Talk:Mercedonius

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Character in Adventure People[edit]

Mercedonius was once a character in the Adventure People.

was added to Mercedonius by 201.236.200.84. This is apparently vandalism because all of his contributions to date have been "Adventure People" characters such as Monday Day, July Month, etc. — Joe Kress 02:32, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Length of Mercedonius[edit]

Dear Nameless One,

Thank you for making your latest edits on this topic short, relevant, and non-polemical.

However I cannot agree to them. I will go through your statements one by one.

This requires February to be truncated.

This is true, but the article already says this: It had 27 days, beginning after the 23rd or 24th day of Februarius, so that the year was lengthened by a total of 22 or 23 days. There is no reason to repeat it.

Varro, Livy, Censorinus and Macrobius all say that the last five days of February were dropped.

Actually, only Varro says this. Livy says that intercalation began (in one year) on the day after the Terminalia and (in another year) on the second day after the Terminalia, he never says anything about the last 5 days of February. Livy does have relevant evidence though: when he dates the triumph of Scipio Asiaticus to prid Kal Mart., he notes that it was the last day of the intercalary month.

Censorinus and Macrobius say that the 22 or 23 intercalary days were inserted after the Terminalia and that the last five days of February followed these intercalary days, i.e. that intercalation occurred in the middle of pre-Julian February, just as it did in Julian February.

Both models result in the same dates for the five days immediately preceding Kal. Mart. But Varro is surely right. He lived under the pre-Julian calendar and knew the rules from personal experience. As did Livy. Also, we have the 27-day Intercalaris of the Fasti Ant Mai.

For Censorinus the pre-Julian calendar was nearly 300 years in the past, for Macrobius 500 years. As well as having the precedent of the Julian February, they would have known that the Regifugium and Equiria, normally celebrated in the last five days of Februarius, were still celebrated in the last five days before Kal Mart in intercalary years. Its a very understandable mistake that they thought Intercalaris was a 22 or 23 day month which divided Februarius into two parts.

Celsus says that the month could have 28 days,

No, he doesn't. He says that the intercalary month does have 28 days. Ideler, who thought that the intercalary month was 27 or 28 days long, felt it necessary to emend Celsus' text to read "ex diebus viginti <septem vel> octo." But, as Mommsen pointed out in 1859, Ideler ignored the evidence of both Livy and Leo the Wise. No emendation is needed once it is understood that Celsus is talking about Julian intercalation.

which is consistent with these writers.

Not with Livy it isn't. And, as Leo the Wise makes it explicitly clear, he was talking about Julian intercalation not pre-Julian intercalation.

As to your edit summary:

Feb isn't "an addition to the others". Only Interkal is.

It is Cato who says that the intercalary month was an additional month, not Celsus. Celsus is just quoting Cato. He also quotes Quintus Mucius, who says that the length of the intercalary month was added to the length of February. Both these authors lived before the Julian reform.

What Celsus says is in response to, and refuting, Cato and Quintus Mucius: "Mensis autem intercalaris constat ex diebus viginti octo" ("It is, however, established that there are twenty-eight days in the intercalary month.") I.e. you cannot account Julian intercalation by adding a whole month to the (Julian) intercalary month just because this was done in the pre-Julian calendar.

This whole quote and response makes no sense in context if Celsus is talking about the pre-Julian month, nor would it be relevant to his main ruling, which is about how to handle bissextile birthdays, a purely Julian phenomenon. It is only relevant if his point is that Julian rules supersede pre-Julian ones.

"Give us back our 11 days "is 1752. People alive now knew people alive in 1858. An Irish nursery rhyme recalls the 4th century Celtic church calendar

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. I guess your point is that Celsus could have found out what the precise pre-Julian rules were if he wanted to (though I don't see why 1752 is relevant, that was the year of the Julian/Gregorian change in England). Possibly so. But you have yet to produce any reason why he should have wanted to.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 16:01, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Celsus reports(not refutes)Interkal was an addition[Cato],it followed Feb[Quintus Mucius]&had28d.Varro&Antiates are both right(22+5=27,23+5=28).Livy didnt say anything started25Feb,just a day added...) -- The Nameless One, 13 February 2008

So you keep saying. It would be nice if you actually produced some evidence or argument. I'll go through these points one by one.

Celsus reports(not refutes)Interkal was an addition[Cato],it followed Feb[Quintus Mucius]&had28d.
Celsus does indeed report Cato and Mucius, but he is not reporting anyone when he says that it has 28 days. He is expressing his own opinion. There are three proofs of this:
1) Later East Roman (Byzantine) law codes, which draw on the Digest of Justinian, where this quote of Celsus is given, specifically state that he means the Julian February. You have not given any reason to believe that this is wrong, you just keep saying it is. "Because I said so" is not a valid argument.
2) The word "autem" -- however. This means that the following statement does not report the views of Cato and Mucius, but is meant to oppose them. Since he does not attach the name of an authority to it, he is expressing his own opinion.
3) The internal logic of the ruling, which is about the legal treatement of bissextile birthdays. If the 28 days is about February then the comment is relevant and appropriate because it explains that the biduum does not change the length of February. If it's about the pre-Julian intercalary month then it is not relevant and the whole thing from Cato on is just an antiquarian diversion, for which there is no obvious justification.
Varro&Antiates are both right(22+5=27,23+5=28)
I agree that both are right. But neither item is evidence for the idea of a 28 day intercalary month. Varro doesn't say anything about the length of the intercalary month and Fasti Ant Mai shows a 27 day intercalary month.
Livy didnt say anything started25Feb,just a day added..
Incorrect. What Livy actually says is: "Hoc anno intercalatum est: tertio die post Terminalia kalendae intercalariae fuere." -- "This year was intercalary: the Intercalary Kalends was on the third (inclusive) day after the Terminalia". This cannot be interpreted as the intercalation of a single day. The Kalends is the first day of a month. --Chris Bennett (talk) 17:09, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Please reply here to these points, giving logical, reasoned argument, and, where appropriate citing primary sources with relevant scholarship, before making any more edits to the article. --Chris Bennett (talk) 17:09, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Livy was 6 when last Interkal added-faulty recall.We agree Varro was right-my text follows him.Why would Celsus mention Interkal if irrelevant?Cato died before reform so Celsus opposes him on Interkal -- The Nameless One, 14 February

I suppose this will have to do. As usual, no logic, no reason, no evidence, no sources, no analysis. OK, here we go again:

Livy was 6 when last Interkal added-faulty recall.

And your point is? Do you seriously imagine that Livy was personally recalling the events of 170 BC? He was drawing on the records of older historians and contemporary annalists. All of whom wrote while the pre-Julian calendar was a living calendar.

We agree Varro was right-my text follows him.

No it doesn't. Varro never says that the intercalary month was 28 days long. He only talks about what happened to the last 5 days of February, which is an entirely different topic.

Why would Celsus mention Interkal if irrelevant?Cato died before reform so Celsus opposes him on Interkal

Celsus mentioned pre-Julian intercalation to make the point that it is irrelevant.

We aren't told why he felt it necessary to make that point, and it's an interesting question. We are told elsewhere in the Digest that the reason the bissextile day question was important is that it was disputed precisely when a man born on that day attained his majority. Maybe some barrack-room lawyer had tried to use Cato's ruling as a precedent to argue that someone born on the bissextile day didn't attain his majority for another month. Just like another barrack-room lawyer argued in the Pirates of Penzance that Frederick, born on 29 February, was only 7 years old when he was 28.

Why do you think Celsus mentioned Cato's ruling? How do you think it is relevant to bissextile birthdays?

Please reply here. Your habit of only using the Edit Summary line is very rude and insulting, and quite unnecessary.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 16:38, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Cato says Interkal added:Quintus Mucius says its length added to length of Feb;Celsus clarifies Feb truncated-Interkal had 28 days

On second thoughts I decided I might as well keep chasing you down this bloody rathole, since you do show some small awareness that objections to your ideas have merit. I REALLY WISH you would talk to me on the Talk page like any civilised person does.

Just to recalibrate, here is the full quote from Celsus again:

Celsus libro 39 digestorum
pr. Cum bisextum kalendis est, nihil refert, utrum priore an posteriore die quis natus sit, et deinceps sextum kalendas eius natalis dies est: nam id biduum pro uno die habetur. Sed posterior dies intercalatur, non prior: ideo quo anno intercalatum non est sexto kalendas natus, cum bisextum kalendis est, priorem diem natalem habet.
1. Cato putat mensem intercalarem additicium esse: omnesque eius dies pro momento temporis observat extremoque diei mensis februarii adtribuit Quintus Mucius.
2. Mensis autem intercalaris constat ex diebus viginti octo.
Cato says Interkal added:Quintus Mucius says its length added to length of Feb

The extract doesn't start with Cato's quote, it starts with Celsus' ruling about bissextile birthdays. Only then does Cato get mentioned. If Celsus is simply explaining how pre-Julian intercalation worked, why is that topic relevant to bissextile birthdays?

Celsus clarifies

If Celsus is "clarifying" why does he say "autem" -- however? If he is talking the pre-Julian intercalay month, how does his statement override what Cato and Celsus says? It would be supplementing those statements, not contradicting them. But "autem" means that he is going to go against Cato and Mucius.

Feb truncated

Where does Celsus say Feb is truncated? He doesn't.

Interkal had 28 days

If Celsus is talking about pre-Julian intercalation, why doesn't he mention that it also has 27 days? Ideler thought this was a serious problem, why don't you? Since Celsus is the ONLY author to mention an intercalary month of 28 days, and since we know for sure that it [also] had 27 days, why should we trust him on this?

Which brings us back to the elephant in the room: What on earth does a 28-day pre-Julian intercalary month have to do with bissextile birthdays in the Julian calendar?

I know I'm being a broken record, but you still don't hear me, so:

PLEASE REPLY HERE AND STOP EDITING THE PAGE UNTIL WE HAVE AGREEMENT.

Which is normal Wikipedia procedure --Chris Bennett (talk) 21:05, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

FOR THE LAST TIME-pre-Julian intercalation is irrelevant to bissextile birthdays. -- The Nameless One, 15 February 2008

I can only hope it is the last time.

You have stated Celsus' point precisely: pre-Julian intercalation is irrelevant to bissextile birthdays. Therefore why would he bother to mention them at all if he wasn't trying to make exactly that point????

--Chris Bennett (talk) 15:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Dont put words into Celsus'mouth-"Irrelevant" is not in the text.If you want serious debate quote the age of majority text and Leo the Wise's.Francis says a lot of people support me on this. -- The Nameless One, 15 February 2008

OK, here we go again:

Dont put words into Celsus'mouth-"Irrelevant" is not in the text.

What is in the text is the word autem. Explain why.

If you want serious debate

Coming from someone who has deliberately ignored WP procedure for debate since day 1......

quote the age of majority text

Already done: [1].

and Leo the Wise's

Already done: ο Φεβρουαριος εικοσι οκτω ημερον εστιν

Francis says a lot of people support me on this.

Francis actually said:

Just to emphasize the point -- and also to make it clear that Chris is by no means alone in his views

Maybe your name is also Chris, but neither Francis nor anyone else has any way to know that since you refuse to reveal anything about your identity except the IP addresses you use. So he's talking about me, not you.

and finally:

So Varro is wrong?

No, Varro is right as far as he goes, but he's irrelevant to this question. He talks about the last five days of the month, not a month of 28 days. Here, again, is what Varro actually says:

duodecimus enim mensis fuit Februarius et cum intercalatur inferiores quinque dies duodecimo demuntur mense.

I know I'm being a broken record, but you still don't hear me, so:

PLEASE REPLY HERE AND STOP EDITING THE PAGE UNTIL WE HAVE AGREEMENT.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 20:23, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Cato:Insertion in Feb.Quintus Mucius:Addition to Feb.Celsus[autem]:Neither.New paragraph=new topic.Drop last5d Feb,year350d. 378needed.Subtract350from378.You do the math.Leo:Feb(not Interkal)has28days -- The Nameless One

You will have seen that this page is now semi-protected, again in order to try to force you to debate on the Talk page like you're supposed to. I have also been promised that if you just move around to another page as you did before then that page will also be semi-protected -- and that that behaviour will also not be tolerated indefinitely.

You got the hint when you received final warnings that Wiki admins will not tolerate your long POV rants indefinitely. Get the hint now: Wiki Admins will not tolerate your refusal to debate on the Talk page indefinitely. So stop acting like a total jerk as you have for nearly a month now, and start behaving like a normal human being.

Cato:Insertion in Feb.Quintus Mucius:Addition to Feb.Celsus[autem]:Neither.New paragraph=new topic.

No, its not a new topic. Autem means that its an opposing comment on the same topic. And both paragraphs are commentary on the main topic: the bissextile birthday.

It's about time you started answering the awkward questions. You've ignored them for long enough.

Why does Celsus say "autem" if he is merely noting the length of the pre-Julian month?
Why doesn't Celsus mention the 27 day intercalary month if what he is talking about is the length of the pre-Julian month?
Why does Celsus introduce the topic at all if he isn't pointing out that pre-Julian rules no longer apply?
Why does Leo the Wise say "February" when he brings Celsus' commentary forward to the Basilika if Celsus actually meant the pre-Julian intercalary month?
Drop last5d Feb,year350d. 378needed.Subtract350from378.You do the math.

No, you prove that that is the math which has to be done. Varro says that the last 5 days of February become the last 5 days of the intercalary month. That's all he says.

Now that you've had to accept that Livy really is talking about an intercalary month starting on the third day after the Terminalia, you might want to do that math. A 27 day month starting on that day creates a 378-day year.

Varro's point, as Michels pointed out, is that the religious festivals of those five days are moved, which is proved by the fact that Livy says that in 170 BC Kal Int was on the third day after the Terminalia, not "the day after the Regifugium".

Have you read Michels yet? No? I thought not.

Leo:Feb(not Interkal)has28days

Bingo. And since Leo was simply bringing Celsus forward into the Basilika, that means that Leo understood that Celsus was talking about February, not pre-Julian intercalation.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 15:33, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Chris,its a simple mathematical equation.On the digest, forget bissextile birthdays.The paragraph break shows redactor is moving to an unrelated issue

-- The Nameless One, running back to the Julian Calendar, since he was flushed from here. Of course, he's been now flushed from there too. Again.

WHEN WILL YOU GET THE POINT??? It's simple enough: USE THE TALK PAGE. This bone-headed refusal to debate the way every other Wikipedian debates is pathological.

Chris,its a simple mathematical equation.

Livy's is simpler. Varro's subject was the festivals of the religious year. He was not making a detailed exposition of the variant rules of the calendar and all their implications, he was just explaining the principle.

Livy, by contrast, is being very specific about exactly what happened in one particular year. It's the best possible datum we could hope for -- a picture of intercalation in actual operation. And in that year he says, very explicitly, and without any ambiguity of any kind whatsoever, that the Intercalary Kalends fell on the second day after the Terminalia, i.e. after the 24th day of February, not on the day after the Terminalia (the 23rd).

On the digest, forget bissextile birthdays.The paragraph break shows redactor is moving to an unrelated issue

No, he isn't. This is an extract from one law book being incorporated into another. If there were two unrelated issues here, then please explain what possible relevance the structure of the pre-Julian intercalary month might have to a law code of the sixth century AD, let alone one of the second. It only makes sense if it is exactly what it appears to be, i.e. part of a commentary on the primary issue, which is the bissextile birthday.

The bissextile birthday is the whole reason Celsus' statement is there in the first place, as should be crystal clear from Ulpian's extract. The fact that you are unable to reconcile your ideas with it doesn't mean it's an unrelated issue. It means that your ideas are wrong.

Your very first statement on this topic was that Celsus was wrong, and you never have bothered to explain why you changed your mind, let alone why you are so dead certain about it. Of course, that would probably take more space than you can fit in an Edit Summary line.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 21:35, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Whats the Basilika&whos Ulpian?In Digest96is seashore&1tenancy in common.99is inquiry&1geography.98,1&2are distinct.Interkals full complement is28d.Mobile insertion point is unknown in human history. -- The Nameless One, running back to the Roman Calendar, since he was flushed from here and from the Julian Calendar articles. Of course, he's been now flushed from there too. Again.
Whats the Basilika&whos Ulpian?.

So nice to know you've been paying attention.

The Basilika is the law code of Leo the Wise. Ulpian is the jurist who gives the background to the significance of the bissextile birthday issue at [2].

In Digest96is seashore&1tenancy in common.99is inquiry&1geography.98,1&2are distinct.

One of the reasons you should debate on the Talk page rather than in the Edit Summary line is that you can say what you mean on a Talk page in a way that other people can understand you. This one really had me puzzled for a while.

I'm guessing your point is that these other definitional sections are just as full of random unrelated factoids as you believe the bissextile section is.

Not being an expert on Roman law, I don't know the exact context behind 96 and 99. I do know that Roman lawyers were not idiot savants. They were very smart and intelligent men, trained more deeply than almost anyone alive today in the skills of argument and rhetoric. If they grouped a bunch of statements together, they did so for a good reason related to a substantive legal issue. The right way to analyse these texts is to identify the underlying legal problem that relates them.

It's up to you to prove otherwise, not just to assert it.

My own reaction to these items is:

96) Clearly the underlying issue is about ownership of tidal lands.
99) [from Ulpian, by the way] Clearly the underlying issue is about the scope of assigned authority.

Interkals full complement is28d.

Then why does Fasti Ant Mai only show 27? Why does Livy record an intercalary month starting on the second day after the Terminalia?

Mobile insertion point is unknown in human history.

Evidently you know absolutely nothing about Greek calendars. The Athenians inserted and removed days from months, and inserted intercalary months, wherever it was convenient to do so at the time, so long as it more-or-less balanced out at the end. Even the Babylonians, who had an excellent calendar, had two different insertion points for intercalary months.

I'm still waiting for answers to the folowing:

Why does Celsus say "autem" if he is merely noting the length of the pre-Julian month?
Why doesn't Celsus mention the 27 day intercalary month if what he is talking about is the length of the pre-Julian month?
Why does Celsus introduce the topic at all if he isn't pointing out that pre-Julian rules no longer apply?
Why does Leo the Wise say "February" when he brings Celsus' commentary forward to the Basilika if Celsus actually meant the pre-Julian intercalary month?

To which I add:

Why does Celsus use the present tense ("constat") if he's talking about an intercalary month that was last used 150 years in the past?

But of course you can't answer those in an Edit Summary line. You'd actually have to

USE THE TALK PAGE.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 19:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Chris,don't you think your note on Talk:Mercedonius is a cop-out?Britannica rejects you.Read the Digest.At title16the paragraph links break because it's now a dictionary(Signification)not a law report The Nameless One, running now to the Leap Year, since he was flushed from here and from the Julian Calendar and Roman Calendar articles. He will no doubt be flushed from there too. I have also requested that his IP addresses be blocked for his persistent disruptive behaviour.
Chris,don't you think your note on Talk:Mercedonius is a cop-out?

If you mean my proposal to reword the article in a way that is both accurate and allows you to drop this bullshit campaign with a little face still intact, no I don't. I think it's generosity towards your viewpoint that goes far beyond what it deserves.

What I do think is a cop-out is your persistent refusal to debate. And your refusal to face facts and issues that conflict with your viewpoint is cowardice.

Britannica rejects you.

You can find sources that reflect your out of date viewpoint. That's why I talked about "consensus". More serious than the Britannica, Bickerman's last edition still quotes De Sanctis on this, and Bickerman is still the most easily accessible general reference on ancient chronography. But Bickerman never updated his 1980 edition to reflect Michels' book, he only added it to his bibliography; he died the next year. He is out of date. To my knowledge, all modern experts in Roman calendrics follow Michels on this.

Read the Digest.At title16the paragraph links break because it's now a dictionary(Signification)not a law report

Read the Digest yourself. Look at how the definitions are created: By extracts from the works of various jurists that discuss the terms. And:

USE THE TALK PAGE.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 18:02, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Rvv Persistent refusal to debate on talk pageThe Nameless One, at the Leap Year article just before that too was semiprotected.

So. We finally reach the point where all pretence of reason is abandoned and the naked and pitiful troll beneath is revealed.

Have fun. I'm done with you.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 01:38, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Resolution of Length of Mercedonius Issue[edit]

A long time ago I tried to resolve this issue by proposing to insert a statement recognising that in the past some scholars, such as Ideler and de Sanctis, thought that the Intercalary month was 27 or 28 days long, but the current consensus is that it was fixed at 27 days. That is a completely accurate statement of fact. It doesn't require you to agree that it was fixed at 27 days. It only requires you to agree that the current consensus is that it was fixed at 27 days, which is a different issue.

If you could agree to that, then I can get on with my life, and you can start researching and publishing and persuading the world of classical scholarship that Mommsen and Michels and Samuel and Brind'Amour and Hannah and all the others who regard the fixed 27 day model as the explanation best fitting the facts are wrong. When you've succeeded in doing that then we can revisit the issue.

If, on the other hand, you are still hell-bent on carrying on with this stupid argument, then the least you can do is to:

STOP EDITING THIS OR ANY OTHER PAGE AND REPLY HERE.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 21:35, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

I made this proposal so long ago that I'd forgotten I'd actually made the change to the Roman calendar page. I have now made the same change here.

The Nameless One has no reason to object to this, because it means that the articles no longer say he is wrong. They only say that he is out of line with the consensus opinion of modern scholarship.

If, on the other hand, he is still hell-bent on carrying on with this stupid argument, then the least he can do is to:

STOP EDITING THIS OR ANY OTHER PAGE AND REPLY HERE.

--Chris Bennett (talk) 19:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Tone[edit]

I'm sticking a {{Tone}} template on this page because the article now reads almost more like a scholarly polemic than a general-use encyclopedia article. The first paragraph in particular doesn't do what a lede should. It's great that there is an overview of the literature included, but this should be moved out of the first paragraph (preferably into its own section), while the lede should be boiled down into a more direct, spit-it-out account. To give one example, the very first sentence begins by saying that mensis intercalaris was never called Mercedonius (the title of the article...), which will confuse many readers from the very start. Q·L·1968 16:21, 4 June 2015 (UTC)