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Cassius Loginus

Roman Calendar

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I was watching 'Rome' HBO Series 2nd Season and in Episode 7, there is a shot of a wall and inscriptions on it. Actually there are 12 columns so I assume it is a sort of calendar. However there is a person inserting some kind of stone in holes. What is he doing?

calendar.jpg

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According to the "Fasti in Popular Culture" entry on Wikipedia: In the HBO television series "Rome", a priest is shown updating a fasti at the beginning of each episode to indicate the amount of time that has lapsed since the previous episode.

 

I'm not certain if there ever was an actual wall calendar (with cubby holes for priests to insert stones or markers) as portrayed in HBO's Rome, although I've read of numerous frescoes of Roman wall calendars having been found. Maybe somebody here has information as to whether or not such a public calendar (as portrayed in the HBO Rome series) existed.

 

There is an option on the HBO Rome DVD sets -- labeled "All Roads Lead to Rome" -- which attempts to explain Roman culture in the form of subtitles on screen as one watches the series. I know the calendar in question isn't discussed in the second season DVD set, because I've watched it recently. It may be discussed in the first season DVD set, and I just don't remember it.

 

-- Nephele

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You notice something weird about that photo? Not only does the priest not have any legs, he's floating in mid air!

 

Are we sure that's a priest, and not a lemur?

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You notice something weird about that photo? Not only does the priest not have any legs, he's floating in mid air!

 

Are we sure that's a priest, and not a lemur?

 

BBWWAAAAAAHHH :(

Relevance! :)

 

Anyway, I would also love to know what that is all about and if it existed. I would have thought people would have stolen the objects placed inside, even if they were not worth anything. Just a thought.

a priest is shown updating a fasti at the beginning of each episode to indicate the amount of time that has lapsed since the previous episode.

Well i never interpreted it as that. Did anyone else cotton onto it. Or am i just inattentive :D sounds like me.

hopefully someone will enlighten me, Nephele and Cassius Loginus

 

vtc

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I've done some research and the calendar was an indication when business was supposed to happen ie every nine days. It seemed that doing business within nine days was a sacrilege.

 

(Source: HBO 'ROME' series Season 1, Episode 2??)

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You notice something weird about that photo? Not only does the priest not have any legs, he's floating in mid air!

 

Are we sure that's a priest, and not a lemur?

 

Haha certainly looks like that but he's standing at the gray wall.

 

Anyway on roman calendars, they're a total mess or even worse. I've tried twice to grasp them but it's just not really working. If that wall indicates anything it's probably remade to make sure that we would understand it.

 

Edit: Since it's after Caesars reforms it would probably make some sense, all the strange stuff was before that.

Edited by Klingan

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I've done some research and the calendar was an indication when business was supposed to happen ie every nine days. It seemed that doing business within nine days was a sacrilege.

 

Not quite.

 

Every eighth day was a market day. The Romans called these days nundinae (ninth days) because their system of counting was inclusive,(like the 'three days' Jesus was in the tomb: Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and they counted the eighth day as the ninth, if you follow. On those days farmers came in from out of town to sell their produce. After the time of Augustus, the Romans started adopting the way seven-day week of the east, like the Jewish week. But for quite a while both countings were used.

 

The 'dies nefasti' were the days on which you couldn't do certain types of business, e.g. some even-numbered days and some days on which disasters had occurred.

 

I either heard a podcast or read an article where Jonathan Stamp (historical consultant for HBO) said that although they'd never found such a thing, he thought it would be fun to create a monumental calendar. I've tried to find it and can't. Sorry!

Edited by Flavia Gemina

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Look what I've found:

 

gallery_1460_110_35081.jpg

This is a Pre-Caesarean Calendar, found in Antium

 

gallery_1460_110_157489.jpg

And a post one from the same place. I'm sorry fro the lack of quality in the pictures but in the original it's looking like the first one was painted and the second one was cut in stone.

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According to the "Fasti in Popular Culture" entry on Wikipedia: In the HBO television series "Rome", a priest is shown updating a fasti at the beginning of each episode to indicate the amount of time that has lapsed since the previous episode.

-- Nephele

Based on that informarion, it appears the priest in the pic is signaling the base of the 4th column, maybe corresponding to the date of Caesar's Gallic Triumph (April 12, 45 BC = predie Ides Aprilis, DCCVII AUC).

The problem with this explanation is that such trumph didn't happen until the 10th episode.

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I've done some research and the calendar was an indication when business was supposed to happen ie every nine days. It seemed that doing business within nine days was a sacrilege.

 

Not quite.

 

Every eighth day was a market day. The Romans called these days nundinae (ninth days) because their system of counting was inclusive,(like the 'three days' Jesus was in the tomb: Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and they counted the eighth day as the ninth, if you follow. On those days farmers came in from out of town to sell their produce. After the time of Augustus, the Romans started adopting the way seven-day week of the east, like the Jewish week. But for quite a while both countings were used.

 

The 'dies nefasti' were the days on which you couldn't do certain types of business, e.g. some even-numbered days and some days on which disasters had occurred.

 

I either heard a podcast or read an article where Jonathan Stamp (historical consultant for HBO) said that although they'd never found such a thing, he thought it would be fun to create a monumental calendar. I've tried to find it and can't. Sorry!

 

Actually, it was not quite that simple either. The 8 day week or the nundinae were usually numbered A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. One letter was usually chosen as the Market Day with the nones (one nundinae before the ides - which could be the 13th or 15th with the nones on the 5th or 7th) and the kalends of Januarius being avoided. I think some of these conventions changed after Caesar but in the Republic, the most important days were the kalends (first of every month), the nones (one nundinae before the ides) and the ides (which fell during the middle of the month - either the 13th or 15th).

 

Romans generally made their business appointments with respect to the market day. As for example, a Roman knight could tell his client - "I will meet you two days after or before" the respective Market day. I don't think they used a wall calendar per se as depicted in "Rome" but I'm sure everyone had their own little calendar in their homes or their place of business, where they would mark off the important days. One must not forget that in order to make up days to keep in line with the seasons, certain days were skipped and not marked, as if they never existed. In time, all of that was corrected, especially with Caesar devoting a lot of time personally to revising the calendar.

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Look what I've found...

 

Those images are great, Klingan, and they are definitely what Stamp and/or Heller based their monumental 'wall calendar' on... but I think those ones are quite small. It was Stamp/Heller's own initiative to make a giant wall-sized one. Do correct me if I'm wrong and one exists!

 

Flavia

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I'm afraid I can't find anything about the size. However they look quite big too me (From the book I found them in) at least 1.5 meter or so.

 

A thought just struck me. I'm not sure how it would be Post-C but it would definitively be a waste of time to make one like the one in Rome Pre-C since they changed the calendar each year.

 

Just out of curiosity do they use the same calendar through all the episodes? It should obviously have been changes somewhere in the last episodes of season one. But I guess that it too much to ask.

Edited by Klingan

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Just out of curiosity do they use the same calendar through all the episodes? It should obviously have been changes somewhere in the last episodes of season one. But I guess that it too much to ask.

 

 

Yes, HBO ROme use the calendar for all episodes in Season 1 and 2. Unfortunately the calendar is probably burnt by now in the Cinecitta' Studios as fire broke out in August and large portion of the ROME set is destroyed. Unfortunately ROME series is grounded and for that I shall miss the series enormously.

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