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Ab urbe condita

Ab urbe condita

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Ab urbe condita is Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for "from the founding
Founding of Rome
The founding of Rome is reported by many legends, which in recent times are beginning to be supplemented by scientific reconstructions.- Development of the city :...

 of the City (Rome)", traditionally set in 753 BC. AUC is a year-numbering system used by some ancient Roman historians to identify particular Roman years. Renaissance editors sometimes added AUC to Roman manuscripts they published, giving the false impression that the Romans usually numbered their years using the AUC system. In fact, modern historians use AUC much more frequently than the Romans themselves did. The dominant method of identifying Roman years in Roman times was to name the two consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

s who held office that year. The regnal year
Regnal year
A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign, from the Latin regnum meaning kingdom, rule.The oldest dating systems were in regnal years, and considered the date as an ordinal, not a cardinal number. For example, a monarch could have a first year of rule, a second year of rule, a third, and...

 of the emperor was also used to identify years, especially in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 after 537 when Justinian required its use. Examples of continuous numbering include counting by regnal year, principally found in the writings of German authors, for example Mommsen's
Theodor Mommsen
Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen was a German classical scholar, historian, jurist, journalist, politician, archaeologist, and writer generally regarded as the greatest classicist of the 19th century. His work regarding Roman history is still of fundamental importance for contemporary research...

 History of Rome
History of Rome (Mommsen)
The History of Rome is a multi-volume history of ancient Rome written by Theodor Mommsen . Originally published by Reimer & Hirsel, Leipzig, as three volumes during 1854-1856, the work dealt with the Roman Republic. A subsequent book was issued which concerned the provinces of the Roman Empire...

, and (most ubiquitously) in the Anno Domini
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 year-numbering system.

Significance



From Emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 (reigned AD 41–54) onwards, Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

's calculation (see below) superseded other contemporary calculations. Celebrating the anniversary of the city became part of imperial propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

. Claudius was the first to hold magnificent celebrations in honour of the city's anniversary, in 48 AD
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

, 800 years after the founding of the city. Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 and Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

 held similar celebrations, in 121 AD and 147/148 AD respectively.

In 248 AD, Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab , also known as Philip or Philippus Arabs, was Roman Emperor from 244 to 249. He came from Syria, and rose to become a major figure in the Roman Empire. He achieved power after the death of Gordian III, quickly negotiating peace with the Sassanid Empire...

 celebrated Rome's first millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

, together with Ludi saeculares for Rome's alleged tenth saeculum
Saeculum
A saeculum is a length of time roughly equal to the potential lifetime of a person or the equivalent of the complete renewal of a human population. The term was first used by the Etruscans. Originally it meant the period of time from the moment that something happened until the point in time that...

. Coin
Coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

s from his reign commemorate the celebrations. A coin by a contender for the imperial throne, Pacatianus
Pacatianus
Tiberius Claudius Marinus Pacatianus was an usurper in the Danube area of the Roman Empire during the time of Philip the Arab....

, explicitly states "Year one thousand and first", which is an indication that the citizens of the Empire had a sense of the beginning of a new era, a Saeculum Novum.

When the Roman Empire turned Christian in the following century, this imagery came to be used in a more metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 sense, and removed legal impediments to the development and public use of the Anno Domini
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

dating system, which came into general use during the reign of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

.

Calculation by Varro


The traditional date for the founding of Rome of 21 April 753 BC, was initiated by Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

. Varro may have used the consular list with its mistakes, and called the year of the first consuls "245 ab urbe condita", accepting the 244-year interval from Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus. His literary style was Attistic — imitating Classical Attic Greek in its prime.-Life:...

 for the kings after the foundation of Rome. The correctness of Varro's calculation has not been proved scientifically but is still used worldwide.

Relationship with Anno Domini


The Anno Domini
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 year numbering was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus
Dionysius Exiguus
Dionysius Exiguus was a 6th-century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja shared by Romania and Bulgaria. He was a member of the Scythian monks community concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor...

 in Rome in 525, as an outcome of his work on calculating the date of Easter. In his Easter table the year 532 AD was equated with the regnal year 248 of Emperor Diocletian. The table counted the years starting from the presumed birth of Christ, rather than the accession of the emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 on 20 November 284, or as stated by Dionysius: "sed magis elegimus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi annorum tempora praenotare..." It is assumed Dionysius Exiguus intended either 1 AD or 1 BC to be the year of Christ's birth (a "year zero
Year zero
"Year zero" does not exist in the widely used Gregorian calendar or in its predecessor, the Julian calendar. Under those systems, the year 1 BC is followed by AD 1...

" does not exist in this calendar). It was later calculated (from the historical record of the succession of Roman consuls) that the year 1 AD corresponds to the Roman year DCCLIV ab urbe condita, based on Varro's epoch. This however resulted in that year not corresponding with the lifetimes of historical figures reputed to be alive, or otherwise mentioned in connection with the Christian incarnation, e.g. Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 or Quirinius.
...1 ab urbe condita = 753 before Christ
2 AUC = 752 BC
3 AUC = 751 BC ...

750 AU = 4 BC (Death of Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

)
751 AU = 3 BC
752 AU = 2 BC
753 AU = 1 BC
754 AU = 1 Anno Domini
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

755 AU = 2 AD

759 AU = 6 AD (Quirinius
Quirinius
Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was a Roman aristocrat. After the banishment of the ethnarch Herod Archelaus from the tetrarchy of Judea in AD 6, Quirinius was appointed legate governor of Syria, to which the province of Iudaea had been added for the purpose of a census.-Life:Born in the neighborhood...

 becomes governor of Syria) ...

2753 AU = 2000 AD

2764 AU = 2011 AD

Alternative calculations


According to Velleius Paterculus the foundation of Rome took place 437 years after the capture of Troy
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

 (1182 BC). It took place shortly before an eclipse
Eclipse
An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer...

 of the Sun that was observed at Rome on 25 June 745 BC and had a magnitude of 50.3%. Its beginning occurred at 16:38, its middle at 17:28, and its end at 18:16.

However, according to Lucius Tarrutius of Firmum, Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus are Rome's twin founders in its traditional foundation myth, although the former is sometimes said to be the sole founder...

 were conceived in the womb on the 23rd day of the Egyptian month
Egyptian calendar
The ancient civil Egyptian calendar had a year that was 360 days long and was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, plus five extra days at the end of the year. The months were divided into three weeks of ten days each...

 Choiac, at the time of a total eclipse of the Sun. (This eclipse occurred on 15 June 763 BC, with a magnitude of 62.5% at Rome. Its beginning took place at 6:49, its middle at 7:47 and its end at 8:51.) They were born on the 21st day of the month Thoth. The first day of Thoth fell on 2 March in that year. Rome was founded on the ninth day of the month Pharmuthi, which was 21 April, as universally agreed. The Romans add that about the time Romulus started to build the city, an eclipse of the Sun was observed by Antimachus, the Teian poet, on the 30th day of the lunar month. This eclipse on 25 June 745 BC (see above) had a magnitude of 54.6% at Teos, Asia Minor. It started at 17:49; it was still eclipsed at sunset, at 19:20. Romulus vanished in the 54th year of his life, on the Nones of Quintilis (July), on a day when the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

 was darkened. The day turned into night, which sudden darkness was believed to be an eclipse of the Sun. It occurred on 17 July 709 BC, with a magnitude of 93.7%, beginning at 5:04 and ending at 6:57. (All these eclipse data have been calculated by Prof. Aurél Ponori-Thewrewk, retired director of the Planetarium of Budapest.) Plutarch placed it in the 37th year from the foundation of Rome, on the fifth of our July, then called Quintilis, also states that Romulus ruled for 37 years. He was either slain by the senate or disappeared in the 38th year of his reign. Most of these have been recorded by Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Florus
Florus
Florus, Roman historian, lived in the time of Trajan and Hadrian.He compiled, chiefly from Livy, a brief sketch of the history of Rome from the foundation of the city to the closing of the temple of Janus by Augustus . The work, which is called Epitome de T...

, Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, Dio (Dion) Cassius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus. His literary style was Attistic — imitating Classical Attic Greek in its prime.-Life:...

 (L. 2). Dio in his Roman History (Book I) confirms this data by telling that Romulus was in his 18th year of age when he had founded Rome. Thus, three eclipse calculations may support the suggestion that Romulus reigned from 746 BC to 709 BC, and Rome was founded in 745 BC.

Q. Fabius Pictor
Quintus Fabius Pictor
Quintus Fabius Pictor was one of the earliest Roman historians and considered the first of the annalists. A member of the Fabii gens, he was the grandson of Gaius Fabius Pictor, a painter . He was a senator who fought against the Gauls in 225 BC, and against Carthage in the Second Punic War...

 (c. 250 BC) tells that Roman consuls started for the first time 239 years after Rome's foundation. Livy gives almost the same, 240 years for that interval. Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

 tells that 28 years after the expulsion of the last Persian king Xerxes crossed over to Greece, and that event is fixed to 478 BC by two solar eclipse
Solar eclipse
As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least...

s.