperously to set upon it. He stirs not out of his House, or if he be gone, he enters not again, so long as his Diviners prohibit him. Sunday seems to him more lucky than the other days, because that in his Tongue he has preserv'd the name of the Sun's-day. He believes the Increase of the Moon more lucky than the Decrease; and besides this, the Almanac which he causes Annually to be made by a Brame Astrologer, denotes to him and his Subjects, the lucky or unlucky days for most of the things they used to do: A Folly which is perhaps too much tolerated amongst the Christians, witness the Almanac of Milan, to which so many persons do now give such a blind Belief.

And Presages.

The Siameses do take the Howlings of wild Beasts, and the Cryes of Stags and Apes, for an ill Omen; as several persons amongst us are frightened with the Barking of the Dogs in the Night. A Serpent which crosses the way, the Thunderbolt which falls on a House, any thing that falls as it were of itself, and without any apparent Cause, are Subjects of dread to the Siameses, and the reasons of laying aside or setting upon an Affair, how important and pressing soever it be. One of the ways they make use of to foretel things to come, and which is common to all the Orientals, is to perform some superstitious Ceremonies, then to go into the City, and to take for an Oracle about what they desire to know, the first words which they hear accidentally spoken in the Streets, or in the Houses. I could learn no more thereof, by reason that the Christian Interpreters, which I made use of, look'd upon these things with Horror, as Witchcraft and Compacts with the Daemon, altho' it be very possible that they are only Fooleries full of Credulity and Ignorance. The ancient Francs, by a like Superstition, consulted in their Wars the first words which they heard sung in the Church, at their entering thereinto. At this very day several persons have a Superstitious Belief in certain Herbs which they gather the Evening of St. John, from whence is risen this Proverb, To use or employ all the Herbs of St. John, that is, the utmost skill in an Affair: And amongst the Italians, there are some, who, after having wash'd their Feet in Wine on St. John's Eve, do throw the Wine out at Window, and so stand afterwards to hear those that pass along the Street, taking for a certain Augury on what they desire to know, the first word they hear spoken.

The Indians accused of Sorcery, and why.

But that which has rais'd the Reputation of great Sorcerers amongst the Indians, is principally the continual Conjurations which they use to drive away the evil Spirits with, and attract the good. They pretend to have some Talismans, or Characters which they call Cata, to accomplish whatever they please; as to kill, or to render invulnerable; and to impose Silence on Persons and Dogs, when they would commit a wicked Action, and not be discovered. If they prepare a Medicine, they will fasten to the brim of the Vessel several Papers, wherein they will write some mysterious words, to hinder the Petpayatons from carrying away the vertue of the Remedy with the steem. These Petpayatons are in their Opinion some Spirits diffused in the Air, of whom they believe, amongst other things, that they do first enjoy all the Maidens; and that they do them that pretended hurt, which is renewed every Month. In a Storm at Sea, they will fasten to all the Tackle such like written Papers, which they believe proper to assuage the Winds.

But the commonest use of sacred symbols is as talismans to ward off the evils of those malignant planets and demons who cause disease and disaster, as well as for inflicting harm on one's enemy. The symbols here are used in a mystical and magic sense as spells and as fetishes, and usually consist of formulas in corrupt and often unintelligible Sanskrit, extracted from the Mahayana and Tantrik scriptures, and called dharani, as they are believed to "hold" divine powers, and are also used as incantations. Shorter forms of these, consisting often of a single letter, are also used as representing the essence or "germ" of these spells or mantras, and hence named vija. And the mystic diagram in which they are often arranged is named Yantra, as in Hindu Tantrism.

The forms of these talismans and amulets are innumerable. The majority are luck-compelling, but different diseases, accidents and misfortune have each their special kinds.

The eating of the paper on which a charm has been written is an ordinary way of curing disease, as indeed it had been in Europe till not so many centuries ago, for the mystic Rx heading our prescriptions is generally admitted to have had its origin in the symbol of Saturn, whom it invoked, and the paper on which the symbol and several other mystic signs were inscribed constituted the medicine, and was itself actually eaten by the patient. The spells which the Lamas use in this way as medicine are shown in the annexed print, and are called "the edible letters" (za-yig).

A still more mystical way of applying these remedies is by the washings of the reflection of the writing in a mirror, a practice not without its parallels in other quarters of the globe. Thus to cure the evil eye as shown by symptoms of mind-wandering and dementia condition — called "byad-'grol" — it is ordered as follows: Write with Chinese ink on a piece of wood the particular letters and smear the writing over with myrobalams and saffron as varnish, and every twenty-nine days reflect this inscribed wood in a mirror, and during reflection wash the face of the mirror with beer, and collect a cupful of such beer and drink it in nine sips.

But most of the charms are worn on the person as amulets. Every individual always wears around the neck one or more of these amulets, which are folded up into little cloth-covered packets, bound with coloured threads in a geometrical pattern. Others are kept in small metallic cases of brass, silver, or gold, set with turquoise stones as amulets, and called "Ga-u." These amulets are fastened to the girdle or sash, and the smaller ones are worn as lockets, and with each are put relics of holy men — a few threads or fragments of cast-off robes of saints or idols, peacock feathers, sacred Kusa grass, and occasionally images and holy pills. Other large charms are affixed overhead in the house or tent to ward off lightning, hail, etc., and for cattle special charms are chanted, or sometimes pasted on the walls of the stalls, etc.

Most of these charms against accident, disease, and ill-fortune are in the form figured on the opposite page, which is called "The Assembly of all the Lamas' Hearts," as it is believed to contain the essence of all that is most powerful in the Lamaist spells.

It consists of a series of concentric circles of spells surrounded by flames, amid which in the four corners are the symbols of the Buddhist trinity symbolized as three gems, a lotus-flower, a thunder-bolt sceptre, and a flaming dagger with a vajra-hilt. In the interior is an eight-petalled lotus-flower, each petal of which bears mystic syllables, and in the centre of the flower is a circular space of about an inch in diameter, in which is placed the especial mystic charm...

As most of these specific charms are of the nature of sympathetic magic, and evidently derived from very ancient Indian sources, probably dating back to Vedic times when the ritual consisted largely of sympathetic magic,49 I give here a few examples: —

Thus to make the

Charm against Bullets and Weapons. — The directions are as these: With the blood of a wounded man draw the annexed monogram (D (upside-down D) and insert in the vacant space in the centre of the aforesaid print of "The Assembly of the Hearts of the Lamas." The sheet should then be folded and wrapped in a piece of red silk, and tie up with a piece of string and wear around the neck or an unexposed part of your breast immediately next the skin, and never remove it.

Charm for Clawing Animals (i.e., tigers, cats, bears, etc.). — On a miniature knife write with a mixture of myrobalans and musk-water the monogram (? ZAH) and tie up, etc. (Here the knife seems to represent the animal's claw.)

For Domestic Broils. — Write the monogram (? RE) and insert in print and fold up and bind with a thread made of the mixed hairs of a dog, goat, sheep, and enclose in a mouse-skin, and tie, etc. (This seems to represent union of domestic elements.)

For Kitchen Cooking Smells offensive to the House-Gods. — With the blood of a hybrid bull-calf write the monogram GAU ( = cow), and insert it in the print, and fold up in a piece of hedge- hog-skin. (Compare with the western Aryan myth of the Greek hearth-god Vulcan, whose mother Hera as Io is represented as a cow.)

For Cholera (or "the vomiting, purging, and cramps" ). — With the dung of a black horse and black sulphur and musk-water write the monogram (? ZA), and insert in the print, and fold up in a piece of snake-skin, and wear, etc. (Here the dung seems to represent the purging, the horse the galloping course, the black colour the deadly character, and the snake the virulence of the disease.)

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Anthropological Institute, etc., Surgeon-Major H.M. Bengal Army, 1895

Superstitions for Women in Child-bed.

The superstitions which they use towards Women in Child-bed, appear not less ridiculous, although they be founded perhaps on some benefit for health. They believe that Women in Child-bed have need of being purified: whether that the Jews, spread throughout the Earth, have sowed this Tradition amongst several Nations, or that the people of hot Countries are more easily prejudiced than those of cold Countries with the natural impurities of Women. The Siameses keep the Women in Child-bed before a continual and great fire for a month, where they turn them sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other. The smoak does greatly incommode them, and passes slowly through an Aperture, which they make in the roof of their houses. The Peguins do put their Wives on a kind of Bambou-grate, very nigh, with fire underneath; but they keep them thus no more than four or five days. At the up-rising, the one and the other return thanks to the Fire for having purified their Wives; and in the Entertainment which they give on this occasion to their Friends, they eat nothing which they have not first offered to the Fire, leaving it some time near it. During the whole time of lying in Child-bed, the Women neither eat nor drink anything that is not hot: and I understand that our Midwives, forbid their Women also to drink anything cold.

Philtres look'd upon as the effect of Magick.

But the most speedy and most sensible effects of the pretended Divinations of the Indians are in the use of certain Philtres, which are only natural drinks. The Indies do produce some Simples, the kinds, force, or use of which we understand not. The Amorous Philtres, or Love potions, are those which debilitate the Imagination, and make a Man to become a Child; so that after this it is easie to govern him. My domesticks assur'd me that they had seen a man at Batavia, of whom it was reported that his wife had render'd him senseless after this manner. Other drinks do cause other effects. The Relations are full of those which the women of Goa frequently give their Husbands: and which render them so stupid for 24 hours, that they can then be unfaithful to them in their presence. Opium, or the quintessence of Poppies, causes such different effects, that it procures sleep, or watchfulness, as it is variously prepared. The Indians going to Battel, do take thereof to inspire them with courage, or rather with fury. They then run headlong upon the Enemy like wild Boars: It is dangerous to attend them, but one may avoid them by turning out of the way, for they go forwards. Moreover, the effect of Opium lasts only some hours, after which they relapse not only into their natural cowardice, but into a faintness, which leaves them but little action for their defence. And such were those Macassers, which had conspired against the King of Siam, some months before the Kings Ambassadors arrived there.

Distempers considered as the Effects of Magick.

The Siameses have likewise some Distempers, the symptoms of which are sometimes so strange, that they think the cause thereof can be attributed only to Witchcraft. But besides these extraordinary cases, their Physicians do almost continually accuse the greater Energy of the Spirits, with the inefficaciousness of their Remedies; and they do herein play such subtile juggling tricks, or rather they deal with persons so credulous, that whilst we were at Siam, they made a sick man believe, that he had voided a Deers skin with a Medicine, and that he must have swallowed this deerskin by a Magical effect, and without perceiving it. This is what I judged necessary to relate concerning the Siameses Superstititions, of which every one may judge as he pleases: for if on the one hand I have seen nothing which obliges me to accuse them of Sorcery, on the other hand I am not concern'd to justifie them entirely.

Superstition or Vanity touching the walls of Cities.

But before we quit this subject I will here add one thing, which may be attributed at your pleasure, to Superstition or Vanity: One day when the King's Ambassadors were saluted by the real or supposed Ambassaders, from Patana, Camboya, and some other neighbouring Courts, the Ambassadors of some of the several Nations which are at Siam, were also at this Visit: and among the rest there were two, who said that the City of their Origine, the name of which I have forgot, remained no more: but that it had been so considerable, that it was impossible to go round it in three Months. I smil'd thereat as at a groundless folly: and in a few days after Mr. de la Mare the Ingineer, whom Mr. de Chanmont had left at Siam, informed me, that when by the King of Siam's order he had been at Liger to take the draught thereof, the Governour would not permit him to go round it under two days, though he could have done it in less than an hour. Let us proceed to the study of the last part of the Mathematicks.

CHAP. XII. Concerning Musick, and the Exercises of the Body.

The Siameses have no Art in Singing.

Musick is not better understood at Siam, than Geometry and Astronomy. They make Airs by Fancy, and know not how to prick them by Notes. They have neither Cadence, nor quaver no more than the Castisians: but they sometimes sing like us without words, which the Castitians thing very strange; and in the stead of words, they only say noi, noi, as we do say lan-la-lari. I have not remark'd one single Air, whose measure was triple, whereas those are without comparison the most familiar to the Spaniards. The King of Siam, without shewing himself, heard several Airs of our Opera on the Violin, and it was told us that he did not think them of a movement grave enough: Nevertheless the Siameses have nothing very grave in their Songs; and whatever they play on their Instruments, even in their Kings march, is very brisk.....
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