For a long time (from 1646 b.S. until the year 70 a.S.) the Cournanian Calendar had been in use in great parts of Southern Sarvonia. Though nowadays completely officially replaced by the more accurate Santharian Calendar the Cournanian one is still known at places, which were former Sarvonian colonies like Denilou, Dorania and R'unor. Remnants of these old calendar definitions also shine through in some rural areas of Santharia, where names of months, days and day-times as well as quite a lot of weather rules from the calendar are still referred to by the local populace - at least in the oral tradition. Concentrating in full on the movements of the stars, it was the primary intention of the astronomer, philosopher and alchemist Tandelrah Cournan (1701-1636 b.S.) and his followers to strip the legendary Year of Darkness legend from its mythical and religious implications and to find proof that the permanent movement of the star constellations necessarily must have led to the anomaly as happened in 1648 b.S. Cournan neither achieved this ambitious goal, nor did he himself get much credit for his scholarly efforts, but was cruelly murdered being called a heretic. What eventually remained was the heritage he left - the Cournanian Calendar.

The Timecandle
View picture in full size Image description. Two timecandles with hour scales as they were already in use during the time of Cournan. Picture by Bard Judith.

Description. The Cournanian Calendar was the first official and - after various initial problems - successful attempt of consistent time measuring in Southern Sarvonia. However, it took more than a decade after Cournan's death until it was introduced as a norm and finally spread over multiple kingdoms. The calendar offers for the first time precise definitions of the lengths of years, months and weeks and names them. These definitions are related to cosmological "evidence" gained through detailed observations of the skies before and after the Year of Darkness. This major cosmical event definitely led to an extraordinary interest in everything related to the stars, the sun, the moon and other similar phenomena, driven by the scholarly intention to be prepared should similar catastrophes occur and they could for some reason be foreseen. The fact that such catastrophes could be foreseeable at least was a disputed theory of several groups of astronomers, who denied any direct involvement of a God, but tried to re-interpret the disappearing of the sun as part of a cosmical order.

In this context t
he first calendar of major importance for Caelereth was developed. It was elaborated by the Marcoggian astronomer and multi-talent Tandelrah Cournan and his sympathizers and is mainly based on the interpretations of the returning movements of the most brightest stars. It was the conviction of the Cournanians that the mysterious Year of Darkness could be derived through observation of the brightest moving stars only, implicating that the divine intervention at the so-called Dragonstorm could be explained without any mythical connotations. Although his theoretical work is said to have consisted of 56 detailed volumes Cournan couldn't really confirm his daring thesis. His books were burned and Cournan himself was stoned by the mob for his heretic commitments. Most of his sympathizers were sacrificed cruelly to the Gods as well. Indeed a very unfortunate destiny for a (to a great degree) exemplary scholar one might add. Dharim Narja, head of today's Ciosan Astrendum describes the outlines of Cournan's revolutionary but also unsettling concept as follows. He also tries to explain why these ideas still remained important for the scholars of his time, even though they had cost him his life.

A Scholar's Death in the Sign of the Phoenix. Most irritating in Cournan's theories was that he contradicted the common belief of a God (Foiros) being responsible for the Year of Darkness. People believed it was a godly interference, a sudden act of will to punish the Erpheronian arrogance as they kill an eternal dragon and with it the whole mankind. This belief was deeply anchored in the people, and it was especially common among the southerners, who were not Erpheronians and therefore felt betrayed. - Cournan however seemed to tell them: I don't care for the Gods - the universe works by itself and everything in it can be deduced by the means of reason, there is no "free will of the Gods" and no divine punishment. Cournan imagined the universe as some kind of big machine which has a cause and a direction of its own and that everything in it re-appears (be it the small things or the bigger ones). That's why he thought he might be able to find regularities in weather, seasons etc. and make predictions as everything great and small would be connected somehow. This he was convinced, was also true in regard of the Year of Darkness - he would be the one to make it explainable once and for all. Cournan made various attempts to explain the Year of Darkness, e.g. suggesting that the stars provide some sort of energy for the universal gear, or at least he thought that the secret on how the universe works lies within them. To this conclusion he came as though the star movements are irregular in general, a whole star constellation miraculously re-aligns itself every year at a certain time - to be exact: this is actually Mowi Farseer's discovery, Cournan still tried to base his theories solely on the guiding stars of these constellations. The Year of Darkness he therefore tried to explain by looking at major anomalies of the stars before the Year of Darkness comparing his data with observations from scholars made hundreds of years ago. To Cournan this specific anomaly of the fabric of the world, the Year of Darkness, could have been anticipiated already many years ago by noticing that anomalies had become more dense and patterns of cosmical movements reappeared more often. Just like a year comes to an end and everything starts anew, so Cournan believed that the Year of Darkness marked the beginning of a new age, as a cosmical cycle had come to an end. The Year of Darkness he didn't see initiated by a godly will, but by nature itself - and he therefore suggested that there would come a time when the Year of Darkness would return.

But this logical approach was seen as wrong and therefore heretic throughout the lands, which finally led to his untimely death. Nevertheless clerics discovered the incredible potential of his theories much later, because they admitted the undeniable facts, e.g. that the star constellations are regularly appearing. But the clerics simply took what they needed to eliminate their enemy and said: This regularity, which even a non-beliefer describes, is clear proof that the Gods exist - it shows that this gigantic universe follows a godly design. If you so want his theories were to a certain degree used to confirm clerical ideas. And thus Cournan died for his idea, an his spirit arose again, just like the phoenix from the ash.

-- Dharim Narja: "Pre-Santharian Cosmology", p. 73 ff.

Thus eventually the theories of Cournan had a major impact on his scholarly colleagues and finally led to the introduction of the calendar in adjusted form in the Avennorian kingdom some years after his death, from where it spread to other realms of Southern Sarvonia, to Eyelia, Caltharia and eventually to Erpheronia (and much later the Erpheronian-based Tharanian realm). The beginning date of the Cournanian Calendar is defined as the second year after the Year of Darkness at 1648 b.S. when Cournan first presented his works to the public.

Cournan for sure was a genius and he paved the way for the much more accurate Santharian Calendar, which consists to a great degree only of refinements of his work. Cournan, though his eye was always on the night sky, was also a man standing with two feet on the ground. He was an acribic collector of weather reports, descriptions of natural catastrophes, but also of prophecies and seemingly unimportant traded stories and sayings of peasants related to yearly changes in weather and the moving of the stars. This information he compiled, evaluated it, and tried to find cosmical reappearing patterns, allowing him to predict periods of drought, heavy rainfall, extreme winters and so on. He was to an extraordinary degree successful, but still many people believe his "scholarly prophecies" to be more based on coincidences mixed with extracts of local superstitions.

The calendar Cournan designed however is meant to be more than just a systematical approach on dividing years into months, months into weeks, weeks into days etc. It is an attempt to provide an instrument to anticipate future events of cosmical importance. That's why you find details concerning the moon phases, sun proximity, darkwind disturbances (supposedly related to floods) and various weather rules in the calendar. By the way: After the introduction of Cournan's Calendar further supplements were added to the initial notes by diverse sources, be it peasant rules, planting predictions, weather- or season-related proverbs and sayings or old superstitions connected with cosmological knowledge - yes, even some inspirational stories can be found at what has become the so-called "Cournan's Almanack". Even today, though the Cournanian Calendar is pretty much outdated in Santharia, the wisdom of Cournan is still often cited and appreciated by many locals.

Cournan's main work for sure was the dividing of the cyles (years) into months: The Cournanian Calendar features 12 months with only 30 days while the later introduced Santharian Calendar has 365, completely integrating in a regular pattern what Cournan had named "The Great Turns" or "Cosmic Tides". With this expression Cournan referred to days, where the star movements and the observed weather conditions on Caelereth are, simply put, "way out of the ordinary". Cournan, though now proven wrong, thought that such major anomalies re-occur in regular times all approx. 5-7 years and that there are periods of time when the universe is re-adjusting itself. He was convinced that there are "pockets in the eternal fabric" when the universe "comes to some sort of relative standstill, until the stars start circling again in their usual manner and the seasons continue in their long trodden path". During such a Great Turn a cycle or year would appear extraordinarily long, so according to Cournan the "Days of Turning" should not be included in the regular months. They are added to a certain month in a "Year of Turning" according to complex calculations, which Cournan could only provide in a fragmentary fashion. As a matter of fact Cournan spent most of this time with meticulous comparisons in order to deduce future dates from existing data when such Great Turns would occur. Cournan states himself: "Philosophically spoken these Great Turns mark the time when the world seeks a new orientation towards the Unknown, when a change of the paradigma of everything existing takes place amongst our midst - silently, carefully, incomprehensibly for the mind thinking within the bonds of the Caelerethian disk. The Great Turns twist the way of things how they were, are and ever will be, and as we cannot comprehend the eternal gear, that twists and turns, it is our fate to be astonished by it and to observe as far as we are able to." ("Observations", Introduction, Vol. I, p. 24). - To make it more precise: This complicated construction means that according to a strange algorithm every 5, 6 or 7 years additional days are added to the 360 regular days, which are then referred to as for example CC 32, td 7 (32nd year according to the Cournanian Calendar, 7th Day of Turning). As the system however is quite inconsistent, realms which still use a derivation of the Cournanian Calendar often don't stick to Cournan's initial suggestions on when to place these Days of Turning, but more or less arbitrarily tuck them in at every year wherever it seems appropriate, thus in fact coming close to the 365 Santharian days.

The Cournanian Calendar also divides the months in weeks consisting of 7 days (see further details in the Calendar Definitions) plus 2 "star days" at the end of the month, allowing the star of the next month to adjust itself and the people to prepare themselves for the next month. The 24 star days of a cycle often have own names given by the locals. Every month therefore starts with the first weekday, which is not the case any more at the Santharian Calendar.

Finally Cournan also elaborated a system in order to divide the day itself into so-called "day-times", a term still in use nowadays by the way, though with a slightly different meaning (see further details on day-times below as well). Hours are completely non-existent in the Cournanian Calendar.
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Calendar Definitions. The definitions of month names, week days, times of the day etc., which Cournan elaborated, constituted a mixture of traditional names known throughout his region and names added by himself and his followers. Though the concepts and exact times of transitions are somewhat shaky as they were made according to wrong presumptions, they were eventually standardized in four ancient kingdoms of Southern Sarvonia, until they were substituted by the definitions of Mowi Farseeer in the first century a.S. in the Santharian Calendar.

The Naming of the Months. Due to his observations dealing with the moving of the stars and their probable influence on the weather conditions, the Cournanian Calendar offers two versions of month names: names related directly to the stars and the cosmology, and peasant names, based on expressions of Avennorian locals, where seeding and harvesting played a central role in their lives. The definition of the Months can be summarized as follows:

The Cournanian Months

# Cosm./Clerical Peasant Days
1 Seystar
(Godd. Seyella)
Coldturn 30
2 Nehstar
(God Nehtor)
Icebreak 30
3 Armerstar
(God Armeros)
Ploughin 30
4 Grostar
(God Grothar)
Seeddown 30
5 Ethstar
(God Etherus)
Sproutup 30
6 Eyalstar
(Godd. Eyasha)
Rainfall 30
# Cosm./Clerical Peasant


7 Foirstar
(God Foiros)
Weedout 30
8 Jeystar
(Godd. Jeyriall)
Ripening 30
9 Arstar
(Godd. Arvins)
Harven 30
10 Baverstar
(Godd. Baveras)
Windwest 30
11 Questar
(God Queprur)
Greyall 30
12 Ustar
(God Urtengor)
Snowup 30

According to the Cournanian algorithm every 5-7 years additional "Turning Days" (up to 35) are added at certain months in the "Turning Years" to "reflect the shift of cosmical balance" in time measurement.

The cosmological version of the month names was the preferred version of Cournan himself, who - though seen by many as a heathen - used the names of the most dominant stars of regularly re-appearing star constellations to mark the beginnings of months. These dominant stars had already been named in the past, being composed from the names of the Gods (Seysta, Nehstar etc.), and Cournan didn't see a reason to change these names as he thought it important to take tradition in consideration. All he did was to associate the stars to re-appearing time periods, which eventually resulted in the definitions of the Cournanian months.

After Cournan's violent death and the introduction of his remarkable and never before attempted standardized time-counting system, especially the clerics all over Santharia used the God-related versions of the Cournanian definitions. Today, even in times of the Santharian Calendar, clerics often still prefer this "ancient form" of referring to months. - It is quite ironic by the way to notice that the definitions of a declared non-beliefer managed to spread over various kingdoms; mainly due to the fact that the common religion served as a vehicle to introduce the "clerical" month names Cournan mentioned.

The Naming of the Weekdays/Day-Times. For the weekdays
Cournan simply took the names of the civilized races, a definition which still exists unchanged in the Santharian Calendar. He also used peasant expressions as secondary names, marking important works of the locals, which were scheduled for these days of the week. These works were not always done every seven days perhaps (as was the case with Brewday and Bakeday for example), but at least they'd be done in regular intervals, always following a certain day. Of course washing, ploughing, scrubbing etc. was also done at other days of the week whenever necessary, but the naming Cournan used reflects the general rule.

The day-times also were for the first time officially defined in Cournan's Calendar, and all these expressions are still valid nowadays. The Santharian Calendar by Mowi Farseer only expanded what Cournan prepared in a not so accurate fashion. There are additional names Mowi used for day-times, but basically he was just more precise, dividing a day in 24 hours and adding hour names and more detailed descriptions.

The Cournanian Weekdays and Day-Times

Day # Weekday Peasant Days
1 Restday Prayday
2 Elfday Washday
3 Halfday Payday
4 Browninday Midweek(sday)
5 Gnomesday Brewday/Bakeday
6 Dwervenday Scrubday
7 Folkday Fastday
Time # Day-Time Detail
1 Dawn/Morn Appearing sun
2 Mornlate Ascending sun
3 Noon Sun directly overhead
4 Noonlate Descending sun
5 Eve/Dusk Disappearing sun
6 Night Abscence of the sun
7 Midnight Sun below the world Return to the top

Importance. The Cournanian Calender (CC) is still partly in use at various independent isles further away from the Sarvonian continent, which have ancestors hailing from the lands currently forming the United Kingdom of Santharia. These isles include among other less prominent places Denilou (the dwarven "Iron Realm"), Dorania and the Isles of R'unor. At the Sarvonian continent and respectively the Santharian mainland the Cournanian Calendar has been neglected completely since the introduction of the Santharian Calendar and only historians refer to Cournan's dates. This Santharian Calendar, developped by the astronomer Mowi Farseer (64 b.S.-17 a.S.), which is much more accurate as the concept doesn't concentrate on the movements of the brightest regularly returning stars, but on whole star constellations of which these stars are only (though essential) parts of. However, although different in many aspects, the Santharian Calendar is based to a great degree on observations made by Cournan and based on it in many ways. Mowi also confirmed the initial concept of the Cournanian Calendar at various issues, but elaborated many things more thoroughly which Cournan had only noted but failed to explain in greater detail. Return to the top

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