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Thank Caesar for July and August

Adding 2 months to calendar finally aligned winter

June 17, 2017

Time manipulation is an illusion. It is man-made invention to help civilizations track the seasons and the best crop yields. With this in mind, the evolution of the Roman calendar to what is used today is a long one, including the addition of July and August.

There is a myth the Roman calendar originally began with only 10 months, then Julius and Augustus Caesar swooped in and extended the year to proclaim their dominance on the rest of civilization.

The bravado aspect of that myth is accurate, but that is not why July and August exist. The Roman year originally included 10 months, but it did not add winter. The smartest weathermen at the time could not properly track the end and beginning of winter, so they left it out.

Eventually, the Romans added Ianuarius and Februarius (January and February) to the calendar, but it was still flawed. They realized every four years, the sun was extended for longer periods of time. These additions created a leap year. Instead of adding one day onto February, the Romans decided to complicate things even more by adding “Intercalarius” or an in-between month. This would make up for lost days and the incoming leap year, but it was still confusing.

According to timeanddate.com, “The months were divided into day markers that fell at the start of the month, the fifth or seventh day, and in the middle of the month. These three markers were called Calends, Nones and Ides.”

These three calendar markers signaled the phases of the moon in a month. Calends is the beginning, Nones the middle, and Ides the end – or the full moon of the month. Days were not tracked to the end of the month, but counted backwards from Ides or Calends. So instead of the May 5, it would be 10 days before Nones. That can get quite confusing.

Unreliable calendars could sabotage farming seasons, festivals and most importantly, ceremonies to celebrate their emperor. This change also helped solidify the power play with Caesar and his compatriots.

During Julius Caesar’s reign, he decided that this calendar was too confusing for people to follow and decided to change it. He decided to even out the year and leave some space for February on those pesky leap years.

His solution did not just add months. The entire structure of the calendar was reinvented. It did not change time but merely gave structure to what already exists.

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