The first Roman calendar
For thousands of years civilizations have covered time through the tracking of days, weeks, and years with calendars that followed phases of the moon, sun, and at times both. From the time of ancient Egypt to the Mesolithic people of Britain to the Chinese who did so by the aforementioned.
As Romans’ scientific knowledge and social structures changed over time, so did their calendar. The Romans tweaked their official calendar several times from the republic’s founding in 509 B.C. until its dissolution in 27 B.C.
The first iteration was a scant 10 months long and paid homage to what counted in early Roman society: agriculture and religious ritual. The 304-day calendar year began in March (Martius), named after the Roman god Mars. It continued until December, which was harvest time in temperate Rome.
The Romans linked each year to the date of the city’s founding. Thus, the modern year 753 B.C. was considered year one in ancient Rome.
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