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SKRIFTER UTGIVNA AVHUMANISTISKA VETENSKAPSSAMFUNDETI

LUND

ACTA SOCIETAT1S HUMANIORUM LITTERARUM LUNDENSIS

I.

MARTIN

P.

NILSSON

PRIMITIVE TIME-RECKONING

PRIMITIVE TIME-RECKONINGA STUDYTHE ORIGINS AND FIRST DEVELOPMENT OF THE ART OF COUNTING TIME AMONG THE PRIMITIVE AND EARLY CULTURE PEOPLESIN BY

MARTIN PNILSSONPROFESSOR OF CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

AND \NCJESXJiJSTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LUND SECRETARY TO THE SOCIETY LETTERS OF LUND MEMBER OF THE R. DANISH ACADEMY

LUND, C. W. LONDON, HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD, UNIVERSITY PRESS

K.

GLEEBUPPARIS,

EDOUARD CHAMPIONO.

LEIPZIG,

HARRASSOWITZ

1920

LUND

1920

BERLINGSKA BOKTRYCKERIET

PREFACE.in

the

present

study

I

devote only a few pages to

the Greek Althoughin

time-reckoning, andtields,

am engaged

for the

most part

very differentthe

yet the work has arisen from a desire to

prepare

way

for

a clearerIn

viewcourse

of the initial stages of the

of my investigations into Greek time-reckoning. Greek festivals I had from the beginning been brought up against chronological problems, and as I widened the circle so as to include the survivals of the ancient festivals in the Middle Ages, more

the

particularly in connexion with the origin of the Christmas festival,I

to

was again met by difficulties of chronology, In the earlier Germanic time-reckoning.in

this

time in regard

the

year

1911

I

published

Archiv

fiir

Religionswissenschaft an article on the

presumptive These preliminary.

origin of thestudiesof the

Greek calendar circulated from Delphi.ledto

my

taking over myself, in thearticle

projected

Lexicon

Greek and Roman Religions, theInit

on the calendaroutthein

in its sacral connexions.of

This article was worked

the

spring

1914.

the emphasis

was

laid not

on

chronological systems, which have little to do with religion, but on the question of origins, in which religion plays a decisive part. In order to arrive at an opinion it was not enoughhistoricalto

work over once more the extremely scanty material for the origin of the Greek time-reckoning; I had to form an idea from my hitherto somewhat occasional ethnological reading as to how a

jj

|j

time-reckoning arose under primitive conditions, and what was its nature. This idea obviously required broadening and correcting

by systematic research.tion of the

The war, which suspendedvery beginning, gave '

the continua-

Lexicon

at its

me

leisure to under-

VI

PREFACE.this

take

more extensive research.

some

limitations

rich libraries of

Certainly it has also imposed on the work, since I could not make use of the England and the Continent but had to be contentof

with what was offered by thoseI

am

not disposed to regret this limitation too deeply.

Sweden and Copenhagen. But The ma-

terial

many readers as being and monotonous and the numerous books of travels copious enough, and ethnological works which I have ransacked, often to no profit,seemto hold out little prospect that

here reproduced will probably strike

will

comeIn

to light.

In this

anything new and surprising conviction Webster's work has strength-

ened me.

two or three instances

I

have derived material

of

greatdetails

value from personal communications.of the

For very interestingI

time-reckoning of the Kiwai Papuansof

am

indebted to Dr.

G.sent

Landtman

meC.

Helsingfors, and Prof. G. Kazarow of Sofia has valuable information as to the Bulgarian names, of months.of

Dr.

W. von Sydowexhaustivelead

Lund has communicatedin

to

me

details

of the

popular time-reckoning

Sweden.ofall

Anwould

examinationto

the

material

obtainabledetails

doubtless

a

of primitive

time-reckoning.in

more exact conception of the Above all, large districts with more accurately

similardefined.

peculiarities

time-reckoning could be

The Arctic regions form adiffers

district of this nature.

South America

North America; Africa, the characteristically again East Indian Archipelago, and the South Sea Islands all have theirpeculiarities.

from

The borrowings which have undoubtedly taken placeat least in part pointed out.

on a very large scale would be

This

working upspecialist;

of the material is

however the task

of the ethnological

my

object

is

simply and

solely to attain the

above-men-

tioned goal of a general foundation.

The observationthe

of

chronologicalI

matters varies greatly in

ethnographical

literature;

have

without result, and in other casesIt

my

gone through many books gains have often been small.

is

only in quite recent times that attention has been paid withprofit to this side of primitive life.

anyjgreat

Among

the English

PREFACE.authors Frazer hasin

VII

drawn upalso

a

list

of ethnological questions (printed

the Journal

of the

pp.

431

ff.,

and

Royal Anthropological Institute, 18, 1889, separately), paying due attention to timeresult, as

reckoning,

which has had a lasting and happyin

can be

seenyears.

especially

manyof

papers

in

the

JRAI

of

succeeding

Of the workselaborate

my

predecessors only one has had any more

aims

-

the ninth chapter of Ginzel's handbook, which

deals with the time-reckoning of the primitive peoples, divided up

according to the different parts

of the

w orld.r

The

significance of

the time-reckoning of the primitive peoples for the history of chro-

nology seems to have been only gradually grasped by the author in the course of his work, since it is not until after he has touchedoccasionally

upon the question

of primitive

time-reckoning in the

course of his account of the chronological systems of the Orientalpeoples that he inserts the chapter in question between the latter andthe chapters on the chronology of antiquity.

Ginzel has in

many

re-

spects a sound view of the nature of primitive time-reckoning, and

makes manyis

pertinent remarks, but on the whole his treatment, asis

not seldom the case,

lacking in exactness and depth.material collectedoriginal

I

have

gratefully

made usepossible,

of the

by him, going back,Ofother previous

wherever

to

the

sources.

works mustthe

be

mentioned

the

essays of

Andree and Frazer on byits

Pleiades,

the latter especially distinguished

author's

usual extensive acquaintance with the sources and byof

its

abundance

material

-

-

and the dissertation

of

knowledge

of the primitive peoples of Australia

Kotz upon the astronomical and the South Seas,

an industrious work which however only touches superficially upon the problems here dealt with, and in regard to the lunisolar "We can here disreckoning adopts the view of Waitz-Gerland:

cover

nothing

accurate,(p.

sinceI

these

peoples

have

conceived offairly

nothing accurately"thatthisis

22).

think

however

that

we may

say

meanly the possibility of our knowHubert's paper, Etude sommaire de la representation du ledge. temps dans la religion et la magie, is composed throughout in theto

estimate

too

VIII

PREFACE.

spirit of the neo-scholastic school of

Durkheim.

The present work,

on the other hand, is based upon facts and their interpretation. The book was ready in the spring of 1917, but could not be published on account of the war. Later I have only inserteda

few improvements and additions.

Asinto

I

was putting

the finish-

ing touches to

my

work, there

came

my

hands, after a delayof

duester,

to the

circumstances

of the time, the

Rest Days

H.

Webmine,

whose Primitive SecretThis

Societies has gained

him fame and

honour.

workthe

deals

in detail with a subject akin to

but

not

from

calendarial

and

chronological standpoint here

adopted.

author

make

Only upon the origin of the lunisolar calendar does the a few general remarks (pp. 173 ff.), which howeversubject

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