s were used all over Greece. The historian Timaeus
(c. 346 - c. 250 BCE) devised the system of numbering from the first Olympiad
, 776 BCE, but this was never generally used. Years were identified by the magistrate
s who held office in them. The months were lunar
, and of alternately 30 and 29 days, so that periodically another month was inserted. The cycle
on which this depends was invented by the astronomer Meton
From this it can be seen that we can't give precise correspondences to modern days, but typically the year began in about July. The months were named mainly after festivals that took place in them. In Athens they were:
- Hecatombeion (July-ish), when the hecatombs were offered.
- Metageitnion, in which people flitted and changed neighbours
called Karneios by the Spartans
- Boedromion, in memory of the conquest of the Amazons by Theseus
- Pyanepsion (October-ish), from a dish of beans eaten at a festival
- Maimacterion, from Zeus Maimactes 'the boisterous'
This was the repeated month in leap years
- Gamelion (January-ish), the time of weddings
- Anthesterion, from the festival of flowers
- Elaphebolion, 'deer-hunting'
Known as Artemision elsewhere
- Munychion (April-ish), from the festival of the Munychian Artemis
- Thargelion, a festival of Apollo and Artemis
- Scirophorion, 'parasol-bearers', a festival of Athena