Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique)

Whittet (
10 Jul 1995 15:15:27 GMT

In article <>, says...
>Sigh; I guess I'll try a round or two...
>In article <3toma1$>, (Whittet) wrote:
>+I am not sure why Mike feels calenders are not supposed
>+to be circular, but the rhythically repeated arrangement of the glyph sets
>+is well known.
>I mentioned the shape and layout of the disk so that those who did not
>know it would understand how unlikely your identification is _prima
>facie_. Circular representations of calendars are not uncommon (cf.
>the famous Aztec one); a spiral is a rather unlikely choice of layout,
>but might be admitted *if* you have a case for it...
>+There are twelve months on one side indicated by glyph sets ending in heads
>+preceeded by disks,
>I have on hand only one rather poor reproduction of the disk, in R. W.
>Hutchinson's Pelican Book, _Prehistoric Crete_; the disk diameter is
>about 4 cm. in the photo, one side is quite clear, the other a bit blurry.

I will send you some Gifs of the Disk so you can get a clearer picture.

>So, let's look at what we see. The glyphs you mention are those with
>numbers 2 and 12 in Hutchinson's table on page 68. By the way, the
>analysis in the Cambridge Ancient History makes the text run the
>other way, so that your glyphs would *begin* their groups -- don't
>you think that would be better :-)

No, actually I don't. You were apparently not in on the prior discussion so I will
repeat myself a bit. I was told about the Phaistoes Disk for the first time by
another architect while working in the CAD pit at TAC. That the artifact was considered
undeciphered raised our interest and we decided to do a computer analysis of the glyph
sets to see what their rhythmic pattern correlated to.

At present I have been working on this since 1989.

The most immediately obvious pattern was the glyph sets ending in heads preceeded by disks.
The distinctive hair of the heads portrayed in the Phaistoes Disk identifies them as Peleset,
a seapeople who were raiding the Egyptian coast from Crete before the Minoans emerged.

Their portraits on the walls of Medinet Habu make an interesting comparison to the disk.

The key to the identification of the glyph sets as being a calender is that the center
of the spiral begins with a shaved head and a mirror. This is identified with known rites
associated with the celebration of the New Year. It is distinctive not only because of its
central position but because of the abundant hair portrayed on the other heads.

If we start from the center and work out we proceed in the direction that all of the heads face.

>I see a number of quite serious difficulties in identifying these as
>months. Please give something other than ad hoc fantasizing to
>justify your casual statment above:
> o To get 12 such groups, you have to assume that a division line
> was NOT drawn (by mistake?) in one case -- otherwise, the
> third group from the outside circumference is not at the end
> of a group (or the beginning in my prefered order of reading)

I think you need to look at a better copy of the Disk. There are five glyph
sets ending in heads preceeded by shields on the outside circumference,
four glyph sets ending with heads preceeded by shields in the next coil,
two in the third and one in the fourth. The total is twelve.
> o The head/disk groups are *irregular* in sequence across the
> disk -- usually there are two (more or less :-)) groups between
> successive head/disk groups. In some cases, however, (the 6th
> 7th, and 9th and 10th from the outside), they are adjacent.

There are four groups working from the center out.

The first ends in a female figure.

The second group ends with a set begining with a glyph
which represents the pillars of a temple on either side of an altar stone
and probably symbolises a solstice. it also occurs as the first glyph
in the second glyph set of the first group. This group ends with a head
preceeded by a shield.

The third group ends with a glyph set containing the second female figure
just before a head preceeded by a shield.

The fourth group ends with a head preceeded by a shield.

If these four groups represent four seasons we have two ending in a female
figure who might represent the myth of Persephone and two ending in a glyph
representing a solstice. The four glyphs occur no where else on the disk.

> This is *horribly* unpromising material for a calendar, and
> needs *very* compelling reason to associate the glyphys as
> months. If you are assuming pictographic reasons, don't --
> both signs appear (not in conjunction) in other groups on the
> disk. If you assume (as e.g. the CAH does) that the 45 signs
> are a syllabary, you have an IMPOSSIBLE task in making any
> kind of semantic association on the basis of the 61 groups
> (presumably words) of the disk.

Most people who study the disk quickly note the rhymic repetitions,
some have even thought it might represent a song.

Normal lanquage is not that rhythmic.

A simpler explanation lies with simple patterns which represent
months, days, weeks, seasons and their associated activities,
much as does the medieval book of hours.

A second clue is to note that special glyphs occur only at certain points
on the disk and are not randomly distributed. This indicates that they
are not used as words, but as markers of position.

>But let us, for the moment, presume that you *have* some reason
>for taking these twelve irregularly spaced signs to be months in
>a calendar:
>+and one month on the other indicated by a glyph set
>+ending in a head preceeded by a disk.
>Bizarre. A calendar of 13 regular months with one invisible on the
>back. If I were to entertain ANY calendric notion here, I'd have to
>give preference to the 13th month being the "abnormal" intercalary
>of a standard lunar/solar calendar -- such as the ones we know of
>from the era :-), except for the then-strictly-lunar Middle Assyrian
>one, and the Egyptian dissociation of solar from lunar calendars.)

The thirteenth month allows both the lunar/solar intercalcary and the
division of a single month into days and weeks. It is not an unsophisticated
arrangement by any means.
>The side with a single head preceeded
>+by a disk divides a month into days and weeks, and the other side divides a
>+year into months.
>That side has 30 groups. 29 excluding the one you want to read as the
>13th month. There is no regular division in these groups, and you are
>indulging in totally unsubstantiated fantasy about 4 weeks of 7 days
>in a month on the basis of these glyphs. (Incidentally, this is the
>side that is clear in the Hutchinson plate :-))

Divide side two into four groups. Again, start at the center.
if you want to, make four columns.

Take the first group as the first seven sets, note that all but two of these
glyph sets contain a rounded triangle. Put them in the first column.

and the second group as the second seven sets, note that four of the
seven glyph sets contain the head of an animal with pointed ears.
put them in the second column.

these two groups have two sets of glyphs which are identical except for one glyph.

align the sets of glyphs so that the sets which are identical line up laterally.

The third group has nine glyph sets. The first contains the female figure
and the last has a unique glyph consisting of two lines at a ninety degree
angle above a triangle. Place its glyph sets in the third column so that the
glyph sets which end in glyphs matching the sets which matched in the first two
columns align laterally.

Place the remaining group of seven glyph sets in the fourth column so that the two
sets which have glyphs matching the first three matched pairs align laterally.

of your four groups each will have one glyph set ending in a head and the fourth
group will end with a head preceeded by a shield.

note that you will have one line of glyph sets running laterally across each
of which contains a boat, and a second line of glyph sets running laterally across
each of which contains an inverted triangle above a caret, looking like an
upside down letter u tied in the middle.

Assume these are four weeks of seven days, what is the significance of the two
extra glyphs in the third group? Well if you have twelve months of 28 days,
to add up to a year you need one month which adds in an extra day and an extra
24/100 day besides that.

If you set it up properly you will get the following allignment out of your table.

In the first row third column the glyph set with the female figure.
in the second row two glyph sets with men walking
in the third row three glyph sets with the "greater than" symbol

in the fourth row in the third and fourth columns you will have
symbols alligned which look like astronomical observatories.

the fifth row has four glyph sets containing boats
the sixth row has three glyph sets with heads
the seventh row has three glyph sets with rounded triangles

the eighth row has four glyph sets with the tied inverted u
ended by the head preceeded by a disk in the fourth set.

the ninth row has three glyph sets with rounded triangles
the tenth row has one glyph set with an animal head
the eleventh row has two glyph sets with rounded triangles
the twelfth row ends in a head

>+Woven through the glyph sets are icons to indicate the passing of seasons
>+and the appropriate activities in good "book of hours" fashion.
>Oh, good grief. You are projecting faces in clouds. If the signs on the
>glyphs are pictographs, as would be *necessary* for such an interpre-
>tation, then you CANNOT conclude anything about months from the
>head/disk signs, as then there are more instances of the signs you
>are using to mark months than you have room for in your calendar :-)

There are four columns of twelve rows containing seven glyph sets per column
(plus two extras in the third column)
in which the dominent glyphs can be arranged to match vertically and laterally.

>Special pleading that the head/disk arrangement is conventional and
>the OTHER signs pictographic is contemptible. From a corpus of 241
>signs, with no relation to any other script or culture, any such "con-
>clusions" are idiotic.

What I am claiming is that all of the glyphs are positional, and in some
ways obviously iconographic as well.
>On the other hand, if you have any REAL citations for a 52-week calendar
>from ANY early West Semitic source, I would be interested -- though
>knowing you I won't hold my breath for anything of substance.

Just for fun Mike, count the feathers in Kepheras wings in Tutankamens
pectoral. [A coincidence you say], note the eye of Horus symbolising
the Horus eye fractions that sits just above it. Above that we have
the gods of the three seasons of the year in a solar disk (in the form of
a carved gem)mounted in a gold crescent. All of the above is flanked by
four urai supporting disks. Kephera sits on a row of 13 stones, from which
dangle seven pendants. Kepherahs tail is divided into twenty four feathers.
13 months of 4 weeks of seven days of twenty four hours as equal to
one year of 52 weeks. Plus of course and extra day (created by Kephera
rolling his ball of dung {Ra} and a fraction (Horus eye fraction)
>Michael L. Siemon