Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 <CALNDR-L@ECUMAIL7.ECU.EDU>
Sender: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List <CALNDR-L@ECUMAIL7.ECU.EDU>
From: Kevin Tobin
Dear William, Claus and other temponauts, Regarding this portion of your recent discussion:
> > 2.6 It is very odd that month 'eleven' and month 'twelve' should be
> > inserted before month 'ten' (December).
> I agree. It has puzzled me too. The source of my information is not
> necessarily of very high quality (it is a historian's letter to the
> editor of a computer magazine). I would be pleased to receive more
> well-founded information.
> By the way, can anyone on the list confirm this information which I
> mention in section 2.6 of the FAQ: "The Roman king Numa Pompilius (c.
> 715-673 BC, although his historicity is disputed) allegedly introduced
> February and January (in that order) between December and March,
> [...]. In 450 BC, February was moved to its current position between
> January and March." I have found this information in only one source.
> > 2.7 I read somewhere that Julius Caesar chose to have 1 Jan then because
> > it was the new moon after the solstice.
> That's interesting. I've wondered about why Caesar chose 1 Jan.
> However, it seems odd that he should choose the moon to start a
> calendar that is anything but lunar.
My understanding is that this was a compromise on the part of Caesar, master politician, that granted the date of January 1st to the Senate for one more year. This date had already for several hundred years been the start of the Roman Civil Calendar because this was the day that the Roman Senate annually took office. The fact that the New Moon occurred on Jan 1 in 45 BCE., the "Year of Confusion" was from the Senate's perspective altogether too auspicious to change along with all the rest of the revolutionary changes Caesar was instituting. He had already reduced the Senate's power in a way that would have been unthinkable and probably impossible to achieve by any other personality of the time besides him. Imagine how traumatic it would, or will, be for us to make such a change. Caesar infact wanted to shift the start of the new year on the Spring Equinox or the Winter Solstice as would have been more ecumenical and more in synch with many other calendars of the era, such as the Babylonian calendar which had some influence on the primarily Egyptian Calendar that he did adopt. The New Moon of Jan. 1st 45 BCE.did not prove overly auspicious for Caesar himself. He of course was assasinated in the Ides of March that followed the Year of Confusion. Augustus left the January 1st years beginning intact. So remember to toast the Roman Senate at the next New Year Celebrations. Perhaps it is not so strange that we still render unto Caesar the power and control of time in a culture where time really is money. Time Control is Mind Control and as Arguelles has observed, the simple formula T=$ is the fundamental malaise of human reality.
Kevin Tree Tobin