Macedonian Intercalary Months and the Era of Azes


  • Harry Falk
  • Chriss Bennet



The Azes era was identified with the Vikrama era when a date in a year “of King Azes the Great” was read for the first time on the Indravarman casket in 1978, making more likely what had been suspected before. Doubts about this identification have been brought forward occasionally. The present study starts from a new reading of the so-called Traṣaka reliquary. In addition to its month called “intercalary Gorpiaios” a year number could be read as 172. This particular month is only intercalary in the Arsacid model of the Macedonian calendar and here it occurs only once in every 19 year cycle. Starting from a Vikrama year 1, year 172 would not produce an intercalary Gorpiaios. Starting from those years which in fact produced one, the beginning of the era of Azes must be shifted earlier or later than the Vikrama starting point. A series of comparisons with the so-called Yavana era and the Arsacid era led to a new start of the Azes era in 48/7 (autumn-based year) or 47/6 BC (spring-based year). This sheds light also on the nature of the starting point of the Kaniṣka era.