Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

History of the Ides of March: Who should Beware?

HISTORY OF THE IDES OF MARCH According to the ancient Roman calendar, the ides fell on the 13th of the month with the exception of the months March, May, July, and October, when it fell on the 15th of the month. Something epochal occurred in 44 B.C. Et tu, Brute? It was on March 15,…

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History of March

HISTORY OF MARCH The month that can come in “like a lion and out like a lamb” is named after the Roman god of war (and agriculture) Mars. March or Martius as it was known in ancient Rome is the first month of Spring, and a favorable season for travel, planting, or to begin a military…

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History of St. Valentine’s Day

HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINE’S DAY Valentine or Valentinus is the name of at least three martyred saints. The most celebrated are the two martyrs whose festivals fall on February 14, the one, a Roman priest, the other, bishop of Terni. Context It would appear from legend that both lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius…

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History of New Year’s Resolutions: Where did they begin?

HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS As we mentioned earlier, New Year’s Day celebrations began in pre-Christian times, beginning with the Babylonians in March but changed to January by the Romans. Roman The month of January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backward into the old year and forwards into the new.…

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History of Christmas: Caesar Augustus

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: CAESAR AUGUSTUS Perhaps it is fitting that our last historical character in the History of Christmas series should be the first person mentioned in St. Luke‘s story of the first Christmas. But he was not Jewish, nor a shepherd, nor a Magi. Instead, he was 1500 miles away, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus,…

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History of Santa Claus: Saint or Elf?

HISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS December 6 is “Saint Nicholas Day.” The name Santa Claus is a kind of a contraction for Saint Nicholas, the German name Sankt Nikolaus can be pronounced San’t(a) ni-KLOuse (sounding like house.) Origin He was born in the 3rd century, perhaps in A.D. 270. He became a bishop in Greece and gained distinction in the…

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