KALENDARIUM SVR

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KALENDARIUM SVR

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:24 pm

Salvete, Amici Omnes -

This issue keeps needling me, so I will raise it, but if it has been settled elsewhere, please let me know.

I was re-reading a very interesting old Forum thread, "Happy Newyear",

link

with a general discussion of Roman dates, dating, and calendars.

I want to ask the membership if we want to adopt or acknowledge our Society's relationship to Roman dating - ie, how should we here date things AUC? The thread I mentioned points out that the Romans themselves had various calendars, that not even the Sidereal is reliably fixed relative then and now, and so on.

It seems unimportant, perhaps, but then - on what day do we observe Natalis Urbs? April 21st, Gregorian? Or on May 4th or whatever will be current for Julian? Marius and others have expressed a basic interest in connecting us more to Romanitas in terms of dates and observances, but the confusion of dates is irksome, at least to me.

In the Senatusconsulta and Edicta dates are given, and I have assumed that these are just the common Gregorian month & day, with the AUC year used that lasts for the greater part of the common Gregorian year. I think Horatianus would remind us that that's not really correct, yet it is so convenient for us.

So how should we do it? How do other groups do it? Quid censitis, sodales?

Valete.
Last edited by Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Our Roman Year

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:26 pm

Salve, Iohanne Curator, et Salvete omnes...

This subject can be considered from several angles. I think the key question might be: What will feel most Roman to us while still being comprehensible to visitors and guests?

For our acta (edicta, decreta et Senatusconsulta), I think what we've got in-place is working adequately; modern day and month notation, and the AUC year being whatever it would be for most of the year. It's not hard to figure out, and doesn't take too long to explain. But when I was a solo Roman, the only Roman I knew besides my converts, I thought myself a purist for holding to 21 April as my "Roman New Year". I've been exposed to a lot of alternate, and reasonable, practices since then, each with its roots in antiquity. I've become pretty flexible on the subject of "Roman New Year". The ancients themselves kept changing it; as long as we use something they used, it satifies the Romanitas requirement as far as I'm concerned.

So far I've seen three strong candidates for "Roman New Year":
- Kalends of Ianuarius (1 Ian), the beginning of the Consular year
- Kalends of March, the beginning of the old Roman year, the agricultural year, and the war-fighting season
- 21 April, the anniversary date of the foundation of Rome, which is what "Ab Urbe condita" (from the foundation of the City) actually means.

Strictly speaking, then, a date AUC should be counted from 21 April. And Nova Roma, in its earliest years, did exactly this. But it was also itself launched on 1 March, quite on purpose, so they were aware of that date as well. They have since adopted the Consular year, beginning on 1 Ian when the Consuls are sworn in. So basically NR's been all over the map on this question themselves. Any of the three could work. But as evidenced by the switch, and by our own unspoken practice, Kal. Ian. seems to be the most intuitive.

What does *not* work is any attempt at sidereal dating. I know exactly one person who understands it, and even he cannot tell me what modern date any given Roman date might be falling on this year. So...short of calculating it from scratch and then keeping an astronomer on staff, there's not much chance this knowledge can be made useful to us, and no hope whatsoever of explaining it to the newbies.

For ease of use, then, and for compatibility with what at least one other, large Roman group is doing, I'd go with the Kalends of Ianuarius. It has ancient precedent, and it's what people tend to assume unless they've been taught otherwise. But, since we don't have Consuls, we can't really date things "In the Consulship of Q Valerius Poplicola and P Nonius Severus" vel simile, which is how you'd actually write out a Consular year. If that bothers us, the other dates can also work, and don't require too much explaining.

Now for why we're having this discussion:

In recent years there has been much talk about simplicity vs authenticity in noster Societas. This debate is part of that landscape. We're not big enough to support a Roman state and religious structure; neither are we so inclined. Simplicity has won hands-down every time.

But there has also been an acknowledgement, most prominently in the Comitia-->Masterfully Comprehensive Plan topic, that in the process of streamlining this organisation into something we actually have the numbers to support, we have lost something. Call it flavor, call it authenticity, call it a Roman "feel" or atmosphere...but we have noticed its absence. Right now there is nothing to differentiate us from any other Roman-themed Web site with attached forum. I for one find this distressing. Newcomers who thought they'd be getting "Nova Roma Lite" find it disorienting. And people who have never known us except in our stripped-down present state must wonder why we go through the trouble of having memberships, censuses and elections.

There's not much we can do about replicating the magistracies except maybe *calling* them magistracies and giving each Curator a title to fit. But we can become more authentic in another sense. On the Web site itself, in the Collegium Religionem, is a Roman calendar. This was written by M Horatius Piscinus, back when we had a Pontifex Maximus and he was it. It is divided into months; click on the month (the link above will take you to the index) and you will get the historical and/or sacred significance of every special date, and Roman quotes for all the rest. I have used this in determining the best days for various undertakings--most notably my surgery, which I rescheduled because the original date was the anniversary of the Vesuvius eruption. It's not that I am superstitious; but an ancient Roman would have been thinking about the same thing before he began any ventures, and the practice just puts me in touch with the Ancestor-spirits.

And so, in setting the dates for elections and censuses, I've encouraged the Curia to check the calendar or consult with Piscinus. It's the only thing we do anymore besides Comitia debates that actually *makes* me feel Roman. I really like being able to experience moving through the Roman year. We could use a little more of that. And if establishing an official date for New Year or tying our major events to the Roman calendar will help, I'm all for it.


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Re: Our Roman Year

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:25 am

Ave, Marii -

Good consideration, and thanks. Hopefully we will hear from others as to whether this is an issue for them at all, and what they'd prefer doing. Right now, I'm going to carve up your response and use it as a checklist for discussion - so excuse the paraphrasing:


What does *not* work is any attempt at sidereal dating.

Good, let's leave that out.

The ancients themselves kept changing it; as long as we use something they used, it satifies the Romanitas requirement as far as I'm concerned.

Which is good, it gives us flexibility in our choice.

So far I've seen three strong candidates for "Roman New Year":
- Kalends of Ianuarius (1 Ian), the beginning of the Consular year
- Kalends of March, the beginning of the old Roman year, the agricultural year, and the war-fighting season
- 21 April, the anniversary date of the foundation of Rome, which is what "Ab Urbe condita" (from the foundation of the City) actually means.

I had forgotten about the Consular year. But, you know, even in the absence of Consuls here, there's no reason we can't use that start date. We can't date things by consular names, but we can recall that the Ancient State had its consuls.

Aldus Marius wrote:What will feel most Roman to us while still being comprehensible to visitors and guests? ... ...what we've got in-place is working adequately; modern day and month notation, and the AUC year being whatever it would be for most of the year. It's not hard to figure out, and doesn't take too long to explain.

I agree.

... simplicity vs authenticity in noster Societas. ... Simplicity has won hands-down every time. ... But there has also been an acknowledgement, [that] we have lost something. Call it flavor, call it authenticity....

I think we can't simply "be authentic" -- even Roma ipsa couldn't stay herself, but had change forced upon her continually; but we could make things "evocative" of Roman times -- which I think is basically what you and others are driving at. Use the Ancient Calendar, remember it, remember Roma mater, and that, interacting with our RL lives and identities and world, will shape our Sodality.

I have used this [the Site's online calendar] in determining the best days for various undertakings ... ...in setting the dates for elections and censuses, I've encouraged the Curia to check the calendar or consult with Piscinus. ... I really like being able to experience moving through the Roman year. We could use a little more of that. And if establishing an official date for New Year or tying our major events to the Roman calendar will help, I'm all for it.

Actively using the Calendar is not something I have been doing. So I myself really need to get into the Calendar more and more. Yet to me the Roman calendar in its ancient form -- and I beg Horatianus, if you're reading this as I hope you are, to have patience with this barbarian Curator! -- sometimes the Calendar appears as a thicket of taboos, technicalities and show-stoppers; it doesn't seem practical to try to adhere to it in any depth. This might turn out to be a hindrance for us, working against simplicity.

If indeed we were going to try to observe and closely adhere to the Ancient Calendar, then I think we would need someone whose office, while not a religious one, would be to watch the calendar for the rest of us, announce the upcoming Fas and Nefas and so on, and as needed raise questions with us or with Piscinus Horatianus, as appropriate. But that would be another office to fill....


For ease of use, then, and for compatibility with what at least one other, large Roman group is doing, I'd go with the Kalends of Ianuarius. It has ancient precedent, and it's what people tend to assume unless they've been taught otherwise.


Again, this sounds good to me. Taking the lead from your thoughts, I would expect us:
    To run our official calendar (as we do) on a "Consular" year;
    to align that year with the common-use Gregorian dates,
    thereby keeping it simple and comprehensible,

but then
    to bring up major dates, major prohibitions, from the Ancient Calendar,
    to remember that heritage, to learn it better (especially for "lite Romans" of my ilk), and
    to add back some Ancient "flavor" to our workings.
Sodales omnes, Curiales, alteri duo Curatores, please chime in on this. What about it? If we keep the current setup, what elements of the Ancient Calendar should we focus on observing?

Valete omnes.
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Re: Our Roman Year

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:54 pm

Salvete Mari et Iohane,

I find myself agreeing with everything you've posted Iohane, in particular the following:

Valerius Claudius Iohanes wrote:Taking the lead from your thoughts, I would expect us:
    To run our official calendar (as we do) on a "Consular" year;
    to align that year with the common-use Gregorian dates,
    thereby keeping it simple and comprehensible,

but then
    to bring up major dates, major prohibitions, from the Ancient Calendar,
    to remember that heritage, to learn it better (especially for "lite Romans" of my ilk), and
    to add back some Ancient "flavor" to our workings.


That seems like a good way to keep track of time for me.

As for what we would keep track of, I'm part of a mailing list that has a feature called "On this day in history". It features significant political events, battles, publishings of work, discoveries/inventions, ... I wouldn't mind seeing the same thing here.

Valete bene,
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Famous Dates

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:28 pm

Salve, mi Tiberi, et Salvete omnes!

Piscinus does have some historical dates noted on the site's Religio calendar; but I wouldn't mind seeing them here.

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:03 pm

Salvete

Currently I make daily posts on different Yahoo lists - two in Nova Roma and two elsewhere - in which I explain some of the religious significance of the dates, historical information - mostly about battles, excerpts from Livy or Ovid or any number of Roman authors, and Always end with a thought of the day drawn (usually) from a philosopher. Stoics or Epicurus mostly.

So, for today:
Hodie est ante diem IX Kalendas Martias; haec dies fastus est: Feralia

I had a passage from Livy, 44.37.5-9 on the eclipse of the moon on the eve of the battle of Pydna (because I was outside last night watching the eclipse of the moon). I had a little article on Feralia using quotes from Ovid, Varro, Aufustius and Festus. Then I ended with :

Our thought for today comes from Epicurus, Vatican Saying 6:

"It is impossible for a man who secretly violates the terms of the agreement not to harm or be harmed to feel confident that he will remain undiscovered, even if he has already escaped."

This is a lot more work than people may think, coming up with a post each day. Just hunting down information takes me a while, and I know fairly well what I am seeking.


If SVR needs someone to handle a calendar, I guess I am the person to ask, or fill an office. Certain people in Nova Roma have tried to make something of my former title as Pontifex Maximus in SVR. At this point I would like the title back. I even have a purple toga picked out to wear for public occasions. But be certain what you are looking for before I have to go through this all again.

I think you need to continue to use the Gregorian calendar, as no one will much understand anything else. You can use Roman annotation, as with today being a. d. IX kalendas Martias, or 9 days (by Roman reckoning) before 1 March. Personally I prefer to use the Julian calendar for religious purposes. The Julian Calendar runs 13 days behind the Gregorian (at present) so that today, being 21 February Gregorian, is 8 Feb. Julian. Then for matters of dies nefasti or dies fasti, although you would show the civil date as Gregorian, the Julian reckoning would be used to determine what holiday it is, and thus also the type of day.

Thus May 4 would be annotated as ante diem IIII Nonas Maias: haec dies nefastus est: Parilia.

Althoough it might seem odd at first to celebrate Parilia on 4 May instead of 21 April, over the course of a year, the Julian calendar will feel more natural as Roman festivals related to the agricultural cycle and to the seasons work more naturally with a calendar based on stellar and lunar cycles than the artificial cycle of Christian saints that the Gregory calendar used to regulate church events. Strange things begin to happen, like Roman holidays falling on the same days as Jewish and Muslim religious calendars, not to mention the Christian holidays based on the Julian calendar, as these other religious calendars also rely on the lunar cycles. It taks me only about a half hour, once a year, to calculate out an adjusted calendar based on the lunar cycles - so what I use personanly is not quite the Julian calendar either, but close. I base my monthly calculation on the full moon as the ides of each month, and adjust accordingly. So I can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. The more complicated, the more difficult you may find in replacing your calendar keeper.

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Moravius Piscinus Semper Vigilans

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:47 pm

Salvete, Marce Moravii Piscine Horatiane, Sodalibusque Omnes -

Semper gratum te audire. I read your posts on the NR main list and I don't doubt for a minute that supplying them is a big hit on your time. I'm always amazed at your wealth and depth of knowledge -- and your consistent devotion. Tibi ago gratias pro claram vocem tuam.

Yes, you're right - What do we want? That is, how Roman do we want to be in the kalendar department? Given our "real lives", would we be able to care whether a day were fas, nefas, comitialis or whatever? As the Societas Via Romana, we feel the need to incorporate this, but to what degree and with what focus?

In any event, re the work you do in your daily posts on NR, could we ask you to share those posts with us also? I expect we should establish a specific thread, either here on in the General Forum, to receive them. If you agree, tell us how we may help you or lighten the burden of it.

However we work out the answer to my previous question, I find your posts are pretty much priceless. They're priceless for their historical anecdotes alone, but the conscientious calendaring and the good sense of the daily quotes make them all the more so.

I envision us having in the Fora a central calendaring thread. Whether we individual sodales or socii adhere to it strictly or not is beside the point, but it would function for us as something like a public clock tower, preeminent, unifying, edifying.

Valete.
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My vote...

Postby Aldus Marius on Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:55 pm

Salvete, amici Romani!

I vote for the General section; Sodales and visiting Romans alike need to know that we do this, it would say good things about the direction we're headed.

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"Fasti" at Yahoo

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:38 pm

Salvete -

Video Yahuensem Manum Interretialem nomine "Fasti", quae mittit notitias Romani breves kalendarii suos ad sodales. Esset haec negotium tuum, Horatii Piscine?

I see a Yahoo Internet Group by the name of "Fasti", which sends short notices of the Roman Kalendar to its members. Would this be a project of yours, Horatius Piscinus?

Inquirens, Iohannes.
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Recon

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:41 am

Salve, Iohanne Curator!

I just joined; there's no memberlist, so I can't tell who the moderators are, but their "associated link" is from University of Chicago, the same folks that brought us Bill Thayer's Lacus Curtius site, where we got our info about the Feriae Latinae, among other things.

The Fasti List is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fasti/ . There are daily, monthly, and nundinal announcements. You can tell your boss you're supposed to be off that day, 'cause in your culture it's the weekend! >({|:-)

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Postby Marcus Lupinius Paulus on Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:07 am

I'm coming in late tothis, Iknow. But I personally am OK with whatever calendaryou adopt. As for whether or we should observe nefas, fas, et al.
how would this really affect us? Since SVR does not play being a country, it really does not seem like too much public business occurs.

As long as nothing prevents Marius from being able to seal with spammers!

So I guess my suggestion is to simply adopt a calendar for dating purposes, but to not worry about the particulars of each day.

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