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The Curious Thing That Happened in Talbot County on September 3rd, 1752 by Gary D. Crawford

The year 1752 was an unusual one in terms of the calendar, not only in Talbot County but throughout the English world. In those days, England and her Dominions still were using the Julian calendar, while the rest of Europe had switched over, country by country, to a calendar put forward by Pope Gregory in 1582. England refused to get in step with the rest of the world. Undoubtedly it had something to do with the King being Anglican and the Pope being Catholic. Even school children know there’s a problem with the calendar. The year isn’t exactly 365 days long. It’s a bit longer. After 365 “days” (i.e., 365 earth rotations, or sunrises), the earth hasn’t quite gotten back to the same point in its orbit around the sun. One full revolution isn’t quite complete. But who cares? Well, the error puts the calendar ahead of the sun. And that throws off the solstices and equinoxes, which defines the seasons. And the seasons link to weather patterns that are used to govern plantings, harvests, holidays and all manner of things. So, yes, it’s a real problem.

In 46 BC, the old Roman calendar was in advance of the sun by a whopping 67 days. Julius Caesar was an amateur astronomer and had written a book on the subject. He also was head of the Roman Empire, so he decided to fix the calendar. Caesar had his people contact the best expert they could find, a celebrated Greek astronomer in Alexandria (Egypt) by the name of Sosigenes. After careful measurement, Sosigenes announced that the


Julius Caesar

Tidewater Times September 2011  

September 2011 Tidewater Times

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