, in the full extent of the word, is a system or cycle of several months, usually 12. Others define Year, in the general, a period or space of time, measured out by the revolution of some celestial body in its orbit. Thus, the time in which the sixed stars make a revolution, is called the great Year; and the times in which Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun, Moon, &c, complete their courses, and return to the same point of the zodiac, are respectively called the Years of Jupiter, and Saturn, and the Solar, and Lunar Years, &c.

As Year denoted originally a revolution, and was not limited to that of the sun; accordingly we find by the oldest accounts, that people have, at different times, expressed other revolutions by it, particularly that of the moon: and consequently that the Years of some accounts, are to be reckoned only months, and sometimes periods of 2, or 3, or 4 months. This will help us greatly in understanding the accounts that certain nations give of their own antiquity, and per- | haps of the age of men. We read expressly, in several of the old Greek writers, that the Egyptian Year, at one period, was only a month; and we are farther told that at other periods it was 3 months, or 4 months: and it is probable that the children of Israel followed the Egyptian account of their Years. The Egyptians talked, almost 2000 years ago, of having accounts of events 48 thousand Years distance. A great deal must be allowed to fallacy, on the above account; but beside this, the Egyptians had, in the time of the Greeks, the same ambition which the Chinese have at present, and wanted to pass themselves upon that people, as these others do upon us, for the oldest inhabitants of the earth. They had recourse also to the same means, and both the present and the early impostors have pretended to ancient observations of the heavenly bodies, and recounted eclipses in particular, to vouch for the truth of their accounts. Since the time in which the solar Year, or period of the earth's revolution round the sun, has been received, we may account with certainty; but for those remote ages, in which we do not know of a certainty what is meant by the term Year, it is impossible to form any conjecture of the duration of time in the accounts. The Babylonians pretend to an antiquity of the same romantic kind; they talk of 47 thousand Years in which they had kept observations; but we may judge of these as of the others, and of the observations as of the Years. The Egyptians speak of the stars having four times altered their courses in that period which they claim for their history, and that the sun set twice in the east. They were not such perfect astronomers, but, after a round-about voyage, they might perhaps mistake the east for the west when they came in again.


, or Solar Year, properly, and by way of eminence so called, is the space of time in which the sun moves through the 12 signs of the ecliptic. This, by the observations of the best modern astronomers, contains 365 days, 5 hours, 48 min. 48 seconds: the quantity assumed by the authors of the Gregorian calendar is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 min. But in the civil or popular account, this Year only contains 365 days; except every 4th Year, which contains 366.

The vicissitude of seasons seems to have given occasion to the first institution of the Year. Man, naturally curious to know the cause of that diversity, soon found it was the proximity and distance of the sun; and therefore gave the name Year to the space of time in which that luminary performed his whole course, by returning to the same point of his orbit. According to the accuracy in their observations, the Year of some nations was more perfect than that of others, but none of them quite exact, nor whose parts did not shift with regard to the parts of the sun's course.

According to Herodotus, it was the Egyptians who first formed the Year, making it to contain 360 days, which they subdivided into 12 months, of 30 days each. Mercury Trismegistus added 5 days more to the account. And on this footing it is said that Thales instituted the Year among the Greeks; though that form of the Year did not hold throughout all Greece. Also, the Jewish, Syrian, Roman, Persian, Ethiopic, Arabic, &c Years, were all different. In fact, considering the imperfect state of astronomy in those ages, it is no wonder that different people should disagree in the calculation of the sun's course. We are even assured by Diod. Siculus, lib. 1. Plutarch, in Numa, and Pliny, lib. 7, cap. 48, that the Egyptian Year itself was at first very different from that now represented.

The solar Year is either astronomical or civil.

The Astronomical Solar Year, is that which is determined precisely by astronomical observations; and is of two kinds, tropical, and sidereal or astral.

Tropical, or Natural Year, is the time the sun takes in passing through the zodiac; which, as before observed, is 365d. 5h. 48m. 48sec.; or 365d. 5h. 49min. This is the only proper or natural Year, because it always keeps the same seasons to the same months.

Sidereal or Astral Year, is the space of time the sun takes in passing from any fixed star, till his return to it again. This consists of 365d. 6h. 9m. 17 sec.; being 20m. 29 sec. longer than the true solar year.

Lunar Year, is the space of 12 lunar months. Hence, from the two kinds of synodical lunar months, there arise two kinds of lunar Years; the one astronomical, the other civil.

Lunar Astronomical Year, consists of 12 lunar synodical months; and therefore contains 354d. 8h. 48m. 38sec. and is therefore 10d. 21h. om. 10 s. shorter than the solar Year. A difference which is the foundation of the Epact.

Lunar Civil Year, is either common or embolismic.

The Common Lunar Year consists of 12 lunar civil months; and therefore contains 354 days. And

The Embolismic or Intercalary Lunar Year, consists of 13 lunar civil months, and therefore contains 384 days.

Thus far we have considered Years and months, with regard to astronomical principles, upon which the division is founded. By this, the various forms of civil Years that have formerly obtained, or that do still obtain, in divers nations, are to be examined.

Civil Year, is that form of Year which every nation has contrived or adopted, for computing their time by. Or the civil is the tropical Year, considered as only consisting of a certain number of whole days: the odd hours and minutes being set aside, to render the computation of time, in the common occasions of life, more easy. As the tropical Year is 365d. 5h. 49m. or almost 365d. 6h. which is 365 days and a quarter; therefore if the civil Year be made 365 days, every 4th year it must be 366 days, to keep nearly to the course of the sun. And hence the civil Year is either common or bissextile. The

Common Civil Year, is that consisting of 365 days; having seven months of 31 days each, four of 30 days, and one of 28 days; as indicated by the following well known memorial verses:

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; February twenty-eight alone, And all the rest have thirty one.

Bissextile or Leap Year, consists of 366 days; having one day extraordinary; called the intercalary, or bissextile day; and takes place every 4th Year. This additional day to every 4th Year, was first introduced | by Julius Cæsar; who, to make the civil Years keep pace with the tropical ones, contrived that the 6 hours which the latter exceeded the former, should make one day in 4 years, and be added between the 24th and 23d of February, which was their 6th of the calends of March; and as they then counted this day twice over, or had bis sexto calendas, hence the Year itself came to be called bis sixtus, and bissextile.

However, among us, the intercalary day is not introduced by counting the 23d of February twice over, but by adding a day at the end of that month, which therefore in that Year contains 29 days.

A farther reformation was made in this year by Pope Gregory. See Gregorian Year, Calendar, BISSEXTILE, and Leap-Year.

The Civil or Legal Year, in England, formerly commenced on the day of the Annunciation, or 25th of March; though the historical Year began on the day of the Circumcision, or 1st of January; on which day the German and Italian Year also begins. The part of the Year between these two terms was usually expressed both ways: as 1745.6, or 174 5/6. But by the act for altering the stile, the civil Year now commences with the 1st of January.

Ancient Roman Year. This was the lunar Year, which, as first settled by Romulus, contained only ten months, of unequal numbers of days in the following order: viz,

March 31; April 30; May 31; June 30; Quintilis 31; Sextilis 30; September 30; October 31; November 30; December 30; in all 304 days; which came short of the true lunar Year by 50 days; and of the solar by 61 days. Hence, the beginning of Romulus's Year was vague, and unfixed to any precise season; to remove which inconvenience, that prince ordered so many days to be added yearly as would make the state of the heavens correspond to the first month, without calling them by the name of any month.

Numa Pompilius corrected this irregular constitution of the Year, composing two new months, January and February, of the days that were used to be added to the former Year. Thus Numa's year consisted of 12 months, of different days, as follow; viz,

in all 355 days; therefore exceeding the quantity of a lunar civil Year by one day; that of a lunar astronomical Year by 15h 11m 22s; but falling short of the common solar Year by 10 days; so that its beginning was still vague and unfixed.

Numa, however, desiring to have it begin at the winter solstice, ordered 22 days to be intercalated in February every 2d Year, 23 every 4th, 22 every 6th, and 23 every 8th Year.

But this rule failing to keep matters even, recourse was had to a new way of intercalating; and instead of 23 days every 8th Year, only 15 were to be added. The care of the whole was committed to the pontifex maximus; who however, neglecting the trust, let things run to great confusion. And thus the Roman Year stood till Julius Cæsar reformed it. See Calen- DAR. And for the manner of reckoning the days of the Roman months, see Calends, Nones, and Ides.

Julian Year. This is in effect a solar Year, commonly containing 365 days; though every 4th Year, called Bissextile, it contains 366. The months of the Julian Year, with the number of their days, stood thus:

But every Bissextile Year had a day added in February, making it then to contain 29 days.

The mean quantity therefore of the Julian Year is 365 1/4 days, or 365d 6h; exceeding the true solar Year by somewhat more than 11 minutes; an excess which amounts to a whole day in almost 131 years. Hence the times of the equinoxes go backward, and fall earlier by one day in about 130 or 131 Years. And thus the Roman Year stood, till it was farther corrected by pope Gregory.

For settling this Year, Julius Cæsar brought over from Egypt, Sosigenes, a celebrated mathematician; who, to supply the defect of 67 days, which had been lost through the neglect of the priests, and to bring the beginning of the Year to the winter solstice, made one Year to consist of 15 months, or 445 days; on which account that Year was used to be called annus confusionis, the Year of confusion. See Julian Calendar.

Gregorian Year. This is the Julian Year corrected by this rule, viz, that instead of every secular or 100th Year being a bissextile, as it would be in the former way, in the new way three of them are common Years, and only the 4th is bissextile.

The error of 11 minutes in the Julian Year, by continual repetition, had accumulated to an error of 13 days from the time when Cæsar made his correction; by which means the equinoxes were greatly disturbed. In the Year 1582, the equinoxes were fallen back 10 days, and the full moons 4 days, more backward than they were in the time of the Nicene council, which was in the Year 325; viz, the former from the 20th of March to the 10th, and the latter from the 5th to the 1st of April. To remedy this increasing irregularity, pope Gregory the 13th, in the year 1582, called together the chief astronomers of his time, and concerted this correction, throwing out the 10 days above mentioned. He exchanged the lunar cycle for that of the epacts, and made the 4th of October of that Year to be the 15th; by that means restoring the vernal equinox to the 21st of March. It was also provided, by the omission of 3 intercalary days in 400 Years, to make the civil Year keep pace nearly with the solar Year, for the time to come. See Calendar.

In the Year 1700, the error of 10 days was grown to 11; upon which, the protestant states of Germany, to prevent farther confusion, adopted the Gregorian correction. And the same was accepted also in England in the year 1752, when 11 days were thrown out after the 2d of September that Year, by accounting the 3d to be the 14th day of the month: calling this the new stile, and the former the old stile. And the Gregorian, or | new stile, is now in like manner used in most countries of Europe.

Yet this last correction is still not quite perfect; for as it has been shewn that in 4 centuries, the Julian Year gains 3d 2h 40m; and as it is only the 3 days that are kept out in the Gregorian Year; there is still an excess of 2h 40m in 4 centuries, which amounts to a whole day in 36 centuries, or in 3600 Years. See CALENDAR, New or Gregorian Stile, &c.

Egyptian Year, called also the Year of Nabonassar, on account of the epoch of Nabonassar, is the solar Year of 365 days, divided into 12 months, of 30 days each, beside 5 intercalary days, added at the end. The order and names of these months are as follow:


As the Egyptian Year, by neglecting the 6 hours, in every 4 Years loses a whole day of the Julian Year, its beginning runs through every part of the Julian Year in the space of 1460 Years; after which, they meet again; for which reason it is called the erratic Year. And because this return to the same day of the Julian Year, is performed in the space of 1460 Julian Years, this circle is called the Sothic period.

This Year was applied by the Egyptians to civil uses, till Anthony and Cleopatra were defeated; but the mathematicians and astronomers used it till the time of Ptolomy, who made use of it in his Almagest; so that the knowledge of it is of great use in asstronomy, for comparing the ancient observations with the modern.

The ancient Egyptians, we are told by Diodorus Siculus, (Plutarch, lib. 1, in the life of Numa, and Pliny, lib. 7, cap. 48) measured their Years by the course of the moon. At first they were only one month, then 3, then 4, like that of the Arcadians; and then 6, like that of the people of Acarnania. Those authors add, that it is on this account that they reckon such a vast number of Years from the beginning of the world; and that in the history of their kings, we meet with some who lived 1000, or 1200 Years. The same thing is maintained by Kircher; Oedip. Egypt. tom. 2, pa. 252. And a late author observes, that Varro has affirmed the same of all nations, that has been quoted of the Egyptians. By which means many account for the great ages of the more ancient patriarchs; expounding the gradual decrease in their ages, by the successive increase of the number of months in their years.

Upon the Egyptians being subdued by the Romans, they received the Julian Year, though with some alteration; for they still retained their ancient months, with the five additional days, and every 4th Year they intercalated another day, for the 6 hours, at the end of the Year, or between the 28th and 29th of August. Also, the beginning of their Year, or the first day of the month Thoth, answered to the 29th of August of the Julian Year, or to the 30th if it happened to be leap Year.

The Ancient Greek Year.—This was a lunar Year, consisting of 12 months, which at first had each 30 days, then alternately 29 and 30 days, computed from the first appearance of the new moon; with the addition of an embolismic month of 30 days, every 3d, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 16th, and 19th Year of a cycle of 19 Years; in order to keep the new and full moons to the same terms or seasons of the Year.

Their Year commenced with that new moon which was nearest to the summer solstice. And the order of the months, with the number of their days, were as follow: 1. *ekatom<*>aiwn, of 29 days; 2. *mhtageitniwn 30; 3. *bohdromiwn 29; 4. *maimakth<*>iwn 30; 5. *puaneyiwn 29; 6. *poseidewn 30; 7. *gamhliwn 29; 8. *anqesh<*>iwn 30; 9. *ela<*>h<*>oliwn 29; 10. *m<*>nuxiwn 30; 11. *oarghliwn 29; 12. *suiro<*>oriwn 30.— But many of the Greek nations had other names for their months.

The Ancient Jewish Year.—This is a lunar Year, usually consisting of 11 months, containing alternately 30 and 29 days. And it was made to agree with the solar Year, by adding 11, and sometimes 12 days, at the end of the Year, or by an embolismic month. The order and quantities of the months were as follow: 1. Nisan or Abib 30 days; 2. Jiar or Zius 29; 3. Siban or Sievan 30; 4. Thamuz or Tamuz 29; 5. Ab 30; 6. Elul 29; 7. Tisri or Ethanim 30; 8. Marchesvam or Bul 29; 9. Cisleu 30; 10. Tebeth 29; 11. Sabat or Schebeth 30; 12. Adar 30 in the embolismic year, but 29 in the common year. —Note, in the defective Year, Cisleu was only 29 days; and in the redundant Year, Marchesvam was 30.

The Modern Jewish Year is likewise lunar, consisting of 12 months in common Years, but of 13 in embolismic Years; which, in a cycle of 19 Years, are the 3d, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th. Its beginning is fixed to the new moon next after the autumnal equinox. The names and order of the months, with the number of the days, are as follow: 1. Tisri 30 days; 2. Marchesvan 29; 3. Cisleu 30; 4. Tebeth 29; 5. Schebeth 30; 6. Adar 29; 7. Veadar, in the embolismic year, 30; 8. Nisan 30; 9. Ilar 29; 10. Sivan 30; 11. Thamuz 29; 12. Ab 30; 13. Elul 29.

The Syrian Year, is a solar one, having its beginning fixed to the beginning of October in the Julian Year; from which it only differs in the names of the months, the quantities being the same; as follow: 1. Tishrin, answering to our October, and containing 31 days; 2. Latter Tishrin, containing, like November, 30 days; 3. Canun 31; 4. Latter Canun 31; 5. Shabat 28, or 29 in a leap-year; 6. Adar 31; 7. Nisan 30; 8. Aiyar 31; 9. Haziram 30; 10. Thamuz 31; 11. Ab 31; 12. Elul 30.

The Persian Year, is a solar one, of 365 days, consisting of 12 months of 30 days each, with 5 intercalary days added at the end. The months are as follow: 1. Asrudia meh; 2. Ardihascht meh; 3. Cardi meh; 4. Thir meh; 5. Merded meh; 6. Schabarir meh; 7. Mehar meh; 8. Aben meh; 9. Adar meh; 10. Di meh; 11. Behen meh; 12, Assirer meh. This Year is the same as the Egyptian Nabonassarean, and is called the yezdegerdic Year, to distinguish it from the fixed solar Year, called the Gelalean Year, which the Persians began to use in the Year 1079, and which was | formed by an intercalation, made six or seven times in four Years, and then once every 5th Year.

The Arabic, Mahometan, and Turkish Year, called also the Year of the Hegira, is a lunar Year, equal to 354d 8h 48m, and consists of 12 months, containing alternately 30 and 29 days. Though sometimes it contains 13 months; the names &c being as follow: 1. Muharram of 30 days; 2. Saphar 29; 3. Rabia 30; 4. Latter Rabia 29; 5. Jomada 30; 6. Latter Jomada 29; 7. Rajab 30; 8. Shaaban 29; 9. Ramadan 30; 10. Shawal 29; 11. Dulkaadah 30; 12. Dulheggia 29, but in the embolismic year 30. An intercalary day is added every 2d, 5th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 26th, 29th, in a cycle of 29 Years. The months commence with the first appearance of the new moons after the conjunctions.

Ethiopic Year, is a solar Year perfectly agreeing with the Actiac, except in the names of the months, which are; 1. Mascaram; 2. Tykympt; 3. Hydar; 4. Tyshas; 5. Tyr; 6. Jacatil; 7. Magabit; 8. Mijazia; 9. Ginbat; 10. Syne; 11. Hamel; 12. Hahase. Intercalary days 5. It commences with the Egyptian Year, on the 29th of August of the Julian Year.

YESDEGERDIC Year. See Persian Year.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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