The Julian Calendar

The Julian calendar was established by Julius Caesar in (what we now consider) the year 46 BC.

Its signifigance was in shifting the official calendar from lunar to solar in its basis, and in stabalizing the number of days in the calendar year (which could previously vary widely).

Note: I am using the modern names for the months, even though that is anachronistic in some cases.

The original

As originally established, the calendar had these characteristics:

Slightly changed

Shortly thereafter, the month numbering was altered.

There were months which had been renamed for Julius (July/Quintilis) and Augustus (Octavian) (August/Sextilis). In order to satisfy Augustus' view of himself, August needed to have as many days as July. So, a day was taken from February and the 30/31 cycle for the latter half of the year was changed.

In addition, the formal date of the Vernal Equinox was later fixed at the 21st of March. This happened in 325 with the Council at Nicea, as the Julian calendar had drifted 4 days by that time.

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Copyright 1997, Drew Lawson.
[Last updated: 16 June 1997]