Season of the Harvest

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The Season of the
Harvest – Smw
in hieroglyphs

The Season of the Harvest (known in Egyptian as Shemu or Shomu - transliterated as Smw) was the third and final season of the Egyptian calendar. The word Shemu literally translates as "low-water", and fell roughly between early May and early September. During this season, the crops of the grain harvest were collected.[1] Shemu was preceded by the Season of the Emergence (Peret), and was followed by the Season of the Inundation (Akhet).

During Shemu, the Egyptian farmers would harvest their crops - in clear contrast to the practice of their contemporaries in the ancient world, who would be just beginning to plant their crops at this time of the year. Shemu is also known as the Summer Season or the Dry Season[2] and is occasionally written as Shomu.[3]

The ancient Egyptians used this name in both their lunar and their civil calendars. The months of the lunar calendar are roughly equivalent to the period from early May to the heliacal rising of Sirius around the beginning of September. Since the civil calendar moved through the seasons over time, losing about one day every four years, this season does not continuously match any part of the modern calendar.


The Season of Harvest consisted of four 30-day months after which followed a period of 5 epagomenal days, which brought the year to 365 days.[4] These months can be either referred to by number (months 9 through 13) or by names as follows:

The Season of Harvest was preceded by the Season of the Emergence and was followed by the Season of the Inundation.[5]

See also


  1. David P. Silverman, Ancient Egypt, Duncan Baird Publishers, London 1997. p.93
  2. Leiden University
  3. "shomu". Britannica. Retrieved 2012-03-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University press. pp. 103-106
  5. Marshall Clagett, Ancient Egyptian Science: A Source Book, Diane 1989, ISBN 0-87169-214-7, p.5
Preceded by
Season of the Emergence
Egyptian Seasons

Season of the Harvest
days: 125 or 126 days

Succeeded by
Season of the Inundation