ante diem xvi kalendas januarias

With the help of rogueclassicism:

ante diem xvi kalendas januarias

Saturnalia (day 1) — major, popular festival in honour of Saturn with banquets, the wearing of soft caps (pilei), and general good cheer. Shops and schools were closed, gambling was legally permitted, gifts were exchanged and masters might even wait on their servants. Obviously this festival is often seen as a precursor to our modern-day Christmas celebrations …

246 B.C.E. — the Torah is translated into Greek (obviously not in one day)

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  1. Tom in NY says:

    …kai egeneto hespera, kai egeneto proi, hemera mia. (Gen 1:5, iuxta LXX). Note Gk follows Hebrew, “a first day.” No article in Gk or Hb (yom ahar).
    Now it’s time for a glass of wine for Saturnalia.

  2. John Enright says:

    Saturnalia is one of the greatest influences for the Philly Mummers Parade, and our entire tradition!

  3. Dr. Mel-South Carolina says:

    I am disappointed to see the PC term B.C.E.(Before the Common Era)utilized, which in secular quarters refuses to recognize the sentinel event that marks the genesis of Western Civilisation’s calendar.

  4. John Enright says:

    Dr. Mel-South Carolina: I see your point and agree.

  5. Franzjosf says:

    Well, Dr. Mel, here’s another way to look at it:

    C.E. = Christian Era
    B.C.E. = Before the Christian Era

  6. Willebrord says:

    Yes, but Franzjosf, do you think the people who write C.E. and B.C.E. really are thinking of a Christian Era? If they were, they’d be probably writing B.C. and A.D.

    When I was in public school, whenever the teacher had me write the date on the board, I wouldn’t write the abbreviated short form (i.e. 12/17/08), but the full, proper form, with A.D. after it. I also date everything with A.D., and sometimes with room I write Anno Domini.

  7. Franzjosf says:

    Willebrord: Yes, I agree with you. My remark was meant tongue-in-cheek.

    But, I must tell you. A.D. goes before the date, while B.C. goes after.

    A.D. 2008 = (In the) Year of the (Our) Lord Two Thousand Eight
    100 B.C. = The One Hundredth Year Before Christ

    William Safire, working in the Nixon administration, famously said that he had made the same mistake, which mistake would last for eternity, since he was responsible for sending something into outer space with A.D. after the year.

  8. Joe says:

    I’m curious about the line “Obviously this festival is often seen as a precursor to our modern-day Christmas celebrations”. It is only obvious to a few obscure German scholars of 150 years ago, and the readers of newspapers which carry articles every year repeating their fantasies. I don’t think it’s that obvious to people who read original sources, or other theories about the date of Christmas.
    Franzjosef, I am wondering if Anno Domini needs to be italicized.

  9. Franzjosf says:

    Joe: Interesting question. In this case I think italics unnecessary; others might disagree.

    Usually foreign words and phrases are italicized. However, some words and phrases eventually become part of the English language and are not italicized. Etc. (et cetera), for example, is not italicized, nor would I italicize in toto. You can consult the style guide of some respected periodical to see what it says. National Review and The New Criterion are generally scrupulus in these matters. (I should have italicized the names of those two publications, but I don’t know how to do it in these comment boxes.)

  10. Postumus says:

    Io, Saturnalia! The plaque on the leg of the Apollo 11 moon lander (Eagle) is dated “July 1969 AD.” Was that Safire’s mistake? I always wondered who goofed.

  11. Franzjosf says:

    Postumus: Yes, Safire was consulted about the plaque, and he made the mistake. I read his ‘confession’ some years ago in his “On Lantguage” column in The New York Times Magazine.

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