Mensis intercalaris

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Mensis intercalaris ( Latin mensis intercalaris for leap month ; also Mercedonius, Mercedonios, Mercedinus ) was in the Roman calendar at least since the first major calendar reform around 450 BC. The alternating 27- and 28-day leap month . Mathematically, the intercalary canteen contained only 22 or 23 additional days , which were supplemented with the five remaining days of February . The use of the mensis intercalaris is first mentioned in the year 472 BC. Mentioned in connection with an old law, due to which a leap month should have been in use. The length of the intercalary mensis at that time is not mentioned.

Reliable knowledge about the structure and structure of the leap month or its switching scheme are not supported by contemporary documents or inscriptions for the early period of the Roman Republic . In this respect, no reliable statements can be made on switching practice ( intercalation ). Rather, there are various hypotheses and conclusions that allow different possibilities. In the course of the calendar reform of Gaius Iulius Caesar , the Julian calendar omitted from 44 BC. The month Mensis intercalaris because of the change from a bound lunar calendar ( lunisolar calendar ) to a solar calendar ( solar calendar ).

Etymology of the term Mercedonius

Tradition according to Plutarch

(Fasti Antiates maiores)

As the only non-contemporary author, Plutarch did not use the term mensis intercalaris for the leap month , but called it "Mercedonius" or "Mercedinus". His derivation of the name of the month from merces and mercedes pro usuris dixit ( wage, pension, payment, interest ) was based on the wrong connection to mercedarius, mercedituus ( purchaser ) as an interpretation of the reign of Numa Pompilius . In fact, the term "Mercedonius" was a negative nickname for the leap month Mensis intercalaris , which in Roman history was probably used more often for interest rate manipulation.

The expression "Mercedonius" is therefore unknown in the Roman inscriptions. Instead, the leap month, for example in the Fasti Capitolini triumphales, was titled as Mensis interkalaris . On this basis, the abbreviation "INTER", which Attilio Degrassi used as early as 1963 and used the transcription "Interk (alares)" for "INTER", could be reconstructed as the oldest surviving evidence for the leap month for the Fasti Antiates maiores . Older designations as "MER" are based on the interpretation of Gioacchino Mancini as first editor of the Fasti Antiates maiores in 1921.

Historical references

The month of Mensis intercalaris cannot be used in connection with financial manipulations before the third century BC. BC as an "interest-free month". A complete monetary economy did not develop until after the Latin Wars . The literary sources that report anachronistically about early measures and the financial environment at the end of the Roman Republic are only partially credible due to the lack of contemporary evidence.

Interest payments in the month of Mensis intercalaris are not documented in Roman history, and the sources are very uncertain. At least the legal concept speaks against an interest month mensis intercalaris and against adopting the Greek system, which treated a leap month like any other month. In addition, the Mensis intercalaris in the Roman calendar was not a real lunar month . In the leap year, the borrower would have had the advantage that the obligations could be spread over thirteen months. It looks similar in tax law . Further links with regions that used a different calendar would have meant additional advantages for money lenders.

Mensis intercalaris

Historical background

According to Livius , the mensis intercalaris could also be switched after the 24th day of February . In exceptional cases, the Romans completely waived the use of the mensis intercalaris , for example in 218 BC. Until 201 BC Chr. Second Punic War , since the use of a leap month for the course of the war was viewed as a negative omen . Macrobius reports in Saturnalia about another octennium switching cycle , beginning with the 17th year of a third eight-year switching scheme that deviates from the normal case up to the 24th year: 24 days should be "switched off" and the mensis intercalaris only three times during this period for a total of 66 days have been used. Otherwise the menses intercalaris would have taken place four times. As the reason for the extended switching cycle, Macrobius gave a deviation from the Greek calendar of 24 days, which had been added from the excess one-day length of the 355-day Roman calendar year compared to the lunar year of the Greeks. The mercedonius to have alternately includes 22 or 23 additional days every two years after Macrobius; so also Censorinus : Denique cum intercalarium mensem viginti duum vel viginti trium dierum alternis annis addi placuisset .

In order to “switch off” the required 24 days, the 23-day mensis intercalaris was reduced by one day to 22 days and the other switching of the 23 days was suppressed, so that instead of the scheduled 90 additional days of the mensis intercalaris, only 66 days are available and "the (Roman) year coincided with the Greek calculation again". According to Macrobius, the ancient Roman calendar came to 8,766 days in 24 years by using different month lengths for the mensis intercalaris and using different switching cycles. Geminos of Rhodes , who lived around 70 BC. Lived in Rome , characterizes the Greek calendar at least since Solon (around 600 BC) on the basis of an annual 354-day lunisolar calendar with twelve months, consisting of alternating 29 and 30 days. Within eight years, three months with 30 days each were switched on, so that 24 years “according to the Greek calendar” also comprised 8,766 days. The average “Roman and Greek year” came in this way as early as the fifth century BC. To the "Julian year length" of 365.25 days.

Days of the mensis intercalaris

The only pre-Julian calendar sources that have been preserved so far are the Fasti Antiates maiores . There the Mensis intercalaris comprises 27 days and is provided with a fixed market day schedule, which starts the Mensis intercalaris with the letter "G", which in the regular February does not follow until the 25th day. For example, if the market took place on an "A day" at the beginning of the leap year, it also fell on an "A day" at the end of the leap year, which in February in normal years is congruent on the 28th and thus also on the last day of the Year lay. In the following year the next market would have fallen on the 8th  January as "H day", the year after next to a "G day", so that the Mensis-intercalaris did not change the course of the market days due to its market day scheme, which was adapted to the normal year.

Day characters and dates of the month
Day Roman name Nundinae Day character Festive events
1 K G F.
2 IV (ante diem NON ) H F.
3 III A. C.
4th PR (pridie NON) B. C.
5 NON C. F.
6th VIII (ante diem EID ) D. F.
7th VII E. C.
8th VI F. C.
9 V G C.
10 IV H C.
11 III A. C.
12 PR (pridie EID) B. C.
13 OATH C. N + NP Feriae Iovis
14th XV (ante diem K Martias ) D. F.
15th XIV E. C.
16 XIII F. C.
17th XII G C.
18th XI H C.
19th X A. C.
20th IX B. C.
21st VIII C. C.
22nd VII D. C + QRCF
23 VI ( Tubilustrium ) E. N "REGI" Beginning of the five remaining days of February; Regifugium
24 V F. C + QRCF
25th IV G N + EN
26th III H N + NP "EQVIR" Feriae Equirria (Ecurria) in honor of Mars
27 PR (pridie K Martias) A. C.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Plutarch: Numa 18.3; Caesar 59.3.
  2. ^ A b c Jörg Rüpke: Calendar and Public: The History of Representation and Religious Qualification of Time in Rome . Pp. 321-322.
  3. ^ Attilio Degrassi: Inscriptiones Italiae, Vol. 13: Fasti et elogia. Fasc. 2: Fasti anni Nvmani et Ivliani . Is. Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, Roma 1963, p. 26.
  4. ^ Gioacchino Mancini: Anzio: Scoperta di un calendario romano, anteriore a Giulio Cesare, e di un brano dei fasti consolari e censori, l'uno e gli altri dipinti sopra intonaco . In: NSc . 1921. p. 77.
  5. ^ Agnes Kirsopp Michels: The calendar of the Roman republic . P. 161.
  6. ^ Agnes Kirsopp Michels: The calendar of the Roman republic . P. 102.
  7. Censorinus: de Die natali , 20.6.
  8. Macrobius: Saturnalia . Book 1, chap. 13 .; see. also Agnes Kirsopp Michels: The calendar of the Roman republic . P. 155.
  9. ^ Friedrich Karl Ginzel: Handbook of mathematical and technical chronology, Vol. 2 . P. 331.
  10. ^ Jörg Rüpke: Calendar and Public: The History of Representation and Religious Qualification of Time in Rome . P. 43.
  11. In the Fasti only the numbers were given without accompanying text, for example: Instead of ante diem VI Kalendas Martias only VI .