Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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October; so called because in this month, after the fruits of the year were gathered,
feasts were served up, the chief of which con.°:sted in boiled pulse [eaten in memory
•»f the food of Theseus on the last day of his voyage from Crete]. — 5. MaiiiaKTripiu'


Novemher; so called from Jupiter MaifiaKTrig, the boisterous, because in this month the
weather was very tempestuous. — 6. Uoaeiccdjv, December; in which month sacrifices
were offered to IloaeiSui; Neptune; as if it were called Neptu?ie's month. — 7. TaixriXniv,
Ja?iuary; which was sacred to Juno Fajj-fiXiog, the goddess of marriage. — 8. 'AvdecTri-
pi<ov, February; which took its name from the festival of the same name. — 9. 'EXa-
(prj/SoXtuv, March; so called from the festival 'E\a(pri/S6\ta, which was sacred to Diana
'EXaivPoXos, the Jni7itress, because this was the month for hunting stags. — 10. Mowv-
X£W)', April; in which sacrifices were offered to Diana Mowvxia, from the harbor of
this name, in which she had a temple. — 11. QapyriXiwv, May; in which month sacri-
fices were offered for the ripening of the earth's fruits. — 12. I-Kifj^ocbofjiorv, Ju7ie; so
called from a festival of the same name celebrated in this month in honor of i\ii-

nerva. Every month was divided into rpta dexntizpa, three decades of days. The

first of which was called /";«'0J dpxoiiivov or loTaiiivov, the decade of the beginning ; the
second, unvdi necovi/roi, the decade of the middle; and the third, m'?«'<'s (pOivopro^, or
navuiiivov, the decade of the end. The first day of the first decade was called vBoixrjvia,
because it happened on the new moon ; the second, SsvTipa laraixsvov, and so on to
SeKdTT] Icraixevov, the tenth day of the ino?iih. The first day of the second decade, or the
eleventh day, was called tpojttj hcgovvtos, the first of the middle, or ■npurr] i-\ ilKa, the
first after ten; the second, Sevrepa ixccovvr^i, and so on to the twentieth day idKas), or
the last day of the second decade. The first day of the third decade was called Trpurt]
iz' eiKtiSi, or n-pwr/j (pShovTog, and so on. The last day of the month was denominated
by Solon Ut) Koi via, the old and new, as one part of the day belonged to the old, and
the other to the new moon. But after the time of Demetrius Poliorcetes, the last day
of the month received from him the name of A'7A<'/"P'<if-" {Cleaveland.)

On the Attic months, cf. Classical Journal, ix 324, 559.— i. Ideler, cited P. V. § 7. 7. (c).

"J 191a. The Bomans are said to have had under Romulus only 10 months; but
Numa introduced the division into 12, according to that of the Greeks. — But as this
formed only a lunar year, a little more than 11 days short of the solar year, an extra-
ordinary month {mejisis intercalaris, called also Macedoiiius) was to be inserted every
other year. The intercalating of this and the whole care of dividing the year was en-
trusted to the Pontifices (P. III. "$* 228), and they managed, by inserting more or
fewer days, to make the current year longer or shorter as they for any reason might
choose ; and this finally caused the months to be transposed from their stated seasons,
so that the winter months were carried back into autumn, and the autumnal into sum
mer {Cic. Leg. ii. 12). Julius Caesar put an end to this disorder, by abohshing the in-
tercalation of months, and adopting a system which will be explained in speaking of
the year {% 192). — The names of the Roman months were the following ; Martins,
March, from Mars, the supposed father of Romulus, in whose arrangement of the
year this month was the first; Aprilis. derived by some from the verb aperio, the
month in which trees and flowers ope?i their buds ; Plains, May, from Maia, mother
of Mercury; Junius, June, from Juno; Quintilis, the fifth month, afterwards named
Julius, July, from Julius Caesar; Sextilis, sixth, afterwards Augustus, August, from
Augustus Caesar ; September, seventh month ; October, eighth ; November, ninth ; De-
cember, tenth ; Januarius, January, from Janus; Februarius, February, so called from
the purifications Ftbrua performed m this month (P. III. § 230), being the last of the

The ancient Greeks and Romans personified the Months and the Seasons as well as the Hours ,
a further account of these personifications is given in P. 11. $ 105.

In Plate IX. are representations of the Four Seasons, as sculptured on the Arch of Severus (cf. P. IV. § 188. 2).

% 191 b. The Romans divided the month into three parts by the points termed Ka-
lendcB or Calend<B, Nonce, and Idus. The Calends were always the 1st of the month;
the Nones were the 5th, and the Ides the 13th of each month, excepting March, May,
July, and October ; in which four months the Nones fell on the 7th, and the Ides on
the 15th day. In marking the days of the month, the Romans counted backwarus
from these three fixed points, including always the day from which the reckoning began ;
e. g. the last or thirty-first day of December was called the second from the Calends
of January, pridie [ante] ICalen-das Januarii; the last day but one or 30th of Decem-
ber, was called the third from or before the Calends of January, tertio [die ante] BmL
Jan.; and so on back to the 13th day, which was called Id^is; the 12th was pridie
Idus, and so on back to the 5th, which was the Nonce ; the 4th, by this plan of
reckoning, would be of course Pridie Nonas.

cf. La Kauze, Calendrier Romain, in the Mem. Acad- Inscr. vol. xxvi. p. 219.

A Roman Calendar, compiled from Ovid, Columella, and Pliny, which notes the rising and setting of the stars, the Roman ifen-
\als, &c, is given in Paidy's Encydopadie (cited P. III. § 13. 5) ; it may be seen in Smith's Diet, of Actiq. art. Calendar.See also
Foggini, as cited P. IV. 5 133. 6.

The ancient Greeks and Romans had no division properly answering to our weeks ; although
the former had their decade of days ($ 190); and the latter their vnndivts, or market days occur
ring every ninth day (P. III. J 229). But the Egyptians ai.d oriental nations had a week of sever
days. This division (Jtebdomades) was introduced among the Romans, it ia said, not far from 'hn



beginning of the third century after Christ. The days were named after the planets or pagan
gods: Dies Solis, Sunday; Luva, Monday; Martis, Tuesday; Mercurii, Wednesday; Jovis,
Thursday ; Veneris, Friday ; Sattirni, Saturday. It is worthy of notice tliat our names for the
days had a similar origin, as is seen by observing their Saxon derivation ; Sunnadag, Sun's day ;
MonandcBg, Moon's day ; Tiiesdcng, day of Tuisco (i. e. Mars) ; IVodensdag, day of Wodin or
Odin, a northern deity ; Thorsdag, day of Thor, a deity answering to Jupiier ; FrigdcEg, day of
Frigga, the Venus of tlie north ; Smterdceg, day of Saster or Sealer (i. e. Saturn, cf. P. II. $ 16. 2.)
§ 192. The year. This division was probably not formed until some considerable
advances had been made in astronomical science ; and it was long after its first adop-
tion before it attained to any thing like an accurate form. — The most ancient year of
which we know, was that consisting of 12 months supposed to contain 30 days each,
thus amounting to 360 days. It has been conjectured that this gave rise to the divi-
sion of the echptic into 3bO equal parts or degrees, which is still preserved. But it
was soon found that this fell short of the actual year, or the time of a revolution of the
earth ; and an addhion of 5 days was made, so that the year consisted of 365 days ;
this is ascribed to the Thebans. The Grecian year, however, as established by So-
lon and continued to the time of Meton and even after, consisted of 365 days and a

The mai/ner in which the Greeks made their compulation by the lunar months to agree with the solar year, has already been
eipla.ned (§ 1S9). Cf. Gibert, L'annee Grecque, in the Mmi. Acad. Inacr. vol. xxxv. p. 133.

The Jxoman year seems to have consisted of 365 days until the time of Jitlius
CiEsar. The method employed by the Romans of previous ages to adjust their com-
putation by lunar months to the solar year has also been mentioned (§ 191), and hke-
wise the confusion which resulted from it. This Caesar attempted to remedy (cf P.
V. § 528. 4). He instituted a year of 365 days 6 hours. To remove the error of 80
days, which computed time had gained of actual time, he ordered one year of 445
days (365 plus 80), which was called the Year of confusion. And to secure a proper
allowance for the 6 hours which had been disregarded, but which would amount in 4
years to a day, he directed that one additional day should be intercalated in the reckon-
ing of every 4th year; thus each 4th year would have 366 days, the others 365. — This
is called the Julian year. In the Roman calendar the intercalated day was placed after
the 6th isextus) of the Calends of March, and therefore called bissextus ; hence the
phrase bissextile year ^till in use.

But in this plan there was still an error. The day was intercalated too soon ; i. e. before a whole day had been gained ; because
compuleJ time, instead of gaining 6 hours a year, gained only 5 hours 4S m. 57 sec., and in four years would gain only 23 ft. 15 m.
4Ssec. ; so the intercalated day was inserted too soon by 4i minutes zni \2 secotids ; of course, computed time, by this p!an, lost
44 m. 12 sec. every four years, or 1 1 m. 3 sec. every year. In 131 years this makes a loss of computed time, of one day ; i. e. com-
puted time would be one day behind actual time. In A. D. 1582 this loss had amounted to ten days, and Pope Gregory 13th
attempted to remedy the evil by a new expedient. This was, to drop the intercalary day or the bisserlile, every lOOth year except-
'ii\Z each 400th year. By the Julian year, computed lime loses 11m. 3 jec. a year, which makes about 19 hours in 100 years; drop-
ping the intercalary day on the lOOth year makes up this loss of 19 hours, and gives also a gain of about 5 hours ; dropping it on the
nexl lOOth year gives another gain of 5 hours to computed lime ; so of the third lOOth year ; and in Ibis way compuled time gains
of actual time, in 300 years, 15 hours ; if on the next lOOlh year, i. e. the fourth, the intercalary day be inserted, computed time
loses for that century 19 hours; but to meet this loss, it had in the three preceding centuries gained 5 hours in each, and in all 15
hours, so that the loss is only (19—15) 4 hours at the end of 400 years. By this melhod the difference between computed and actual
lime cannot amount to a day in 2500 years. In this system, called the Gregorian Calendar, the years 1600, 2000, 2400 are inter-
calary; and the years 1700, ISOO, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300, &c., not.— The Gregorian year was immediately adopted in Sjiain, Portu-
gal, and Italy ; and during the same year in France ; in Catholic Germany, in 1583 ; in Protestant Germany and Denmark, in 1700;
in Sweden, 1753. In England it was adopted in 1752, by act of Parliament directing the 3d of September to be styled the I4th, as
computed lime had lost 1 1 days. This was called the change from Old to New Style.— Id 1832, Russia was said to be the only countrj
where the Julian year or the Old Style was used. It is, however, retained in the Greek and Armenian churches. (Miss. Herald, foi
Dec. 1S35, p. 454.)— On the Gregorian Calendar, see Ch. Clavius, Romani Calendarii a Gregorio XIII. P. M. restituti Explicalio.

Different nations have beeun the year at different seasons or months. The Romans at one time
considered it as beginning in Marcli, but afterwards in January. The Greeks placed its com-
mencement in Hecatombffion, at the summer solstice. The Christian clergy tised to begin it at
the 25th of March. The same was practiced in England and the American colonies until A. D. 1752,
on the change from Old to New Style, when the first of January was adopted.

"0 193. Cycles. In adjusting the different methods of corriputing time, or the division
of time into days, months, and years, great advantage is derived from the inven-
tion of Cycles. These are periods of time so denominated from the Greek kvk'aos, s
circle, because in their compass a certain revolution is completed. Under the term
cycle we may properly include the Grecian Olympiad, a period of 4 years ; the Octae-
teris, or period of 8 years; and the Roman Lustrum, a period of 5 years; and also thb
Julian year, or period of 4 years as just described. The period of 400 years, compre-
hended in the system of Gregory already explained, may justly be termed the cycle of
Lrregory. — Besides these, it seems important to mention the Lunar Cycle, the Solar
Cycle, the Cycle of Indiction, and the Julian Period.

See F. Nolan, as cited § 201.— B. Dodwell, de veteribus Gra;corum Romanorumque Cyclis, &c. Dissert, decern. Load. 1701. 4. —
Nichuhr, on the Secular Cycle, in his Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 209. ed. Phil. 1835.

"5> 194. The Lunar Cycle is a period of 19 years. Its object is to accommodate the
computation of time by the moon to the computation by the sun or adjust the solar
and lunar years. The nearest division of the year by months is into twelve; but twelve



^^ .-^iiiife.


lunations (which make the lunar j'ear) fall short of the solar year by about 11 days.
Of course, every change in the moon in any year will occur eleven days earlier than it
did on the preceding year; e. g. if in September of the present year full moon occurs
on the I6th, the corresponding full moon of the next year will occur on the 5th of Sep-
tember. — Hence every year the various changes in the moon fall back as calculated by
the days of the year. At the expiration of 19 years they occur again nearly at the
same time.

This Cycle was invented by Melon, an Athenian astronomer, who flourished about B. C. 430.
Mnny attempts had before been made to adjust the solar and lunar years (} 189), and this im-
provement was at the lime received with universal approbation ; but not being perfectly accu-
rate, it was afterwards corrected by Eudoxus, and subsequently by Calippus. The Cycle of
Meton was employed by the Greeks to settle the time of their festivals ; and the use of it was
discontinued when these festivals ceased to be celebrated. "The Council of Nice, however,
wishing to establish some method for adjusting the new and full moons to the course of the sun,
with a view of determining the time of Easier, adopted it as the best adapted for the purpose;
and from its great utility they caused the numbers of it to be written on the calendar in golden
letters, which has obtained for it the name of the Golden Number." The name of Oolden J^it?n-
ber is still applied lo the current year of the Lunar Cycle, and is always given in the Almanac.

§ 195. The Solar Cycle is a period of 28 years. Its use is to adjust the days of the
w^eek to the days of the month and the year. As the year consists of 52 weeks and
one day, h is plain that it must begin and end on the same day. Let the seven letters
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, represent the seven days of the week, A being always applied
to the first day of the year. Let January begin with Monday. Of course A will stand
for Monday, and Sunday coming on the 7th day will be represented by G, the 7th let-
ter. The year will end with Monday, as it began with it; and A, the next year, will
stand for Tuesday, and Sunday will be on the 6th day of the year, and be represented
by F. Thus the year will com.mence one day later every common year, and Sunday
will be represented successively by the letters taken in their retrograde order, G, F, E,
&c., and if 52 weeks and one day were the exact year, or there were no leap year, the
year would, after seven years, again begin on Monday, the same day wuh the first
year supposed. But the leap year, consisting of 52 weeks and two days, interrupts the
regular succession every fourth year, and the return to the same day of the week is
not effected until 4 times seven, i. e. 28 years.

This Cycle is employed particularly to furnish a rule for finding Sunday, or to ascertain the
Dominical Letter. Chronologers employ the first seven letters of the alphabet lo designate the
seven days of the week; and the Dominical Letter for any year is the letter which represeius
Sunday for that year. Tables are given for the purpose of finding it in chronological and astro-
nomical books.

§ 196. The Cycle of Indiction is a period of 15 years. The origin and primary use
of this has been the subject of various conjectures and discussions. It seems to have
been established by Constantine the Great, in the fourth century, as a period at the end
of which a certain tribute should be paid by the different provinces of the empire. Pub-
lic acts of the emperors were afterwards dated by the years of this cycle.

The cycle, which has been perhaps most celebrated, is that which is termed the
Julian Period, and was invented by Joseph Scaliger. Its object was to furnish a com-
mon language for chronologers, by terming a series of years, some term of which
should be fixed, and to which the various modes of reckoning years might be easily
applied. To accomplish this, he combined the three cycles of the moon, sun, and in-
diction, multiplying 19, 28 and 15 into one another, which produces 7980, after which
all the three cycles will return in the same order, every year taking again the same
number of each cycle as before. Taking the several cycles as settled in the Latin
church, and tracing them back, he found that the year when they would begin together
was the year 710 before the creation as now dated, and that the first year ol the Chris-
tian Era as now computed was 4714 of the Julian Period.

This invention would be of great importance if we had no acknowledged epoch, or fixed
year, from which to compute; but since we have such an epoch, it seems to be unnecessary,
its use is almost entirely superseded by the general adoption of the Christian era as a fi.\ed

II. — Of fixing the Dates of historical events and arranging them in order.

^ 197. To arrange events methodically in the order of their occurrence, and assign
the proper dates, is the second part of Chronology. In the consideration of this part
we shall notice the following topics ; (J) The methods employed to ascertain the dates
of events, or the time when they occurred ; (B) The epochs and eras which have been
employed or are still in use ; (C) The systems of arrangement, and chronological tables
and charts ; (V) The actual dates of the most prominent events in classical Chronology.

^ 198. {A) Methods employed to ascertain the dates of events, — Here we observe.


that the principal helps or sources are four. First, ^^e will notice that furnished by
observations on generalio7is of men or successio7is of Rings. — It has been supposed
that the average length of a king's reign, or of a generation of men, may be estimated
by comparing a sufficient number of facts. — When this average is taken, and we are
told by a writer how many generations hved, or how many kings reigned, between two
events, we can at once find the time between them ; and if the date of either event is
known, the date of the other will follow. This is the only Chronology of the earliest
writers, and is used in the Bible. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used it. Gene-
rally they reckoned a generation and a reign as of the same length ; three of them
equal to 100 years. Sir Isaac Newton employed this means of ascertaining dates, and
maintained that the average for reigns of kings is only 20 years ; and for generations,
29 or 30 years, if reckoned by eldest sons, and 33, if reckoned by others. On these
prmciples he attempted to rectify ancient chronology, giving to many events a date
more recent than other authors.

It may be desirable to give a further explanation of this method by two illnslratiovs. (a) The
date of the return of the HeraclidsE to Peloponnesus is disputed ; but the date of the Battle of
Tiiermopylce is settled, B. C. 480. Now between these two events there reigned at Sparta a suc-
cession of 17 kings; 17 multiplied by 20 gives 340 years between the events, making the return
of the Ileraclidae B. C. (480 plus 340) 820; a date 280 years later than as given by other chrono-
logers.— (6) The date of the Argonautic Expedition is disputed ; but the beginning of the Pelo-
pnnnesian War settled, B. C. 431. Now it is found, that Hippocrates, living at the beginning of
the Peloponnesian War, was descended the 18th from jEsculapius by father's side, and 19th from
Hercules by mother's side, and that .aSsculapius and Hercules were both Argonauts ; that is,
there were 17 generations in one line and 18 in another, between the two events. Taking the
medium IH and multiplying by 29 gives 567; making the date of the Argonautic Expedition,
B. C. (431 plus 567) 998 ; 326 later than by other chronologers.

But there are two grand objections to this method of ascertaining dates. First, the inaccuracy
and uncertainty of the average ; it cannot be very satisfactorily or exactly determined. Secondly,
the fact that ancient writers, in naming a succession of kings or giving a genealogy, often omit
several of the series. This is done in Matthew, ch. i., for the sake of reducing the number of
generations between the great epochs mentioned in the 17th verse, to exactly fourteen.

% 199. A seco?id help is found in celestial appearances and cha?tges. This method is
in general more safe and certain, as it depends on strict astronomical principles perfectly
settled. The appearances employed are eclipses and the precession of the equinoxes.

(a) Eclipses. The ancients were very superstitious as to eclipses. Many are re-
corded, and mentioned as happening at the same time with important events in history,
and described so that they may be recognized by the astronomer, who can calculate
with perfect accuracy the time of every eclipse that has happened.

We will give illustrations. Thucydides. in relating the attempt of the Athenians on the Syra-
cusans, says that Nicias, finding the Syracusans reinforced and himself in danger, determined
to sail out of the harbor of Syracuse; but when everything was ready for sailing, the moon was
eclipsed, for it was then full moon ; by this appearance the Athenian soldiers were filled with
alarm, and besought Nicias not to proceed ; and in consequence they almost to a man perished.
This event is generally supposed to have been about B. 0. 413. — Now it is found by calculation,
that the moon was full' at Syracuse the 27th day of August, B. C. 413, and that there must have
been a total eclipse there, visible from beginning to end, and likely to produce on the soldiers

the eifect which Thucydides mentions. The date of the era of Nabonassar, B. C. 747, is also

determined by a record of an eclipse of the moon in Ptolemy's Almagest (cf. P. V. $218).

In a similar way, Ferguson, in his Astronomy, proposes to fix the time of the birth of Christ. It is evident from Matthew il. 13-
15, 20, 21, that Christ was bom only some months before the death of Herod ; and from Josephus (B. xvii. ch. 8) we learn that there
was an eclipse of the moon at the time of Herod's last sickness ; astronomical calculation shows that the eclipse occurred March 13,
in the year 4710 of the Julian Period ; hence the birth of Christ could not have been later than about the close of the 4709tb of the
Julian Period. — The same author refers to the mention msde by Phlegon (cf. P. V. § 238) of a most extraordinary eclipse of the sun
as occurring in the 4th year of the 202d Olympiad, and would employ it as a help in determining the date of Christ's death ; since no
natural eclipse could occur the year specified, which corresponds, according to Ferguson, to the 4746th of the Julian Period, he thinks

the event mentioned by Phlegon v^'as the supernatural darkness that marked the Savior's crucifixion. In Playfair^s System ot

Chronology, cited P. V. § 7. 7. (c), is a list of eclipses that were observed before the Christian era, also, in Ferguson's Astronomy.

Mere Lunar appearances may be employed in the same way. By comparing Mark xv. 42. Luke xxiii. 54. and John iviii. 28,
ft would seem evident that the crucifixion was on Friday, and at the time of the Passover ; it is known from other sources (cf. Joit-
•phut, Ant. B. iii. ch. 10) that the Passover was kept on the day of the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Ferguson says he
found by calculation that " the only Passover full moon that fell on Friday, for several years before or after the disputed year of the

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