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[Click on the footnote number and you will jump down to the footnote, click on that number again at the footnote, and you will leap back to your place in the text. — Elf.Ed.]

From De Die Natale, by Censorinus, translated into English by William Maude, New York: The Cambridge Encyclopedia Co., 1900; pp. 27 to 40.





(A. D. 238)

Part II.




Passing from the consideration of those years whose history is lost in the obscurity of time, to those whose origin is more recent and which have been calculated from the course of the sun or moon, there is also a great difference between them. To be convinced of this it is only necessary to examine the annals, I do not say of all the world, but of Italy only. For although Ferentines, the Lavinians,60 the Albans and the Romans each had peculiar years, the other States of Italy also had theirs. To tell the truth, they all tried to correct their civil years by an intercalation of months designed to harmonize them with the true natural years. But as it would take too long to speak of all these customs, we will pass at once to the year of the Romans. Licinus Macer and after him, Fenestella, have written that the natural year at Rome was originally of twelve months; but we must preferably defer to Junio Gracchano,61 to Fulvio, to Varro, to Suetonius and other writers,62 all of whom decide that it was composed of ten months, as was that of the Albans, from whom the Romans descended. These ten Alban months comprised 304 days, thus apportioned:63 March, 31; April, 30; May, 31; June, 30; Quintilis, 31; Sextilis, 30; Septembris, 30; Octobris, 31; Novembris, 30; Decembris, 30.

Of these ten months the four longer ones were called “long” months, and the six others “short” months. Afterwards Numa, if we defer to Fulvius, or Tarquin, if we believe Junius, instituted64 the 28 year of 12 months, making 355 days; although the moon, in these 12 months completes but 354 days. The extra day was the result either of a blunder, or, what seems more probable, was due to the superstitious believe which regarded uneven numbers as more perfect and fortunate.65 That which is certain, is that to the ancient (ten months’) year, 51 days were added; but this number did not complete two months, so that one day was taken from each of the six “short’ months, and these were added to the 51, which made 57, days, out of which two new months were made (by Numa) that is to say, January of 29 days and February of 28. Thus all the months dating from this epoch became long months and were composed of an uneven number of days, with the exception of February, which alone remained “short,” and was on that account regarded as more unlucky than the others. When it was thought necessary to add (every two years) an intercalary month66 of 22 or 23 days, so that the civil year should correspond to the natural (solar) year, this intercalation was in preference made in February, between Terminalia67 and Regifugium;68 and this practice prevailed for some time before it was seen that the civil years were a little longer than the solar.69

The care of correcting this inexactitude was given to the pontiffs, and full power was vested in them for making the intercalation. But, most of them being influenced by motives of resentment, or else of friendship, a magistrate was often deprived of his functions, or held them a longer time, as the pontiffs willed. A farmer of the revenues, for example, was made to gain or lose according to the duration of the year as fixed by them. In short, they made, according to their will, longer or shorter intercalations; and so placed in disorder the 29 very thing which was confided to them to be reformed. The confusion was such that Caius (Julius) Cæsar, sovereign-pontiff,70 resolved in his third consulate and that of M. Emilius Lepidus71 to destroy the effects of past abuses by placing between the months of November and December,72 two intercalary months of 67 days, although he had already intercalated 23 days in the month of February, which gave 445 days to that year;73 and at the same time to prevent the return of similar errors, he suppressed the intercalary month, and established the civil year after the course of the sun. Hence to the ancient 355 days of Numa’s year he added ten days, which he divided among the seven “short” months of 29 days, in such a manner that two days were added to January,74 August and December and one to the other months; and he placed these supplementary days at the ends of the months, so as not to disturb the religious festivals.75 It is for this reason that to-day, although we have seven months of 31 days;76 yet there are only four which have retained the following peculiarity 30 of the ancient system:77 that the nones fall on the seventh day, while in the others it falls on the fifth.78 And to take account of the quarter of a day which it seems completes the solar year, Cæsar ordered that after each revolution of four years, there should be added, after Terminalia, instead of the ancient month, an intercalary day, which is now called leap-year day.79 From this year, ordered by Cæsar, all those which have passed down to our time are called Julian, and they commence at his fourth consulate. If they have not every desirable perfection80 they are at least the only years which coincide with the natural (solar) year; because the ancient years, even those of ten months, differed not only at Rome or in Italy, but amongst other peoples; and it is this regulation (of Cæsar) which has served, as much as anything, to reform the calendars of the world.81 Should there arise a question involving a great number of years, it will only be necessary to understand the natural (solar) years; so that if, for example, the period of the origin of the world was known to man, we could correctly go backward to that time by using the Julian Calendar.82



I will now speak of that period which Varro calls historic. This author divides time into three periods; the first extends from the origin of man to the first cataclysm, and he calls it uncertain, on account of the obscurity in which it is concealed.83 The second extends from the first cataclysm to the first olympiad and as it has given rise to numerous fables he calls it mythological. The third extends from the first olympiad to our time. He calls this historic, because the events which transpired during this interval are related in reliable histories. As to the first period, whether or not it had a commencement, 31 or of how many years it consisted, we can never know. As to the second, we cannot say exactly, but we may believe that it covered about six hundred years.84 From the first cataclysm, which is called that of Ogyges, until the reign of Inacchus (Bacchus), about four hundred years are counted; from that time until the first olympiad,85 a little more than four hundred are counted. And as these events although belonging to the end of the mythical period, approach the historical, several writers have attempted to give the number more exactly. Thus, Sosibius counts it 395; Eratosthenes 407; Timæus 417; and Aretes 514. Still other calculations have been made by many authors, but their discordance proves the incertitude of this computation. For the third epoch, there has been but little divergence among authors, which extends to about six or seven years, but this incertitude has been fully removed by Varro, who, gifted with rare sagacity,86 in going over the course of ages of different nations, and in calculating in the past the number and intervals of eclipses, arrived at the truth, and has thrown upon this point such light that we can count to a certainty not only the years, but even the days of this period. According to these calculations, if I am not mistaken, this present year, of which the consulate of Ulpius and Pontianus87 is as a title and indication, since 32 the first olympiad, is the 1014th, dating from the Middays of summer, during which were celebrated the Olympian Games; and from the Foundation of Rome88 it is the year 991, dating from the Pariliana, a festival which serves a precise starting point in calculating the Year of the City. On the other hand, it is the 283rd of the years called Julian, dating from the day of the calends of January on which Julius Cæsar commenced the Year which he established. If we count by the years called Augustan,89 it is the year 265, also dating from the calends of January, although it was on the 16th of the calends of February, that on the proposition of L. Munacius Plancus, the senators, and other citizens gave to the imperator Cæsar the title of Augustus, Son of God, then consul for the seventh time with M. Vipsanius Agrippa, who was consul for the third time. As to the Egyptians, who at this date had been for two years under the power and authority of the Roman people, the present year is for them the 267th of Augustus. The Egyptian history, as well as our own, contains different æras. We distinguish the æra of Nabo-Nazaru90 which to-day has attained the number of 986 years,91 dating from that first year of the reign of that prince. The æra of Philip, which commenced at the 33 death of Alexander the Great and continues to our day, embraces 562 years.92 The æras of the Egyptians always commence on the first day of the month, Thoth, a day which, this present year, corresponds to the 7th calends of July, whilst a hundred years ago, under the second consulate of the Emperor Antoninus Pius and of Bruttius Præsena, this same day corresponded to the 12th of the calends of August, the ordinary epoch of the rising of the Canicular star in Egypt.93 Thus we see that we are to-day really in the hundredth year of this Annus Magnus, which, as I have stated above, is called the solar and canicular year and Year of God. I have indicated at what epoch these years commence, so that nobody should suppose they always dated from the calends of January, or from any other like day; because on the question of æras, one does not find less diversity among the statements of their founders than amongst the opinions of the philosophers. Some make the natural year commence at the Birth of the Sun, that is to say, at Brumalia,94 and others at the Summer Solstice; some make it the Vernal Equinox, and others the Autumnal Equinox; some at the rising and some at the setting of the Pleiades, while still others fix it at the rising of the Canicular star.



There are two kinds of months, one natural, the other civil. The natural months are of two kinds, one called solar, the other lunar. A solar month is the time which the sun takes to travel over a sign of the zodiac; the lunar month is the interval of time between one moon and another. The civil months are a combination of days, which each state arranges according to its own pleasure; thus among the Romans a civil month is counted from Calend to Calend. The natural month, the more ancient, is common to all nations. The civil months, of more recent institution, are peculiar to each state. The natural months, whether solar or lunar, are neither equal in length, 34 nor composed of an exact number of days. The sun remains in Aquarius about 29 days; in Pisces about 30 days; in Aries 31 days; in Gemini very nearly 31 days, and so on unequally in all the other Signs. But though it does not remain for an exact number of full days in each sign, it does not make less than its annual revolution in the twelve months; which embraces 365 days and a fraction, which fraction the astronomers have not yet precisely determined. As to the lunar months, they are each composed of about 29½ days, but neither are these months of equal length, some being longer, others shorter.95 The number of days of which the civil month is composed varies still more, but in all cases the number of days is full. Among the Albans, March had 36 days; May 22 days; Sextilis (our August) 18 days; September 16 days. At Tusculum, Quintilis (July) has 36 days, October 32. Indeed among the inhabitants of Aricia October had 39 days. This month seems to have been the most swollen by the error which has sought to regulate civil months by the course of the moon; as amongst most of the peoples of Greece, the months are alternately of 29 and 30 days. Our ancestors adopted this method when they made their year of 355 days, but the Divine Cæsar seeing that the civil months did not correspond, as they should, with the course of the moon, nor the year to the course of the sun, preferred to correct the year, in such a manner that each month corresponded to a real solar month. Instead of a lunar synchronism for each of them, they were arranged so that they coincided with the round of the natural year. If we believe Fulvius96 and Junius,97 it was to Romulus that the ten ancient months owed their names. He gave to the 35 first two the names of the authors of his life; he called one March, from Mars, his father, and the second April, from the word Aphrodite, that is to say, Venus, from whom his ancestors were said to have descended. The next two months take their names from classes of the people; May, from Majores (the old people), and June, from Juniores (the young people); the others, that is to say, Quintilis to December, from the numerical rank which each month occupied in the year.

Varro, on the contrary, thought that the Romans borrowed the names of their months from the Latins. He demonstrated in quite a plausible manner that these names are older than the city of Rome. Thus, according to him,98 the month of March was thus named, not because this god was the father of Romulus, but because the Latin nation were warlike and originally worshipped the god of war. He contends that Aprilis (April) does not take its name from Aphrodite, but from the word aperire (to open), because in this month everything comes to life and nature opens its bosom to all productions. May does not come from majores, but from Maia; because it was in this month that at Rome, and formerly in Latium, sacrifices were made to Holy Maia and Mercury. June comes from Juno rather than from juniores; because it is in this month especially that Juno is worshipped. Quintilis is so called because with the Latins it was the fifth month; it was the same with Sextilis and the other months until December, which all take their names from their numerical order in the year. January and February, it is true, have been since added, but their names come from Latium; January from Janus, to whom this month is consecrated; and February from Februus. All that which serves to expiate and purify is called februum, and all expiations or purifications are called februamenta, just as februare signifies to render clear and pure. The ceremony called februm is not always the same, and the king of purification called februation varies according to the sacrifice. During the Lupercales99 and the purification of the city, ceremonies which took place during this month, hot salt was carried about, called februm. From this it follows that the days of the Lubercales are properly called februatus; and hence, also, this month took the name of February.

Of the twelve months, two only have since changed name; the ancient Quintilis100 was called Julius (July) under the fifth consulate of 36 Caius Cæsar and under that of M. Antonius in the second Julian year; that which was called Sextilis101 was, after a senatus-consulto, rendered under the consulate of Marcus Censorinus and C. Asinius Gallus, named Augustan (August), in honour of Augustus, in the 20th year of the Augustan æra; and these names are still retained. Some of the successors of Augustus,102 it is true, imposed their own names on several months, but the old names were restored, either by the princes themselves, or after their deaths.



It remains for me to say a few words on the day, which, like the month and year, is either natural or civil.103 The natural day is the time which elapses between the rising and setting of the sun; the night, on the contrary, is the interval from the setting to the rising of the sun. The civil day is the time which is taken for a revolution of the heavens, a revolution which comprises both the natural day and night. When we say, for example, that a child lived thirty days, it is well understood that the nights are comprised. The duration of the day has been fixed in four different ways by astronomers and by nations; the Babylonians have established it from one rising to the next rising of the sun;104 most of the inhabitants of Umbria have established 37 it from one mid-day to the following mid-day;105 the Athenians, from one setting of the sun to the next.106 As to the Romans, they have chosen the interval from mid-night to mid-night;107 witness the public sacrifices and even the auspices of the magistrates;108 ceremonies in which is attributed to the day just finished, that which was or could have been done before mid-night; and to the following day, that which was done after mid-night and before the rising of day; witness the custom which gives the same natal day to children who are born in the course of the twenty-four hours which separates one mid-night from another.109

The division of the day and the night each into twelve hours110 is 38 not ignored by anybody, but I think it was observed at Rome, only after the invention of the sun-dial. To indicate the earliest dial, is a difficult thing. Some authors say that the first sun-dial was established near to the temple of Quirinus,111 others say in the Capitoline; some say near to the temple of Diana on the Aventine. That which is pretty certain is that no sun-dial was seen in the Forum, before that which M. Valerius112 brought from Sicily and which he placed on a column near to the rostra. But as this dial, though appropriate to the latitude of Sicily, did not accord with the hours of Rome, L. Philippus,113 then censor, erected another near to this one; then, some time after that, the censor, P. Cornelius Nasica, made a water-clock (clepsydra)114 which is also called solarium (solar instrument) and which told the hours.115 That the name of the hours has been known in Rome during at least three hundred years116 is probable, because although in the Twelve Tales and the laws which followed them we find the hours named but once, yet there are employed the words ante meridiem for the reason no doubt that the day was then divided into two parts, separated by that which we call meridies.117 Others made four divisions of the day and as many of the night. This is proved by the divisions utilized in military language, which speaks of the first, the second, the third and the fourth watches.118



There are several other divisions of the day and night preserved on monuments and distinguished by different names. Others again are mentioned here and there in the writings of the ancient poets. These will be named in convenient order. I will commence 39 with the media nox (mid-night) as it is the starting point of the civil year amongst the Romans.119 The time which approaches it nearest is called media nocte (past mid-night);120 then comes gallicinium (cock’s-crow) the time the cock commences to crow;121 then the conticinium (moment of silence) the time that the cock ceases to crow; then the moment called ante lucem and diluculum (the break of day) when it is already day, without the sun having risen; then the second diluculum called mané (the morning when the sun commences to appear); then the time called ad meridiem (which precedes mid-day);122 then the meridies, or the middle of the day; then succeeds the time called de meridie (afternoon); then comes the moment called suprema,123 40 (close of the last moment of day,) although many authors think that this name only belongs to the moment which comes after sunset, because it is written in the Twelve Tables that sunset is the close (legal limit) of day (suprema tempestas). But later on, M. Pletorius, Tribune of the People, made a plebiscitum wherein it is written that the prætor of the city, then and in future, must have two lictors near him, and render justice to the citizens until the (legal) end of the day (ad supremam). After the moment called suprema, came vespera (evening) which immediately preceded the rising of the star that Plautus calls vesperuginem;124 Ennis, vesperium;125 and Virgil, hesperon.126 Then came crepusculum (twilight), which is perhaps called so because uncertain things are called creperœ, and it is difficult to say whether this moment belongs to the day or to the night. Then comes the moment which we call luminibus accensis (the illuminated lights) and which the ancients called prima face,127 (the first flambeau;) then comes the concubium (time to retire); then the intempesta128 (inopportune time to act), that is to say quite night, when work is intempesta, or inopportune; and then the moment called ad mediam noctem (which is near to midnight), after which the media nox returns.129


60  Alium Lavinii. Solinus, c. 3, says that the year of the Lavinians had thirteen months, and 374 days; but this meant either one particular year, or else is a blunder. Consult AugustineAugustine, De civit. Dei, xv, c. 12.

61  Junio Gracchano. Varro, De ling. lat. Calls him Junius Gracchus.

62  Aliisque credendum. We may add to these other writers, Aulus Gellius, III, c. 16; Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 12; Solinus, c. 3; Ovid Fasti, I; and Plutarch, in Numa.

63  It is incredible that a year of 304 days was ever employed in any country. According to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, I, 15, many of these months (perhaps all of them) in the Alban calendar contained 36 days, making the 10 months’ year consist of 360 days, with 5 epagomenæ, altogether 365 days. Indeed Censorinus himself mentions some Alban months of 36 days farther on. The numerical names of four of our present months prove that the year was anciently divided into ten months, while the messa, or middle day of the month, which fell on the 18th, proves that all the months consisted of 36 days each.

64  Sive a Numa. See Titus Livius, lib. I; Plutarch, in Numa; and Macrobius, Saturn., lib. I, c. 13.

65  Ea superstitione, qua impar numerus . . . magis faustus habebatur. See Servius on this passage in the eighth Eclogue of Virgil: Numero deus impare gaudet. See also Macrobius, Saturn., lib, I, c 13; and Solinus, c. 3.

66  Intercalarem mensem. This intercalary month was called Mercedinus, according to Plutarch, in Numa, or Mercedonius (from Mercury), in Cæsar’s “Wars.” See for the rule followed in this intercalation, Macrobius, Saturn., lib. I, c. 13; Solinus, c. 3; and Joseph Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. ii.

[Mercedonius is hardly from Mercury. It’s almost certainly related to merces, according to Bill Thayer. — Elf.Ed.]

67  Terminalia. A festival in honour of the god Terme, which was celebrated on the 23rd of February. Varro, De ling. lat., lib. vi, 12, says that the Terminalia were festivals of the last days of the year, because the twelfth month was February, of which the last five days were taken in the leap-year to help form an intercalary month. See Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. i, who here accuses Censorinus of error. In B.C. 450 February came after July. Del Mar’s “The Worship of Augustus Cæsar.”

[For a complete discussion, see Smith’s Dictionary: Terminalia. — Elf.Ed.]

68  Festivals celebrated on the 24th of February in memory of the flight of King Tarquin, pro regus fuga. (Ovid Fasti, lib. III.)

69  L. Festus. This excess was one day a year.

70  Sed horum (pontificum maximum). On this reform of Cæsar, see Dion Cassius, lib. xliii; Appian. De Bell. civil., II; Suetonius, Cæs., 40; Ovid Fasti, iii; Pliny, xviii, c. 25; Plutarch, in Cæsar; Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 14; and Solinus, c. 3; who speak of it, though not very explicitly. Consult also Joseph Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. iv.

 71  Suetonius, in Julius Cæsar, 40.

 72  The arrangement of two intercalary months between November and December was merely temporary and was abolished by Augustus.

 73  Faceretque eum annum dierum CCCCXXXXV. Macrobius, Saturn., lib. i, c. 14, says that this year was of 443 days. Lindenbrog thinks it should read 444 and he refers to Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. iv, who here differs from Censorinus. The latter thinks that the intercalary month had in this year an odd number of days, while Scaliger supposes the number to have been even.

 74  Ut Januario . . . bini accederent. See Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 10.

 75  Ne scilicet religiones . . . a loco summoverentur. See the commentary on this passage in Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 14.

 76  Nunc cum in septem mensibus dies singuli et triceni sunt. This passage is elucidated by the following verses of Ausonius:

Implent tricenas per singula menstrua luces
Junius, aprilisque, et cum septembre, november.
Unum ter denis cumulatius adde diebus
Per septem menses, Jani, martisque kalendis,
Et quas maius agit, quas Julius, augustusque,
Et quas october, positusque in fine december.
Unus erit tantum duodetriginta dierum,
Quem Numa præposito voluit succedere Jano.
Sic tercentenis deceis accedere senos,
Quadrantemque, et quinque dies, sibi computat annus.

 77  Quatuor tamen illi . . . eo dinoscuntur quod. See Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 12, 13, 14. These months are March, May, July and October.

 78  Cœteri quintanas. We read in the manuscript of Cologne: Cœteri tres quintanas.

 79  Quod nunc Bissextum vocatur. See Augustine, De Trin., iv, c. 4; Macrobius, Saturn., I, c. 14,/a>; Ammianus Marcellinus, xxvi.

80  Qui, etiam si non optime. Lindenbrog thinks with some reason that this passage has been altered.

 81  Quantum poterat idem. Neither does this passage seem exempt from alteration. We read in some editions: Quantum iidem postea fuerunt; in others, quantum postea; and in still others, quantum postea idem fuerunt correcti.

 82  From this passage it is to be inferred that no Anno Mundi was employed in either Greece or Rome down to the period of Censorinus.

 83  Primum tempus. . . . non potest comprehendi. See Aristotle, Phys., VIII, c. 1.

 84  Sed tamen ad mille circiter et IC (sexcentos) annos esse creditur. Lindenbrog, who regards this passage as having been altered, nevertheless has, out of respect for the manuscripts, changed nothing. Censorinus counts 800 years from the deluge of Ogyges to the first Olympiad, while Africanus and other non-pagan authors, cited by Eusebius, Præparat. evangel, lib. x, count 1020. In the text the number CCCC was changed, and read by Scaliger as CICC

 85  Ad Olympiadem primam. The first Olympian games, pentæteries, were instituted by Jasius, B.C. 1406. But they ceased to be celebrated, and it was Iphitus, a contemporary of Lycurgus, who according to Solinus, revived them, B.C. 884 or B.C. 828. The four-year Olympiads are assigned to Chorœbus, B.C. 776; but it is doubtful if an “olympiad” meant other than five years until the Augustan age. Consult Del Mar’s “The Worship of Augustus Cæsar,” pp. 35, 115.

 86  Varro discussit; et pro cœtera sua sagacitate. Cicero eulogises Varro: “Thou hast made clearly known to thy country its antiquity, its chronology, the rights of religion and of the priests, the administration of the interior, the military organization, the names, the species, the functions, and the causes of all divine and human things.” Academics, lib. I, c. 3. But for all this, Varro’s chronology is false and misleading. The Italian ecclesiastics have made very liberal use of Varro, or rather what they attribute to Varro. Here is what Varro himself said: “There are many truths which it is useless for the vulgar to know and many falsehoods which it is better that they should believe to be true.” Vulgus vult decipi, decipiatur!

 87  Ulpii et Pontiani consulatus. “This consulate,” says Tillemont. Hist. des Emp. III, 107, “is one of the fixed epochs upon which Christian chronology is founded, on account of the many dates which occur in the Die Natale of Censorinus written in the last months of this year.” But there is some difficulty in the names of the consuls, and there are good reasons to think that the first should rather have been named Pius, whilst in Censorinus we read Ul-pius. This might have been some relative of the Emperor Balbinus, because Cœlus Balbinus, consul in 137, bore the surname of Pius. Onuphrius who preferred to call him Ulpius, pretends that it was Ulpius Crinitus famous under Valerian. By some writers the second consul is named Proculus, instead of Pontianus, which made Onuphrius think he was called Proculus Pontianus. This consulate is fixed in A.D. 238.

 88  A Roma autem condita. There is amongst authors a notable difference of opinion on the time which passed from the first four-year olympiad until the foundation of Rome. Compare Dion. Hal., Antiq. lib. i, and Solinus, c. 2. The two authors mostly relied upon are Cato and Varro. Cato and those who have followed him, as Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Solinus, pretend that Rome was founded in the first year of the seventh four-year Olympiad. Varro and those who have taken him for guide, as Pomponius Atticus, Velleius Paterculus and Censorinus, place the foundation of Rome in the third year of the sixth four-year Olympiad. Ennius, Timæus, Cicero and other ancient authors fix the foundation of Rome in the equivalent of B.C. 816, the same as that of Carthage, which latter, however, some authors fix in the equivalent of B.C. 814. See “The Worship of Augustus Cæsar,” by Del Mar. as to the celebration of the first Palilies, or Parilies, see Joseph Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. v. This anniversary has recently been revived.

 89  Anni Augustorum. The years of this æra are also called anni augustani, as is to be seen at the end of the following chapter.

90  Nabonazaru. See for the æra of Nabonazaru, or Nabonassar, Scaliger, De emend. temp., lib. v, and “The Worship of Augustus,” p. 118.

 91  Quorum hic ICCCCLXXXVI. From the first four-year Olympiad, B.C. 776, to the æra of Nabonazaru, B.C. 718, there are twenty-eight years.

 92  Ab excessu Alexandri Magni. Alexander died B.C. 323. “The Worship of Augustus,”, p. 152.

 93  Quo tempore solet Canicula in Ægypto facere exortum. See Scaliger, De emendat. temp., lib. iii.

 94  A novo sole, id ist, a bruma. See Varro, De ling. lat., lib. vi, 28; Ovid Fast., lib. i; and Servius on a similar pasage in the seventh book of the Æneid: vel cum sole novo. Bruma, Brumalia, or Brumess, was the middle day (messo) of the ten months’ year, when the year began at Lammas, or August 1st; hence the day of the winter solstice. It afterwards became the New Year day and remains so yet.

 95  Mensum genera. Mensum is here put for mensium. It also reads lower down, Nomina quædam mensum immutarunt; and in chapter IX, alterum septem mensum alterum decem. Ovid has the same expression.

Nec tu dux mensum, Jane biformis, eras. (Fast. V, 424.)

Among the ancients the lunar months were of three kinds: The first is sidereal or the time which the moon takes to return to the same position with respect to the stars, from which it started. Pliny, I, 6, (8,) and Chalcidius, Comm. in Tim., assigns to this space of time, 27⅓ days. Cleomedes, Meteor., I, ch. 3, says 27½ days; Aulus Gellius (III, 10), and Macrobius, Somn. Scip., I, 6, give 28 days; Vitruvius, lib. ix, 4, says 28 days and a little more than one hour; while Martianus Capella, lib. viii, says 27⅔ days. The second is synodical, or the time which passes between the meeting of the moon with the sun and the following conjunction; a space of time which Censorinus in this chapter calls 29½ days; while Geminus says 29½ and 1-33 days; and Pliny, I, 9, and Cassiodorus, II, says 30 days. The lunar month called “phasis’ is that which commences the second day of the conjunction of the moon with the sun, and lasts until the former entirely disappears.

 96  Fulvius Flaccus.

 97  Junius Gracchanus, or Gracchus. See Varro (De ling. lat.); Macrobius (Saturn., I, 12); Solin., 3; Ovid Fast., I.

 98  Varro, De lingua latina, VI, 33.

 99  Lupercalibus. See for these fêtes Dion. Hal., I [also see Dion. Hal., I, 80]; Plutarch, in Numa and in Cæsar; Ovid Fast., II; Justin. Histor. XLIII and Macrobius, Saturn., I, 16.

[For a complete discussion, see Smith’s Dictionary: Lupercalia. — Elf.Ed.]

  100  Qui quintiles fuit, Julius cognominatus est. See Dion Cassius, XLIV; Appian, II; Macrobius, I, 12; Plutarch, in Numa; Augustine, De doctrina Christ., II, 21; and Del Mar’s “The Worship of Augustus Cæsar.”

  101  Qui . . . sextiles fuerat, ex S. C. . . dictus est Augustus. This senatus-consultum has been preserved by Macrobius, I, 12. See Dion Cassius, LV; Plutarch, in Numa; and Suetonius, Aug. 31.

  102  Multi principes nomina quædam mensum mutaverunt. Nero, according to Suetonius, wished that April should be called Neroneus mensis (the Neronian month). Domitian gave his name to the month of October; see Martial Epig., IX, ep. 2; Eusebius, Chron., I; and Plutarch, in Numa. Commodus changed the names of all the months, according to Suidas, Lampridius, Dion Cassius and Herodian. So did Charlemagne; but inveterate custom overcame them all and the names of the months to-day remain what they were two thousand years ago. Four of them bear the numerical names given to them by the Republic, while the remaining eight bear the names of pagan gods. Not one of them has a Christian name.

[Bill adds, “The emperor Tiberius, a man with a good deal of common sense, and no tolerance for flattery whatever his faults may have been, on this whole subject:” Cassius Dio adds, ‘The senate urged upon Tiberius the request that the month of November, on the sixteenth day of which he had been born, should be called Tiberius: “What will you do, then, if there are thirteen Caesars?” ’ — Elf.Ed.]

  103  Naturalis dies est tempus. See Geminus, p. 79.

  104  Babylonii quidem a solis exortu, ad exortum ejusdem astri. “Varro has also transmitted to us the Babylonian manner of counting days. He (they) called a day the interval of time comprised between one rising of the sun and another.” Aulus Gellius, L., iii, 2. See also Pliny, L., ii, 79; Macrobius, Saturn., L., i, 3; Isidore, Orig., L., v, 30 and Bede, De temp. rat., 3.

  105  In Umbria plerique a meridie a meridiem. “The Umbrians,” says Varro, cited by Aulus Gellius, L, iii, 2, “generally took for a day the time which passed from one noon to the other. But,” adds he, “such an usage was absurd. After this manner of counting, if an infant was born in Umbria at the epoch of its calends, its day of birth would have been half in the calends and half in the day which followed.” Such instances were rare and the practice was no more absurd than any other division of the day.

  106  Athenienses autem ab occasu solis ad occasum. See Varro, as cited by Macrobius, Saturn., lib. i, 3; and Pliny, lib. ii, 79. It was also a custom of the Jews, Gen., I, and the nomad peoples of Libya, (Stob. Serm., 165,) as well as of the Gauls; (Cæsar, De Bell. Gall., VI,) and of the Germans, (Tacit., Ger.)

  107  Romani a media nocte. Besides the authors cited above, see Plutarch, Quaest. rom., 84.

  108  Indicio sunt sacra publica, et auspicia etiam magistratuum. See the end of the following note.

  109  Idem significat (a media nocte ad mediam noctem diem esse), quod, qui a media nocte ad proximam mediam noctum . . . nascuntur, eumdem diem habent natalem. Says Aulus Gellius, lib. iii, 2: “This question has often been argued. When an infant is born during the night, at the third, at the fourth, or at any other hour, what day should be regarded as the day of its birth? Should it be that which preceded the night on which it was born, or that which followed? Here is what Marcus Varro says in his treatise on Human Things in the book entitled Days: ‘All children born in the interval of 24 hours between the middle of one night and the middle of the following, are considered as having been born on the same day.’ ” In other words, Varro decided that a child born after the setting of the sun but before midnight, should have for its natal day that one which preceded this night; but if he was born during the last six hours of the night, his birthday should be placed in the following day. . . This division of the day (at midnight) is corroborated by other circumstances. Sacrifices offered after the sixth hour of the night belonged to the next day. When a public act had to be executed on the same day that the auspices were taken, the latter were taken after midnight. The Tribunes of the People could not lawfully absent themselves from Rome for a while day, yet they sometimes left the city after midnight; taking care to return between candle-light and the next midnight. Quintius Musius decided a divorce case on the point that the new year began at midnight of December 31st. See also Macrobius, lib. I, 3.

  110  In horas duodecim divisum esse diem. See Cœlius Rhodiginus, Antiq. lect., lib. xii, 19; Gregorio Giraldi, De ann. et mens., and Joseph Scaliger, lib. i.

  111  By Papirius Cursor, A.U. 461. (Pliny, Nat. Hist., VII, 60.)

  112  M. Valerius Messala, A.U. 491. This dial came from Catania, in Sicily. (Pliny, ibid.)

  113  Pliny names him, with perhaps more reason, Q. Marcius Philippus.

  114  The first inventor of a water-clock was Ctesibius, according to Vitruvius (ix, c. 9); also see Pliny, ii, 78; I, vii, 60.

  115  Solarium cœptum vocari. Solarium is a happy correction of the best editors of Censorinus. It formerly read horarium.

  116  Horarum nomen non minus annos CCC Romæ ignoratum. The distinction of the hours between them was anciently made by the prætor. “Prætorem accensum solitum esse jubere, ubi ei videbatur, horam esse tertiam, inclamare esse tertiam, itemque meridiem, et horam nonam.” Varro, ex Cosconio.

  117  Meridies is from medius dies. Varro, I, 5. It is still medio dia in Spanish.

  118  Dicitur, vigilia prima, item secunda. This division of time into watches was used among the Jews. Judges, VII; Psalms, XC, 4; Matt., XIV, 25; Luke, XII, 38, as well as among the Romans. (Veget. De re milit., iii, 8.) See Juste-Lipse [Justus Lipsius], De milit. rom., V.

  119  Aliis subnotata. These words seem to us obscure; we have read alias. Incipiam a nocte media, quod tempus principium et postremum est diei romani. Varro, De ling. lat., vi, 4-7; Servius, ad Æneid, ii; Macrobius, Saturn., i, 3; Isidore, Orig., v, 30, 31; and Bede. De rat. temp., 5, have also spoken of these different denominations of the day and night.

  120  Vocatur de media nocte. Macrobius, Saturn., i, 3; calls this moment mediœ noctis inclinatio.

  121  Gallicinium. Says Pliny, x, 21: “Next after the peacock, the animal that acts as our watchman by night, and which Nature has produced for the purpose of arousing mortals to their labours, and dispelling their slumbers, is the one that shows itself most actuated by feelings of vanity. The cock knows how to distinguish the stars, and marks the different periods of the day, every three hours, by his note. These animals go to roost with the setting of the sun, and at the fourth watch of the camp recall man to his cares and toils. They do not allow the rising of the sun to creep upon us unawares, but by their note proclaim the coming day, and they prelude their crowing by clapping their sides with their wings. They exercise a rigorous way over the other birds of their kind, and, in every place where they are kept, hold supreme command. This, however, is only obtained after repeated battles among themselves, as they are well aware that they have weapons on their legs, produced for that very purpose, as it were, and the contest often ends in the death of both the combatants at the same moment. If, on the other hand, one of them obtains the mastery, he instantly by his note proclaims himself the conqueror, and testifies by his crowing that he has been victorious; while his conquered opponent silently slinks away, and though with very bad grace, submits to servitude. With equal pride does the bully of the poultry yard strut along, with head uplifted and crest erect. These too, are the only ones among the winged race that repeatedly look up to the heavens. The tail, which in its drooping shape resembles that of a sickle, is raised aloft: so that these birds inspire terror even in the lion, the most powerful of animals.”

  122  Post hoc ad meridiem. Macrobius is more explicit; he names this same moment á mané ad meridiem, from the morning to noon.

  123  Sol. occasus. suprema. It is thus that Aulus Gellius, xvii, 2, cites this expression of the Twelve Tables. But Varro, De ling. lat., vi, 5; Festus, voc. “Supremum;” and Macrobius, Saturn., i, 3, have written solis occasus.

  124  Plautus, Amphitr., Act. I, sc. 1.

  125  See also Horace, Odes, lib., II, ode 9.

  126  Virgil, Eclog., VIII and X.

  127  Antiqui prima face dicebant. Aulus Gellius, who was born during the reign of Hadrian, uses this expression: Post primam facem, lib. iii, 2.

  128  Exinde intempesta (nox). See Servius, ad. vers. Æneid.

  129  The abrupt ending of Censorinus’ work adds to the suspicion created by its appearance in several preceding passages, that it has been both altered and cut. It is also to be remarked that beside Varro and the poets, but few books are quoted, though many are cited, by the writer. This fact was doubtless due to the general destruction of Roman works ordered by Augustus, in order to maintain uncontradicted his pretensions to be the long expected Son of God, who was to bring peace and a Halcyon Age to the Roman world: a subject which is treated at length in Mr. Del Mar’s opus magnus, referred to in previous notes.

[For another explanation for the abrupt ending, see Censorinus, in Latin, at Bill Thayer’s site, where the editor states says “deest epilogus” (an epilogue is missing). — Elf.Ed.]


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