@Lynn_Munter, ahhhh… .nice!
Here is an analemma… which is literally assembled by taking 365 “images” (either as mathematical points or as photographs) of the sun, every day, at exactly the same time… whatever time you pick. The longer after sunrise you pick, the higher up in the sky the analemma’s “figure 8” starts.
Yes, I agree with you. As you can see by the symmetry (more or less) of the top and the bottom of the figure 8 path, you can see that the Sun starts to slow down before it reaches its most “southerly” (or “northerly”) point. I edited this sentence; originally I used the phrase “lowest point” - - but you can see that the lowest or highest points of the figure 8 are not the same as the most extreme tips of the analemma – where the bottom tip is its most southerly extreme (and the top is its most northerly extreme).
But to the superstitious minds of the ancients, the drama doesn’t start until the sun is at its lowest point! Astronomers would pick a point on the horizon, and a reasonably high vantage point, to see the sunrise before any “peasant on the ground” could see the sunrise.
And so, by making this an early-morning affair, Priests can accentuate the drama of forecasting where the groundlings would see the sun come up … and when it would happen. All the groundlings needed to know is that there wouldn’t be a summer if the sun didn’t start its progression of sunrises moving northward along the horizon.
The fact the Sun slowed down before it “died a 3 day death” wasn’t really the worry. The “worry” was, what if the Sun didn’t ever start moving back northward along the horizon. That would be disastrous!
Sidenote: … “disastrous” and “disaster” are words based on the ancient terms for “bad star” … “Dis - Astro”.
first used in the 1500’s - (originally in the sense: malevolent astral influence):
from Italian ‘disastro’,
from dis- (pejorative) + astro star,
from Latin astrum,
from Greek astron
Note: I believe those yellow dots represent 14 day intervals… or something close to that.