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What's the Date?

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What's the Date?

Postby Ursinus » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:48 pm

What is the best way to say what is today or the date? Perhaps, that is two questions, in which case give me two answers. If I am asking for the day of the week, would it be: Quotus dies est? an Qui dies est? What is the best way to ask for the date (i.e., on the kalends of so and so).
In hoc enim fallimur, quod mortem prospicimus" -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Vestibulum: Revised and Expanded

Gratia et Pax,

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Re: What's the Date?

Postby Shenoute » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:04 pm

I am not vouching for the classical-ity of these but here are two answers.

Massoch, Practical Teacher of the Latin Language, p. 23
- Quam diem habemus?
- Heri erat dies Martis: hodie est dies Mercurii.
- Ego de die mensis interrogo.
- Puto nos vigesimam Martii habere.
- Placeat calendarium inspicere.
- Hodie vigesimam primam Martii habemus.

Adler, Key to Exercises contained in Adler's practical grammar, p. 68
- Quotus dies mensis hodiernus est?
- Decimus est hodiernus.

- Quotus dies mensis cras (crastinus) est?
- Crastinus (Cras) est tertius decimus.
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Re: What's the Date?

Postby Timothée » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:23 am

As Shenoute notes, Cicero and Caesar would not have understood those examples. Dies Solis, Lunae eqs. are post-classical, as well. Normal question in the classical times would probably have been that qui dies est suggested by the OP. It can of course be varied as needed according to the context. Answer could be said with Kalendae, Nonae, and Idus, but it can also pretty much anything, such as dies illius profectionis (Cicero).
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Re: What's the Date?

Postby Hylander » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:11 am

This Wikipedia article suggests that the seven-day week, with days named after planets, was in use in Roman areas by the first century CE.

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Re: What's the Date?

Postby Timothée » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:53 am

I checked the ThlL (the lemma dies), and its first mention (unless I overlooked something, which is possible) of the seven-day week is from Tertullian (under the section I B 2 d). This of course also depends on the sources that have survived to us. The ThlL article is from 1912.

Getting more deeply into the subject is undoubtedly needed. Here’s Jörg Rüpke in his article Week in the New Pauly:

Two different forms of ‘week’ were known in antiquity. (1) The type corresponding to the modern week, of fixed length and ignoring the monthly calendar, only took hold gradually, at first in the form of the seven-day week (ἑϐδομάς), based on the Sabbath and probably regular from the time of the Jewish exile (587—539 BC), and the eight-day week (ὀγδοάς) of the Romans (nundinum), also dating from the 5th cent. BC, whose dissemination outside Central Italy is hard to judge. The seven-day planetary week already enjoyed great popularity in the 1st cent. BC as an astrological concept in the field of hemerology. The connection of the astrological construct with the Jewish construct (constantly criticized by the Church Fathers) led to the dissemination of the Christian seven-day week, which displaced the Roman nundinum in the 4th cent. AD. The Chronographer of 354 shows both systems side by side.

(2) The normal form of an ancient weekly rhythm, however, was determined by the equal structuring of months, which led to ‘leaps’ because of the different lengths of the empirical or conventional lunar months. The Greek calendar was dominated by ‘decades’ (ten-day weeks), while the calendar of the city of Rome comprised a structure of three successive eight-day weeks, the first lasting from the Nones to the Ides, the second from the Ides to an unnamed day in the second half of the month, which was regularly celebrated with a major festival, and the third from that day until the Kalends. The period from the Kalends to the Nones was used for aligning to the lunations, and was therefore a flexible element in the weekly system. In the regulated Republican calendar, this period was fixed at either four or six days, depending on the month.
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