The ancient Greek calendar was complex and confusing. A comparison may be drawn between the Greek calendar and the cities of Greece.It bore a resemblance to religious norms. But each state had its separate version of the calendar. The Greek calendar followed a lunisolar system. The two characteristics of the Greek calendar are: it had twelve months.

Ancient Greek Calendar

It had twelve months

It had a periodic intercalation of the thirteenth.

The Athenian Calendar

Amongst the Greek calendars, the Athenian calendar is studied in details. The year began in summer. The month signifying the start of the year was named Hekatombion. The names of the rest eleven months were: Metageitnion, Boedromion, Pyanepsion, Miamakterion, Poseidon, Gamelion, Anthesterion, Elaphebolion, Munychion, Thargelion, and Skirophorion.

Ancient Greek Calendar

Other Greek cities considered the beginning of the year at different times. For example, Delos started their year in winter, Sparta and Macedonia considered the beginning of the year in fall.


This calendar was not flawless. The Athenians were not willing to consistently stick to a regular calendar. This was not due to their lack of astronomical knowledge. This was because they were experimental.

The Athenians were rather laid back in their approach towards their calendar. It seems like that they did not have any specified formula for determining the duration of the months. They followed the alternative method of 29 / 30 days for determining the length of the months. This calendar was called the festive calendar. The Athenians had an alternative calendar for political purposes. This was a very confusing system of recording time.

Ancient Greek Calendar

Historians, who have tried to comprehend this system, have not succeeded in doing so.

The Greek timeline is as follows:

776 BC: the first Olympic game held.

650 BC: Corinth was captured.

508 BC: democracy was started in Athens. It was a prelude to the modern concept of democracy

500BC: onset of the classical period.

490BC: Greece defeated Persia.

472BC: theatre was founded and became popular.

432BC: Parthenon was completed.

338 BC: Philip ii took charge of Greece.

138BC: Rome conquered Greece,

This was the Greek calendar in chronological order.