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Topic: Egyptian Chronology



by Michael J. McDonald © 29 January 2011  

  1. Sothic Cycle a Real Myth But Promulgated in Most Scientific Books. PAGEREF _Toc288730005 \h 1

  2. Mistranslation of a hieroglyph. PAGEREF _Toc288730006 \h 2

  3. The Branches from the Zed Tree. PAGEREF _Toc288730007 \h 3

  4. What is the Standard Sothis Narrative?. PAGEREF _Toc288730008 \h 4

  5. Historiography: Why the star Sirius?. PAGEREF _Toc288730009 \h 8

  6. Definition by Ancients to Modern scientists of the Sirius Cycle. PAGEREF _Toc288730010 \h 10

Cyril Fagen in his work “Solunars” (A.A., 19 September 1958) creates a myth about the ill famed Egyptian Sothis Cycle. The bright star, alpha (α) canis major today is usually called Sirius. Today it remains one of the brightest objects in the night sky. For this reason, Egyptologists believe the Egyptians gave this star a special place and false-mythical ‘periodic’ heliacal rising. This may be true to some extent, but the Fagen discovery of a chart in the Venus Tablet of Ammizaduga (Oxford University Press, 1928) claims on 16 July -2726 (modern cal.) contains the helical rising of Sothis/Sirius. And after performing a sidereal chart for this date, I was surprised that Sirius was about 70 degrees from the Sun’s longitude position. The chart in question, places the Sun at 10 degrees of Cancer – i.e. the modern position of the projected elliptical degree of Sirius. The problem remains ‘precession.’ Because of the multiple movements of the Earth the stellar background at night shifts slightly backwards –estimated to ‘modern’ times ( 1850s- to present) a precessional shift of 00°00’00.922” or about ~ 70 to ~71 years per one degree.

Canis Major, where Sirius resides, is couched between Cancer and Orion, above Gemini. The Sun’s position, either old style calendar or new style calendar, does not form a visual measurement for Sirius. The Sun for this ancient Egyptian chart has the Sun over the frontal major star of Virgo.

The closet major constellational star for 16 July -2767 B.C.E. remains Zavijava virginis (. ). The Sun is post beta (β) virginis,  Zavijava, and the Sun’s tropical assignment (Ptolemy c. 150 A.C.E., does not apply to ancient sky ascriptions!!!) assumes 21 CAN 49’45”.  The local is Heliopolis, Egypt, 31e19,30n06 – the town called Ogdoad provided optimal visual sightings of stellar coordinates.

At, 4:01 a.m., local Heliopolis, Egypt, for -2767 B.C.E. (gregorian cal.) alpha (α) pleiades or eta taurii, al-Cyone, culminates. Denebola (β) leonis has not risen yet, and on the western horizon is Hydria aquarii and (κ) aquarii, Situla – thus the human is represented. The closet major star at anti Culmination is Zuben el’lak, librae. The I.C. spans both the Libra and Scorpio constellations, thus representing the Eagle. Taurus represents the Bull or Ox.

There is reason to believe this chart has some historical precedence. It forms a rare Nostradamus Mars (approaching true arc to Regulus, relative conj.), Jupiter and Saturn stellium. This implies one such a chronocrator has or will take place in the near past of future. The mean node and Mercury are over another famous Egyptian star, alpha (α) virginis, Spica. At the western horizon, llambda (λ) aquarii, Ekkhysis, gamma (γ) aquarii , a foundational scored line Gizāh pyramid star, had set within the last 30 minuets.

If Fagan recorded the true time of this novel astrology chart, then its importance has These Pleiades’ at the Midheaven, over ancient Ogdoad (modern name Heliopolis), Egypt.

Sothic Cycle a Real Myth But Promulgated in Most Scientific Books.

Astronomical time of the 16th century Julian days allows for year zero to factor into its astronomical procession. This study gives both dates, the Julian & Gregorian year-values are provided in parentheses – otherwise I use the astronomical calendar which interjects the Christ Calendar of western calendric tradition but was erroneous understood by J.J. Scaliger when he modernized the Julian Calendar the main unit of time we all use across the earth—however wrong.  One of the great calendar problems follows millennia of sources writing the year-date to what year they lived according to their current calendars – which do not match ours. For example, those who intend Jesus Birth perhaps occurred in 2 B.C., our modern calendar places it at 3 B.C.  Those who intend Jesus was born in 6 B.C. need to modernize the Christ Calendar to a date of 7 B.C. Then they need to correct the historical sources and their contemporary dates to convert to the revised 16th century J.J. Scaliger modern Julian day – astronomically adopted by late 19th century academics.

In 1926 a conglomerate of western states imposed the International Federation of the National Standardizing Association (ISA), with a purpose not-unlike the Westphalia Treaty to which refer back to our modern understanding of a nation-state. This conglomerate reorganized after World War II and renamed its corporate body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), founded on 23 February 1974 ( greg. cal).  For the standardizing of time, this for profit organization adopted J.J. Scaliger’s revision of the western calendar which includes the year zero throwing off all the historical documents, confusing researches until this day, and confusing ephemerides year –dates pre- A.D. Of course, while the ISO promotes itself as a non-profit organization, it uses legal measures to license intellectual property to which most just took by creating copyright and other laws, patents, and pay-to-play programs which tells us science was never their main concern.   Since the majority of academics have no idea of this problem in the calendar system for the western, some Hindu, Hebrew and other calendars which rely on historical time-counting, most of the historical analysis is incorrect referring to time-calendar-date.  This profit for greed makes incorrect historical works associated to academia who also use symbolism and legalities to illustrate ‘authority,’ as authority brings in cyclical fashion profit. So when you read historical years in textbooks you will find that no mention of the calendar-wars or which calendar is used in relation to modern time-keeping.

Mistranslation of a hieroglyph

No-one knows when or what was the earliest Egyptian calendar. A mistranslation of a hieroglyph of what is assumed symbolized as ‘spdt’, Sothis ( Sirius, alpha Canis Minor) has dogged modern scholarship; the Egyptians had written without vowels or as we understand them today, but in order to pronounce anything they surely had them. Linguists have done their best to put vowel sounds back into a very old language. The symbol of the star, perhaps over a crescent Moon symbol was ‘assumed’ to be of Sirius by early archeologists.  The symbol looks like any star but even could be a planet, a moving star. So not all Egyptian scholars agree to the symbol of Sothis! For example, a waxing crescent Moon occurred at Berkeley’s vantage point on 7 February 2011 and the planet Jupiter was visible above it ( its P.E.D. from the Pole star to the ecliptic made it look aligned) and this could very well be a symbol-vision just like many of the Egyptian hieroglyphs of a crescent Moon and a symbol of a star. This could be the Sothic symbol? There are many possibilities as the major star-catalogues come by the way of Neo-Babylon and Chaldean archeological finds. There are only three major references that perhaps could be associated to the star Sirius in Egyptian archeological history, and from these few samples a legend grew and tradition about ancient Egypt time-keeping.

Sometime the Egyptians had a year-calendar with three seasons, four months each, and divided equally it into 360 days ( 30 day months), and the leftover days of five days were honorary days for the Egyptian deity hierarchy. This calendar seems to be a late invention around 1,000 B.C.E.  Most understanding of a calendar from Egypt had been during the Ptolemaois III Euergetes (r. 246 B.C.E. -222 B.C.E) reform in 238 B.C.E. recognizing a leap-year as an extra day ( 6th day for one year) to bring the calendar into alignment with other nations.  However, there were complex lunar and solar calendars in almost all of the major civilizations across the world by that time.

The early Egyptian calendars has a king’s name  etched upon a writing space, and then boxes blow in a linear fashion to mark significant events for that year. The marking of the significant event denoted the year. Therefore, like most cultures, they understood time according to how many years their leader had been seated upon the throne. They understood years according to specific memorable events of their lives. This posed significant problems for scholars that tried to correct chaos from Egyptian chronology to fit the Age of Rationalization. It was perhaps under this vagueness that the Sothis Cycle which had been created to order the Dynasties in the first century out of chaos into some rational management of cycles – to which during the early modern age did not correct. After Macedonian Alexander the Imperialist ( called the Great by leftwing wackos)  dismantled the Persian Empire, Egypt adopted the Macedonian twelve month calendar under the Ptolemaios I Soter (r. 232/305/ - 282 B.C.E.).[1] The Canis Minor, Orion, and Taurus constellations are visible as a stream-line across the sky at night, and many writers link many such traditions to these constellations.

The Branches from the Zed Tree

As Chinese historians relate the social cosmology, the pole constellations described things that correlate to organization similar to a concept of branches. These early form of hierarchical structured order the heavens ‘as above and so below’ even if not in a Judaic framework.  It is more evidence of a tacit consciousness between non-geo-local cultures. The ancient Chinese linked their rulers to these many stars near the celestial pole, and form there society branched out as a group amalgam. Things were no different in ancient Egypt.

For example, we know about BRANCHES. This tradition comes in explaining the origins of Osiris, the Sun of Earth and the Sky, and while mainly associated to vegetation and the birth and rebirth of the agri-cycle, Osiris is associated to almost everything –a universal God of sorts. The Zed pillar or Zez Tree comes from ‘granite pillars erected in the temple of Hieraconpolis by King Khasekhemui, of the IInd Thinite Dynasty”[2] (c. 3100 B.C.E.). Since Osirus is associated to almost everything, he was linked early on by Egyptologist to be Zed, a tree that consists of BRANCHES. Two representations of two hieroglyphs have similar symbols, but in different orientation. One is a serpent to the right and above and appears like Draco’s constellation, and then a crook/flail to the left, and the other is similar but the orientation of the serpent is on the left. The only way these symbols shift orientation to the perception of the viewer is a shifting of sorts – which take place when one is near to the circumpolar constellations. The Branches are not unique to Egyptians, nor does any culture have a dominance on its ownership. The Chinese ancients understood the specialty of the circumpolar constellations, and believed the hierarchy of their groups resided within those locations. Most of the forms of the zed tree on monuments illustrate the wood used to make ores[3] for floating vessels on the Nile. Moret deals with the various trees and dismisses the most communicated wood in Egypt which were Syrian shrubs, and states the zed tree was “a conifer,”[4] perhaps imported from Lebanon, Moret guesses Syria to which some text claim Osiris crossed.  The zed became an emblem of Osiris from the beginning, and was linked to the knot of Isis, Moret says, in a note, ‘from the very beginning.’[5] Symbols were very important to the Egyptians as communicated Osiris, his son Horus from Isis brought Egypt kingship – and bring kingship brought order and then civilization. In the Bible the community decided to elect a king over all the Israeli tribes, electing Saul as the first king – and this was understood as a foundation for the eventual Israeli Empire under David and his son Solomon. The effect of order from chaos is well understood from different cultures unconnected to each other. Kingship arrived in China when Kingship arrived in Mesopotamia and the two were unrelated. It was a natural process associated to reincarnational-recall or game-plan.

What is the Standard Sothis Narrative?

The Sothic cycle is an Egyptian early calendar dating system for the civil year to which Sothis ( a very bright star to us most commonly called Sirius) rose on the lower Egyptian horizon in early Sumer, mainly at Heliopolis and later Memphis became the first sidereal attempt at recording time. However, modern scholarship assumes the Egyptians used this star for a calendaric purpose for 3,000 years plus and they could not be more wrong. Each early generation did not understand that helical risings and the precession of the Equinoxes do not concur with a solar –cycle to which the Egyptians were well aware. Over centuries and many generations, Priest  scholars ( or High Priest called Seer),  advised the Egyptian leadership administration to the calendar recommendations and noted that Sirius slipped a little as each century past[[]] it helical date and as many Egyptians had noted in memorial writings that soon Sothis was out of sync with the civil year. Eventually, the Egyptians began to keep three calendars and never dismantled the Sothic Year because it became a conservative tradition and their history had been built upon such understandings as the sidereal cycles that corresponded to king-legends.  So we are to believe and this Sothic Cycle is still promulgated on Wikipedia, a source becoming more necessary to teach children and students to the facts on history. Ph.Ds of the early twentieth century provided validity for the Sothic Cycle,  and because of their qualifications this fraudulent system preempts authoritative data analysis. Eduard Meyer, accredited with promulgation of the so-called cycle estimated that Egypt unified under Meneses in 4241 B.C., and this began the first calendar system of Egypt based upon the rising alpha star of Canis Minor, Sirius – but has been long discredited as a re evaluation of this period prompts a 3100 B.C. consensus.  This date is erroneous, and Menes, the first of eight Thinite kings begins according to Moret around 3315 B.C.E. [6]( perhaps revised to closer around 3100 B.C.E. today.

The main problem is that some ancient Egyptian writings refer to Sirius’ cycles but these academics had not understood it takes at least two generations ( if 40 years suggest one generation) for Sirius to be noticeably changeable  in the rising of a day to another day in any calendar date. For an ancient Egyptian who lived lets say 75 years old, Sirius would likely rise on the same day each year, and thus could be reliable. However, due to the changing of the heavens because of the wobbling motion of the earth’s spinning axis, over centuries Sirius fades from rising on the same day in the calendar year. To solve this problem, there was a system set up erroneously that called for a cycle of Sirius to rise on the same day every 1,460 years. However, this was guess work and had no mathematical or astronomical validity. Egyptians may have used Sirius at one time but different generations most likely discarded it for a much simpler form of tropical calendar organization.

Since over 6,000 years to now, educational books since the twentieth century onward still promulgate a Sothic Cycle which ‘returns’ back to the same location roughly 1,460 Julian days. Neither unfortunate the facts do not nor have they ever added up and were only adopted because someone with credential claimed thusly so.  On a different idea, this page provides evidence in the form of data, and asks you to perform the same investigation. I intend there is no Sothic Cycle according to the parameters of its definition – an equidistant return of Sothis and to the Sun in cycles by 1,460 Julian days.

The earliest Mesopotamian, later western calendars derived from ancient Babylonia which determined the beginning of the year to the tropical seasons, usually linking them to a helical rising star, such as the case for Egypt’s New Year recorded in one of the earliest mundane astrological charts, modernly dated as July 16 th, -2766 B.C.E. astronomical year (Julian Calendar year of 2767 B.C.) ; 4.01 am L.M.T., Universal Time 1:55:44, Sidereal Time 22:07:39, Heliopolis, Egypt, 30n06, 31e19, geocentric/sidereal. This mundane astrological chart had linked the rise of the Canis minor’s star Sirius on the Summer Solstice, but did not confirm a wise New Year marker for the inundation of the lower Nile, which had been later described in correlation to the  New Year celebration at the Sumer solstice. 

The earliest calendar reform in Egypt occurred around 4241 B.C.E. ( -4242 Julian & Gregorian Cal.)[7] During the archeology and translation of hieroglyphics for various Papyri listed natural history ( as opposed to a civil calendar, natural history was such things as a rising of a star in a cyclical manner to account for time!) to festivals and to juridical government.[8] The early calendar used two systems of calculations, a civil year based upon the Solar Year, and a natural history ( such as the European Middle Ages, ‘historical calendar, which had incorrectly but nevertheless began on 1 January to which the Catholic Church listed their feast and saint days! – by at least 1,000 A.C.E.) was based upon the cyclical rising of Sirius. A problem with observation was that for at least a generation of Egyptians Sirius’ position appeared not to move to a local observer on the horizon in lower Egypt. Only in subsequent generations and actually more obvious for longer periods of time did officials and the commoners complain in letters to their government that Sothis ( Sirius) was out of sync with the New Year which was first promulgated as 15 June ( Gregorian alignment). [ put data here]. The first day of the Egyptian calendar was called 1 Thoth, and it corresponded to the heliacal rising of Sirius.  So the natural history and the civil year had initially been determined as the same.

The center for astronomical studies of the Sothic cycle took place at the lower Nile cities of Heliopolis and later Memphis. As the precession of the equinoxes complicates this, if one went up the Egyptian valley, from one degree of latitude to the next degree of latitude, the date for the rising of Sothis had changed. To this, a High Priest ( scholar of such; a.k.a. a Great Seer ( ur mau),[9] because their job was ‘seeing’ the geometry of the luminaries, planets and the stars and corresponding what was above to what will happen below. Because the various revolutions are in reality fractal, the period when the Sun hit a star or the four major tropical points of the seasons did arise a need for science to correct the various idiosyncrasies.   To this the intercalary days which were five had a special place for stars, and of “gods born in the five days placed at the beginning of the year [ intercalary days were in early June, Gregorian re alignment, not like Rome where at the end of February they had to shuffle out of alignment ‘extra-days’] “ the Egyptian and Greek texts agree in calling these gods Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nephthys, and Horus. The year began with the simultaneous rising of Sothis, Ra, and the Nile; since Osiris, the god of the Nile and vegetation, was placed at the head of it as its patron [...]. [10] Professor of Egyptology and Oriental History  at the University of Chicago in the early twentieth-century specialized in editing, translation and commentary on various ancient Egyptian writings.

Over time early Babylonia and concurrently Egypt too, formalized astronomical text to relate the civil year commencing from periodic government census and tax-revenue years.[11] These systems spilled over into Rome, and eventually codified as time by J.J. Scaliger, and adopted as time – how ironic.  This defined the astronomical Julian date which counts years zero for all millennia intersections, and does not apply to the western calendar that does not count the year zero between B.C. and A.D., but counts the zero years for the next two millennium changeovers of these years of 1,000 A.D. and 2,000 A.D. The Christ Calendar had progressed human civilization to standardize time. J.J. Scaliger used the Christ Calendar without acknowledging that the changeover between B.C. and A.D. had no year zero. His efforts helped to confuse centuries of scholarship to which year exactly were sources referring too in relation to our modern calendric format.

The Palarmo stone relates these histories, and by the Sixth Dynasty onward each year received the name of the year of the numbering of the fiscal year. However, and again, it did not continue in a linear way. At first there were two years of a count and then the count began over again up until the Sixth Dynasty. Years were drawing as rectangles as reminders, and increased within increments of Dynasties – so size and not the changing of modification of the symbol defined time. [12] Accompanying each rectangle were written memorable events to the Egyptians or an individual record keeper – and a series of rectangles were couched within a single ruler – which is how time was kept for all these civilizations including much of the Roman period.  These datum configurations became complex and used to forecast a feast, a celebration, or a good year for the Inundation. Under these ‘branching’ out of ideas became traditions which were hard to dissemble. For example, we still live under one system of dating which calculates when our government taxes us on our commodities and lifestyles – and has nothing to do with the movements of the heavens in totality.

I’ll let James Henry Breasted tell of the significance of the Sothic Cycle. He used Eduard Meyer who crystallized the theory following Mahler, Borchardt and Weill who supported this theory in 1904. By the 1950s, this so-called theory was in many school children’s history books. Yet, it was J.H. Breasted at the University of Chicago that enthusiastically set this theory in motion promoting a Sothic year and used Meyer’s figure of 4240 B.C. ( jul cal. 4241 B.C.E.) for the an unification theory under Menes as the beginning of the calendar of the Sothis rising.

“The Egyptian began his [ or her] year at the advent of the inundation, and this event, but a happy accident, approximately coincided with the re appearance of Sirius ( Sothis) at sunrise on the eastern horizon, after he had been for some length of time invisible. This occurred each year on July 19 [13]( Julian). The interval between such heliacal risings of Sothis was thus fortunately approximately a solar year. The Feast of the Rising of Sothis on July 19 was therefore the New Years’ feast of the Egyptians [ which takes place 1,000 years after the beginning calculations of the Sothic Cycle]. The year was also arbitrarily divided into three seasons, each containing four months of thirty days each. These were: the season of verdure, or the inundation; the season of winter or sowing; and the season of summer or harvest. When this remarkable rational calendar was introduced, it of course coincided with the seasons as determined for the people by the Sun and the inundation. But the Sothic year was almost exactly, and in 3231 B.C. ( 3232 Jul. cal.) was exactly, a quarter of a day longer than the new calendar year of 365 days.[14]  This analysis provided by Meyer is incorrect. He says, every four years therefore, the calendar reached the end of the year and began the next year one day too soon, so that the rising of Sirius fell on the second day of the New Year. As this process continued, and each calendar New Year’s Day arrived earlier and earlier, it finally passed gradually around the whole year and again fell on the astronomical New Year’s Day. Meyer would be correct if he provides an analysis for 25,700- 26,000 year time-frame, but he is explicably mentioning the period of the Egyptians which is only a fraction of the full precessional age. What becomes next in Meyer’s analysis is putting a square into a round hole.

Moret continues to regurgitate Eduard Meyer incorrect claim, and explains that this process consumed four times as many years as there were days in the calendar year; that is, 1,460 years; or we may say: 1,461 calendar years= 1,460 Sothic ( Julian). [ all this is incorrect, he probably got it from Eduard Meyer! yes he did, he cites Meyer page 16 of the cited book already given by me in the footnotes]. Without knowing it, the Egyptian was thus dealing with three different years:[15] (1) His calendar year of 365 dyas, but which most of the business of civil life was transacted  and all documents were dated. (2) The Sothic ( or Julian Year) of 365 ¼ days, on the first of which the people celebrated the feast of the Rising of Sirius. (3) The solar ( or Gregorian) year of a little less than 365 ¼ days ( which was therefore slowly diverging form the Sothic year). It is Moret and the copying of this idea from Meyer that Moret assumes Egyptians were working in three calendar systems simultaneously.  Hipparchus placed the precession time as  to regressing one degree each one-hundred years ( copied by Claudius Ptolemy), and this helps us understand that the 7,000 year Creation story applied by the Christians and Hebrews, later adopted by Islam to which derives their progressional -linear history by astronomy/astrology.  However, the last observation Moret provides is solely inquizzical ; Egyptians nor others can observe precession without historical documents.  This is why Hipparchus and later Ptolemy had gathered up copies or writings upon ancient Chaldean, Neo-Babylonian, cuneiform star-planet-astronomical-catalogues to compare to their contemporary positional-data. Moret then states the obvious, he relates that The Egyptians, as we have intimated, never learned the Sothic ( Julian) and the solar years were not identical; the divergence was so slow, and so slight, that it was entirely imperceptible to the masses . Of course this applies to all cultures.

Eduard Meyer ( Hamburg, 25 January 1855- 31 August 1930) a Berlin scholar who lectured at Harvard College in the U.S.A. created the Sothic Cycle when there is none, and most persons investigating Egyptian chronology followed after his proposition. His principle work, Geschichte des Altertums ( 1884-1902, 3 rd, ed. 1913). He used Manetho’s Egyptian Chronology, and this third-century Egyptian priest had linked the old Sirius rising calendar to dating for the chronology of kings of Egypt and subsequent dynasties. However, Theon, an Alexandrian astronomer contradicted Manetho’s theory, and Roman author Censorinus never found a connection to a “1,460-year period with Sirius. The celebrated Claudius Ptolemy failed to mention the link [ probably through it out!], and more recently, Egyptologists like Maspero, von Bissing, Jéquier and the great Egyptologist Sir Flingers Petrie, also rejected Meyer’s mathematical system.” [16]  According to the Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year fell on 20 July ( Julian Calendar equivalent) in 139 A.C.E.  However, this does not explain how realities change over time. Western European civilization have changed, revised, re introduced, adopted, dismissed, dismantled, and corrected, many various calendars within a 2,000 year time-frame. We cannot rely on one period being generalized over 3,000 plus years as credible to how the Egyptians viewed the calendar and the New Year.

Historiography: Why the star Sirius?

Logically, anyone would use one of the brightest objects in the sky for calendar observations. Sirius remains one of the brightest stars in the heavens from our vantage point.  Besides Venus and the Moon, Sirius is one of the brightest objects in the night sky, and for a long-period of time it rose before the Sun in the Nile region, giving it the historical time-keeping phenomena .

Erroneously, The Egyptian Sothis Cycle, which began this myth tradition, that is to say, the cycle of 1,461 ancient Egyptian days (365, where 1,460 Julian days of 356.25 days) when the star Sirius rises with equanimity in relation to the Sun had been incorrect since its promulgation about the first – century A.C.E..  As noted, James Henry Breasted, Ph.D. copied what Meyer discussed as the Sothic cycle in his essay from 1904 called “Aegyptische Chronologie,”  at Abhandlungen der Königlichen Preussichen Akademie [ Germany]. This myth further prospered during the third-century where a mediocre astronomer/astrologer claimed that one inscription accredited to information on Djer reign ( c. 3,100 BC.) a second or third pharaoh of the first dynasty of Egypt, indicates that Sirius rose during the month of July. Censorinus, a third-century A.C.E. roman grammarian, who wrote two works, De Accentibus ( now lost but mentioned by Varro and Suetonius), and De Die Natali ( c. 238), created the New Year celebration of Egyptians to correspond to the Sirius helical rising. He like so many others from the early Roman Empire times to the sixteenth century chronologist were trying to formulate epochs of historical periods under the timing of stars and the solar cycles. There are cases, which can be calculated where the Sun reaches lest say a tropical coordinate at 25° cancri, and Sirius rises on a horizon around Egypt, and can repeat by visual phenomenon for more than a 1,000 years, but never can it represent an equidistant relationship – which is thus the definition of the Sothic Cycle itself by all those mentioned already – some from Harvard University, Cambridge and Chicago University. I believe this study goes to demonstrate scientist take chances or use an easy rational conclusion without substantively proving their claims.

When early historians after Herodotus tried to make sense of Egyptian time keeping, they were unaware that Egyptians, like most other civilizations, derived their year by the number of years of their current ruler. However, by inventing  or accepting the Sothic Cycle, these apparently irrational time-keeping of the ancients became a rational and complex system of solar-lunar-to-star cycles, which placed the Egyptians spanning 3,000 years in a light of intense scientific enumeration. It is true that Neo-Babylonians working from earlier texts, most unduly the priest –astrologers of different periods of Egyptian dynasties, recorded star positions.  However most of these observations included mainly the planets and not the Sun’s position-to-star locations. Prominent stars included Sirius, but never sufficiently obvious to readers that Sirius was a special time – keeper.   In my opinion, the reason why Sirius was chosen, is it did rise before the Sun for a long time, and if we assume its brightness to today’s observations from our naked eyes, this star stands out as one of the brightest objects in the night sky. It is in proximity to Orion and the mythology of the Egyptian Osiris legends had linked or suggested such a coincidence.

Definition by Ancients to Modern scientists of the Sirius Cycle.

The myth began with this definition. The Sothic year is the length of time for the star Sirius/Sothis to visually [ heliacal] return to the same position in relation to the Sun. This is quite a vague statement, but the same position is assumed as an equal distant observation from a particular local. However, the local matters little as the barometer or control-data system are the recesses of the stars due to the wobbling of the main-earth’s tilted axis around 23 degrees.  Under processional circumstances it is impossible for this to occur for at least 25,800 ( 26,000, no-one really knows for sure!) years. After testing the data this is a fact. The Sun arrives at 25 CAN ( not the solstice point) and Sirius rises but each cycle does not account for an equidistant star-to-Sun chorology. Each cycle from 2766 B.C.E  ( jul. cal. 2767 B.C.E.) onward to our present slowly separates the heliacal rising of Sirius to the Sun at 25 Can. Lets demonstrate a few claimed cycle-marks.

Using Censorinus data and configuring it to modern calendar and sidereal positions, 20 July 193 greg. data for longitude of Sirius is 18 GEM30’11” and Latitude ( LAT) is at 39° 11’15”.  At Cairo, Egypt, 31e15, 30n03, at 4:15 a.m. L.M.T., Universal Time at 3:10 and sidereal time at 0:003:08, the Horizon at Cairo is at  13CAN45’26” and the real position of Sirius is on the horizon and visible from the perspective of a person looking toward the east. The Sun is at 25CAN41’37” ( Gregorian calendar), the cosmic rising of Sirius ( when it rises with the Sun) was on 8 July -139 B.C.E. ( jul cal. & greg. cal. 140 B.C.E.)[17], and became visible on the 22 July -139 greg. cal., making it a star that rises before the Sun, but not specifically helical; The Sun rises on this day at Cairo at 5:11 a.m., UT 3:06, Sidereal Time at 0:59:17.  (greg. cal.). At this date, according heliacal standards, Epsilon Canis Majoris ( the second brightest star in this constellation) is the heliacal rising on 20 July 139 B.C.E., and becomes visible on the  9 th of August. Sirius relation to the Sun is 63 minuets in -139 B.C.E.[18]

On the 20 of July  – 2766 B.C.E. ( -2767 jul, greg. cals.), when moving locations from Heliopolis to Cairo, and in need to use exactly a controlled data, which is our ‘placement’ date for repetition of Censorinus’ claims, we set up the same date and place Sirius on the horizon and then we calculate when the Sun rises to find out if it is indeed at an equidistance relationship. Therefore we can fulfill some type of scientific method. Don’t be concerned with ancient Egyptian days or year-frames, because it matters not while using sidereal coordinates, in which Censorinus claimed he had used.

On Thursday (-2767 B.C.E., jul. greg. cal.) used in this study in astronomical time as -2766) 20 July -2766, 2:20 a.m. Universal Time 0:15, Sidereal Time 22:08:53, Cairo, Egypt, 31e15, 30n03, Sirius rises at 2:20 a.m. The Sun at the time of the rising is at 26 CAN42’22” ( Note! This degree of Cancer was probably associated to this cycle, but it had nothing to due with helical rising cycles). First off, one will notice because of the precession of the equinoxes, Praesepe, and part of cancri intersects the horizon in -139 B.C.E. Censorinus date ( see above) as Sirius rises yet has already risen during the rising time on  20 July  – 2766 B.C.E. So quickly we see the effects of the precessions, and ultimately understand that the Sothis Cycle cannot be 1,460 Julian day cycle or any other incremental cycle within the boundaries of a full Equinox Processional Year ( c. 25,8000- 26,000 years). Sirius longitude is at 08TAU45’10” and its latitude is at 38° 34’ 32”. The Helical rising star at Cairo for 20 July  – 2766 B.C.E ( greg. cal., see data) will be Aructurus, alpha Bootees, on the 31 July – 2766 B.C.E. rises before the Sun  and becomes visible on the 18 th of August.  At Cairo for 20 July  – 2766 B.C.E ( greg. cal., see data) the Sun rises at 5:10 a.m. L.M.T., Universal Time 3:05, Sidereal Time at 0:59:31, and therefore, the equidistant interval for Sirius-to-Sun is at (2:50’) 170 minuets.  So the equidistance of Sirius-to-Sun the claim of the Sothis Cycle has a discrepancy of 63-170 = 107 minuets over the span of 2627 solar-years, approximately.

The big difference and confirmation of the precession of the equinoxes is that the Orion Constellation, apparently so important to Egyptian star-worship records is intersecting ( the bow-arm of the hunter) the Cairo zenith during the Sun rise for 20 July  – 2766 B.C.E and for -139 B.C.E. date of  Censorinus , Orion is half-way up the eastern horizon, roughly its mid point about 45 degrees as the Sun rises. This means Orion is moving slowly toward our modernity to becoming the true helical constellation at Cairo, Egypt. Let me explain. In the year of 2011, Wednesday, 20 July 2011 A.C.E.  at 5:11 a.m. L.M.T., Universal Time of 3:11, Sidereal Time of 1:06:15, the Sun rises and Orion is not proportionally in the east about 30 degrees in the sky. For 20 July  – 2766 B.C.E, we noted that Orion’s bow-arm intersected the zenith when the Sun rose. So that is an angle of 90 degrees. When Orion’s kappa Orionis rises at Cairo for the data used for scientific measurements for 2011, the local mean time is at 4:11 a.m. ( 2011). For -2766 B.C.E., using the same local and date, Orion’s kappa Orionis rises at Cairo at 1:11 a.m., Universal Time 23:06, 19 July greg.; Sidereal time 20:59:42, indicating that Orion was not the constellation that rose with the Sun during the old-Egyptian Kingdom period. Also, due to the precession, as pointed out, Cancri’s arc and Canus’s Sirius and even Saiph ( kappa Orionis) horizontal arcs. This is another confirmation of the precession of the equinoxes, as well as confirmation that the Sirius Cycle ( Sothic Cycle) is a myth, and matters not using ancient Egyptian days, Julian Calendar, Gregorian calendar, because you need to work solely within a stable calendar system and the sidereal coordinates, which will all tell you the same thing: the equidistance from the star Sirius-to-Sun, according to Censorinus, does not equate in cycles  of 1,461 ancient Egyptian days, not a modern 1,460 Julian Years. In modernity, this cycle was first promulgated by Eduard Meyer (b. 25 Jan. 1855, d. 31 Aug. 1930), a German historian, and professor at German institutions,  in 1904 who linked it to Egyptian inscriptions and other written material of mythos. During the predynastic and into the old Egyptian Dynasty period Orion was closer to the Zenith at Cairo for the Sumer Solstice and therefore, the Orion helical constellation evidence lay in the Spring Equinox when we choose dates beginning from 4,999 B.C.E. ( jul, greg. cal. 5,000 B.C.E., over 7,000 year ago) and continuing into the past. When the Sun rises at Cairo, Friday 20 March -4,999 B.C.E., 6:05 a.m. L.M.T., UT 4:00, Sidereal Time 17:52:18, Sun at 27PIS38’08” and the horizon is at 27PIS08’54” Tabit, pi-3 Orionis is on the horizon as well. It is at the tip of the Hunters’ bow.  This is a few days before the actual Spring Equinox, but it demonstrates a period to which Orion is associated to a helical position for its groups of stars. For example, on this date, Bellatrix, gaOri, cosmically rises on 3 April -4999 (5,000 B.C.E. jul. greg. cal). Alnilam, Orionis, one of the belt stars of Orion conjoins the Sun at the I.C. within four minuets of arc on this day and is separating, as well as only above the horizon during the daylight hours. Tabit’s longitude is at 04PIS24’56” and its 16LAT05’34”. For those who watch Alcyone’s position according to archeoastronomy, its latitude is at 3° 26’44” and its tropical longitude is at 23AQU35’30”. When the spring equinox takes place later in the day of 22 March -4,999 B.C.E. (5,000 B.C.E. jul. greg. cal) at Cairo, the Sun is approaching its rise-time at 6:05 a.m., UT 4:00, Sidereal Time at 18:00:11, and the angles at AC 00ARI03’58” and MC 00CAP 02’27”, and Sun at this moment is at 29PIS32’12” Orion’s Tabit has just risen and the front-part of the bow of the Hunter has intersected with the horizon at Cairo.  at 5:47 p.m. UT 15:42. the Sun is at 00ARI00’01” or one second of arc after the Spring Equinox, for Sunday 22 March – 4,999 B.C.E. 5,000 B.C.E. jul. greg. cal), Cairo, Egypt, greg. cal. We therefore can conclude that Orion going backward in time from 4,999 B.C.E. 5,000 B.C.E. jul. greg. cal)  will be a Spring Equinox occurrence for the Egyptians. Yet, this date according to modern historical-chronologist indicates a time proceeding even the Egyptian pre-dynasty period. How it is then the Egyptians had conferred their religio-structures to Osiris based upon astronomical observations? Perhaps it was no scientific, as Orion could be seen in the early morning, long before the Sun rose during the Months of July from about the old-kingdom to the New kingdom, getting longer each century for the Sun to rise in relations to the observation of Orion, but this had no occurrence to the seasons or tropical locations of the solar-year – which it turns out the Egyptians were well aware of in the first place.

In the year of 3,000 A.C.E.,  (3,001 B.C.E. jul. greg. cal) Saturday, 21 June, at 6:50 a.m., UT 4:50, Sidereal Time 0:53:13, Cairo, Egypt, Saiph, Orionis is about to rise on the Cairo horizon. The Sun has already risen and it at 00CAN31’23” meaning that the true zero point of the tropics of Cancer was reached at 20 June , 5:50 p.m. the Sun is at  00CAN00’14” or fourteen seconds of arc after the solstice, and for Alcyone watchers it is close to the setting line of the horizon at Cairo at this moment. 

Criticism and problems with the Sothic Cycle have already been propagated, but still some academics at top-world Universities still claim it has merit. Meyer’s system of Sothic cycles, 1,320 B.C.E., 2,780 B.C.E., 4,240 B.C.E. instantly became accepted by the wider academic community, in part it brought chronological-astronomical system of dating the various periods of Egyptian dynasties. However, none of it is based upon fact. His research, however incorrect it may be, is in all the standard children history books as a fact to aligning Egyptian chronology. For confirmation, Harvard College that followed the English Scientific Community associated to the Greenwich observatory that created our modern zero point and star-catalogues, still  have not compiled an authoritative list for stars further than 10,000 B.C.E. So the estimation of the Precession of the Equinoxes, or what Plato called in astrology the Great Year, occurs roughly once every 26,000 years. Understanding this Sirius-to-Sun equidistance can only occur once every 26,000 years, making the entire theory of the Sothic Cycle a mathematical conjecture based upon a poor understanding to visible astreology. An easier way to understand this is that Sirius rises exactly with the Sun at 00CAN00’00” on the horizon of Cairo once every 26,000 years ( appx.). This is alright if we assume that no asteroids knocked our true processional revolution out of its current sync. Does this make Osiris’ legend a false legend? No, it only means that more work needs to be done to understand how the Egyptians viewed the heavens in relation to their deities.

Otto Eduard Neugenbauer  (b. Innsbruck, Austria 26 May 1899, d. 19 Feb. 1990) in his work “A History of Ancients Mathematical Astronomy, Vol. 2.” in a footnote mentions Iamblichus Chalcidensis (c. 242, c. 325 A.C.E.)[19] a Syrian Neoplatonist, in his work The Egyptian Mysteries, VIII,I, that Manetho reported 365.25 books ( the same number which represents 25 Sothic periods of 1461 years). [20] One of Neugenbauer sub-chapters intended to understand the different historiography of the concept of cycles and the ‘great year’.  The attempts to arrange a cyclical occurrence, a definition by Neugenbauer intends by two occurrences of something comes together to form a single one, he reports various historical figures trying to make-up an Egyptian calendar based upon the erroneous  Sothic cycle – to which they try to include a wider astronomical period called the Great Year – which is ambiguous. Antiochus of Athens (c. 100) [21], he writes, intended a cosmic return of 1,753,200 ( = 1461• 1200) years. Citing persons using large sexagesimal numbers, Censorinus II, has Heraclitus and Linus guessing that 10800y ( = 3,0,0) ; Cassandrus 3600000y ( = 1000 • 1,0,0); On pure numerology, Hippolytus writes 7777 years, and Macrobius, Somnium II, writes the ‘world year’ as 15000y for the return of all planets.[22] Neugenbauer, perhaps having a more modern science at hand, never accepted the Sothic Cycle.

So the Sothic cycle was proposed as an Egyptian period dating system during the Hellenistic period, then in our modern era it was popularized by Sir William Flingers Petrie; finally discredited, but then ignored by Egyptianologists who claim that this Sothic cycle actually fixes dates for a chronology for some periods. What we need to understand is that Sirius will rise in locations of Egypt for millennia, however; A cosmic rising with Sirius nor a heliacal rising of Sirius can be considered a cycle of equidistance in astronomical /astrological terms for a full precession, thereby implementing today’s common guesses for a period of 365.2424 day year and a full total of ‘about 26,000 of those years. One thing that workers who brought for the Catalogue Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, and Neugenbauer elucidating on some of the topics in accordance to cycles as ‘forms’ demonstrates that western astronomer/astrologers were using eastern ideas at a more esoteric and hidden system of knowledge than currently understood as tropical astrology which perhaps began during the classical Greek period, and further flourished during the Hellenistic period. 

After many years working in Akkadian and earlier Hellenistic mathematics and astronomy, Neugenbauer turned his attention to Egypt for twenty-years and concluded that Egyptians were scientifically illiterate. The observation is a general sweeping statement, where we really have no idea when the Giza Pyramids became so mathematically organized that qualifying a dismissal at a glance is a preliminary ignorance. However, Neugenbauer also never saw the Neo-Babylonian astronomical-astrological archives which are still be translated and transcribed today, with only a fraction of the texts being funded for decipherment. The Egyptians did contribute the twenty-four hour clock, the twenty-four our day, the difference between the scientific-civil calendar of 356.25 days, calling it the ‘great’ year ( an aberration of 13 new Moons), during the middle kingdom period, and the small year ( 12 new Moons). Yet, in all their crude mathematical measurements according to most of their records, they did however issue something that the Mesopotamians worked from, and are found in the archives of the Neo-Babylonians. Smaller cycles of astronomical phenomena are complex but actually work to some degree. This is becoming apparent in the analysis of the Sippur archives, which demonstrate that planets return over a star ‘nearly’ to the same degree –‘Not! at its first revolution, or even second, but different intervals do illustrate a ‘reoccurrence’ which is then observed as a cycle. This is due to complexities in appetence from a geocentric location where retrogration does not happen but form our vantage point issues a completive relationship to actual time-and-space. However, the idea in the historians standpoint was to fudge the remaining months. Here is an example, quoted from Neugenbauer’s study.

A demotic text which shows a simple lunar configuration of 25 Egyptian civil years 365d , toward the middle kingdom had contained 9125 days and are nearly equal to 309 mean lunar months. “These 309 months are grouped by our text into 16 ordinary years of 12 lunar months, and 9 “great” years of 13 months. Ordinarily two consecutive lunar months are given 59 days by our scheme, obviously because of the fact that one lunar month is close to 291/2 days long. But every 5th year the two last months are made 60 days long. This gives for the whole 25 year cycle the correct total of 9125 days.” “Since at this period all astronomical computations were carried out in the sexagesmial system, at least as far as fractions are concerned, the equinoctial hours were divided sexagesimally. Thus our present division of the day into 24 hours of 60 minuets each is a result of a Hellenistic modification of an Egyptian practice combined with Babylonia numerical procedures.” [23] Later decans, a third of one of the parts of the twelve divisions, thus 10° degrees segments were devised according to Neugenbauer during the period after the succession of Alexander’s Empire. This allowed advancement in calendar recordings to hint at what hour of the day in a particular month. This furthered time for civil purposes of meetings and for astrologers a period to calculate the stars in regards to helical risings. That is to say, a short period within an hour or so where a particular ‘bright star’ would rise over the horizon before the Sun rose on a particular day. That star would then become a prominent player in one’s fate. Since bright stars were limited, this 10° degrees or ten-days had led to Hellenistic astrologers applying 36 of the brightest stars for each decan. One will notice that decade, ten-years, and decan, 10 degrees have similar etymological origins. 

Pi, as a mathematical constant ( usually approximated as 3.14159265, derives the ratio of the circumference of a circle) would work well in devising a circle for a calendar construction upon modern calculations of 365.2424 days, but the planetary phenomena moves in all-different ways: the planets, earth , and asteroids, all move in elliptical orbits. In addition and like Pi is a fractal so is the Egyptian estimate of the Solar Year of  365.2424 days per - year is an irrational number and would be rather difficult to understand at the common level and even at some scholastic institutions.  What we do understand about Mesopotamian mathematics and ancient Egyptian mathematics while considered ‘crude’, as Neugenbauer intends, they did however ponder and debate the fraction considerations within their time and the easier sexagesmial system which we have incorporated various artifacts today into our own time-keeping. Dividing the day into 24 hours, 60 minuets long, and an hour into ten-segments of 60 minuets and each minuet into 60 seconds is rather rational, appropriate, and convenient for most persons to grasp in relation to night and day organization skills for modern civic living. We could, however change the length of a second, minuet, hour, and day, for reconnecting to the current cycles of our Sun and Moon, however, we still do not know much of our past, and cannot figure out the correct figures for the actual ‘real’ length of the precession of the equinoxes. When we do figure that out, it will again be a fraction and we need to revert to a made-up system of simplistic divisibility, which is the case for the easier sexagesmial system in which the Mesopotamians and Egyptians had completed for us in which we should honor them – because they are us anyway!

[1] Oertel, Holger, The Egyptian Calendar ( updated 30 May 2009, online, accessed 7 February 2011), available from ;Internet.

[2] Moret, Alexander, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927), p. 80.

[3] Ibid., Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization, p. 81.

[4] Ibid., Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization, p. 81.

[5] Ibid., Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization, n. 2, p. 80.

[6] Moret, Alexander, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927), p. 117.

[7]  Moret, Alexander, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927), p. 105, c.f., p. 53, Eduard Meyer, Histoire de l’antiquité, trans. from 3 rd ed., by Alexander Moret, vol. ii, Paris, 1913 [ Geschichte des Altertums, Stuggart und Berlin, 1901-13]. c.f. Breasted, Ph.D., James Henry, Ancient Records of Egypt, historical documents, from the Earliest times to the Persian Conquest: Collected, Edited and Translated with Commentary ( Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1906), p.26.

[8] Ibid.,  Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization p. 21.

[9] Ibid., Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization p. 105. n. 5., Pyr., § 1961; c.f. XII, lv, p. 65.

[10] Ibid., Moret, The Nile and Egyptian Civilization pp. 105-6. n. 3-5., Pyr., § 222; c.f. Plut., De Iside, 12.; From Tribe to Empire, p. 133.

[11] Breasted, Ph.D., James Henry, Ancient Records of Egypt, historical documents, from the Earliest times to the Persian Conquest: Collected, Edited and Translated with Commentary ( Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1906), p.54.

[12] Ibid., Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt...p.55.

[13] Ibid., Breasted, n. a., p. 26, It took place on July 19 (Julian) as the normal date, in the latitude of Memphis, for many thousands of years B.C. until far down in the last thousand years B.C. when the Sothic year had sufficiently lengthened to shift the helical rising of Sothis to July 20. ( See Meyer, op. cit. 1904, 17 ff.).

[14] Meyer, op. cit., 14.

[15] Ibid., Breasted, n. a, p. 27, see Meyer, op. cit. 16. Note by MJM. Breasted is making a mistake by coping Meyer’s suggestions of the ridiculous three-times as many years as there were days, Sirius can only rise at the same time in an equidistant relationship to the Sun at a particular local every processional cycle of 26,000 years approximately.

[16] Mackey, Damien F., Fall of the Sothic Theory: Egyptian chronology revisited ( Journal of Creation, 17(3):70-73, December 2003, accessed 7 February 2011), available from :internet.

[17] J.J. Scaliger uses the year zero between BC and AD so astronomical calendar and ephemerides from the late nineteenth century uses this system, so many astrological programs do not account for the displacement between BC and AD so manual conversions are necessary, and place a lot of information into a text when trying to communicate. This confuses the standard scholar that portends toward simplistic explanations – which helps confirm their varied ideologies.

[18] Year of 140 B.C.E. in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

[19] Neugenbauer, Otto Eduard,   A History of Ancients Mathematical Astronomy, Vol. 2. (Berlin: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 1975), p. 618.

[20] Neugenbauer, Otto Eduard,   A History of Ancients Mathematical Astronomy, Vol. 2. (Berlin: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 1975), n. 30, p. 611.

[21] see Catalogue Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, available from ; Internet.

[22] Ibid., Neugenbauer, A History of Ancients Mathematical Astronomy, p. 618.

[23] Jadczyk, Arkadiusz & Laura Knight- Jadczyk, ch. 29, Adventures with Cassiopaea ( accessed 29 January 2011), available from http://cassiopaea/ cassiopaea/adventures256.htm ; Internet. ref. the quoted text is from Neugenbauer’s study a A History of Ancients Mathematical Astronomy.


Copyright © 1999 - 2012 Michael Johnathan McDonald