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Re: WHAT calendar for the current year 2012

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 14:57
On Jan 29, 2008 9:26 AM, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:

> Yes, I know that.
Didn't mean to imply otherwise. Sorry, I thought we'd outgrown the inability to make declarative statements without impugning the knowledge of one's interlocutor... :) I am not aware of any actual positive evidence that the Romans
> did have a 10 month calendar.
The chief argument is probably the month names, but I seem to recall that there is more concrete evidence. However, the only respectable source I have in my possession is a brief article in the back of the Oxford Companion to the Year, and that's at home.
> BTW I am not over-impressed by the Wikipedia article
Now *there's* a declarative statement that one hardly needs to bother making. :)
> > and that'd be the Greeks who came up with that calendar. > > I doubt it. [...] the Latins themselves must surely have had a method of > calculating times and seasons before ever they came under either Etruscan or > Greek influence.
I'm sure they did. And the use of alternating 29/30 day months and occasional intercalated extra months was invented independently many times all over the world. But I seem to recall that there was something about the larger structure of the Republican calendar - the choice of month names, or the odd idea of putting the extra month *inside* one of the other months, or the particular timing of the new year; I don't recall the details - that came from the Greeks (possibly via the Etruscans). I could be entirely mistaken, of course. In any case, the various versions of the ancient Greek calendar (each
> city state seems to have done their own version) is remarkably similar in > principle to the Jewish calendar.
... which almost certainly came from the Babylonians, along with a great deal of other cultural attributes we traditionally associate with the Jews. It seems to have been common to the Levant The Levant? That's not a term I'm familiar with.
> > I swear the Romans didn't have an original bone in their collective > body. :) > That I do not agree with.
Nor do I; it was only a joke. Sorry if I offended.
> Also it appears that intercalation was carried out by various Pontifices > Maximi in a haphazard and politically motivated way during the century of > civil wars that followed the Punic wars. The thing was a complete mess by > Caesar's time.
In particular there were no intercalations at all in the last few years (the so-called "Years of Confusion") before he instituted his new calendar. And then there were too many for the next 30+ years, as they had a leap year every third year instead of every fourth, which wasn't corrected until Augustus's time. Calendars are a lot easier when you don't try to keep them in synch with astronomical events... :) -- Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>