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5712........ Oct.

1, 1951
5713........ Sept. 20, 1952
5714........ Sept. 1O, 1953
5715........ Sept. 28, 1954
5716........ Sept. 17, 1955
5717........ Sept. 6, 1956
5718........ Sept. 26, 1957
5719........ Sept. 15, 1958

The Roman calendar is presumed originally to have consisted of ten months, of a total of 304 days, beginning with
Martius and ending with December. Numa added January and February, bringing it up to 355 d., and ordered an
intercalary month every second year. The Romans counted backwards from three fixed points in the month: the calends,
the 1st; the ides, the 15th of March, May, July and October, and the 13th of other months; and the nones, the 8th day
before the ides. Thus the ides of March was March 15th; March 13th was the third day before the ides; March 7th was
the nones of March; while March 30th was the third day before the calends of April.

Abuse of power by the pontiffs and the many wars of conquest prior to the Christian era finally so disrupted the Roman
calendar that after his conquest of Egypt Julius Caesar brought to Rome a Greek astronomer, Sosigines, who with the
aid of Marcus Fabius accomplished the first great calendar reform, the Julian calendar, named after himself, which went
into effect through the civilized world in 45 B.C., and continued in use until 1582 A.D. These reforms consisted of the
following:

(1) The equinox was returned to March, by inserting two months between November and December of 46 B.C., creating
what was thereafter known as "the last year of confusion." (2) The lunar year and the intercalary month were abolished.
(3) The length of the mean solar year was fixed at 365.25 days, the length at which the ancients had figured it. (4) To
compensate for the accumulation of these fractions into a day every four years, the extra day was inserted at the end of
February, then the last month of the year, making it a "leap year" of 366 days. (5) Renamed Quintilis, the fifth month,
after himself, calling it Juli. (6) Evenly distributed the days among the months, 30 days to the even months, and 31 days
to the odd months, except February which had 30 days only in leap year. (7) Ordered it to take effect January 1, 45 B.C.
However, despite the fact that the Julian calendar went into effect on January 1st, the civil year continued to date from
March 25th.

The system was slightly disarranged by Augustus, who renamed Sextilis as August, but refusing to be honored by a
shorter month than Julius, ordered it increased to 31 days, reducing February to 28 days except on leap years. Hence, to
him we owe the irregular arrangement of the 30 and 3i day months, and the poem we moderns must recite in order to tell
which are which. He did, however, render one important service, not without its droll aspects, by suspending leap years
for some eleven years to correct a 3-day error which had progressively accumulated because the pontiffs had been
intercalating every third instead of every fourth year for some 36 years, and this error of from 1 to 3 days in the
chronology of the period has never been corrected.

Meanwhile the Equinox continued to retrograde. When Julius introduced his reform it fell on March 25th; by 325, the
Council at Nicea, it was the 21st; by 1570 it was the 11th. The Venerable Bede had called attention to it in the 8th
Century and John Holywood in the 13th. Roger Bacon finally wrote a thesis on calendar reform and sent it to the Pope;
and in 1474 Pope Sixtus IV summoned Regiomontanus to Rome to superintend a reconstruction of the calendar, but he
died with the task unfinished.