Timekeeping: The Roman Calendar

924 Words 4 Pages
Timekeeping was an important aspect in ancient rome. The romans used it in everyday life but also in the long term. Calendars allowed them to keep track of festivals, seasons, and agriculture. Though it was difficult to work with, it improved with time. For daily occurrences like meeting or meal times, knowing the time of day was convenient to know. These simple aspects that the Romans created simplified life for them. Timekeeping and calendars posed as an important aspect of Roman life and improved over time to become even more useful to people today.

Though the Roman calendar was not very reliable at the beginning, its alterations around 47 BCE was extremely successful and a variation of it is still commonly used today. When trying to create
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Each of these 10 months had either 30 or 31 days. This calendar was primarily based on the moon. This calendar consisted of 304 days. A normal lunar calendar should consist of 295 days, but each month in their calendar began and ended with a new moon so the new moon counted for both the beginning of a month and the end of a month, essentially adding a day to each month creating 304 days a year. The first two months were not counted because they did not do any harvesting in the winter months. The second emperor of Rome was the founder of the twelve month lunar calendar. His name was Numa Pompilius. Pompilius’ lunar calendar was convenient, but it didn’t match the earth’s annual orbit around the sun (James Grout).This allowed the seasons to shift gradually away from the calendar date. Eventually, harvest was being celebrated before crops were even coming in and a solar eclipse was recorded happening in July even though it actually should’ve happened in March. In order to fix this, the pontifex maximus, the one who was incharge of the keeping track of the time and festivals, was required to decide whether the calendar should be recalculated. During …show more content…
In order to determine when these things would happen, the sundial was created. Sundials were used commonly by everyone, but they could also be a luxury. On a roman sundial, a clock is aligned so the tip is aligned with the vertical line representing the month. After it’s aligned with the month, the sun changes the horizontal line it points to. The horizontal lines represent the hours before sunrise or sunset. Though the sundials could tell time down to the half hour or even quarter half hour, the scale was so small and hard to keep still so it was not very accurate (Watson). That wasn’t a huge problem for the Romans because they did not necessarily need to know the time by the exact minute. Pocket watches were also created as a luxury item; it was not a necessity. The only problem with pocket watches was their generous price and their inability to tell time the entire day. It could only tell time for half of the day at a time, so you needed to know whether the sun was rising or setting. This posed as a major inconvenience during midday. They were also fairly inaccurate during the winter and summer. Moreover, they did have some neat purposes. The pocket watches included the latitudes of some popular destinations. Instead of splitting their days into 60 minute hours, they split daylight and darkness into 12 parts (Aldrete 241). The number of minutes per hour would vary depending on the season. In the

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