Adams, Walter M.
The house of the hidden places: a clue to the creed of early Egypt from Egyptian sources — London, 1895

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186 Note on Kalendar of Ancient China. [Ch.

twenty-two or twenty-three centuries before the Chris-
tian era, and some fourteen or fifteen hundred years before
the earliest extant trace of the Chinese Kalendar, the
Emperor of China was seized with a fit of archa3ological
fervour, and instituted the first historical records of that
country of which any traces remain. One result of his
researches had an unfortunate effect upon certain of his
subjects. Filled as he felt himself to be with the ancient
wisdom, he summoned his astronomers and laid down to
them the broad and simple principle that every year
consists of three hundred and sixty-six days—a state-
ment which is, as we have seen, more strictly correct
than three hundred and sixty-five days if understood
properly and as the Egyptians understood it; but which,
without the secret either of the sidereal day or of the
Grand Cycle, inevitably leads to calculations which events
would refuse to verify. Accordingly it is not surprising
that the unlucky astronomers when next engaged in
predicting an eclipse went altogether wide of the mark.
But the Emperor rose to the occasion. He had been,
he said, " searching into antiquity," and had no douht
what was due to so gross an ignorance of their office.
Everything, he observed severely, " had been done which
ought to have been done. The tom-toms were beaten ;
the petty officers galloped ; the inhabitants ran about the
streets." And yet when the sun took no notice of
these proceedings, the astronomers sat like a log and
did nothing! It was disgraceful. However, the law
was clear on the matter. If the astronomers predicted
the eclipse too soon, off with their heads; if too late,
off with their heads. And as in this case it must have
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