Era Of The Seleucidie
ERA OF THE SELEUCIDIE, OR MACEDONIAN ERA. The era of the Seleucidm dates from the time of the occupation of Babylon by Seleucus Nicator, 311 years before Christ, in the year of Rome 442, and twelve years after the death of Alexander the Great. It was adopted not only in the monarchy of the Seleucidw but in general in all the Greek countries bordering on the Levant, was followed by the Jews till the 15th century, and is said to be used by some Arabians even at the present day. By the Jews it was called the Era of Contracts, because the Syrian governors compelled them to make use of it in civil contracts; the writers of the books of Maccabees call it the Era of Kinys. Bat notwithstanding its general prevalence in the East for many centuries, authors using it differ much with regard to their manner of expressing dates, in consequence of the different epochs adopted for the commencement of the year. Among the Syrian Greeks the year began with the mouth Elul, which corresponds to our September. The Nestorians and Jacobites at the present day suppose it to begin with the following month, or October. The author of the first book of Maccabees makes the era commence with the month Nisan, or April ; and the author of the second book with the first Tishrin, or October. Albategni, a celebrated Arabian astronomer, dates from the 1st of October. Some of the Arabian writers, as Alfergani, date from the 1st of September. At Tyre the year was counted from the 19th of our October, at Gaza from the 28th of the same month, and at Damascus from the vernal equinox. These discrepancies render it extremely difficult to determine the exact correspondence of Macedonian dates with those of other eras ; and the difficulty is rendered still greater by the want of uniformity in respect of the length of the year. Some authors who follow the Macedonian era, use the Egyptian or vague year of 365 days; Albategni adopts the Julian year of 365i days.
According to the computation most generally followed, the year 312 of the era of the Seleucid began on the 1st of September in the Julian year preceding the first of our era. Hence, to reduce a Macedonian date to the common era, subtract 311 years and four months.
The names of the Syrian and Macedonian months, and their correspondence with the Roman months, are as follows : -