The First Reform
The contact between Persian and Egyptian culture which began with the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses in 525 BC must naturally have attracted the attention of the rising nation to that old and famous civilization. Darius, who had accompanied Cambyses to Egypt and had stayed there for some years before his accession to the Persian throne, returned to that country, after he became king, in 517 BC. He took a very great  interest in the Egyptian nation and their culture, treated the Egyptians kindly, became very popular with them, and was recognized by them as one of their law-givers. It is possible he took a good many Persian nobles, sages, and religious leaders with him to Egypt, and be brought with him, or summoned, to Susa the high priest of the famous Sais temple, Uzahor by name (according to an inscription now in the Vatican). The intercourse between the two nations which developed particularly with the friendly attitude of Persia towards Egypt and the good feeling felt by the latter toward the former, may certainly have had some influence on the institutions of Persia. Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that it was at or about this period that the high authorities of the Zoroastrian community in Persia adopted the Egyptian system of time reckoning, and thus introduced the Y.A. calendar. The similarity of principle involved by the theoretical beginning of the year in both cases (among the Egyptian and the Zoroastrian community) on or near the heliacal rising of Sirius may have prepared the ground for a rapprochement in this matter. The original New Year of Egypt was based on the time of the first heliacal rising of the dog-star (Sirius), called by them Sopdet, which in ancient times nearly coincided with the beginning of the rise of the Nile. This was the greatest festival of the Egyptians, for the rising of the Nile was the principal source of their happiness and prosperity. Similarly the heliacal rising of Tishtrya (generally believed to be the Avestan name for Sirius), which was looked for as the bringer of much needed rain, the most vital necessity for the Persian cultivator during the season of excessive heat, must have been in that country as great a blessing as the rise of the Nile to the Egyptians. Consequently this point of time (or the first day of the month during which this star rose) had most probably been fixed, as has already been stated, as the New Year of the original people of the Avesta in the pre-Zoroastrian and early Zoroastrian periods.42 Moreover, the Egyptian system with a year of a fixed number of days (365) without intercalation (for the omitted fraction of day) may have appeared to the minds of the Zoroastrian priests, especially for liturgical purposes much simpler and more convenient than their own. Consequently they adopted that system and introduced the so-called Young-Avestan calendar into the Zoroastrian church and community. This community may have been by this time encouraged, and perhaps even favorably regarded and supported by the court, following the anti-Magi policy of Darius after the slaying of the Magian usurper and general massacre of this caste in 522 BC.
Thus the reform consisted in giving up the Old-Avestan calendar and copying exactly the Egyptian vague year in all respects even in the place of the New Year. The Zoroastrian community adopted the same system of twelve months of thirty days each, with a yearly intercalation of five days at the end of the year instead of making up for the deficiency of eleven or five days in their former year, by a three- or six-yearly intercalation. They kept, however, the essential and most important parts of their former calendar, namely the natural and religious season festivals or gahambars and, of course, they replaced the Egyptian month names by the Old-Avestan (pre-Zoroastrian) month names or (in most cases) by the names of their own supreme deity and archangels.
If the Zoroastrian names of some months were already in use, the month of the highest divinity (Ahura Mazda), which was till then the seventh month of the year, i.e. at the beginning of the second half-year, coincided at that time with the first Egyptian month Toth, and both corresponded, roughly, to the first month of winter. Therefore that month became the first month of the new calendar. If, however, the month names of the Y.A. calendar were introduced at the same time as the calendar itself was adopted, then it was natural that the first month of the new calendar should be named after the same highest divinity dadhvå (modern Dai), the epithet of Ahura Mazda.
The order of the Amesha Spentas in the month names which has so far puzzled the scholars may, I think, be explained as follows: Putting the month of the creator on the top (the beginning of the year), the order of the Archangels is followed, not according to their well-known and familiar succession, but according to their range in sitting before the throne of Ohrmazd in the heaven on each side in accordance with their age and sex, as given in the Great Bundahishn. Their sequence is only broken now and then by the months consecrated to the older deities. After the supreme divinity comes first Vohu Manah from the right hand, then Spenta Armaiti from the left, then (interrupted by a non-Angelic month) Asha Vahishta from the right, then the twin Angels Haurvatat and Ameretat from the left (though separated again by a stranger) and then at last Khshathra Vairya from the right.
The Egyptian habit of naming their months and days after different divinities also was not apparently without influence in the denomination of the new Mazdayasnian months and days. The name of the first day of the Egyptian months was identical with the name of the first month, likewise in the Y.A. calendar the first day of every month is named Ohrmazd (Ahurahe Mazdao), which is the name of the supreme God, whose epithet was dadhvå (gen. dathushô), the patron of the first month. Again the consecration of the five supplementary days at the end of the year and perhaps also the 19[th]day of the first month to the reverence of manes in both calendars (Egyptian and Y.A.) does not seem to be wholly incidental. Now, if we assume the date of this reform as being about 510 BC, we shall obtain the following correspondences: the Egyptian year began at that time on 29[th]December (Julian) and consequently the beginning of the Iranian year, i.e. the first day of the month Dai, which corresponds to the first day of the Egyptian month Toth, must have been placed also at the same point; the summer solstice fell on the 20[th]June and the third day of the month Tir, about when the first day of the lunar month in that year (509 BC) also began; the Egyptian epagomenae as well as the Persian andargâh or Gatha days (five supplementary days of the year) were after the Egyptian month, Mesori (twelfth month), and the parallel Persian month, Adar, respectively, and corresponded to 24[th]-28[th]December; the month Tir corresponded to 27[th]June-26[th]July, and thus the helical rising of Sirius in Iran could have fallen in this month.
If there is any truth in the tradition reported by Biruni (AB., pp. 233-4) to the effect that, after the coming of Zoroaster and the [later] transfer by the Persian Kings of their residence from Balkh (Bactria) to Fars and Babylon, the Persians paid [special] attention to matters relating to their religion, renewed their astronomical observations, and found that in the third year from the [last] intercalation, the summer solstice preceded the beginning of the year by five days, and that they then gave up the older reckoning and adopted the results of their new computation, the explanation may be as follows: by adopting the Egyptian system, an adjustment in the position of the Iranian months in use up to that time was perhaps carried out. The mere act of making the Iranian year conform with the Egyptian by making the seventh month of the Old-Avestan calendar (the later Dai) parallel (i.e. in full and strict correspondence) with Toth, the first Egyptian month, would have necessarily caused a shift in the places of the other Iranian months. For instance, if the month of Tir, which according to our theory was the first month of the Old-Avestan year, normally ought to have begun on, say, 2nd July, given that the reform had not taken place in that year, it was bound to move a few days back when the first day of Dai was put at the same position as the first day of the Egyptian Toth (about 29[th]December), making Tir to correspond to the Egyptian Phamenoth (27[th]June-26[th]July).
This hypothesis will also explain the position of the month of Dai which, according to this, was originally in its logical and right place as the month of the supreme God, whereas, in the later order of the months in the Y.A. year, its position (the tenth month) always seemed anomalous. It will account also for the unexpected length of the gah (yâirya) ending with the gahambar of maidyarem (eighty days instead of seventy-five) and the traditional place of this gahambar on the 20[th]day of Dai (celebrated from 16[th]to 20[th]) instead of 15th, which was to be expected as the second pole of the Old-Avestan year opposite to maidyoshahem on 15[th]Tir. Both these points can thus be explained. As it has been stated, the Egyptian epagomenae being at the end of the year and immediately preceding the month Toth, the Persian andargâh should have taken their place at the end of the month Adar immediately before the month Dai. This would have made the interval between the 1st Tir and the 1st Dai 185 days instead of 180 days, which was according to our assumption the original interval. Consequently the length of the last yâirya (gâh) of the year ending with maidyarem would have increased from seventy-five to eighty days. In the second and last reform, however, when the Y.A. calendar was officially recognized by the State and was made the civil calendar of the empire, the Gatha days were removed from the end of Adar to the end of Spandarmad, which was fixed at that time as the end of the year. But the length of the yâirya from ayathrem to maidyarem was not readjusted accordingly and still remained in Persian reckoning eighty days in length. Therefore the maidyarem had advanced five days from its usual place in the month of Dai, which must have been at that time on the 15[th]of that month, to the 20[th]of the same month where it was then stabilized (in the religious or vihêjakîk year). The Khwarazmians, unlike the Persians, carried out correctly the necessary adjustment due on this account, as appears from the length of the intervals between their gahambars corresponding to the Avestan and Persian ayathrem, maidyarem, and hamaspathmaidyem, i.e. arthamîn (?), binkhajâchî raid (?), and maithsokhan raid (?) respectively. The interval between the two former is (AB., p.237-8) seventy-five days, and between the second and the last, eighty days. This may point to the antiquity of the Khwarazmian calendar compared with that of the Armenians or the Cappadocians, etc. The positions of the Khwarazmian gahambars differ from those of the Persian by five months, and from the original places given in Afrin-Gahambar by three months. This fact may suggest that the Khwarazmians followed the Persians in the matter of intercalation up to the third one (presumably executed about 81 BC), after which the former ceased to intercalate, perhaps in consequence of the weakening of the cultural relations between the two peoples, following the Scythian invasion of Bactria and the adjacent countries about 130 BC.
The Second Reform
The positions of the gahambars in the Y.A. calendar are not easy to explain and have been the subject of much discussion. If the Y.A. year originally (i.e. at the time of its official adoption and the institution of the intercalation system) began with the vernal equinox and the month of Frawardin, the gahambar of hamaspathmaidyem would have then fallen on the last day (or days) of winter, but then maidyoshahem (or the midsummer festival) with its traditional place on 15[th]Tir would not have corresponded either with the middle of the well-known summer of three months or with the middle of the bigger summer of six months, i.e. the brighter and warmer half of the year from the vernal to the autumnal equinox.
The explanation proposed by Cama for the apparent lack of harmony in the arrangement of the places of the gahambars in the year, which was considered for some time by most scholars to be satisfactory, is also open to some objection. Cama tried to find the solution of this rather peculiar arrangement by ascribing the institution of the different gahambars to different periods. According to him, in the early times, when the year was divided into two parts only, namely a summer of seven months and a winter of five months, four gahambars, viz. maidyoshahem, ayathrem, maidyarem, and hamaspathmaidyem were created as the feasts of the middle and the end of the said Avestan summer (hama) and winter (zyam or zayana) respectively. But the other two, i.e. maidyozarem and Paitishahem were introduced in later times after the well known four seasons of the year, each of about three months, had come in use, thus marking the middle point of the spring and the end of the summer (of three months) respectively. Apparently Cama also believed that the Mazdayasnian year began originally on the vernal equinox, as his explanation of the places of maidyozarem and paitishahem shows.
That the maidyoshahem originally corresponded, as is implied by the literal meaning of the word, to the middle point of the Zoroastrian summer of seven months is, no doubt, indisputable, though this "Zoroastrian summer" meant only the 210 days' interval between hamaspathmaidyem and ayathrem, without implying by any means a stable correspondence between the first of these two gahambars and the day immediately preceding the vernal equinox. It is also true that the gahambars were not all instituted simultaneously. Also it must be admitted that in the later Sasanian times, as well as in the early centuries of Islam, the original position of the vihêjakîk month Frawardin considered as corresponding to the first month of the spring. But as stated above, this theory of the first day of (vihêjakîk) Frawardin being on the vernal equinox does not agree with the statement of the author of the Bundahishn regarding the increasing of the night and decreasing of the day from maidyoshahem onwards, or with the epithets given to the gahambars in the Avesta (Visperad, 1.2; 2.2). Maidyoshahem is described there as the time when the mowing of the grass takes place, paitishahem as the time of the harvest of the corn, and ayathrem as the season of driving the cattle home from summer pasturage (i.e. the time of retiring from the field into winter dwellings) and of the mating of the sheep (also Yasna, 1.9, 2.9, 3.11, 4.14). If these gahambars were originally celebrated, as the equinoctial theory of the new year implies, on the 150[th], 180[th], and 210[th]days after the vernal equinox, which dates correspond roughly to the 3[rd] July, 16[th]September, and 16[th]October respectively in the Gregorian calendar, the seasons would have been too far advanced in Iran for the agricultural and pastoral occupations attributed to them to have been carried out, as Marquart rightly pointed out in the case of the two latter (Untersuchungen, p. 205). Therefore we may reasonably hold to the description of maidyoshahem in the Bundahishn as the starting point of the shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights, and put it on the summer solstice or the middle point of the longer summer (the warmer half of the year). We may also at the same time admit as correct the place given to this gahambar in the Mazdayasnian year in the Avesta, namely 15[th]Tir (Afrin Gahambar 7-12, Wolff's translation of the Avesta, p. 303). This agrees also with the place given to it in the Bundahishn, except that the latter book is less strict when it places the beginning of the shortening of the diurnal arc on the first day of the five festival days (11[th]Tir) instead of the last (15th), which is the real gahambar day.
Undoubtedly it was these considerations that led Roth to suppose that the beginning of the old Iranian year (1st Frawardin) was originally on 8[th]March (Gregorian), and Bartholomae, Geiger, and others have followed him in this supposition. This comes to thirteen days before the vernal equinox. This was the position of the Y.A. year in the third quarter of the fifth century BC.
This theory explains satisfactorily many difficult points mentioned above, relating to apparent anomalies, and it agrees with almost all our data on this matter. The only remaining difficulties are in: (1) the passage of the Bundahishn indicating the equality of the length of the day and night at the time of the festival called hamaspathmaidyem, to which reference was made above, and (2) the meaning of the word maidyozarem, which is supposed to be mid-spring. Both these points, if they cannot be otherwise explained, may imply that the year began on the equinox, and could be advanced as evidence in support of that opinion. L. Gray tries to explain this inconsistency in the tradition by supposing that "the year originally began with the vernal equinox, and solsticial festivals were introduced later when the actual beginning of the year had receded by thirteen days (i.e. to 8[th]March)". But as the gahambars had nothing to do with the civil (Oshmurtîk) year before AD 1006, and as their places were fixed in the vihêjakîk or fixed religious year, they must have been established in the places given in the Afrin Gahambar according to their positions in one particular year, and not according to their individual positions in separate years. For if the place of Maidyozarem had been originally, on the forty-fifth day after the vernal equinox, it would have fallen on 28[th]Ardwahisht, when the beginning of the civil year had receded thirteen days in the tropic year.
Therefore all the six gahambars must have been stabilized in their traditional places in the (vihêjakîk) Y.A. year simultaneously when the intercalation was introduced. Consequently these places represent the positions which these season festivals happened to occupy in the civil or the vague year at that date, i.e. they had reached those places on account of the retrogression of the civil year against the tropical year. These festivals then became fixed, being celebrated always on the same days of the vihêjakîk or religious year, as registered in the Afrin Gahambar, and corresponded thus approximately always with the same astronomical positions in the tropic year but advanced in the civil year.
The statement as to the equality of the day and night on hamaspathmaidyem occurring in the Bundahishn was in all probability due to a misunderstanding caused by the later popular belief in the equinoctial beginning of the original year, an opinion possibly having its origin in Zoroastrian mythology and cosmogony, as already stated, which also, in its turn, may have been influenced by the Babylonian zagmûg. As to the meaning of maidyozarem, even if it could be proved that the word zaremaya means spring, it is by no means certain that it represented strictly the astronomical spring. This is very unlikely, since such a notion (the division of the year into four equal parts as it is at the present day) hardly existed among the Avestan people. It may rather have been a name for the earlier part of the Avestan summer, which was seven months long, from hamaspathmaidyem till ayathrem. In the long interval between these last-named festivals some other holidays for rest and offering, besides maidyoshahem in the middle, may have been considered necessary. Therefore the forty-fifth day of this interval or the end of the first three units of time reckoning was added to the already existing season festivals, and it was made a holiday of the season of milk, honey, and juice. Thus this gahambar was probably instituted much later than the other gahambars, just as the Indian vasanta (or vasara) was most probably introduced later than the other seasons. This Iranian festival which was celebrated sixty days before the summer solstice and corresponded to 24[th]April (Gregorian), was called maidyozarem or (roughly) the middle-point of spring in the popular (and not astronomical) sense of the word, i.e. the season of the revivification of nature and vegetation. It is curious that Thuravâhara, the name of the Old-Persian month, corresponding to the second Babylonian month Iyyâr, means also mid-spring, and that in 441 BC, when according to our conjecture the Y.A. calendar was made the official calendar of Persia, the first day of this month coincided with the 15[th]day of Ardwahisht, which has been stabilized as the vihêjakîk day of maidyozarem in the Mazdayasnian year. It must also be noted that the spring in most parts of Persia is very short and that the weather changes from cold to excessive heat with a short interval between the two.
The truth about the Old-Avestan season festivals is that although they had their fixed places in the tropic year, they had nothing to do with the well-known astronomical four seasons now in general use. None of them is based on one of the four main points of the tropic year (equinoxes and solstices) except maidyoshahem which, as the beginning of the year, corresponded in principle to the summer solstice and was the fundamental point of the year and the basis for the calculation of all other seasons. Maidyarem was not the name for the winter solstice, but since it was the middle point of the year, which is the meaning of its name, and came 180 days after maidyoshahem at the beginning of the second half-year, it fell naturally on (or strictly speaking about) the opposite solstice or the second pole of the year. Then counting backward and forward from maidyoshahem, the point 105 days or seven fortnights before it was made the first day of the Avestan summer, and the day preceding this last point was made a season festival called hamaspathmaidyem as the end of retirement, or the end of the off-season, and the beginning of outdoor or field work, and in the same way the point 105 days after maidyoshahem was considered as the end of the summer (the festival of ayathrem). Thus the Avestan winter began, in the same way, seventy-five days or five fortnights before maidyarem and ended seventy-five days after it. Consequently maidyoshahem became the middle point of the Avestan summer of seven months (mid-summer) which now had three festivals: one at the beginning (or, rather, the day preceding it), one at the end, and one at the middle. The winter, being shorter, was divided in two equal parts forming only two yâiryas (gahs), but the summer, being longer, a further division took place and two more festivals were created, viz. the festival of the harvest (paitishahem), seventy-five days after maidyoshahem, and the festival of high spring or the season of milk, butter, honey, and blooming countryside (maidyozarem), sixty days before it.
Now it is possible that the Zoroastrian community, a considerable time after the adoption of the Egyptian calendar system, noticed a change in the position of their most important festivals. This change was bound to take place as a consequence of neglecting the necessary intercalation that was due on account of the omission, each year, of a quarter of a day by which the real solar year (tropic) exceeds the vague year. They realized then the necessity of some sort of intercalation which, while compensating for the accumulated shortages caused by omitted fractions would not interfere with the order of the days in the months, and would cause no divergence between the intercalated and the vague year in the names of the corresponding days. The addition of a thirteenth month to the year was already known to the Persians from the Babylonian calendar, also most probably from the Old-Persian and the Elamite, as well as perhaps from the Old-Avestan calendars. The intercalation of a month once each 120 years would bring back every day of a vague year to the same Julian day to which it had originally corresponded, though not exactly to its original place in the tropical year. The establishment of such an intercalation, which means the adoption of the vihêjakîk (fixed) year, was probably simultaneous with the transference of the year's commencement from the month Dai to the month Frawardin. Consequently the established correspondence between the Egyptian and Persian New Year was abandoned, and the Persian year began from that time not far from the Babylonian rêsh shatti and its feast zagmûg. This reform was an important step, and it was possibly connected with some special factors. The successive revolts of Egypt, the killing of the Persian Governor there, followed by a long struggle during the first years of Artaxerxes, and the hatred of the Egyptians for this monarch and his father on the one hand, and the growing intercourse and rapprochement between Persians and Babylonians on the other, are perhaps among the possible factors of the change. Artaxerxes I, whose residence was in Susa, where Nehemia took leave from him in 445 (Nehemia, 1.1), transferred it later (perhaps owing to the destruction of his palace by fire or to his conversion to a new faith (?)) to Babylon, where Nehemia found him again in 433 (Nehemia, 8.6). The court remained in Babylon apparently for the most part until Artaxerxes II moved again to Susa after 395. But besides this and similar reasons for the reform of the calendar, can we not seek the decisive factor in the conversion of the Achaemenian rulers to the Zoroastrian religion? If this supposition should prove to be correct, then it must have been on this occasion that a compromise was effected by which the Zoroastrian New Year's feast was brought more or less into harmony with the Babylonian zagmûg, and the Old-Persian feast of Mithra was taken into the Avestan calendar. Thus the court would have given up the Old-Persian and adopted the Mazdayasnian calendar except for the beginning of the year. In this last matter the Zoroastrian priests seem to have made a concession to the desire of the king by fixing the New Year near to the vernal equinox, and more particularly by the incorporation into the Mazdayasnian year, of the feast of Mithra, which appears to have been the greatest festival of the South-Western Iranians and of the Achaemenians, and by officially recognizing it. Also the Zoroastrian composition of some of the older Yashts of which (or at least of parts of which) a non-Zoroastrian or perhaps even pre-Zoroastrian nucleus may have already existed among the Magian communities of Media and Persia as hymns of praise to older Aryan deities or as mythological songs and epics, may have been connected with this epoch-making change. It was then that the incorporation of these materials in the supplemented and enlarged sacred book took place, as well as the adoption of the said ancient and non-Zoroastrian popular divinities such as Mithra, Anahita, Tishtrya, and Verethraghna (who were perhaps the Daevas of the early and pure Zoroastrian faith) into the religion and its revised canon.
The Afrin Gahambar or, at any rate, its supplementary part dealing with the lengths of the gahs and with the days and months of the season festivals represents this period, and the basis of it at least must surely have been composed at this time, i.e. about 441 BC Although the contents of this Afrin are believed to be derived from the Hadokht Nask of the Avesta, that part of them which concerns the six seasons of the creation and their length, is repeated more fully in the cosmogonical chapters of the Gr. Bundahishn, which no doubt are based on the Damdad Nask of the lost Avesta. Through comparing a tract of the pseudo-Hippocratian Greek work (De hebdomadibus) with the material of the Gr. Bundahishn on microcosm and macrocosm taken from the said Damdad Nask, Albrecht Götze (Zeitschrift für Indologie u. Iranistik, ii, 1923, pp. 60 and 167) has proved that this nask must have been composed not later than the fifth century BC. (Reitzenstein proposes 430 as the lowest limit, Studien, p. 130 n.). Perhaps the absence of Mithra, Anahita, etc., in the inscriptions of early Achaemenian kings, including that of Artaxerxes I belonging to the early part of his reign, and the appearance of these deities in the next inscription of any length (that of Artaxerxes II) can also be explained by this theory, i.e. the conversion of the Achaemenians to Zoroastrianism between the two dates. The absence of the name of Zoroaster from the books of Herodotus (composed about 447 BC) and its mention in Alcibiades, i, of Plato (about 390 BC) may also indicate that the faith of the Iranian prophet had become the State religion during that interval.
Cf. E. Meyer, article "Darius" in Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition.
Sirius's heliacal rising for Memphis was according to the latest calculation (Neugebauer's Hilfstafeln) from 3160 to 2640 BC on the 17th July, from 1420 to 1050 on the 18th, and from 230 BC to AD 20 on the 19th July, varying between two consecutive days during the intervals. The Nile's rising in Egypt began, according to Ginzel (Handbuch der Chronologie, i, p. 190), in the twenty-eighth century BC, on 16th July. The Egyptian calendar with its vague year, as we know it, is supposed, according to the latest conjecture, to have been adopted in the same century when Sirius's heliacal rising fell on the 1st Toth. This was the 17th July, 2768 BC, i.e. the day after the beginning of the rise of the Nile.
The custom of sprinkling water on each other on the day of the Tiragan feast (13th day of the month of Tir-Tishtryehe), practiced down to much later ages, may have been a survival of its original significance, i.e. the anticipation of the coming rain of which the appearance of Sirius on the horizon at dawn was a good tiding. In the later story of the genesis of the world the creation of the water was put on the division (gah) of the year ending with maidyoshahem, which was on 15 Tir.
It is probable that the month of Tir, which we have assumed to have been the first month of the Old-Avestan year, originally began in the last days of (Julian) July, at about the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius in Northern Iran, and gradually receded until it fell, in the last part of the sixth century, three or four weeks earlier (i.e. it originally corresponded roughly to 28th July-26th August and in 510 BC to 2nd-31st July). The verses 13, 16, and 18 of Yasht 8, which tell of three consecutive ten-day periods, during which Tishtrya, after its rising, fights against Apaosha, the demon of drought, may refer to the three decades of the month, as Lommel remarks, (Die Yäsht's des Awesta, p.47) and may confirm the correspondence of the heliacal rising of Tishtrya with the first day of the month of the same name. As a matter of fact, the decrease of the heat and the beginning of the rain is quite natural thirty-three days after the heliacal rising of Sirius in the northern regions of Iran. This would correspond to about 22nd August (Gregorian). The retrocession of the month Tir against the tropic year may have been due either to the deficiency of the unknown system of intercalation used in the Old-Avestan calendar, or may have been caused by the abandonment of the sidereal year in time reckoning. The retrocession may have been slow or fast, according to the extent of the difference of the year with the real solar year (tropical). Having no information as to the rate of this retrocession, we cannot discover the date of the original correspondence between the first day of Tir and the heliacal rising of Sirius, which was probably also not far from the date of the original composition of the oldest part of the non-Zoroastrian nucleus of that older Yasht (Tishtrya Yasht). With a year of 300 days and the intercalation of a month each six years this would take about a century or a little more, and if this kind of calendar really preceded the Y.A., its institution (or, at least, the original composition of that part of the said Yasht) can be reasonably put in the second half of the seventh century BC. As the full visibility of Sirius in the Eastern horizon at dawn by everybody may be sometimes later than the date of its first heliacal rising, according to the astronomical calculation (see Ginzel, iii, p. 368), this would put the date of the first rain still later towards the end of summer and hence more in keeping with actual conditions in Northern Iran.
As to the question whether the months with the names of Tishryehe, Mithrahe, and Apam(napâtô) existed in the Old-Avestan calendar, and were not changed in spite of these names being unpopular with the early followers of Zoroaster, or they were received into the Y.A. calendar on the occasion of the second reform (see infra), there is no tangible evidence in favor of one or the other theory. In the second case the introduction of these, names must have followed the admittance of these non-Zoroastrian deities into the Mazdayasnian pantheon. It is possible that the months with these names belonged to the older and popular calendar of Iranian peoples other than the Avestan, especially the Western Magian community, who went over later to Zoroaster's faith. The form of the name of the fourth month (Tir) in the calendar of all the peoples using the Y.A. year may be supposed to point to its Old-Persian origin and to suggest that it was received into the Y.A. calendar in the Persian period.
The 19th day of the month Frawardin (the first month of the year in later periods) is called Frawardigan, i.e. by the same name as the five supplementary or Gatha days. It is possible that in the first period the 19th day of the month Dai (then the first month of the year) bore this name and was consecrated to the same duties as the 19th Frawardin in later times. The possibility of the transmission of the name from one to the other on some occasion of the eventual concordance between the two is, from a practical point of view, very remote.
More strictly at about 2:30 a.m. of that day in Iran.
The new moon was in Iran on 26th June about 6-7 o'clock p.m., thus the day following the first visibility of the crescent was, most probably, the 29th June.
According to Nöther's calculation (Geiger, Ostiranische Kultur, p. 309) in the regions with 38 º of latitude, Sirius must have risen in the middle of the seventh century BC on the 1st day of August at 3.3 a.m. Accordingly the time of its rising on 26th July at the end of sixth century BC will be approximately 3:20 a.m. and on the 1st July about 5:10. Thus the first appearance of this star at dawn could have taken place in the last part of Tir. Had the Y.A. year originally, i.e. at the time of its introduction in Persia, began with the first day of Frawardin and the vernal equinox, as some prefer to believe, the month Tir would have corresponded to 26th June-24th July, which brings it to a still earlier date and makes the heliacal rising of Sirius in this month more questionable.
In most cases throughout these pages it is the last of the five days of each season festival which is meant by the gahambars, as this is generally believed to be the real or the main day of the feast.
K. R. Cama, Actes du VI Congrès International des Orientalistes, 3, 583-92.
J. Hertel, however, believes that the positions of maidyoshahem and maidyarem were in early times the reverse of their later positions and that through a later reform they interchanged their places in the year (see his work Die awestische Jahreszeitenfeste).
Bundahishn gives Frawardin, Ardwahisht, and Hordad as the three months of the spring (Justi's translation, p. 35), but this and similar records point only to the conception prevalent in later times, originating in the post-Sasanian period. I think all these possibly go back to a reform carried out in the time of Sasanian King Firuz (457-84), to which reference, will he made in the following pages.
As it is said this part of Afrin, which in some manuscripts gives the dates of the days and months of the gahambars or season-festivals in the vihêjakîk year and months, is believed to be a later addition. Nevertheless, its original source at least must have been composed not later than the date of the first intercalation (presumably in the last quarter of the fourth century BC), if not as early as the time of the institution of the intercalary system and the stabilization of the vihêjakîk year in the middle of the fifth century.
ZDMG, 34, p.701.
Altiranishes Wörterbuch, pp. 160, 838, 1117, 1118, 1776.
Op. cit., p. 322, where he puts it on 9th March.
They did not say, however, what they meant by "original position" end have not proposed a date for this original year, though this naturally implies a certain point of time after which the year should have become vague and altering its position with respect to the tropic year.
Jackson, Zoroastrian Studies, pp. 128-9.
The gahambars under the influence of intercalation, fell one month later in the civil year, after each intercalation. With the last intercalation they reached to points eight months posterior to their original places: e.g. maidyoshahem corresponded then to the 15th day of the month of Spandarmad of the civil year as B. and others give it.
This belief may have its origin in, or have become general as the result of, a reform at the time of Firuz, which will he discussed in this article.
The word vanhar, which is perhaps from the same root as the Indian vasar, must have also been used for spring, not in its strictly technical meaning, beginning with the vernal equinox and ending with the summer solstice, but, as in common parlance, for the period of verdure and blossom.
The Old-Avestan year seems to he considered as composed of units of time, each fifteen days or a fortnight long. This is perhaps a remnant of the earliest and primitive time-reckoning of the Iranians by half-months. Consequently the year consisted of twenty-four fortnights, arranged in groups of three, four, five, two, fire, and fire, each of the groups being one of the six seasons or yâiryas (the fourth one, however, being supplemented later by five days as epagomenae).
In Yasht 7.4, there is mention of zaremaêm paiti, "when the moon brings the warmth with its light, the greenish plants shoot always towards the spring on the earth". The Pahlavi book Dadestan-i Denik, 31, 14 (West's translation) speaking of the Ardwahisht (of course, the vihêjakîk month) says that the name of this month in religion (i.e. in Avesta) is Zaremaya and in this month the butter of mêdhiôk-zarem is produced. This expression (zaremaya raoghna = the butter of zaremaya) is also used in the verse 18 of the so-called Yasht 22 of the Avesta (SBE, iv, Darmesteter's English translation of the Avesta). That the beginning of the year or season was not on the point of the vernal equinox in the strict sense among the less advanced peoples is also to a certain extent due to the difficulty of ascertaining the time of the equinoxes by simple and ordinary means. B. is perhaps right when he asserts (AB., p. 216) that for the primitive peoples the observation of the solstices is incomparably easier than that of the equinoxes, which needs an advanced knowledge of astronomy and astronomical instruments, whereas the solstice can be found out by the simpler method of using a gnomon.
This festival is apparently the same as jashn-i vahâr, which was celebrated "forty-five days beyond New Year's Day at a place becoming specially noted where people went from many quarters out to the place of festival (yasno kâr)" and whereto Zoroaster has proceeded (Selections of Zadspram, West's translation, SBE, xlvii, p. 154). If this tradition is old and authentic it indicates that this festival, though comparatively of later origin, nevertheless existed in Zoroaster's time and was celebrated with full attendance. The translation of the passage of Zartusht Nameh relating to this festival by Wilson (The Parsi Religion, Bombay, 1843), however, does not agree fully with putting it in the second month of the year.
Exactly as the Khwarazmians of the tenth century, according to B. (AB., pp. 236, 237, and 241), used to count from the day Ajgâr (most probably in origin the Khwarazmian maidyoshahem) in both directions for fixing the seasons for all kinds of agricultural work.
Summer being the season of work for agricultural people, many holidays for rest were, no doubt, needed, contrary to winter, which was the off-season.
A parallel is to he found in the Jewish fast of `âshûrâ adopted at first by Muslims, but changed later to the month of Ramadan when their relations with the Jews became unfriendly.
That Nehemia's patron was the first Achaemenian king of this name and not the second is, I believe, proved by the Aramaic papyri of Elephantine cf. Schäder, Ezra der Schreiber.
This fast (the settlement of the court in Babylonia for more than half a century) may account for many other tendencies in the Achaemenian Empire, and perhaps among others for the adoption of the Aramaic language as the official means of correspondence in the imperial chancellery and State departments.
The mention of Babylon in Yasht 5.29 fits in with the removal of the seat of the government or of the court from Susa to Babylon by the first Zoroastrian king, Artaxerxes I, the Constantine of that faith. The same Yasht contains the name of Anahita, which may also increase the probability of its composition in that period.
Or at any rate before the first intercalation of the Persian year.
Cf. R. Reitzenstein, "Plato u. Zarathustra" (in Vortäge der Bibliothek Warburg, 1927) and Studien zum antiken Synkretismus, 1926, as well as H. H. Schäder in the last-named volume.
The mention of these deities in the inscription of Artaxerxes Mnemon or the report of Berossos about his special attachment to the same divinities does not necessarily imply that they were first recognized during the reign of this monarch, as is often held. This recognition might have taken place at any time between the unknown date of the inscription of Artaxerxes Macrocheir and that of Mnemon, unless some long inscription should be discovered belonging to the later part of the reign of the former king or from the reign of Darius Ochus, praising Ahura Mazda and ignoring Anahita, Mithra, and others.
As Benveniste remarks (The Persian Religion according to the chief Greek Texts, 1929), this is "the first definite mention of the name of Zoroaster in Greece". The passages attributed to Xanthus the Lydian relating to the date of the Iranian prophet or to the recalling of his words by Persians when they were going to burn Croesus are of doubtful authenticity. Even if they proved to be authentic, they would not imply the adherence of the Persian kings to Zoroastrianism, but would only suggest that Xanthus knew the name of the Iranian reformer whose new religion had gradually been spreading (westwards) in Iran for some hundred years before his time. Clemens puts the composition of Alcibiades after 374.