Roman dating kalends

26-Aug-2015 23:27 by 10 Comments

Roman dating kalends

Only three days of each month in the Roman calendar had specific names. The Kalends were always on the first, but the other two days (Nones & Ides) depended on what month it was. For the months of March, May, July, and October, the Ides fell on the 15th and the Nones were on the 7th.

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This peculiar habit was a result of the ways that days of the month were counted in the Roman system.

To keep the calendar roughly in line with the seasons, a leap month (it had no name other than "the intercalary month") was inserted at the end of February.

This position, which falls more or less at the end of the year when the year began in March, implies that the intercalary month predates the change in observation of the new year.

From the time we have direct evidence of it, the pre-Julian calendar was roughly lunisolar.

Certain Roman religious customs, as well as the monthly subdivisions of Kalends, Nones, and Ides, indicate that the calendar was originally lunar, and that months began upon direct observation by a priest of the new moon. The lengths of the months indicate that by the time of our earliest records the year was not measured by direct observation, as no month so measured could have 31 days, but by conventional rule.

There are several days in a month that aren’t what you would expect.

March 13 is described as 3 days before the Ides of March (as normal), but March 14 is the day before the Ides of March (pridie Idus Martias).

For all other months, the Ides were the 13th and the Nones the 5th. meaning in this context ante diem, not anno domini, of course!

If it wasn’t one of these "special" days, a Roman would say it was n days before the next special day. ) The months are adjectives and describe the Kalends, Ides, or Nones when they are translated into Latin.

It is also sometimes said that the beginning of the year changed in 153 BCE, but in fact what happened this year was that the time when consuls took office was synchronized with the calendar year.

January seems to have become the beginning of the year when the republican calendar was introduced, but there is so little information about that reform (taking place, it appears, in the 5th-century BCE) that we can say little more.

Some have questioned whether all the earliest names in this are historical, but the later ones certainly are, and provide many opportunities for correlation to the Common Era.

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