By Alden A. Mosshammer

The approach of numbering the years A.D. (Anni Domini, Years of the Lord) originated with Dionysius Exiguus. Dionysius drafted a 95-year desk of dates for Easter starting with the 12 months 532 A.D. Why Dionysius selected the yr that he did to quantity as '1' has been a resource of controversy and hypothesis for nearly 1500 years. in accordance with the Gospel of Luke (3.1; 3.23), Jesus was once baptized within the fifteenth yr of the emperor Tiberius and was once approximately 30 years outdated on the time. The fifteenth 12 months of Tiberius used to be A.D. 29. If Jesus used to be 30 years outdated in A.D. 29, then he used to be born within the yr that we name 2 B.C. such a lot historical gurus dated the Nativity as a result. Alden Mosshammer offers the 1st finished research of early Christian tools for calculating the date of Easter to have seemed in English in additional than 100 years. He deals a completely new heritage of these tools, either Latin and Greek, from the earliest such calculations within the past due moment century till the emergence of the Byzantine period within the 7th century. From this heritage, Mosshammer attracts the clean speculation that Dionysius didn't calculate or another way invent a brand new date for the delivery of Jesus, as a substitute adopting a date that was once already good proven within the Greek church. Mosshammer deals compelling new conclusions at the origins of the Christian period, drawing upon proof present in the fragments of Julius Africanus, of Panodorus of Alexandria, and within the traditions of the Armenian church.

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Every fourth year, a sixth epagomenal day was added to the calendar before the Wrst day of Thoth. The intercalation took place six months before the intercalation at Rome. Hence, in leap years 1 Thoth would correspond to 30 August, and correspondences between the two calendars would have this additional oneday diVerential until the end of February. For purposes of calendrical calculation, this sixth epagomenal day was sometimes treated as belonging to the new year about to begin, rather than to the old year just ending.

Cedrenus himself does not date by Indictions. He has wrongly conXated the institution of the Indiction with the introduction of the Wxed Julian calendar at Alexandria. The latter event is correctly dated to the sixth year of Augustus, not the second (see Ch. 16). One of the earliest uses of the Indiction as a dating system appears in a document associated with the Council of Sardica, which met in 343 (see Ch. 9). The Wrst use of an indictional date in an imperial document appears in connection with a decree of the emperor Constantius dated to 15 January in a 15th indictional year, in the consulship of Constantius VIII and Julian (Theodosian Code 12.

16. The Egyptian months that one encounters in the sources most frequently with respect to Easter calculations are the springtime months of Phamenoth and Pharmouthi. In the Wxed Alexandrian calendar, 1 Phamenoth corresponded to 25 February (26 February in a leap year) and 1 Pharmouthi to 27 March. Even after the introduction of the Julian calendar, the Alexandrian astronomers continued for the sake of consistency to express dates in the old system. Ptolemy (Almagest 3. 1) dated his observation of the vernal equinox in the year corresponding to ad 140 to the 7th day of Pachon.

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