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Turning afterwards his attention to the regulation of the commonwealth, he corrected the calendar, 1 which had for some time become extremely confused, through the unwarrantable liberty which the pontiffs had taken in the article of intercalation. To such a height had this abuse proceeded, that neither the festivals designed for the harvest fell in summer, nor those for the vintage in autumn. He accommodated the year to the course of the sun, ordaining that in future it should consist of three hundred and sixty-five days without any intercalary month; and that every fourth year an intercalary day should be inserted. That the year might thenceforth commence regularly with the calends, or first of January, he inserted two months between November and December; so that the year in which this regulation was made consisted of fifteen months, including the month of intercalation. which, according to the division of time then in use, happened that year.
1 Julius Caesar was assisted by Sosigenes, an Egyptian philosopher, in correcting the calendar. For this purpose he introduced an additional day every fourth year, making February to consist of twenty-nine days instead of twenty-eight, and, of course, the whole year to consist of three hundred and sixty-six days. The fourth year was denominated Bissextile, or leap year, because the sixth day before the calends, or first of March, was reckoned twice. The Julian year was introduced throughout the Roman empire, and continued in general use till the year 1582. But the true correction was not six hours, but five hours, forty-nine minutes; hence the addition was too great by eleven minutes. This small fraction would amount in one hundred years to three-fourths of a day, and in a thousand years to more than seven days. It had, in fact, amounted, since the Julian correction, in 1582, to more than seven days. Pope Gregory XIII., therefore, again reformed the calendar, first bringing forward the year ten days, by reckoning the 5th of October the 15th, and then prescribing the rule which has gradually been adopted throughout Christendom, except in Russia, and the Greek church generally.
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