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Caesar’s Comet and the Birth of the Roman Empire
(Book II, 23, 93-94), the Roman writer Pliny explains: ‘The only place in the whole world where a comet is the object of worship is a temple at Rome. His late Majesty Augustus had deemed this comet very propitious to himself, as it had appeared at the beginning of his rule, at some games which, not long after the decease of his father Caesar... he was celebrating...’ ‘In fact he made public the joy that it gave him in these words: ‘On the very days of my Games a comet was visible for seven days in the northern part of the sky. It was rising about an hour before sunset, and was a bright star, visible from all
237). Coins struck by Augustus in 18 BCE show the comet of Divus Julius and the bust of his heir (Fig. 1). The long gap between the purported 44 BCE sighting and the comet on coins of Augustus in 18 BCE has led to questions as to whether such an apparition ever took place (Gurval, 1997). Might the comet of 44 BCE have been Augustus’ invention? Ramsey and Licht (1997) write: ‘The answer to this question must be “surely not” for at least three cogent reasons.’ One, traces of ‘anti-Augustan’ interpretations of the event. Two, comets were usually seen as threatening, but Octavian managed to turn this perception around. ‘This stroke of genius on Augustus’ part has to be regarded as one of the most remarkable examples of “spin” control in the whole of antiquity. Third and lastly, we can be certain that there was a comet in 44 BC because one is attested in our Chinese sources...’ The July cometary outburst reached an apparent magnitude of -4, and the
appeared repeatedly in Roman literature: Virgil (37 BCE), Ovid (8 CE), Pliny (77 CE), Suetonius (121 CE). Modern discussions of ancient texts and coins in
how would they know how many years to count back?
originally posted by: autopat51
a reply to: beyondknowledge
i think you are saying we just made up the years? that vert well could be....
Too Many Leap Years
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western or Christian calendar, is the most widely used calendar in the world today.
Its predecessor, the Julian calendar, was replaced because it did not correctly reflect the actual time it takes the Earth to circle once around the Sun, known as a tropical year. In the Julian calendar, a leap day was added every four years, which is too frequent.
Although it is not perfect either, today's Gregorian calendar uses a much more accurate rule for calculating leap years.
Skipped Several Days
Over the centuries since its introduction in 45 BCE, the Julian calendar had gradually drifted away from astronomical events like the vernal equinox and the winter solstice. To make up for this error and get the calendar back in sync with the astronomical seasons, a number of days had to be dropped when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
In North America, for example, the month of September 1752 had only 19 days, as the day count went straight from September 2 to September 14 (see illustration).
Number of Lost Days Varied
The papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 decreed that 10 days be skipped when switching to the Gregorian calendar. However, only five countries adopted the new calendar system that year—namely, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and most of France.
Since the discrepancy between the Julian calendar year and the astronomical seasons kept growing over time in the centuries that followed, more days had to be skipped in countries that switched to the Gregorian calendar in later years. Some countries, such as Russia, Greece, and Turkey, switched calendars as late as the early 20th century, so they had to omit 13 days (see table).
Switch Took More Than 300 Years
In total, more than three centuries passed until the Gregorian calendar had been adopted in all countries, from 1582 to 1927. The table below shows when the calendar reform occurred in some countries, including the first and the last.
13 Days Behind Today
Currently, the Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. This gap will change in the year 2100 when the discrepancy will increase to 14 days.