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date: 08 May 2021

calendar, Romanlocked

  • Jörg Rüpke

Summary

The Roman calendar developed from a group of Italian luni-solar calendars into a purely solar calendar at the end of the 4th century bce in the context of a political and juridical codification. The resulting graphic form of the fasti was unique in its documentation of all the days of the year. At Rome, it served as a frame for religious and historical data. The complex form of intercalation was reduced by C. Iulius Caesar to a single day, fixing new length of months and establishing a stable relationship with astronomic phenomena. In this shape, and stripped from its urban contents to a technical and emperor-related instrument, it served as a universal point of reference, into which all local calendars made themselves translatable. Despite its many religious associations, it thus survived into Christian Late Antiquity and into today’s widespread “Gregorian calendar.”

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