Ab urbe condita

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Antoninianus of Pacatian, usurper of Roman emperor Philip in 248. It reads ROMAE AETER[NAE] AN[NO] MIL[LESIMO] ET PRIMO, 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.'
Anno ab urbe condita, rubricated and with a decorated initial, from the medieval Chronicle of Saint Pantaleon.

Ab urbe condita (Latin: [ab ˈʊrbɛ ˈkɔndɪtaː] 'from the founding of the City'), or anno urbis conditae (Latin: [ˈan.no̯‿ˈʊrbɪs ˈkɔndɪtae̯]; 'in the year since the city's founding'),[note 1] abbreviated as AUC or AVC, expresses a date in years since 753 BC, the traditional founding of Rome.[1][2] It is an expression used in antiquity and by classical historians to refer to a given year in Ancient Rome. In reference to the traditional year of the foundation of Rome, the year 1 BC would be written AUC 753, whereas AD 1 would be AUC 754. The foundation of the Roman Empire in 27 BC would be AUC 727.

Usage of the term was more common during the Renaissance, when editors sometimes added AUC to Roman manuscripts they published, giving the false impression that the convention was commonly used in antiquity. In reality, the dominant method of identifying years in Roman times was to name the two consuls who held office that year.[3] In late antiquity, regnal years were also in use, as in Roman Egypt during the Diocletian era after AD 293, and in the Byzantine Empire from AD 537, following a decree by Justinian.

Significance[edit]

The traditional date for the founding of Rome, 21 April 753 BC, is due to Marcus Terentius Varro (1st century BC). Varro may have used the consular list (with its mistakes) and called the year of the first consuls "ab Urbe condita 245," accepting the 244-year interval from Dionysius of Halicarnassus for the kings after the foundation of Rome. The correctness of this calculation has not been confirmed, but it is still used worldwide.

From the time of Claudius (fl. AD 41 to AD 54) onward, this calculation superseded other contemporary calculations. Celebrating the anniversary of the city became part of imperial propaganda. Claudius was the first to hold magnificent celebrations in honor of the anniversary of the city, in AD 48, the eight hundredth year from the founding of the city.[4] Hadrian, in AD 121, and Antoninus Pius, in AD 147 and AD 148, held similar celebrations respectively.

In AD 248, Philip the Arab celebrated Rome's first millennium, together with Ludi saeculares for Rome's alleged tenth saeculum. Coins from his reign commemorate the celebrations. A coin by a contender for the imperial throne, Pacatianus, explicitly states "[y]ear 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 Sæculum Novum.

Calendar era[edit]

The Anno Domini (AD) year numbering was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in Rome in AD 525, as a result of his work on calculating the date of Easter. Dionysius did not use the AUC convention, but instead based his calculations on the Diocletian era. This convention had been in use since AD 293, the year of the tetrarchy, as it became impractical to use regnal years of the current emperor.[5] In his Easter table, the year AD 532 was equated with the 248th regnal year of Diocletian. The table counted the years starting from the presumed birth of Christ, rather than the accession of the emperor Diocletian on 20 November AD 284 or, as stated by Dionysius: "sed magis elegimus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi annorum tempora praenotare" ("but rather we choose to name the times of the years from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ").[6] Blackburn and Holford-Strevens review interpretations of Dionysius which place the Incarnation in 2 BC, 1 BC, or AD 1.[7]

The year AD 1 corresponds to AUC 754, based on the epoch of Varro. Thus:

AUC Year Event
1 753 BC Foundation of the Kingdom of Rome
244 510 BC Overthrow of the Roman monarchy
259 495 BC Death in exile of King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus
490 264 BC Punic Wars
709 45 BC First year of the Julian calendar
710 44 BC The Assassination of Julius Caesar
727 27 BC Augustus became the first Roman emperor, starting the Principate
753 1 BC Astronomical Year 0
754 AD 1 Possible birth date of Jesus, approximated by Dionysius the Little in AD 525 (AUC 1278)
1000 AD 247 1,000th Anniversary of the City of Rome
1037 AD 284 Diocletian became Roman emperor, starting the Dominate
1229 AD 476 Fall of the Western Roman Empire by the armies of Odoacer
1246 AD 493 Establishment of the Ostrogothic Kingdom
1306 AD 553 Italy under Eastern Roman control
1507 AD 754 Foundation of the Papal States
1553 AD 800 Creation of the Holy Roman Empire
1930 AD 1177 Papal States became independent from the Holy Roman Empire
2000 AD 1247 2,000th Anniversary of the City of Rome
2247 AD 1494 Italian Wars
2545 AD 1792 Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars
2556 AD 1803 Napoleonic Wars
2559 AD 1806 Abolition of the Holy Roman Empire
2601 AD 1848 Italian unification
2623 AD 1870 Foundation of the Kingdom of Italy
2682 AD 1929 Creation of the Sovereign City-State of the Vatican
2699 AD 1946 Proclamation of the Italian Republic
2711 AD 1958 Italy joined the European Union.
2736 AD 1983 Death in exile of King Umberto II
2752 AD 1999 Italy retired the Lira, and adopted the Euro as its currency.
2774 AD 2021 Last year
2775 AD 2022 Current year
2776 AD 2023 Next year

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In literal grammar translation, ab Urbe condita becomes English "from the City founded", and anno Urbis conditae becomes "in the year of the City founded". While this produces odd-sounding English syntax, in Latin this manner of expression is valid, and in particular usual for the word condo ("to found", etc.) in the Classical language; it conveys a tone that is somewhat more archaic and lofty.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Definition of AB URBE CONDITA". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Definition of ANNO URBIS CONDITAE". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  3. ^ Flower, Harriet I. (2014). The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic. Cambridge University Press. p. 51. ISBN 9781107032248.
  4. ^ Hobler, Francis (1860). Records of Roman history, from Cnaeus Pompeius to Tiberius Constantinus, as exhibited on the Roman coins. London: John Bowyer Nichols. p. 222.
  5. ^ Thomas, J. David. 1971. "On Dating by Regnal Years of Diocletian, Maximian and the Caesars." Chronique d'Égypte 46(91):173–79. doi:10.1484/J.CDE.2.308234.
  6. ^ Migne, Jacques-Paul. 1865. Liber de Paschate (Patrologia Latina 67), p. 481, § XX, note f
  7. ^ Blackburn, B. & Holford-Strevens, L, The Oxford Companion to the Year (Oxford University Press, 2003 corrected reprinting, originally 1999), pp. 778–780.

External links[edit]