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Why New Year’s? – The Washington Herald, January 1st, 1910
|| 12/31/2009 || 11:59 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Why New Year’s? – The Washington Herald, January 1st, 1910

To-day is the 158th celebration of January 1 as New Year’s Day. Although there was a general popular observance of the 1st of January as the beginning of the year, the ancient Jewish year, which opened with the 25th of March, continued long to have a legal position in Christian countries. In England it was not till 1752, however, that the 1st of January became the initial day of the legal, as it had been for a long time of the popular year. In Scotland this desirable change was made a by a decree of James VI in privy council in the year 1600. It was effected in France in 1546; in Holland, Protestant Germany, and Prussia in 1700, and in Sweden in 1753. The old Dionysian calendar is still retained in the Balkan States and in Greece, while in Russia the new style was adopted in 1902.

The ancient Egyptians had a year determined by the changes of the seasons which contained 365 days, divided into twelve months of thirty days each, with five supplementary days at the end of the year. The Greeks, in the most ancient period, reckoned according to the lunar months, twelve making a year. The Romans are said to have originally had a year of ten months, but in the time of their kings they adopted twelve months, with an occasional intercalary month. Caesar gave the months the number of days they still have.

The month of January was named after Janus, the deity supposed to preside over doors, who might very naturally be presumed also to have something to do with the opening of the year. His name was selected to represent the month Numa Pompilius, the Roman Emperor who decreed that the year should commence at this time, and added two new months to the ten into which the year had previously been divided. The deity Janus was represented by the Romans as a man with two faces, one looking backward and the other forward, implying that he stood between the old and the new year, with regard to both.

Almanacs, which are now so generally issued throughout the world with the beginning of the New Year, have been in existence for several centuries. The first important book of the character to be printed was written in Latin and issued in 1475. Almanacs in one form or another have played an important part in literature and history. In the United States the first almanac is said to have been published in Philadelphia in 1687. In 1731 Benjamin Franklin published the first issue of “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” which was continued for twenty-five years.

The Nautical Almanac, the most valuable of its character, was first published in 1767. In modern times the widely known “Almanach de Gotha,” printed both in German and French, contains much valuable statistical information. Whittaker’s Almanac, the Stateman’s Year Book, Hazell’s Annual, and books of that character are invaluable to-day by reason of the important information they contain.


January 1 is the birthday of Paul Revere (1735), Anthony Wayne (1745), Edmund Burke (1730), and the first American flag was used by Washington on January 1, 1776, at Cambridge, Mass.



This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Chronicling America newspaper collection and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid
|| 4/3/2008 || 1:28 pm || Comments Off on Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love by Ovid || ||

Remedia Amoris (Love’s Remedy or The Cure for Love) is a 814 line poem in Latin by the Roman poet Ovid written around 5 BC. The aim of the poem is to teach young men how they can avoid idealizing the women they love and to give assistance if love brings despair and misfortune.

I discovered this poem when I was researching antique stained glass sundials and I came to the initial conclusion that Ovid’s prose is visually interpreted on Blaeu’s world map from the mid-1600s (detail above). Late last night I found both the latin and translated version of the poem, so I decided to do something I wish there was more of on the internet: a side by side layout which shows the original Latin on the left and the translated English on the right.

To add a unique visual element to the poem, I made the line number (which came from the Latin text) the color of the English translation. This involved quite a bit of manual coding, but I think it makes the latin / english comparison easier and slightly more visually engaging. By using red & white type face and numerical indention, the layout looks like a creve coeur or broken heart when scrolling. I bolded one section for emphasis related it’s discovery [hint: around line #185].

There are a few translation discrepancies that I’ve found thus far and there are many others which come across slightly convoluted and require more inquiry, but overall the poem is quite interesting. It includes topics like tree grafting (Genetic Engineering Version 1.0), having multiple lovers, travelling, and what to do and not to do when getting over a relationship. It’s interesting how much things have changed in the last 2,000 years, and as cliche as it may sound, how much our emotions have stayed the same. We all face the same relationship troubles and like Ovid, there will always be people telling you how to deal with them.



If you’ve got about 45 minutes to spare, here is Ovid’s Remedia Amoris / The Cure For Love:
(You might need to widen your browser window to view the on-line polyglot correctly — it was originally design for a previous layout on this website. Drag the lower right hand corner to make the screen wider. Some browsers you can adjust the font size to achieve a similar result.)

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!