Further evidence supporting the same theory
The following considerations may help to make the date suggested as that of the second reform of the calendar more acceptable: --
1. Herodotus, who wrote his book in the early years of the second half of the fifth century BC, although he speaks of the Egyptian year and finds it preferable to the more complicated year of the Greeks (ii, 2; Rawlinson's translation, ii, 3), does not mention the Persian year as having the same simplicity as the Egyptian. It may be inferred from this omission, as Marquart has pointed out, that Herodotus did not know the Y.A. calendar of the Persians. Ctesias's mention of the feast of Mithra in Persia, at which even the king could get intoxicated, is, on the other hand, possible evidence of the existence of the new calendar to which the festival he thus names (most probably the well-known Mithrakan or Mithrakana of Strabo) apparently belonged, in the last years of the fifth century BC when he was in Persia.
2. The last of the intercalations (of a month each 120 years) took place, according to Biruni (AB., pp. 33, 45, 118, and 119) in the reign of the Sasanian king Yazdegird I (AD 399-420). This was the seventh intercalation when the seventh month (Mihr) had to be repeated according to the established rule. On this occasion two successive intercalations (the seventh and eighth) were carried out together, one which had already fallen due and the other in anticipation. This double intercalation had to be effected by repeating the months Mihr and Aban in the same year, making it a year of fourteen months. Therefore the epagomenae were placed at the end of Aban, where they have remained till AD 1006, and in some provinces until much later. Now the seventh 120-yearly intercalation must necessarily have been on the 840[th]year after the institution of the intercalation. As a matter of fact, the 840[th]year after 441 BC, the date we have assumed for the establishment of the vihêjakîk year, is AD 399, which is also the first year of Yazdegerd's reign. It is true that Biruni is not consistent in his statements in his different books about the date and number of the last and double intercalation. Apparently he considers this intercalation in his above-mentioned book (AB., pp. 33 and 119) as the eighth and ninth together and he says that all traditions are unanimous in putting it in the reign of Yazdegird I, but it is to be implied from his calculations the Qânûn-i Mas`ûdî (composed about twenty years later) that this last intercalation was the seventh and eighth together, and he asserts that it was carried out during the reign of Firuz (AD 457-84). Nevertheless, there are reasons for believing that from a chronological point of view, his first report, in so far as the time is concerned (but not the number), is accurate, though his last statement may refer to another small reform possibly effected during the reign of Firuz.
3. The Mazdayasnian tradition, though it ignores the earlier Achaemenian kings before Artaxerxes I (Longimanus), refers many times to the latter monarch (Ardashir diraz-dast) and his successors as good Zoroastrians. According to the Vohuman Yasht (II, 16-17), this king "makes the religion current in the whole world". Jackson in his Zoroastrian Studies (p. 168) says that "concerning the later Achaemenian rulers everybody is agreed that Artaxerxes I, II, III and Darius Codomannus were true adherents to the faith of the prophet of ancient Iran". Therefore it is certainly reasonable to presume that the adoption and official recognition of the Mazdayasnian calendar was the work of the first Zoroastrian king of Iran.
4. The feast of Mithra or baga was, no doubt, one of the most popular if not the greatest of all the festivals in ancient Iran, where it was celebrated with the greatest attention. This was originally a pre-Zoroastrian and old Aryan feast consecrated to the sun god, and its place in the Old-Persian calendar was surely in the month belonging to this deity. This month was called Bâgayâdi or Bâgayâdish and almost certainly corresponded to the seventh Babylonian month Tishrîtu, the patron of which was also Shamash, the Babylonian sun god. This month was, as has already been stated, probably the first month of the Old-Persian year, and its more or less fixed place was in the early part of the autumn. The feast was in all probability Old-Persian rather than Old- or Young-Avestan, and it was perhaps the survival of an earlier Iranian New Year festival dating from some prehistoric phase of the Aryo-Iranian calendar, when the year began at the autumnal equinox. It was connected with the worship of one of the oldest Aryan deities (Baga-Mithra), of whom traces are found as far back as in the fourteenth century BC. The fact that Mithra and similar ancient deities are not mentioned in the Gathas, that they are strangers to the original and pure religion of Zoroaster, that even probably they were considered by this religion as Daevas or demons, and that they were admitted into the Mazdayasnian religion only in later times as lesser divinities of the Iranian pantheon, their hymns having been incorporated into the "recent Avesta", might support this thesis. The month Bâgayâdi was certainly the month in which the feast of Baga usually or often fell. It was on the 10[th]day of this month in the year 522 BC that (according to the Behistun inscription, i, 55) the Magian usurper Gaumata was killed by Darius and his associates, and his illegitimate rule was overthrown. According to Herodotus, iii, 79-80 (Rawlinson translation, vol. 2, p. 393), this day was celebrated later each year as the feast of Magophonia or the day of slaughter of the Magi, on which day the Magians did not dare to show themselves abroad. He says that "the Persians observe this day with one accord, and keep it more strictly than any other in the whole year. It is then that they hold the great festival, which they call Magophonia", and he asserts that "this day is the greatest holy day that all Persians alike keep" (AD Godley's translation, vol. ii, pp. 103-4). It is very probable that the day chosen by the conspirators for carrying out their plot against the usurper was the same day as the great national feast of Baga worship, when the court was expected to indulge in pleasure and was less on its guard. We may, therefore, conclude that the Magophonia of Herodotus (and Ctesias) and the festival of Baga worship (or *Bagayâda according to Marquart's deduction) was in 522 BC on one and the same day, owing to the said coincidence of dates, as Gray is inclined to suppose.81 But there is no need to assume that the two words were identical, the former (Magophonia) being a misunderstood or misspelt form of the latter (*Bagayâda) as Marquart has proposed. As a matter of fact, the tenth day of Bâgayâdi which corresponded to the tenth or eleventh day of the Babylonian Tishrîtu was in 522 BC on or about autumnal equinox. The tenth day of Tishrîtu was in that year the 29[th]of Julian September, whereas the equinox was on the 30[th]of the same month. If Gaumata was killed on the eve of the festival, this latter can be supposed then to have been on the 11[th]of Bâgayâdi, i.e. exactly on the day of the equinox. Therefore it seems to me reasonable to suppose that the great feast of Baga with which the later (Y.A.) mithrakana and the modern Mihragan or mihrjân was certainly identical, was originally the day of the autumnal equinox. This equinox must then necessarily have fallen on the 16[th]day of the Y.A. month Mihr (the seventh month), at the time of the adoption of that Old-Persian festival in the new Y.A. calendar. This was, as a matter of fact, exactly the case in the years 445-442, when the first of Frawardin was on 17[th]March, or ten days before the vernal equinox, and the autumnal equinox on 28[th]September.
It was most probably about this time that the *bagayâda feast of the Old-Persian calendar was taken into the Y.A. year and was renamed Mithrakân. It is very natural to conjecture that this adoption was part of the calendar reform through which the Y.A. calendar replaced the system of the Old-Persian time reckoning. Thus again the Mazdayasnian month containing the feast of Mithra-baga was named after that deity Mithrahe-Mihr in the Persian calendar, and for the same reason the corresponding Armenian month bore the name of Mehekân, the Cappadocian month that of Mithri and the Khwarazmian month that of Omirê. The Sogdians, however, kept for this month in their parallel calendar a form of the Old-Persian name, calling their seventh month bagakânc (Arabicized faghakân).
Now taking the equinox of autumn as the starting point for the division of the year into four equal parts, as according to Epping the Babylonians used to do, and putting it on 16[th]Mihr in one of the four years between 445 and 441, the conventional solstice day would fall strictly in the middle of Tir, which is the traditional maidyoshahem, but the real solstice would fall on the 14[th]or 13[th]day of the month, i.e. on one of the famous Tiragan feasts, the Greater or the Lesser respectively, which may have been connected in origin with this correspondence. The conventional winter solstice would fall on the 16[th]or 17[th]day of the month Dai (the real solstice on 15[th]Dai), perhaps corresponding to the feast of Gâv-guthil (?) = ### which was also on the first day of the gahambar of maidyarem and paitishahem, the Avestan time of harvest in Iran, would fall on the 14[th]September (Julian), i.e. a fortnight before the end of the summer. In 441 the above-mentioned correspondence was in some cases perhaps less strict than in the others, but the difference was in each case only one day.
It is a curious fact that many of the feasts connected with, and owing their origin to, the solar seasons and astronomical points of the year, have been transferred to the vague year, being detached from the tropic or fixed solar year, and attached to the civil year. Consequently they have remained in their original places in the latter, free from the effect of intercalation, and have receded against the tropic year about one day each four years. But though they have lost their true and original significance, nevertheless they continued to be celebrated always as marking the points they had originally occupied at the time of the official introduction of the Mazdayasnian calendar. Besides Mihragan, Tiragan, and Gâv-guthil (?) we have in the Persian feast Sada, in both Adar-jashn, in Ajgâr and two or three other Khwarazmian festivals, as well as perhaps in the Sogdian Mâkhîrajs and `Amas khwâreh (?) = ### (all described by Biruni), the same phenomena. This means that they are symbolic festivals surviving to mark the original seasonal points of the year, but no longer corresponding to them. Biruni distinguishes these feasts from the true season-festivals by calling them non-religious and the latter religious feasts. In spite of losing their original significance, the former have kept curiously enough some traces of that character. The Sada even literally has preserved the meaning relating to the original place of that festival, for the word means "the hundredth", and it was so named because of its having been originally on the hundredth day of the Zoroastrian winter which is five months, from the beginning of Aban to the end of Spandarmad. This feast was on the first day of the last third of winter, corresponding originally to 20[th]January (new style) which is the first day of the second month of the astronomical winter (Aquarius) and the beginning of the severest part of the cold season in Iran. The Pahlavi commentary of the Vendidad (i, 4) expressly says that the month Vohuman (of course, the vihêjakîk month) is the season of the severest cold and that it is the heart of the winter. The above facts prove that the Sada, contrary to Biruni's statement (AB. Istanbul complete manuscript), was not instituted by Ardashir, but was rather a feast of much older origin.
It is also interesting to notice that traces of the historical events connected with *bagayâda or Magophonia, namely the deliverance of Persia from the yoke of a detested usurper (Gaumata) by a popular prince (Darius), are preserved (as Marquart has already remarked) in the Iranian tradition in the form of the legend of the blacksmith Kavehi and the noble prince Faridoon (Thraetaona), delivering Iran from the monstrous usurper Azhi-dahaka on the Mihragan day, as is related by Biruni and others. Similarly in the traditions relating to some of the other famous Iranian festivals, a vague memory of some ancient historical adventures of national importance seems to be preserved. For instance, Tiragan (the 13[th]day of the month Tir) is, according to the traditions, the day on which the Iranian nation was delivered from the Turanian domination under Afrasiyab (Franrasyan, and Gâv-guthil (?)) or the 16[th]Dai was the day when Eranshahr was freed from the Turks and Faridoon returned the cow of Athfiân (Athwya) to its legitimate owner after dethroning and imprisoning of Bivarasf (Baevaraspa).
It is at the same time also possible, and even probable, that while the feast of Baga or the equinox day in the years after 522 BC did not, of course, regularly fall on the 10[th] or 11[th] day of the Old-Persian month Bâgayâdi, and oscillated between 16[th] of the same month and 16[th]of the Old-Persian month preceding it (Babylonian Elûl), nevertheless the 10[th] (or 11[th]) day of Bâgayâdi was still kept as another popular feast and was celebrated regularly in the old Persian luni-solar calendar (presumably from 522 till 441 BC), now not as a festival in honor of Baga or as the beginning of autumn, but only as the anniversary of the overthrow of Magian rule. Thus both movable and immovable feasts continued to be observed side by side until about 441 BC when the Y.A. took the place of the Old-Persian calendar (the latter ceasing to exist). On this occasion both feasts were transferred to the Mazdayasnian year, and were fixed on the corresponding days of this year. The Baga's feast (or *Bagayâda) became the famous Mihragan (the lesser) on the 16[th] day of Mihr, to which it corresponded in 441, and the Magophonia (or as one can say in modern Persian Maghkushân), the 11[th] day of Bâgayâdi, which at that time (441) corresponded exactly to the 21st day of Mihr (3[rd] October), became Râm-rûz or Greater Mihragan. This explains the tradition which makes Râm-rûz the day of the actual capture of Azhi-dahaka [Zohak] by Faridoon, whereas it attributes to Mihragan only the spreading of the first news of the rising of Faridoon against the tyrannical usurper. The feast of Baga used probably to be celebrated for five days, and Herodotus' story of five days continuation of the uproar after the Magi was killed, might be considered as confirmation of this. Since these five days fell incidentally in 441 just on the interval between this feast and Magophonia the two feasts may have been linked together and made into one feast of five days with the first and last days as great festivals. The mention of both feasts by Ctesias separately, however, points to a posterior date for this fusion.
5. The date of the second reform of the Y.A. calendar when the New Year's Day was fixed near the vernal equinox, and the practice of the intercalation of one month each 120 years was instituted, is more likely to have been a year on which the beginning of the corresponding Babylonian year (rêsh-shatti) or the great feast connected with it (Zagmûg-Akitû) fell not far from the same equinox. Out of the years in the first decade of the second half of the fifth century BC, which are more or less suitable in other respects, only the years 441, 446, and 449 agree with this condition. The Babylonian New Year's Day in 441 was only four days after the equinox day (30[th] March), in 449 it was three days after that point (29[th] March), and in 446 it coincided exactly with the first day of Spring (26[th] March). In each of the remaining seven years the interval between the two (Zagmûg and the equinox) was much longer. For example in 443 this interval was twenty-six days. Of the three years suitable in this respect, the year 441 possesses other advantages also, as we have seen. Moreover in 441 the Babylonian New Year's Day, if it did not fall on the real equinox, corresponded according to their own compilation, to their conventional equinox, which was probably also fixed in the same year on the 30[th] March.
6. The feast of Mihragan was, in almost all Persian and Arabic literature, always generally considered as the first day of autumn. There are innumerable examples of this, which would take us too far afield to quote here. This is not only the case in the writings of the later part of the eleventh and the earlier part of the twelfth century of the Christian era, when Mihragan had reached again to the first weeks of autumn, but also in much easier and later periods one meets with the word used in the same meaning. This popular meaning given to the word and the feast is, no doubt, reminiscent of its original place.
7. The Frawardigan feast (Pahlavi Fravartîgân) or the feast of manes celebrated in memory of the dead, when according to the Avesta and the Zoroastrian literature the souls of the pious people (fravashis) visit their former homes, must have been since the composition of Yasht 13 of the Avesta, at least, identical with the gahambar of hamaspathmaidyem near the vernal equinox. The gahambars, though probably only one day originally, were from time immemorial celebrated for five days by the Zoroastrians, the four preceding days being added to the principal feast day, as we find in all Mazdayasnian traditions, but none of them were more than five days. Now if hamaspathmaidyem and Frawardigan were both originally the same as one of the gahambars, as this is implied by the above-mentioned verse of the Avesta, then how is this fact to be reconciled with the assigning of ten days (or strictly ten nights) in the Avesta (Yt. 13.49) for the "flying of the souls all around their villages" and with the traditional practice of the Zoroastrians, who celebrated the feast of manes (Frawardigan, or perhaps more correctly Fordîgân) for ten days not only from the Arab invasion up to the present day, but also in the Sasanian period? Biruni tells us that a controversy having arisen among the Zoroastrian, as to which of the two pentades, the last five days of the month preceding the Gatha days or the latter group itself, was the real Frawardigan, they decided to add both fives together and to make the Frawardigan ten days, and thus this feast became, by compromise, longer than it originally was. He states further that the second five, i.e. the Gatha days or Andargâh has superiority over the first. This controversy, if it really took place, could hardly have occurred after the composition of the Frawardin Yasht, which, as stated above, mentions the ten days of the souls' visit.
The question can be solved without much difficulty if we suppose that the final composition of Yasht 13 was posterior to 441 BC, which supposition, owing to the fact that the reverence of fravashis was in all probability a part of the popular belief admitted later into the religion, rather than of pure Zoroastrianism, seems to be reasonable. We may then assume that the feast of hamaspathmaidyem which was in the last days of Spandarmad or of the Avestan month corresponding to this perhaps later name, was mainly a rural festival placed towards the end of the winter and immediately before the Avestan "summer," and that it was perhaps connected at the same time with some offering, liturgy, or some sort of religious ceremony (possibly also some remembrance of the dead), but that Frawardigan was the name of the five supplementary days of the year introduced on the model of the Egyptian epagomenae when the Egyptian system was adopted and the Y.A. calendar replaced the Old-Avestan. Accordingly these epagomenae called also Andargâh, Gatha days, Panjak veh, Dûzîtak, Turuftak and Panjeh Duzdîda (Arabic al-khamsat al-mustariqat) were originally at the end of the month Adar and immediately before the month Dai, i.e. exactly where the Egyptian supplementary days stood. These days were consecrated, as they were in Egypt, to the reverence of the souls of the departed faithful (fravashis). Later, when through the second reform (about 441), the epagomenae were transferred to their well-known place between the end of Spandarmad and the beginning of Frawardin, some doubt may have arisen as to the question of the celebration of one of the two consecutive pentads as the Fravashi's feast. To avoid any negligence in religious duties, the religious authorities may have added both together and made the Frawardigan ten days. The divergence of opinion on this matter, however, did not cease, if one is to judge from the different descriptions given in Pahlavi, Arabic, and Persian books. However, the later sources such as the Bundahishn and Biruni's books consider the last five days of the year, i.e. the Gatha days, as the hamaspathmaidyem gahambar and also the real Frawardigan perhaps contrary to their origin but as a natural consequence of the 6[th] gahambar coming necessarily immediately before Frawardin.
The Young-Avestan Calendar after the Second Reform
The Zoroastrian vague or civil year continued to be in general use in Persia among the people, from its introduction down to the Islamic period. It was adopted in very ancient times, and perhaps immediately after its official introduction into the Persian Empire, by a good many of the neighboring peoples. In Khwarazm its use goes back probably even to still older times, when the year still began with the month Dai, as the above-mentioned order and length of the Khwarazmian gahambars show. The use of the name Faghakân for the Sogdian month corresponding to the Persian month Mihr is also a proof of the antiquity of the use of this calendar by that people. The same is true of the Armenians, whose tenth month is called Marieri, so named according to Marquart after maidyarem, certainly at a time when this gahambar still fell in that month, that is before 321 BC. Their last month is called Hrotic Frordigân the famous Frawardigan feast which was originally at the end of this month before the said date. The name of the Persian month Frawardin may have been adopted later when the feast of the souls stood at the end of this month, i.e. between 321 and 201 BC. The name of the fourth month in some of the above-mentioned calendars (e.g. Tir and not Tishtrya), however, may indicate that their model was the Persian copy of the Avestan month, and hence that they were introduced in those countries after 441 BC. Though the use of Y.A. year declined in Islamic times among the Muhammadan Persians, it did not disappear wholly, and it was still used in some districts in the early years of the present century. The Y.A. calendar to which this year belonged was the official means of time reckoning in the Sasanian period and has continued in use as the religious calendar of the Zoroastrians down to the present day. The only changes which this calendar has undergone are: (1) the removal, in Fars and some other provinces by order of the Bûyid kings (possibly Bahâ'ad-dawleh) in AD 1106, of the Andargâh from the end of the month Aban, where it stood since the last intercalation, to the end of the year, and (2) the omission of the intercalation after the beginning of the fifth century (except for one intercalation, but this in the civil year) by a limited community, namely the ancestors of the Indian Parsis, most probably in 1131-2 (or 1126).
The Double Intercalation
But if on the one hand Biruni's report as to the double intercalation during the reign of Yazdegird I or of Fîrûz, which involves the repetition of Mihr and Aban, in one year, was based on an authentic tradition, and if on the other hand the passage of the Pahlavi commentary of the Vendidad (i, 4) relating to the coldest month of winter really means that the vihêjakîk month Vohuman corresponded to the month Shahrewar of the civil year, the reconciliation of these two facts will not be easy. For, as Paruck has remarked, the correspondence between the vihêjakîk month Vohuman and the civil month Shahrewar implies the correspondence of the vihêjakîk Frawardin with the civil Aban, whereas the double intercalation involves the assumption that before that operation the civil month Mihr and after it, the civil month Adar, corresponded with the vihêjakîk month Frawardin. Therefore the civil Aban could never have concorded with the latter.
The explanation may be sought in the fact that while the purpose of the intercalation was originally to bring back the 15th day of the vihêjakîk month Tir to the summer solstice (maidyoshahem) and the other gahambars to their original astronomical places, the popular belief in the equinoctial origin of the New Year, according to Mazdayasnian cosmogony, had gained ground by the fourth century of the Christian era and become generally accepted. Therefore when the seventh cycle of intercalation came to an end in 399, and a new intercalation (the seventh) was due, those responsible for this operation noticed that this intercalation, which ought to have made the first day of the vihêjakîk year (the first day of religious Frawardin) correspond with the first day of Aban of the civil (Oshmurtîk) year, would not bring it back to the vernal equinox. They found that this correspondence and consequently the right time for the intercalation (if it was to bring the beginning of the ecclesiastical year to the said equinox) was about AD 384. As this time had already passed, and the next occasion, namely about 508, when the first day of Adar would correspond to the equinox, had not yet come, they decided to effect a double intercalation of two months, one for the omitted one of the past and the other in anticipation of the next. Adding two months, i.e. a second Mihr and a second Aban to the (vihêjakîk) year they moved the epagomenae to the end of the civil Aban, where it has remained. The church, however, apparently still considered for some time the civil Mihr (and not Aban) as corresponding to the vihêjakîk Frawardin, as this was in fact the real position. After some time, say seventy or eighty years, in the reign of Firuz, it may have been decided to consider the epagomenae the end of the vihêjakîk year, and the Mobeds may have resolved to adopt this officially. This decision, or the theoretical adjustment, may be the source of the tradition attributing the last intercalation to the reign of Firuz, reported by Biruni in his later book as mentioned above. From a report in the book Az-zîj-al-Hâkimî or the astronomical tables composed (about the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century) by the famous astronomer Ibn Yûnis (Paris, fonds arabe 2495 fol. 65b-66a), it appears that astronomical observations were undertaken by the Persians some 360 years before the famous observations under the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mûn about AD 833. This takes the date of the Persian observations back to about 472 and the reign of Firuz. This may also have had some connection with the above-mentioned reform or adjustment in that reign. If, however; both of Biruni's reports as to the last intercalation, according to one of which it took place in the reign of Yazdegird I, and according to the other in the reign of Firuz, should prove to have been based on old and authentic sources, it seems to me this can only be explained by supposing two kinds of fixed year to have been in use. This means that while the stable year, which was most probably a sidereal year, was kept fixed as strictly as possible by some circles (probably by the Mobeds for religious purposes) it was counted by others (perhaps by the State for financial matters) roughly as 365.25 days, like the Julian year of the Romans. Consequently an intercalation of one month each 120 vague years was necessary to keep this last kind of year fixed, whereas to stabilize the first one (held to be about 365 d. 6 h. 13 m.) the intercalation of one month each 116 (or 115) years would have sufficed. Starting from the year 441 BC the seventh 120th yearly intercalation (which was at the same time a double one) ought to have taken place, as stated above, in AD 399, i.e. the beginning of the reign of Yazdegird, but the seventh 116th (or sometimes 115[th]) yearly intercalation would have been executed about thirty years earlier, and the eighth one would have been effected about AD 485, i.e. towards the end of the reign of Firuz.
The existence of different estimates for the length of the solar year in Persia may be inferred from the different statements of the Bundahishn on this point. This book gives the said length in chapter 5 (Nyberg, Pahlavi Texte ..., p.29) as 365 d. 5 h. and some minutes (or a fraction of the hour). In chapter 25, however, the same book contains the statement that the length of the year or "the revolution of the sun from Aries to the end of the months" was 365 d. 6 h. and some minutes. This last estimation is also given in the Denkard (ibid., pp. 19 and 31). According to Biruni (AB., p. 119) the length of the year was considered by the Persians to be 365 d. 6 h. 13 m. and according to Abû Ma'shar of Balkh (ninth century) quoted by Sajzî (Brit. Mus. MS. Or. 1316, fol. 79) the fraction was held by them to be 6 h. 12 m. 57 s. 36 th. The same is given by Kharaqi (twelfth century) in his book Muntahâ al-idrâk (Berlin Ms.).
It was according to Hamza of Isfahin (tenth century) 6 h. 12 m. 9 s. (AB., p. 52) and according to 'Abd ar-rahmân al-Khâzin (twelfth century) in his Az-zîj al-mu`tabar as-Sanjarî (Vatican Ms. fol. 21) only 6 h. 12 m. This fraction which agrees nearly with the fraction of the sidereal year as calculated by the Babylonians, namely 6 h. 13 m. 43 s. would need the intercalation of one month each 116 years and sometimes 115 years (if the fraction should be taken as 6 h. 13 m.). As a matter of fact, this kind of intercalation (1l6-yearly) was practiced in ancient Iran according to Kitâb al-awâ`il of 'Askarî quoted by Safadî in his al-wâfi bil-wafayât (JA. 10[ième] série, tome xvii, 1911, p. 278). The same process is reported also by the author of the Ta'rîkh-i Qum (of which the Arabic original was composed about 984), by al-Kharaqî, and by al-Khâzin in their above-mentioned books, and by Biruni (AB., p. 11).
The suggested existence of two fixed years, however improbable it may be, would explain not only the two different dates of the last intercalation, but also the two different periods of 120 and 116 years for the operation given in the above-mentioned sources. The tradition regarding the stabilization of the year by the government by means of intercalation for keeping a fixed time for "opening the tax collection" may also confirm the existence of a fixed year in the affairs of the State.
Note: -- The theory proposed above, of the two reforms of the calendar necessarily involves the assumption that on the occasion of the second reform the epagomenae, though they were put at the end of the month Spandarmad, were not removed in the same year from the end of the month Adar where they had stood up to that time. This means that in that year both months had at their end five supplementary days. It is not incredible to attribute such accuracy, which was also necessary for keeping the strict correspondence existing at that time between the Persian and the Egyptian months and days, to the king's astronomers in Babylon, though the above point was neglected on the occasion of the first intercalation (due in 321 BC).
The history and development of the Iranian calendar may be recapitulated according to the theory laid down in this article as follows: --
An original Aryan or the earliest Iranian calendar, belonging to the period when that race was possibly inhabiting the most northerly steppes between the Oxus and the Jaxartes, a land of severe cold, may be inferred from the Avestan verse (Vendidid, 1.2-3) which makes the year consist of a winter of ten months and a summer of two (still rather cold) months. At a later period, probably under the influence of a milder climate in the regions occupied by the same people in their southward movement, the adoption of a new division of the year, into two equal parts from one solstice to the other, similar to the Vedic ayanas, can be deduced from the two old season festivals, marking the beginning and the middle of the year, and the first of them meaning mid-summer. Still later, owing to the change of climate, experienced as a result of the said movement, the summer was made still longer by adding to it the last fifteen days of the astronomical winter as well as the first fortnight of autumn at the beginning and end respectively. Gradually further divisions of the year were introduced until five seasons were instituted. Thus the summer of seven months ran from hamaspathmaidyem to and the winter of five months from the latter to the former gahambar. This calendar we have called Old-Avestan.
Another calendar of the Babylonian type has also been in use from ancient times among the south-western section of the Iranian race, who, coming in contact with, and under the influence of Elamite and Assyro-Babylonian culture, had apparently adopted some of its institutions. Their year was a luni-solar one, almost exactly corresponding to the Babylonian in every respect, except perhaps in the beginning of the year, which was probably around the autumnal equinox instead of the vernal This practice of beginning the year with autumn was either brought by this south-western people from their original home, the cradle of the Iranian race, where it may have been in use among some of the oldest representatives of that race or in a certain period of their history, as Marquart is inclined to suppose, or it was introduced in imitation of the system of time-reckoning of some south-western people (Elamites or some of the Sumero-Babylonian cities) whose year also may have begun with autumn.
The Zoroastrian religion which had appeared among the eastern Iranians, whom we may conveniently call the Avestan people, probably in the earlier part of the sixth century BC, gradually spread among other Iranian peoples also, and may have had a considerable number of followers in Parsa as well as in the other provinces of Iran. The Old-Avestan calendar became the religious calendar of the followers of Zoroaster everywhere, including the communities in the south and west. With the opening of direct relations between Iran and Egypt after the conquest of the latter country by Cambyses, and particularly after the establishment by Darius of friendship between the two nations, the Zoroastrian community probably changed their somewhat complicated Old-Avestan calendar for the much simpler Egyptian year, which had only a round number of days without fraction, and was not subject to any intercalation. This change must have taken place in the later part of the sixth century BC. The strict copying of the Egyptian calendar, except in the month names and religious festivals, involved the fixing of the beginning of the year in the month Dai, which was at that time about the winter solstice. The year, now becoming vague began to move backward in the tropical year, and consequently the places of religious season festivals (gahambars) were changing in each year. This instability, which was certainly noticed after some years, say half a century, became striking, and was further very inconvenient for the Mobeds. The priests then found it necessary to prevent this variation in the positions of the holidays by inventing a fixed year for religious purposes and especially for keeping the gahambars in their seasonal places. This sort of year, called vihêjakîk, which was in actual use in religious circles and was by no means a wholly fictitious year, as some seem to believe, was created through the institution of an intercalation of one full month in each cycle of 120 (or 116) years. It is reasonable to assume that this reform, together with the alteration in the date of the beginning of the year from the Egyptian New Year's Day to approximately the Babylonian new year, (i.e. around the vernal equinox), may have taken place simultaneously with the conversion of the Achaemenian kings to the Zoroastrian faith. The traditional places of the gahambar in the year which are, no doubt, the positions these festivals held at the time of their stabilization, point to the date of this reform being about 441 BC.
Athenseus, Deipnosophists, x, 434 (English translation by Charles Burton Gulick, 1927, bk. iv, p. 469). Duris (according to the same source) adds also the permission for the king to dance.
He was there apparently from 414 till 398 and wrote probably in 390.
The scope of this article does not permit the discussion of these reasons here. The place of the epagomenae indicates that the intercalation was the seventh and eighth together, and not the eighth and ninth. The next or the ninth intercalation would have fallen in AD 639, just two years after the fall of the capital of the Iranian empire on the Arab invasion, which brought to an end the national sovereignty of Persia and all its official institutions including the intercalation in their calendar.
SBE. v, p. 199, cf. Jackson, Zorostrian Studies, p. 162.
Baga, which was originally a general name for gods, seems to have become gradually the name par excellence of Mithra. The Khwarazmian name for the 16th day of the month is, according to B.'s list, Figh, which corresponds to the day of Mihr in the Persian calendar.
According to Stuart Jones (ERE., vol. 8, p. 752, on Mithraism), Mithra is identified with Shamash in a tablet from the library of Assurbanipal (R., iii, 69, 1, 72).
The Yasht, 10, however, makes Mithra almost equal in power to Ahura Mazda and the ally of the latter.
ERE, s.v. Festival.
According to Neugebauer's Hilfstafeln zur technischen Chronologie, Kiel, 1937.
According to a calculation based on the Zodiakaltafel of Schram.
We may also suppose that the 10th day of the Old-Persian month corresponded not to the 10th but to the 11th day of the Babylonian month, as a difference of one day is always possible owing, no doubt, to the different time of the first visibility of the new moon in Babylon and Hamadan. The correspondence between this day and the equinox will then be complete. Moreover, according to the narrative of Herodotus (iii, 78) Darius killed Gaumata in darkness, when he was hesitating to strike him lest Gobryas should be hit, and Ctesias (Excerpt. Pers., § 14) says that the usurper was sleeping with his Babylonian concubine. Again Herodotus says (iii, 79), that the conspirators after killing Gaumata went out and called the people to massacre the Magians..., that the slaughter continued [the whole day], and that if the night had not fallen no Magian would have been left alive. Now from all these facts it can be deduced that the day of the massacre of the Magians or Magophonia was, in fact, the day following that of the actual slaying of the usurper.
If we take into consideration the fact that the Persian, of the fifth century BC did not obtain in their astronomical calculation the same exact result which we have today, the possibility of their error of one day would be easily conceivable. This can account for four years' difference, if the date of the adoption of the calendar was really 441 and not one or two years earlier. Strictly speaking, in 441, the 16th day of Mihr corresponded to 27th September.
It is true that Kugler (Sternkunde, vol. i, pp. l73-4, and several other places of this book) contests this assumption and suggests that the starting point for the division of the year into four equal parts (each 91.25 days) was the spring equinox. He is of the opinion that since the Babylonian ephemerides always used to put the vernal equinox four to five days later than its real place, the summer solstice (91.25 days after that conventional but wrong equinox day) fell a little later than the real solstice and the autumnal equinox (182.5 days later) fell incidentally quite in its right and astronomical place. But the result is, nevertheless, the same. It is even possible to suppose that the Babylonians, attaching special importance to the autumnal equinox, tried to keep that point in its strict place, and in order to effect this they placed the day they fixed for the vernal equinox a few days later, so that it would fail exactly two quarters or 182.5 days before the astronomical autumnal equinox. This peculiar arrangement, it is true, is noticed only in the cuneiform documents relating to the second century BC, but there is no reason to think that the same process was not in use in older times.
With the fusion of the Old-Persian and Young-Avestan calendars into one system about 441 BC, it is possible that a good many of the characteristics of the Old-Persian calendar, which was in many respects a copy of the Babylonian calendar, were incorporated into the new system. For instance, the adoption of the ordinary four seasons (not as substitutes for their own seasons but as a parallel system) may be one of the effects of this fusion. Also the Babylonian way of beginning the spring and summer some days later than the astronomical points (see the note supra) may have been followed by the Iranians, and therefore they may have considered the beginning of summer to be conventionally on 15th Tir, i.e. two days later than the real solstice.
If we put the date of the adoption of the new official calendar in 441 BC, the summer solstice would fall exactly on 15 Tir, but Mihragan would precede the autumnal equinox by one day.
The same process we find in the Avardadsal feast of Indian Parsis, which is celebrated now on the 6th day (the day of Hordad or Amurdad) of the month of Spandarmad (the 12th month) and which, no doubt, was created to mark the place of Nawruz in the non-intercalated (so-called Kadimi) year after the Parsis had executed an intercalation of one month in the twelfth century (see Kharegat, in Modi's Memorial Volume, p. 115).
The same distinction is described in Denkard, iii, see recent translation by Nyberg in his Texte zum Mazdayasnian Kalender, Uppsala, 1934, pp. 30-39.
At Mihragan, winter clothes were distributed by the kings, at Tiragan people bathed in the rivers, in the first and second Adar-jashn they lit fires in their houses, at Sada they used to light fires in open places, and the Khwarazmians used the civil feasts as points for the calculation of their agricultural operations even in the tenth century.
Or to 15th January, if we take the epagomenae in calculation and assume it was at the end of Spandarmad.
AB., p. 222. The Shah-nameh of Firdausi, however, puts this event on the first day of Mihr. Had the Y.A. calendar been in use at that time, this day would have fallen in 522, only three or four days after the equinox.
AB., p. 220.
Ibid., p. 226.
In fact, Ram is the name of the 21st day of every Zoroastrian month, but the compound word as the name of a feast is only used for 21st of Mihr.
The equinox was on 28th September and the 10th day of Bâgayâdi on 3rd October.
Persica, § 15, and in Athenæus, x, 434 (Charles Burton Gulick's English translation, iv, 469).
B. attributes, this set to the Sasanian king Hormuz (Ohrmazd IV, 578-590), AB., p. 224.
Menander Protecter relates that the Byzantine Ambassador John sent by Justin II in 565 to Persia was obliged when on his way to the Persian court to halt for ten days in the town of Dârâ, because of the celebration in Nasîbîn of the feast of manes, which Menander calls Furdigân, or according to Causin's translation Furdiga (Histoire de Constantinople depuis le règne de l'ancien Justin, jusqu`à la fin de l'empire, traduit sur les originaux Grecs par Mr. Causin, Paris, 1672; les Ambassades ... écrites par Menandre, Chapitre xii, p. 56). In that year third feast was certainly on 22nd February-4th March.
The gradual extension of the religions festivals or mourning days is not a rare thing, and there are many examples of this in Persia in the last centuries. B. says (Chronology, Istanbul MS.) that the learned men and kings of Iran have made Frawardigan the greatest of all feasts and have added to it three days more for the manifestation of their devotion, beginning it with the day Dai-pa-Den (the 23rd). In later ages this feast became still longer and according to Karkaria in Dastur Hosheng's Memorial Volume some Parsis have extended it to seventeen or eighteen days, and there was in the last century a good deal of discussion among the Parsis as to the real length of the festival.
The Pahlavi book, Mainog-i Khrad, which is believed to have been composed about the end of the sixth century, mentions this feast as consisting of five days.
However, this name indicates the antiquity of the Armenian calendar only if the Armenian Frawardigan did not remain fixed at the end of the vague year, as did the Sogdian.
The passages in question run as follows: "Those (the two months which are the middle of winter, the heart of winter) now are the months Vohuman, and Shahrewar, that is, the heart of winter, that is it is more severe: although it is all severe, yet at that time it is more severe." I am indebted to Professor H. W. Bailey the translation of this passage. This may also indicate the age of the said commentary which should have been composed according to the above-mentioned concordance in the fifth century.
Unless one supposes that the occasion was the time for the eighth intercalation, that it was the turn for Aban to be repeated, that then the eighth and the ninth were effected together by repeating two months (Aban and Adar), but that the epagomenae were moved forward only one month, i.e. to the end of the month Aban (where they ought to have been placed if there had only been one intercalation) and not to the end of Adar, as was to be expected. That such a process has taken place is not, however, easy to assume, though it is not impossible that it has. In that case the institution of the intercalation system must be put about 560 BC.
Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institution, Bombay, 1937, p. 52.
This fraction of day might have been made in practice a round number of hours, i.e. six hours or a quarter of a day.
Both Abû Ma`shar and Kharaqî give the number in the terms of an arc of the celestial sphere, which converted into time would make the number mentioned above.
maidyozarem, as stated above, was in all probability the last to be introduced.
I follow the Zoroastrian tradition which puts the coming of the religion 258 years before Alexander's conquest of Persia, though I am aware of the controversy concerning this question.
It is, however, also possible, though not very probable, that this process of two successive reforms was in reverse order, i.e. that first the State and the Achaemenian court adopted the Egyptian system in place of their Old-Persian calendar and that subsequently the Zoroastrian community also adhered to it.