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"May the day bring me health, the month joy, the year its abundance."(1)

The Mesopotamian Calendar, like the Jewish, Moslem and Chinese, is Lunar. Unlike the Moslem calendar, however, both the Babylonian and Jewish calendars use intercalated months periodically to keep the Lunar year in tune with the seasons. Therefore some years end up with 13 months. The easiest way to follow the Babylonian calendar nowadays is to buy a Jewish calendar and write in the significant dates.

The character or themes of the Rituals, Feasts and Festivals for each month is determined by six important considerations: 1) The phase of the Moon; waxing Moon = first half of the month, abundance and growth; waning Moon = second half of the month, decline, conservation and festivals of the Underworld; 2) the phase of the annual agricultural cycle; 3) equinoces and solstices of the solar year; 4) the mythos of the City and its divine Patrons; 5) the success of the reigning Monarch; 6) commemoration of specific historical events (founding, invasion, resisting invasion, refounding of the city and its temples, etc.) which may or may not be traceable.

The calendar presented here is a synthesis of information spanning from the most ancient to the most recent, about 4300 years. It therefore includes calendrical data, monthly festival dates, and offerings records from around 3000 b.c.e. (Archaic Uruk) to 1260 (when the city of Harran, the last stronghold of open worship of the Mesopotamian Gods, was destroyed). These rituals, feasts, and festivals were not celebrated everywhere all the time; some month names and festivals were remarkably widespread and persistent (such as the month Du'uzu/Tammuz, and the rites of mouring for the dying and resurrected God), while others appear only locally or for a short time.

The first chart below is a list of the month names from different centers over 4000 years. I hope it will give readers a sense of the differences and similarities of the year in various parts and times of Mesopotamia. It is arranged chronologically, following Cohen's Cultic Calendars.

The second is an excerpt from McEwan, Priest and Temple, which lists the rites and ceremonies, purification rites, and types of offerings in the temples of Babylon and Uruk of the Seleucid period, as well as giving the course of the temple day for the 10 of Tašritu, from the Temple of Anu in Uruk, and the balags and eršemmas to be sung on various special days of each month and specific months.

The third chart is a list of months and days, with the various rituals and festivals attributed to them, assembled from many sources. Some of the days are empty, since there are no attested festivals for these days; moreover, most scholars assume that the intercalary month 2nd Addaru followed the first Addaru's festival schedule, so there is no listing for this month. This calendar uses the month names of the Standard Babylonian Calendar, with the names of the equivalent Jewish months in brackets.

Key to sources: numbers represent the relevant calendars in Cohen, Cultic Calendars, following the order - (1) Early Semitic Calendar; (2) Eblaite Festivals; (3) New Eblaite Calendar; (4) Old Sumerian Lagas and Girsu Calendars 2350 - 2004 b.c.e.; (4a) Sargonic; (4b) Gudean; (4c) Ur III Period; (5) Nippur Calendar; (6) Pre-Sargonic Ur; (7) Ur III; (8) Umma Calendar 2340 -2193 b.c.e.; (9) Sargonic Adab, c. 2350 b.c.e.; (9a) Ur III Uruk; (10) Southern Mesopotamian Sumerian Calendar; (10a) Ur; (10b) Larsa; (10c) Babylon; (10d) Badtibira; (10e) Isin; (10f) Nippur; (11) Assyrian Calendar; (12) Amorite Calendars; (12a) Esnunna; (12b) Nerebtum; (12c) Saduppum; (12d) Tell Rimah, Chagar Bazar, Subat-Enlil; (13) Sippar; (14) Early Second Millenium Mari; (15) Standard Mesopotamian Calendar;

(Bm) = Langdon, Babylonian Menologies (Assur, Babylon and Pre-Sargonic Ur)

(PT) = McEwan, Priest and Temple in Hellenistic Babylonia,(Uruk and Babylon) pp. 159 - 182.

(KL) = Gunduz, The Knowledge of Life, (Harran) pp. 125 - 191.


(With the exception of the Old Assyrian calendar, only calendars whose order and starting point are known are given. The first three are uncertain in many places, and especially in the case of Lagas/Girsu are not to be unduly relied upon; capitals indicate the sign name where the reading is uncertain. Arabic numbers after Roman numbers (e.g. VI2) indicate an alternate name or a change of name during the period considered. Month XIII is the intercalary month, except the Ur III Lagas calendar, where it is XI2. Lagas and Girsu apparently operated three calendars simultaneously for unknown reasons - these are indicated in months I - IV and month XII by indentations: first indentation is second calendar, second is third. For proposed meanings of the names of the months, see the individual months of the third chart; the unnumbered Assyrian months are listed with the numbered months of the other calendars purely for convenience, not for comparison. Unless otherwise noted, all etymological suggestions derive from Cohen, Cultic Calendars.)


Early Semitic (Ebla and Mari)
2600 - 2200 b.c.e.
New Ebla 2600 - 2200 b.c.e.Lagas/Girsu
2350 b.c.e.
I. Za-'a-tumIsharaburu-mas
II. Gi-umKa-mi-isezem-luga-uru-bar-ra
III. Ha-li-iBAD-lisig-ba-ba-e-ta-gar-ra
IV. I-ri-sa As-da-PILudu-se-se-a-il-la-nin-gir-su
V. Ga-sumNI.DUezem-se-gu-nin-gir-su
VI. Him'at'A-da gu-ra-IZI-mu-mu
VII. Sa-lul/Za-lul
VIII. I-ba-saHu-lu-mu/Hur-muezem-li-si
IX. MA x GANAtenu-sagUD.DU (= E)ezem-munu-gu-nanse
IX2. MA x GANAtenu-sag2
X. MA x GANAtenu-ugurSUKU ezem-ab-e
XI. I-siA-dam-ma-umezem-ba-ba-e-ta-gar-ra
XII. Iz-qa se-kin-ku ezem-ba-ba
XIII. Iz-qa 2se-kin-ku 2
2350 - 2100 b.c.e.
Šulgi/Ur III
2112 - 2004 b.c.e.
3000 - 311 b.c.e.
I. ezem-buru-mas buru-masbara-zag-gar
II. gu-ra-IZI-mu-mugu-ra-IZI-mu-muezem-gu-si-su
III. ezem-li-si ezem-li-sisig-u-sub-ba-ga-gar
IV. su-numun su-numunsu-numun
V. ezem-munu-gu ezem-munu-gune-IZI-gar
VI. ur ezem-dumu-zikin-inanna
VII.ezem-ba-baur/ezem-šul-gidu -ku
VIII. mu-su-duezem-ba-baapin-du-a
IX. mes-en-DU-se-a-nu mu-su-du gan-gan-e/gan-gan-mu-e
X. ezem-amar-a-a-siamar-a-a-siku-su > ab-e
XI. se-kin-a se-kin-aud-duru
XI2. diri-se-kin-ku
(Lagas intercalary)

Assyrian Calendar
1800 b.c.e.
Two Amorite Calendars
2100 - 1700 b.c.e.
Sippar Calendar
1900 -1712 b.c.e.
(1) Esnuna(2)Subat-Enlil et. al.
a. Sip'im I. Niggallumse-kin-kuSibutum
b. Qarratim II. ElunumMagranumGusisi
c. Kanwarta III. MagratumDumu-ziQati-ersetim
d. Te'inatim IV. AbumAbumDUMU.ZI
e. Kuzalli V. ZibnumTirumIsin-abi
f. Allanatim VI. NiqmumNiqmumTirum
g. Belti-ekallim VII. KinunumKinunumElulum
h. Sa sarratim VIII.TamhirumTamhirumTamhirum
i. Narmak Assur sa kinatim IX. NabrumNabrum
j. Mahhurili X. MammitumMammitumMammitum
k. Ab sarrani XI. KiskissumManaIsin-Adad
l. Hubur XII. KinkumAjarumAjarum
OB Mari Calendar
c. 1800 b.c.e.
Standard Mesopotamian
c. 1800 to Present
Harranian Calendar
up to 1260 c.e.
I. Urahum NissanuIV. Nisan
II. Malkanum Ajaru V. 'Ayyar
III. Lahhum SimanuVI. Haziran
IV. Abum Du'uzu/Tam(m)uzuVII Tammuz
V. Hibirtum AbuVIII. 'Ab
VI. IGI.KUR Ululu/EluluIX. 'Aylul
VII. Kinunum TasrituX Tishrin al-'Awwal
VIII.Dagan ArahsamnaXI Tishrin al-Thani
IX. Liliatu Kis(si)limuXII Kanun al-'Awwal
X. Belet-biriTebetuI. Kanun al-Thani
XI. Kiskissum SabatuII. Shubat
XII. EburumAddaru III. 'Adhar

1. From the "Hymn to Adad" (#2) - - -