November in the calendar of Antiochus of Athens

Μὴν Νοέμβριος. November
αʹ. ὁ κατὰ τὸ γόνυ τοῦ Τοξότου κρύπτεται. 1.  The portion below the knee of the Archer is absent from the sky.
γʹ. ὁ λαμπρὸς τῶν Ὑάδων ἑσπέριος ἀνατέλλει. 3.  The radiance of the Hyades arises in the west.
εʹ. Ὑάδες δύνουσιν · ἐν ἡμέραις ἑπτὰ ἐπισημασία. 5.  The Hyades are setting : in seven days, weather change.
ϛʹ. Ὡρίων ἄρχεται δύνειν ἅμα Ὑάσι καὶ Πλειάσιν · ἐπι ἡμέρας ιεʹ ἐπισημασία. 6.  Orion begins to set, at the same time as the Hyades and Pleiades [1] : in 15 days, weather change.
ηʹ. Κάνωβος ἑῷος δύνει. 8.  Canopus sets in the east.
ιαʹ. Πλειάδων δύσις τελεία. 11.  Complete setting of the Pleiades.
ιβʹ. Ὑάδες ἀνατέλλουσιν · ἐπισημασία. 12.  The Hyades arise : weather change.
ιζʹ. ὁ λαμπρὸς τοῦ Περσέως ἑῳος δύνει. 17.  The radiance of Perseus sets in the east.
κγʹ. ὁ μέσος τῆς ζώνης τοῦ Περσέως ἑῷος δύνει. 23.  The middle of the belt of Perseus sets in the east.
κεʹ. Κύων δύνει ἅμα ἡλίῳ · ἐπισημασία. 25.  Sirius sets at the same time as the sun :  weather change.
λʹ. ὁ ἐν τῷ ἑπομένῳ ὤμῳ τοῦ Ὠρίωνος ἑσπέριος ἀνατέλλει. 30.  The following shoulder of Orion arises in the west.

1. I have been unable to understand the construction ”Ὑάσι καὶ Πλειάσιν”.  The Hyades and Pleiades seem to be meant, but surely these words are verbs?  Is there some contraction here?

One problem I have faced throughout is ἀνατέλλει, which makes “it rise”. It appears in Matthew 5:45, τὸν ἥλιον αὐτοῦ ἀνατέλλει ἐπὶ πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς (His sun He does cause to rise on evil and good). But Antiochus equally uses ἐπιτέλλει, seemingly in much the same sense. So … why use both?

Possibly the answer is found here, in material from Hippocrates, Airs Waters Places, at Perseus, where a calendar from Aetios is given:

Spring began with the equinox, but was often popularly dated from the appearance of swallows and the acronychal rising of Arcturus in February. The heliacal rising of the Pleiades marked the beginning of summer, which ended with that of Arcturus, an event nearly coinciding with the autumnal equinox. Finally, winter began with the cosmic setting of the Pleiades.

A star is said to rise heliacally when it gets far enough in front of the sun to be visible before dawn. It sets cosmically when it gets so much further in advance as to be first seen setting in the west before dawn. The acronychal is the evening rising of a star, when it is visible all night, and contrasts with the heliacal, or morning, rising, when it soon disappears in the sun’s rays.

Ouch.  Here we’re getting into some astronomical jargon.  But in that calendar ἐπιτέλλει is used at least once for “heliacal rising.”  Interestingly it appears on the Antikythera mechanism.

2 Responses to “November in the calendar of Antiochus of Athens”


  1. Alexander Jones

    (1) Ὑάσι καὶ Πλειάσιν are dative plurals.
    (2) ἀνατέλλει and ἐπιτέλλει are used without apparent distinction in the Greek parapegma literature to mean “rises”, i.e. “becomes visible near the horizon” (either just before sunrise, “heliacal rising,” or just after sunset, “acronychal rising”). Texts seem to switch between the two verbs for no obvious reason. Plenty of such material can be found in Daryn Lehoux’s recent book on Parapegmata.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much for #1 — that of course makes excellent sense. I am so used to “Pleiades” as an object, that I forgot that it was plural!

    Your note on ἀνατέλλει and ἐπιτέλλει is most interesting — thank you. I was not familiar with the term “parapegma”, or the genre, but of course this is exactly what the calendar of Antiochus is. I will see what I can find out about these.

    Lehoux’s book is perhaps “Astronomy, weather, and calendars in the ancient world: parapegmata and related texts in classical and Near Eastern societies”, CUP, 2007?