Julius Caesar And The Year Of Confusion

Samuel Reason | November 12th, 2018

What we have now known as 46 BC in modern times was an extremely odd year during the time of the Roman Empire. This was at the height of Julius Caesar’s beautiful Rome and he was preparing to shake up the year with some large calendar reforms. In the end, it extended for 445 days and was nicknamed the “Year Of Confusion” as no one really knew what was going on at all.

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It was actually the year Julius Caesar used to prepare for the calendar reforms that would be implemented the following year, that meant that extra days were added to 46 BC. This was because Caesar wanted the Julian Calendar to begin on a day that would allow his year to be divided clearly & equally with the divisions of the solar year: notably the spring equinox.

The real confusion was caused by the year becoming so long, once the days were added on 45 BC has been reported to have lasted 445 days. Which is something that is heavily debated in the world of history, when you start to think about it, it can really make your head spin. Remember we have not used the Gregorian calendar since the beginning of time. Rather the conception of what we note as a historical year is actually defined by the people who lived in that period.

Julius Caesar never would have said it was the year of 46 BC, so how do we report that year in history? Should we stick to our definition of a year? Or should we reform history to follow the definition of time at that moment in time? It is a complicated thing to decide, which as you can see is one of the reasons this particular moment was known as the Year Of Confusion.

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