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Roman Dates
#1
I've copied this across from "Boudica's Last Stand" as I want to go off thatsubject:

(01-13-2017, 01:17 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(01-13-2017, 12:18 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: A very "simple" question: which year was Boudica's last battle.

The reason I ask is that I make it 61AD based on Tac Ann 12.29
"In the consulship of Caesonius Paetus and Petronius Turpilianus, a serious disaster was sustained in Britain,"

Then looking at Wikipedia list of Roman Consuls this puts it in 61AD. However some people suggest 60AD and if they are suggesting another date, then this means either Wikipedia is wrong (the reason I was checking dates in the first place) or there's another way of calculating the date of the battle.


As you say, Tacitus is quite clear that the revolt happened 'in the consulship of Cæsonius Pætus and Petronius Turpilianus', which is AD61. The redating of the revolt to AD60, first proposed in 1878, was popularised (along with the 'cavalry dash' idea) by Dudley and Webster in 1962. However, Kevin Carroll's The Date of Boudicca's Revolt (Britannia, Vol 10, 1979) provides a very convincing argument that the events happened when Tacitus said they did

Tacitus tells us that Turpilianus had 'just laid down his consulship' when he was nominated to replace Paulinus - ordinary consuls usually served for the first six months of the year, so if the revolt happened in 60 Turpilianus wouldn't have been able to take over command in Britain until the autumn of the following year at the earliest. Also, we know that his colleague Pætus arrived in Armenia for his own ill-fated governorship in 62.

Despite this, as Timothy Barnes says in Ammianus Marcellinus and the Representation of Historical Reality, "many modern students of Roman Britain have shown a perverse resolve to reject Tacitus' explicit and emphatic date for the rebellion in favour of 60 simply because he notes that Petronius Turpilianus had relinquished his consulate before he was sent to Britain to replace Suetonius Paulinus."

I did wonder a few pages back whether the revolt might have started in autumn 60 and continued into 61, but after further thought it seemed less likely. So it seems that 61 was the year of the revolt, and it probably happened between spring and early autumn. Although, as Carroll says at the end of his essay, “our evidence will not permit a definite chronology.” [Image: wink.png]

I've been checking other first century British dates (yes taken from Wikipedia which is why I'm checking them), and I cannot fathom where the following come from:

  1. Did Aulus Plautius become governor in 43AD or 44AD?
  2. What determines the beginning of governorship of Publius Ostorius Scapula (47AD)
  3. What determines the beginning of governorship of Aulus Didius Gallus (52AD)
  4. What determines the End of governorship of Aulus Didius Gallus (57AD)
  5. What determines the beginning of governorship of Quintus Veranius Nepos (58AD)
  6. What determines the beginning of governorship of Marcus Trebellius Maximus (63AD)
  7. What determines the beginning of governorship of Quintus Petillius Cerialis (71AD)
  8. What determines the beginning of governorship of Sextus Julius Frontinus (74AD)
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#2
(01-13-2017, 03:38 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: other first century British dates

Plautius, I would say, definitely became governor in 43, immediately following the conquest. Tacitus, in Agricola, gives a list of ten governors that followed him, and the dates of their terms can be reconstructed - often rather roughly - either from events mentioned in the text or from outside sources, I think. It is tricky, though - you've no doubt seen the debates around the year of the battle of Mons Graupius, based on the date that Agricola became governor; it's the same problem with Suetonius Paulinus's terms and those of his replacement in 61/62. Basically there seems to be a year's plausible variation in each case.

Part of the problem is that governors usually seem to have taken up their posts in late spring or thereabouts, well into the sailing season. Paulinus apparently didn't reach Britain until the early summer. So when Tacitus mentions the number of years each governor served in his post, it's unclear whether he means consular years or calendrical years from their date of arrival. So, for example, Didius Gallus took over from Scapula when the latter died, apparently the same year as the capture of Caratacus, which seems to have been 51. So he might have arrived in the autumn of 51, or (more likely?) the spring of 52. But it's not possible to be any more certain, I think.
Nathan Ross
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#3
(01-13-2017, 08:34 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(01-13-2017, 03:38 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: other first century British dates

Plautius, I would say, definitely became governor in 43, immediately following the conquest. Tacitus, in Agricola, gives a list of ten governors that followed him, and the dates of their terms can be reconstructed - often rather roughly - either from events mentioned in the text or from outside sources, I think. It is tricky, though - you've no doubt seen the debates around the year of the battle of Mons Graupius, based on the date that Agricola became governor; it's the same problem with Suetonius Paulinus's terms and those of his replacement in 61/62. Basically there seems to be a year's plausible variation in each case.

Part of the problem is that governors usually seem to have taken up their posts in late spring or thereabouts, well into the sailing season. Paulinus apparently didn't reach Britain until the early summer. So when Tacitus mentions the number of years each governor served in his post, it's unclear whether he means consular years or calendrical years from their date of arrival. So, for example, Didius Gallus took over from Scapula when the latter died, apparently the same year as the capture of Caratacus, which seems to have been 51. So he might have arrived in the autumn of 51, or (more likely?) the spring of 52. But it's not possible to be any more certain, I think.

Thanks, I've clearly missed the section where Tacitus mentions years of service.
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#4
(01-13-2017, 10:49 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: the section where Tacitus mentions years of service.

I just checked it (Agricola 14 and following), and in fact he only mentions the two 'successful' years of Paulinus and the single year (cut off by death) of Veranius. The terms of the others have presumably been reconstructed by other references to events. So there's a certain amount of possible flexibility, but the dates we have are probably about right, give or take a year here and there.
Nathan Ross
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#5
(01-13-2017, 11:31 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(01-13-2017, 10:49 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: the section where Tacitus mentions years of service.

I just checked it (Agricola 14 and following), and in fact he only mentions the two 'successful' years of Paulinus and the single year (cut off by death) of Veranius. The terms of the others have presumably been reconstructed by other references to events. So there's a certain amount of possible flexibility, but the dates we have are probably about right, give or take a year here and there.

Thanks I stupidly missed those.
There's also a couple of governors which were consuls just before coming to Britain. That's given me some kind of rational for the dates of most governors up to Agricola
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#6
Did the calendar year start on March 25th in this period? When Old Style dates are converted to New Style (Gregorian) this is taken into account as well as the leap year differences.

Druzhina
Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
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#7
(01-15-2017, 04:38 AM)Druzhina Wrote: Did the calendar year start on March 25th in this period?  When Old Style dates are converted to New Style (Gregorian) this is taken into account as well as the leap year differences.

Druzhina
Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

A good point - I haven't checked when the Romans thought a year started. However, for all the 1st century dates I've been checking though most dates are given in the form of "during the consulship of X and Y", or "in the xth year of Xitans reign/governorship".

However perhaps others can answer more broadly.
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#8
(01-15-2017, 04:38 AM)Druzhina Wrote: Did the calendar year start on March 25th in this period?

I believe that the new year was moved to Jan 1st during the late republic, to fit with the start of the consular year, which began on this date. Why the situation seems to have been changed back again in more recent times (which is why we have the old style/new style thing) I don't know!
Nathan Ross
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#9
(01-15-2017, 11:13 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(01-15-2017, 04:38 AM)Druzhina Wrote: Did the calendar year start on March 25th in this period?

I believe that the new year was moved to Jan 1st during the late republic, to fit with the start of the consular year, which began on this date. Why the situation seems to have been changed back again in more recent times (which is why we have the old style/new style thing) I don't know!

The year start was probably 1 May before 222 BC, 15 March from 222 BC and 1 January from 153 BC.

What I can't get my head around is what the day/month would be if we projected our modern calendar backwards to the Roman period.

I know there were 11 days lost in September 1752. But looking at the following, it suggests this was less than a day out from 46BC to 82AD

Quote:Before 1752, Britain and her Empire followed the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 45 BC However this calendar had an inbuilt error due to a miscalculation of the solar year. This affected the date of Easter, traditionally observed on March 21, as it began to move further away from the spring equinox with each passing year.

To get over this problem, the Gregorian calendar was introduced. This is offset by a number of days from the Julian Calendar (which varies with year. But otherwise the months have the same length as the Julian Calendar except February, which still consists of 28 or 29 days except leap years occur in a slightly different pattern.

Quote:First to adopt the new calendar in 1582 were France, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Turkey was the last country to officially switch to the new system on January 1st, 1927. The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 introduced the Gregorian calendar to the British Empire, bringing Britain into line with most of Western Europe.

In 1563 the correction restored the date of the vernal equinox to that held at the time of the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

However, I read the difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendars = [Y/100] - [Y/400]  -2  ([] - means round down to the nearest integer, Also for BC years use "year_BC − 1"). Note: Julian Calendar took effect 1 January 45 BC (AUC 709)

In the following years our modern Gregorian Calendar would not have a leap year (I.e. 29th Feb) whereas the older Julian Calendar had 29th Feb. So the calendar has a set offset until the 28th Feb JULIAN. Then we skip a day.


So the number of days our present Calendar is ahead of the Julian Calendar is:-

From present calendar to Julian
1st Jan   45BC to 26th Feb 100AD =  +2 days (27th Feb 100AD = 29th Feb Julian, 28th Feb = Julian 1st March. 1st Mar = 2nd Mar))
1st Mar 100AD to 27th Feb 200AD =  +1 days (28th Feb 200AD = Julian 29th Feb; 1st Mar = 1st Mar)
1st Mar 200AD to  28th Feb 300AD =  0  days (1st Mar 300 = Julian 29th Feb)
2nd Mar 300AD to 1st Mar 500AD = -1 days (2nd Mar 500 = Julian 29th Feb)
3rd Mar 500AD to 2nd Mar 600AD = -2 days (3rd Mar 600 = Julian 29th Feb)
4th Mar 600AD to 3rd Mar 700AD = -3 days (4th Mar 700 = Julian 29th Feb)
5st Mar 700AD to 4th Mar 900AD = -4 days (5th Mar 900 = Julian 29th Feb)
6st Mar 900AD to 5th Mar 1000AD = -5days(6th Mar 1000 = Julian 29th Feb)

But just a warning, I remember reading somewhere that the pattern of leap years is uncertain until around 1AD. So, whilst people will produce rules about the date BC, the truth is we really do not know. So read "BC" as "Before Calendar" - in the sense that exact day dates are uncertain.
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