Ancient roman dating calendars

30-Apr-2015 11:44 by 2 Comments

Ancient roman dating calendars

When Rome emerged as a world power, the difficulties of making a calendar were well known, but the Romans complicated their lives because of their superstition that even numbers were unlucky.

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Therefore the Romans invented an extra month called Mercedonius of 22 or 23 days. Even with Mercedonius, the Roman calendar eventually became so far off that Julius Caesar, advised by the astronomer Sosigenes, ordered a sweeping reform.46 was made 445 days long by imperial decree, bringing the calendar back in step with the seasons.Then the solar year (with the value of 365 days and 6 hours) was made the basis of the calendar.The months were 30 or 31 days in length, and to take care of the 6 hours, every fourth year was made a 366-day year.Moreover, Caesar decreed the year began with the first of January, not with the vernal equinox in late March.This calendar was named the Julian calendar, after Julius Caesar, and it continues to be used by Eastern Orthodox churches for holiday calculations to this day.

"Happy he who has passed his whole life mid his own fields, he of whose birth and old age the same house is witness....For him the recurring seasons, not the consuls, mark the year; he knows autumn by his fruits and spring by her flowers." Claudian, Carmina Minora (XX) ttributed to Romulus himself, the Roman calendar originally was determined by the cycles of the moon and the seasons of the agricultural year.Beginning in March in the spring and ending in December with the autumn planting, the year then was ten months long and had six months of thirty days and four of thirty-one, for a total of 304 days (ten lunar months actually comprise about 295 days).Since each month began and ended with the new moon, that day would have belonged both to the new month and the old and must have been counted twice.The remnants of this early calendar still can be recognized in the numbered names for Quinctilis (July), Sextilis (August), September, October, November, and December.The two months of winter, when there was no work in the fields, were not counted; Cato, for example, speaks of payment for olives being due in ten months (De Agricultura, CXLVI).

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