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However in the first century BC nundinae had become dies fasti; comitia and contiones (public meetings addressed by magistrates) could not be held, though the courts were still open. This cycle of eight days may have helped the Romans to move towards a seven-day week which had been used in Babylonia and was marked among the Jews by the Sabbath's 44 RELIGION AND FESTIVALS day of rest; further, in Hellenistic astrology some days received the names of the planets: Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus.

Oct. The Julian dates are added in brackets. CalendarfromAntium (Fasti Antiates Maiores) Part Two THE ROMAN YEAR January For the Roman farmer January was a comparatively slack period. Varro, who divided the agricultural year into eight periods, indicates that the eighth (from the solstice until the beginning of the west wind, Favonius, namely 7 February), was rather a time for tidying up and odd jobs than for really strenuous work. Columella says that the more scrupulous(religiosiores) husbandmen refrain from work on the soil until 13 January, ex­ cept that on 1 January they make a beginning of work of every kind to ensure good luck (auspicandi causa).

19. Since these ceremonies were regularly performed month by month, they have been described here and need not be repeated as we review each month in turn. The official calendar, which was drawn up by the pontiffs, contained the dates of the religious festivals, but it was equally important for the early Romans to know the market days when the farmers could sell their produce to the townsfolk who in turn supplied the countryside with some of the wares it needed. Every eighth day was a market day called nundinae (the number was reckoned inclusively), and the period between one nundinae and the next was called nundinum.

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