Tag Archives: Classic culture

Julius Caesar: Father of the Leap Year

Posted on 02. Mar, 2016 by in Roman culture

First and foremost, hello everyone and Happy Leap Year!


Julius Caesar was behind the origin of leap year in 45 BC. The early Romans had a 355 day calendar and to keep festivals occurring around the same season each year- a 22 or 23 day month was created every second year.

Roman calendar


The calendar was  regulated by the movement of the moon, and this had made it a bit of mess and confusing. Caesar replaced this calendar with the Egyptian calendar, which was regulated by the sun. He set the length of the year to 365.25 days by adding an intercalary/leap day at the end of February every fourth year.

Bust of Julius Caesar. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Bust of Julius Caesar. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Furthermore, in order to bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that three extra months be inserted into 46 BC (the ordinary intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after November).

For a post more about the calendar, check it out here and here!

This is known as the Julian Calendar which started on on 1 January 45 BC. Also, this calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar.

Months (Latin) Lengths before 45 BC Lengths as of 45 BC Months (English)
Ianuarius 29 31 January
Februarius 28 (in common years)
In intercalary years:
23 if Intercalaris is variable
23/24 if Intercalaris is fixed
28 (leap years: 29) February
Mercedonius/Intercalaris 0 (leap years: variable (27/28 days)
or fixed)
Martius 31 31 March
Aprilis 29 30 April
Maius 31 31 May
Iunius 29 30 June
Quintilis(Iulius) 31 31 July
Sextilis (Augustus) 29 31 August
September 29 30 September
October 31 31 October
November 29 30 November
December 29 31 December

I should note that the actual calculation for the calendar were made by Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes.

Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII further refined the calendar with the rule that leap day would occur in any year divisible by 4.

So there you have it a condensed and concise overview of the leap year! Well I hope you enjoyed


Make an Ancient Roman Dessert..I Challenge You

Posted on 04. Feb, 2016 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

Oh how I have missed writing! I am sorry that I have written in a while, but I’m back. Today we are going to ease back into the Roman world and Latin. I am trying something new for 2016. I will be posting bucketlist post every once in a while to inform readers and followers of unique things they can do to really live up 2016!

Today, February 3, is also National Carrot Cake Day! So, I decided that today’s blog should be one about a dessert.


The following recipe is from Apicius’ De re coquinaria (“On the Subject of Cooking”)

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

Patina  de piris* [ Pan/Stew/Cake of Pears; literally pan /stew/cake from pears]

Pear Mosaic

Pear Mosaic

Pira elixa et purgata e medio teres** cum pipere, cumino, melle, passo, liquamine, oleo modico. Ovis missis patinam facies**, piper super aspargis**et inferes**.

Boiled pears and having been purged or cleaned from its middle (i.e seeds, pit, etc.) you will grind with pepper, cumin, honey , wine, broth, and a little oil. Having been mixed with eggs, you will make a pan/stew/cake, spread or sprinkle with pepper and serve.

*piris is an ablative as evident from de, but it could be debated the type of ablative. Ablative of origin, source, means, etc.

** Great examples of the 2nd singular future that you don’t see that often, but this make sense for a directions. It is interesting that it isn’t an imperative.


Well, in all honestly, this is more like a custard or pudding made out of pears. While this recipe is very simple, but it doesn’t say anything about cooking, time, amounts, etc.. That doesn’t really work well for our modern day thinking…so I have provided everyone with a up-to-date recipe (here) with directions.


Monthly Latin Spotlight Text: Aeneid

Posted on 21. Oct, 2015 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Name: Aeneid (Latin:)

Also Known As:  N/A

Date: 29 B.C.E and 19 B.C.E

Author(s): Publius Vergilius Maro

Depiction of Virgil, 3rd century AD .Courtesy of WikiCommons, Giorces, Mattes.

Depiction of Virgil, 3rd century AD
.Courtesy of WikiCommons, Giorces, Mattes.

Type of Text: Epic Poem

Genre: Latin Epic Poetry, Mythology, Foundation Story,

Content: A foundation story similar to Iliad and Odyssey that highlights the adventures and journeys of the Greco-Roman hero Aeneid. The piece is thought to be part of Augustan propaganda to the greatness of Rome and the Julio-Claudian family.

Type of Latin:  Classical Latin

Distinguishing Features: (1). It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter. (2). The Aeneid is a cornerstone of the Western canon, and early (at least by the 2nd century AD) became one of the essential elements of a Latin education, usually required to be memorized.

Where is it today:

There are no original surviving copies.

The Vergilius Vaticanus (Cod. Vat. lat. 3225, also known as the Vatican Virgil) is a manuscript containing fragments of Virgil’s Aeneid and Georgics made in Rome in about 400. It is one of the oldest surviving copies of the text.


In Pop Culture:

The Opera- Dido & Aeneas by Purcell.

YouTube Preview Image

On a personal note, I was writing a play adaptation of the Aeneid set in a post-apocalyptic time period.



Aeneid by Virgil in Latin (here).


Aeneid by Virgil in English (here).