p. 3, l. 39.—It appears that de Rougé's theory of the derivation of the Phœnician alphabet from the Egyptian cursive alphabet must be abandoned. Recent discoveries prove the existence, in very remote times, in all quarters of the Mediterranean and in Egypt, of symbols resembling certain alphabetical signs and preceding even the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The early origin of our alphabet therefore still remains to be worked out. But there is no question of the descent of the Greek and Latin alphabets from that used by the Phœnicians.
p. 14.—Linen : Flavius Vopiscus in his Life of the Emperor Aurelian refers to " libri lintei " in the Ulpian Library at Rome (J. W. Clark, The Care of Books, 1901, p. 20).
The largest extant example of Etruscan writing is inscribed on linen, and is in the Museum at Agram : edited by Krall in the Denkschriften of the Vienna Academy, vol. xli. (1892).
Clay : Clay tablets have been found at Knossos, in Crete ; ascribed to the period about 1500 B.C.
p. 16.—Lead : An interesting instance of the use of lead in correspondence occurs in Parthenius, Erotica, cap. 9. When the island of Naxos was invaded by the Milesians, 501 B.C., the priestess Polycritè, being in a temple outside the capital city, sent word to her brothers, by means of a letter written upon lead and concealed in a loaf, how to make a night attack.
p. 17, l. 4.—There are two inscribed leaden tablets at Bath : (1) a curse on a person who has carried off a girl, written in Latin in reversed characters; and (2) a Latin letter, ascribed to the 4th century (E. W. B. Nicholson, Vinisius to Nigra, Oxford, 1904).
p, 17, l. 21.—The leaden plates referred to have been shown to be forgeries.
p. 17.—Bronze : Upwards of one hundred tabulæ honestæ missionis have now been recovered. For facsimilies see, for example, J. Arneth, Zwölf romische Militar-Diplome, Vienna, 1843.
p. 19, l. 11.—A wooden board inseribed in ink with lines from the Hekatè of Callimachus and the Phœnissæ of Euripides, of the 4th century, is preserved at Vienna. (Pap. Erz. Rainer, vi. (1897)).
p. 20, l. 19.—For quintuplices read quinquiplices or quincuplices.
p. 24, l. 17.—Seven waxen tablets, inscribed with fables of Babrius, as a school exercise, of the 3rd century, are preserved at Leiden. They are published in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, xiii. (1893) 293-314.
p. 25, l. 18.—The Pompeian tablets were edited in 1898 by Professor Zangemeister, Tabulae ceratae Pompais repertae annis 1875 et 1887, as a supplement to the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, iv. An accurate description of the arrangement of these documents is now available. In the triptychs, the pages are usually treated thus : pp. 1 and 6, plain wood ; p. 4, cut with a groove to receive the seals, usually plain wood, but in some instances waxed either on the right or on both the right and the left of the groove ; the witnesses' names written in ink, if on the plain wood, with the stilus, if on wax ; pp. 2 and 3, the inner (authentic) deed ; p. 5, the exterior copy. A notch is cut in the upper and lower margins, to adjust the string. (The senatus consultum for passing the string through holes is of A.D. 81.) In the diptychs, which are comparatively few, pp. 1 and 4 are plain wood ; pp. 2 and 3 are waxed ; no groove cut for the seals, which were applied on the wood. Dockets were written on the edges, and the tablets were dropped vertically into the box made to hold them. In two of the tablets (nos. 32 and 136) the Latin is written in Greek letters. The dates of the documents are A.D. 15, 27, and 53-62.
p. 28, l. 7.—A papyrus containing accounts of king Assa, 3580-3536 B.C. is extant (Petrie, Hist, of Egypt, i. 81).
p. 29, 1, 7.—The words " in tumultu vita erat " have also been interpreted to mean that the lives of the traders would have been in peril ; and, better, that there would have been danger of general interruption of the business of daily life.
p. 32, l. 9.—The width (or height, as it may be better expressed) of extant papyrus rolls varies from 5 inches to 15½ inches. The average height of literary papyri is from 9 to 10 inches.
p. 33, l. 29.—It has been suggested that this epistle is rather to be identified as one addressed by the Emperor Michael II. to Loiris le Débonnaire on the occasion of one of the embassies which he despatched to France between the years 824 and 839 (H. Omont in the Revue Archéologique, xix. (1892) 304-393). See also p. 143.
p. 34, l. 7—For " Genoa" read " Geneva."
p. 34, l. 20.—Twenty-three papal bulls on papyrus have survived, ranging from A.D. 849 to A.D. 1022 (H. Omont, Bulles Pontificales sur Papyrus, in Bibl, de l'Ecole des Chartes, lxv. (1904) 575).
p. 37, footnote 5.—At the same time, although Birt has overstated the case, there are indications that, at first, vellum was sometimes used as a common material. In the British Museum there are two small leaves, roughly written, from a MS. of works of Demosthenes of the 2nd Century (Add. MS. 34,473), which was probably a cheap copy (F. G. Kenyon, The Palaeography of Greek Papyri, 119; The New Pal. Soc., pl. 2).
p. 45, l. 27.—A very early example of European paper is exhibited in the Museum of the Public Record Office (Case A, no. 15), being a letter written on that material in Latin from Raymond, son of Raymond, duke of Narbonne and count of Toulouse, to the English king Henry III.; A.d. 1216-1222.
p. 49, l. 10.—A score of Roman bronze pens, shaped like our ordinary quill pens, are now known to be in existence in various museums of Europe or in private hands. Three are in the British Museum : one, found in the Tiber, has not a slit in the nib as most specimens have, but a groove ; the second is of a very unusual form, having a rather short tube or barrel with a slit nib at each end (another example of the same type is at Aosta in Italy) ; the third, which was found in London, has a stumpy slit nib. Two broken specimens, which have lost their nibs, are also in the British Museum. A bone pen, shaped in the same manner, is figured in the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique (of the French School at Athens), xii. 60.
p. 55, l. 3.—Delete the word " later. "
p. 61, l. 32.—The recent discoveries in Egypt throw an interesting light upon the developement of the codex or book. The survival of two vellum leaves from a codex containing the writings of Demosthenes, attributed to the 2nd Century, has been noticed above (addition to p. 37,footnote 5). And the use of the codex form by the early Christians is illustrated by the fragmentary papyri containing Christian writings. It is remarkable that the majori ty of such papyri of the 3rd Century from Oxyrhynchus are in codex form, that is, they are leaves, or portions of leaves, from books, not fragments of rolls, whereas of the non-Christian papyri very few are in codex form. Hence it appears that the codex form was in common use among Christians at an earlier date than among people in general. (See Kenyon's art. " Writing" in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible.)
p. 74, l. 32.—The Greek sign of the rough breathing (⊦) is occasionally found in Latin MSS. of about the 10th and 11th centuries. For example, the Harley MS. 2736, in the British Museum, Cicero " de Oratore," of about the year 900, contains numerous instances, e.g., ⊦annibal.
p. 92, l. 31. Delete the sentence " This sign .....
p. 107. Chapter VIII.—The further discoveries of Greek papyri, which have been steadily made, year by year, in Egypt, since this Handbook was written, are so large and so important that it need be no matter for surprise or for apology if some of the views which have been herein expressed should now be more or less modified. Every fresh discovery widens our knowledge of the subject of Greek writing in the early periods, hitherto so obscure, and a revision of former conceptions, especially of the dates of certain well-known literary papyri, is now possible.
To our list of Greek papyri found in Egypt, as set out on pp. 107-113, several most important additions have to be made. First, to mention miseellaneous collections : in the year 1892, chiefly on the site of a village in the Fayûm named Socnopæi Nesus, a large series of documents was brought to light, ranging from the Ist Century to the 3rd Century of our era. Most of them are now at Berlin ; but a certain number have found their way to the British Museum, while others are in the Libraries of Vienna and Geneva, and elsewhere. Again, in 1896-7, an immense collection of papyri, thousands in number, and ranging over the first six centuries of the Christian era, was discovered at Behnesa, the site of the ancient Oxyrhynchus, by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt, excavating for the Egypt Exploration Fund. Here, besides innumerable documents of a non-literary character, a considerable quantity of fragments of literary works has been recovered, among them being the now well-known Logia or " Sayings of Our Lord "' of the 3rd Century, and early fragments of the Gospel of St. Matthew, as well as remains of classical authors. But this is not all. Excavations were resumed in the winter of 1902-3 with a resuit no less striking than the former one. Another fragment of the Logia, of the 3rd century; a portion of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the 3rd or early 4th century, written on the back of the epitome of Livy mentioned below (Ox. Pap. iv. no. 657 ; New Pal. Soc., pl. 4.7) ; and numerous fragments of lost Greek classics are announced. It is to be noted that, while such extensive deposits of Greek papyri are being discovered, very few examples of Latin papyri have been found ; and it is therefore of particular interest that in this later instalment from Oxyrhynchus there is a Latin historical text of some length, which contains part of an epitome of Livy, in a hand of the 3rd Century (Ox. Pap. iv, no. 668 ; New Pal Soc., pl. 53). Selections from this great collection are in course of publication in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri by the Egypt Exploration Fund.
A further discovery was made in 1899-1900 by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt on the site of the ancient Tebtunis in the south of the Fayûm, which yielded a great store of papyri, chiefly of a non-literary character, which had been generally used in the cartonnage of mummies and as wrappings of mumtnies of crocodiles. They range from the 3rd Century B.C. to the 3rd Century A.D. ; and a portion of them has been published in The Tebtunis Papyri, 1902, issued jointly by the University of California and the Egypt Exploration Fund.
Two smaller groups of miscellaneous documents have also to be noticed, viz., the correspondence of a Roman officer named Abinæus, of the middle of the 4th Century, which has been shared between the British Museum and the Library of Geneva, in 1892 ; and a collection ranging from the 2nd Century B.C. to the 3rd or 4th Century A.D., acquired by the Egypt Exploration Fund and published by that Society (Fayûm Towns and their Papyri, 1900).
Of classical literature two most important works have been recovered. In 1896 the British Museum acquired a papyrus of the 1st Century B.C., containing a large part of the odes of Bacchylides, the contemporary of Pindar (edited, with a facsimile, by F. G. Kenyon in 1897); and early in 1902 the oldest literary Greek papyrus as yet discovered was found in a coffin of a mummy at Abûsîr, the ancient Busiris, near Memphis, and proved to contain a large portion of the Persæ of the poet Timotheos in writing which has been estimated to be of the latter half of the 4th Century B.C. It is now in Berlin, and has been edited, with facsimile, Der Timotheos-Papyrus (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft), by von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff, 1903.
Among other early literary papyri of importance which have been lately published, with facsimiles, should be mentioned the commentary on Plato's " Theætetus," at Berlin, a roll of seventy narrow columns, containing about one-sixth of the whole work, finely written in delicately-formed uncials, early 2nd Century, edited by Diels and Schubart in Berliner Klassikertexte, ii. (1905) ; the commentary of Didymus on the " Philippics " of Demosthenes, of the 2nd Century, edited by the same in Berl. Klass., i. (1904) ; the Psalms xxx.־lv., the longest Biblical roll in existence, at Leipzig, written in a cursive hand on the back of accounts of A.D. 338, edited by Heinrici, Beiträge zur Gesch. u. Erklärung des neuen Testamentes, iv. (1903).
p. 109, l. 32.—This papyrus book (pap. cxxvi.) is more probably of the 3rd Century.
p. 110, l. 8.—The fragments of Book ii. of the Iliad, found by Professor Flinders Petrie at Hawara and deposited in the Bodleian Library, are now ascribed to the 2nd Century A.D. (see below, note on p. 125, l. 36).
p. 110, l. 14.—The papyrus of Hyperides' orations against Demosthenes and for Lycophron and Euxenippus, when perfect, must have measured twenty-eight feet in length. It is now thought to be of the Ist Century A.D.
p. 110, l. 38.—The papyrus containing the oration against Philippides is now assigned to the 1st Century B.C.
p. 111, l. 2.—The papyrus of the oration against Athenogenes is of the 2nd Century B.C. It has been edited by E. Bevillout, Le Playdoyer d'Hypéride contre Athénogène, 1892.
p. 112, l. 16.—Por " Medæa " read " Medea. "
p. 118, Chapter IX,—The difficulty of drawing an exact line of division between the book-hand and the cursive hand in Greek papyri has led Mr. P. G. Kenyon—who has made this branch of palæographv the subject of special study, and whose book, The Palæography of Greek Papyri, 1899, should be in the student's hands —to divide the papyri simply into two series representative of their contents, and not of their style of production, that is, literary papyri and non-literary papyri. While reading this chapter the student should bear in mind the literary papyri, recently found, which are noted above in the addition to Chapter VIII.
p. 118, l. 22.— The first place in the series of the earliest extant specimens of Greek writing of the book-hand has now been taken by the recently discovered papyrus of the Persæ of Timotheos, referred to above, which is assigned to the second half of the 4th Century B.C. The text is inscribed in a firmly-written large square character of the epigraphic style, not unlike that of the Artemisia papyrus (p. 119), but without any curved letters of the uncial type ; even sigma, which in the Artemisia fragment assumes a rounded form, is here still of the ancient angular shape . The arrangement of the test does not conform to the rules observed in later examples. The columns of writing are broad and vary in dimensions, ranging from 8 to 11½ inches ; and the text runs on continuously without distinguishing the verses of the poem. The sections, however, are marked off with the separating stroke παράγραφος ; but in such instances they are kept quite distinct from one another, the first word of a new section beginning with a new line, and not following on in the concluding line of the previous section, as would have been the case in later periods (see p. 68). A specimen facsimile is given by the New Pal. Soc., pl. 22.
p. 123, l. 1.—The papyrus of the orations of Ilyperides for Lycophron, etc., is now placed in the 1st Century A.D. instead of in the 1st Century B.C. (See Kenyon, Palæogr. Gr. Papyri, p. 85.)
p. 124, l. 5.— The Harris Homer also may be placed in the 1st Century A.D. rather than in the 1st Century B.C. (Op. cit., p. 84.)
But, while the above two papyri are thus deposed from the more ancient period, we have now a papyrus to take a place in the middle of the 1st Century B.C., viz., that of the poems of Bacchylides, which is written in a fine hand of the late Ptolemaic style. Again, the papyri recovered from Herculaneum (pp. 113-115), if they are indeed from the library of the philosopher Philodemus, would also be of about the same time.
Of particular importance, palæographically, as a standard of the literary hand at the time of the Christian era, is a fragment of the third book of the Odyssey in the British Museum, the writing of which most closely resembles that of a document (Brit. Mus., Papyrus cccliv.) which was drawn up in a formal book-hand within a few years of the close of the first century B.C. (Kenyon, op. cit., p 82.)
p. 125, l. 36.—Further proof is now forthcoming of the employment, as far back as the first centuries of our era, of a large uncial style, from which the uncial writing of the early vellum MSS. was derived. The more recent opinion that the Hawara Iliad, Book ii., referred to above, which is written in large uncial characters, should be assigned to a period not later than the 2nd century has received confirmation by the discovery, among the papyri from Oxyrhynchus, of a fragment (now in the British Museum, pap. dccxlii.) inscribed with some lines from the same book of the Iliad in the same character (Ox. Pap., vol. i., no. 20, pi. v.), the date of which can be fixed in the latter part of that century. [Correct pp. 110, l. 8, and 127, end.] (Kenyon, op. cit., ρ. 101.) In connection with the discovery of specimens of this early uncial writing, Dr. Ceriani, the learned Librarian of the Ambrosian Library at Milan, attributes the celebrated fragments of the illustrated Iliad in that library (see p. 152, 1. 14) to the 3rd century. See the facsimile edition recently issued : Homeri Iliadis pictæ Fragmenta Ambrosiana cura doctorum A. M. Ceriani et A. Ratti, 1905.
p. 128, l. 22.—Mr. Kenyon (op. cit., p. 95), the editor of the papyrus of Herodas, is now inclined to place it in the 1st or 2nd century, rather than in the 3rd century.
p. 129, l 14.—He is also of opinion (op. cit., p. 106) that the papyrus of the Iliad, Books ii.-iv., is of the 3rd rather than the 4th century.
p. 130, Chapter X.—The material which has now become available for the study of Greek papyri, and which has been so greatly increased during recent years, enables us to follow, with more or less fulness, the developement of Greek writing, and particularly of cursive writing, for some ten centuries, from the end of the 4th Century B.C. to the beginning of the 8th Century A.D. Actually dated examples range from B.C. 270 to A.D. 719. But the chain is still far from complete. For some periods examples are numerous; for others they are scanty ; and for others they barely exist. Our knowledge of the leading features of the writing of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. is now based on a sufficiently large foundation ; but for the middle of the 1st century B.C. there is still a remarkable lack of material. For the 1st and 2nd centuries and for the first half of the 3rd century of our era there is an almost uninterrupted series of documents for study ; the middle of the 4th century is well represented, but the 5th century is almost a blank, followed, however, by an abundance in the 6th and early part of the 7th centuries. Finally a large group of documents from the early years of the 8th century has quite recently come to light. Thus we are still far from an exact knowledge of the whole period ; but at the same time certain general lines of developement have become manifest. As far as our present lights show the way, the leading characteristic of the Ptolemaic period may be defined as rigid strength with natural facility ; that of the Roman period, roundness with fluency ; that of the Byzantine period, a return to rigidity with artificiality. This course is not unlike that of the Latin writing of Europe, which passed from the strength and rigid firmness of the earlier centuries, through the pliant forms of late 13th and the 14th centuries, to the later period of the renaissance. And as our knowledge of Greek writing on the papyri extends with the discovery of fresh material, we believe that its developement will be found to follow the lines here indicated.
p 149, CHAPTER XI.—A full list of the principal Greek uncial MSS. is given in the third edition of Wattenbach's Anleitung zur griechischen Palaeographie, 1895. Additional facsimiles will be found in Omont, Facsimilés des plus andens Manuscrits Grecs en onciale et en minuscule de la Bibliothèque Nationale du ive au xiie siècle (Paris, 1892), viz., of the Codex Sarravianus of the Old Testament, pl. 2 (referred to above, p. 152, l. 20, as an Octateuch) ; of the Codex Ephraemi, pl. 8 (above, p. 152, l. 19); of the Pauline Epistles from Mount Athos, pl. 4 (above, p. 154, l. 1) ; of the Codex Claromontanus, pl. 5 (above, p. 154, l. 22, and p. 181, l. 19); of the Coislin Octateuch, pl. 6 (above, p. 151, l. 9); of a series of MSS. in late uncial writing, 8th-11th centuries, pl. 8 to 21 (to be added to the lists on pp. 157, 158); and of an Evangelistarium in large ornamental round-uncials of the 12th century, pl. 22.
p. 154, II. 3 and 12.—Of the imperfect uncial MS. of the Gospels (Codex N), written in silver and gold upon purple vellum, of which only forty-five leaves have hitherto been known, scattered, as here described, among several libraries, the larger portion has been recently recovered. In 1896 as many as 182 leaves were found to be in existence in the village of Sarumsahly, near the ancient Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and were purchased by the Russian Government (ed. H. S. Cronin, 1899).
Another remarkable recovery of a similar character is that of a portion of a copy of the Gospels, of the 6th century, consisting of forty-three leaves from St. Matthew, written in gold unicals upon purpie vellum and ornamented with five miniatures. It was purchased in 1899 at Sinope, and is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris (ed. H. Omont, 1901). This MS. is to be classed with the Codex Rossanensis (Cod. Σ).
To the series of MSS. of the Gospels written in silver upon purple vellum should be added the MS. of Berat in Albania (Cod. Φ, ed. Batiffol, 1886).
p. 182, l. 5.-To these Western Greek MSS, may be added the following, facsimiles of which are given in Omont's Facsimilés :—Pauline Epistles, in Greek and Latin, the Codex Sangermanensis of St. Petersburg, 9th century, pl. 5 bis ; a Latin-Greek Psalter, Coislin MS. 186, 8th Century, pl. 7 ; a Latin-Greek Glossary, MS. Latin 7651, 9th century, pl. 23 ; and a Psalter, Arsenal MS. 8407, 9th century, pl. 24.
pp. 187, 188.—The Librarians of the Vatican Library, as editors of the recently issued facsimiies of the Codex Romanus and the Codex Vaticanus 3225 (the " Schedæ Vaticanæ ") containing tlie works of Virgil,—which form the first volumes of the series of reproductions of Vatican manuscripts authorized by the Pope,—are of opinion that the latter MS. may be placed within the 4th century ; but they assign the Codex Romanus, and with it the Codex Palatinus, to the 5th Century. " With the scanty material at our disposal for enabling us to pass judgement on the earliest examples of capital and uncial writing, the dates of these interesting manuscripts must necessarily remain, more or less, a matter of conjecture. At the same time, as a rule, the opinions of librarians on the manuscripts in their charge must always be received with respect ; for they have opportunities for continued study aud intimate knowledge which cannot be enjoyed by others.
p. 197.—The papyrus recently found at Oxyrhynchus, containing an epitome of Livy, of the 3rd century, is written in uncials, with the letters b d m and r of the minuscule forms (Ox. Pap. iv., no. 668 ; New Pal. Soc., pl. 53). The scrap of the Æneid, i. 495 sqq., from the same source and ascribed to the 5th century, is also written in mixed uncials and minuscules (Ox. Pap. iv., no. 31, pl. viii ). Among the Rainer collection at Vienna, also, is a fragment of the " Formula Fabiana," on vellum, in a mixed hand, said to be of the 4th century (Mittheilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer, iv. 1).
p. 203, Chapter XV.—While Greek papyri recently found in Egypt are to be numbered in hundreds, early Latin examples, for the most part imperfect, can be counted on the fingers. In addition to the epitome of Livy and the other fragments just referred to as examples of mixed uncial and minuscule writing, the following are the principal recently discovered specimens of Roman cursive writing which have been published in facsimile. At Berlin there is a copy of an Imperial edict, said to be of the time of Tiberius (Aegypt. Urkunden aus den königl. Museen, no. 628) ; and also a papyrus containing portions of two speeches in the Senate, ascribed to the reign of Claudius, A.D. 41-54 (Steffens, Entwicklung der latein. Schrift, pl.101). A papyrus at Geneva contains Roman military accounts of the 1st Century (Nicole and Morel, Archives Militaires du premier siècle ). A similar papyrus, of the 2nd Century, is printed by Grenfell and Hunt, Fayûm Towns, no. cv. From Oxyrhynchus there is a fragmentary military register of A.D. 205 (Ox. Pap., iv., no. 735). A roll, now in Berlin, of the first Augustan cohort of Spain, when serving in Egypt, A.D. 156, is reproducccl by the Palæographical Society, ii. 165. The most perfect Latin document on papyrus is in the British Museum, and records the purchase of a slave by an oflicer of the Roman fleet on the Syrian coast, A.D. 166 (Pal. Soc., i. 190). Two letters of the 1st century are given in facsimile in Wessely's Schrifttafeln zur aelteren lateinischen Palaeographie, Vienna, 1898; one of A.D. 107, by Grenfell and Hunt, Greek Papyri, ser. ii., no. cviii. ; and one of the 2nd century, by the same, in Ox. Pap.,
i., no. xxxii. ; and a petition of the year 247 appears in Ox. Pap., iv., no. 720. Of a later period, but valuable as examples of the Roman cursive leading on to the Ravenna documents, are three of the fables of Babrius in Greek with a Latin translation, of the 3rd or 4th century, belonging to Lord Amherst (Amherst Papyri, ii., no. xxvi.) ; and a letter of recommendation from an Egyptian official of the 4th century, which is now at Strassburg (Archiv für Papyrusforschung, iii. 168).
p. 220.—For " Albinus" read " Alcuin or Albinus."
p. 288, l. 33.—For "monk" read "canon."
p. 297, l. 6,—The actual date of the abolition of the Littera Sancti Petri by Leo XIII. was the 29th December, 1878.
p. 299, l. 5.—For " the Emperor Henry I." read " Henry of Saxony."
It may be of practical use to add a few words on the different systems observed in dating manuscripts.
Mediæval Greek MSS. are dated sometimes by the year of the indiction, sometimes by the year of the world according to the era of Constantinople, sometimes by both indiction and year of the world.
The Indiction was a cycle of fifteen years, which are severally styled Indiction 1, Indiction 2, etc., up to Indiction 15, when the series begins afresh. The introduction of this system is attributed to Constantine the Great. From the circumstance of the commencement of the indiction being reckoned variously from different days, various indictions have been recognized, viz. :—
i. The Indiction of Constantinople, calculated from the 1st of September, A.D. 312.
ii. The Imperial or Cæsarian or Western Indiction (commonly used in England and France), beginning on the 24th of September, A.D. 312.
iii. The Roman or Pontificial Indiction (commonly used in dating papal bulls from the 9th to the 14th Century), beginning on the 1st of January (or the 25th of December, when that day was reckoned as the first day of the year), A.D 313.
The Greeks made use of the Indiction of Constantinople.
To find the indiction of a year of the Christian era, add 3 to the year (because A.D. 1 = Indiction 4), and divide the sum by 15 : if nothing remains, the indiction will be 15 ; if there is a remainder, it will be the number of the indiction. But it must not be forgotten that the Indiction of Constantinople begins on the 1st of September, and consequently that the last four months of a year of the Christian era belong to the next indiction year.
The year of the Creation of the World was calculated, according to the era of Constantinople, to be 5508 B.C. The first day of the year was the 1st of September.
To reduce the Mundane era of Constantinople to the Christian era, deduct 5508 from the former for the months of January to August ; and 5509 for September to December.
A chronological table, showing the corresponding years of the Mundane era, the Christian era, and the Indiction, from A.D. 800 to A.D. 1599, will be found in Gardthausen's Griechische Palaeographie, pp. 450-459.
Latin MSS. are dated in several ways : by the year of the Christian era or of other eras, by the year of the indiction, by the regnal year of the reigning sovereign or pontiff, by the year of episcopate, etc. In England it was the general practice to date charters and other legal documents by the saint's day or festival on which, or nearest to which, the deed was executed, with the regnal year of the reigning sovereign.
The year of the Christian era, as now observed, is of the same form as the Julian year, which was settled by C. Julius Cæsar in A.U.C. 708, the first year of the system running from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, A U.C. 709.
The Christian era is according to the calculation of Dionysius Exiguus (A.D. 533), who reckoned the birth of our Lord, which took place in the 28th year of Augustus, as falling in A.U.C. 754, that is, dating from the time when the Emperor took the name of Augustus. The early Christians, however, placed the birth of our Lord four years earlier, calculating the 28th year of Augustus from the date of the battle of Actium (A.U.C. 723), and thus beginning the Christian era in A.U.C. 750.
The Dionysian year is supposed to have commenced on the 25th of March.
But the commencement of the year has been reckoned from different days in different countries. To describe the practice of every country would only be perplexing: the following may be selected :—
In England and Ireland, from the 7th century to 1066, it was reckoned from Christmas Day, or from the 25th of March; after the Norman conquest to the year 1155, from the 1st of January; and between 1155 and 1751, from the 25th of March. The year 1752 began with the 1st of January.
In Scotland, down to the close of 1599, it was reckoned from the 25th of March. The 1st of January was the first day of the year 1600.
In France, the year began variously in different dioceses and districts: on Christmas Day, the 1st of January, Easter, or the 25th of March. The 1st of January was fixed in 1564 as the first day of the year.
In Germany, the year anciently began on Christmas Day. The 1st of January began the year in 1544.
In Italy, generally, the year was reckoned from Christmas Day ; the 1st of January was adopted in 1583. In Tuscany, however, the 25th of March was the first day, down to 1751, which commenced with the 1st of January.
In Spain, the year began, in Aragon before 1350 and in Castile before 1383, on the 1st of January ; and in those years and subsequently, down to 1555, at Christmas. At the end of the 16th century the 1st of January was adopted.
In Portugal, the Spanish system was followed before 1420 ; and in 1420 and subsequently, down to 1555, the year began at Christmas.
The era of Spain is reckoned from the 1st of January, 38 B.C., that is, the year following the conquest of Spain by Augustus. This era was adopted in Africa, Spain, Portugal, and the South of France. Its use was abandoned in Catalonia in 1180, and in Spain generally in 1350 and 1382; in Portugal, in 1420. To reduce a year of the era of Spain to one of the Christian era it is therefore necessary to subtract 38 from the number.
The Julian calendar was followed down to the 16th century. The Julian calculation of the duration of the solar year was 365 days and 6 hours; but this was too much by 11 minutes and 12 seconds and a fraction. Consequently, by 1582, the Julian year was lagging behind the true year to the extent of rather more than ten days. In this year, Pope Gregory XIII. reformed the calendar and introduced the " New Style." Ten days were omitted from the year 1582, viz. from the 5th to the 14th of October, inclusive, the 5th being counted as the 15th. The Gregorian calendar was generally adopted in Roman Catholic countries at once, or within a few years; in Protestant countries it was generally adopted to begin in the year 1700, in some at a later period, and in England not till 1751. In countries under the Greek Church the " Old Style " of the Julian calendar is still followed.
By Act of Parliament of 24 George II., 1751, " An Act for regulating the Commencement of the Year and for correcting the Calendar now in use," the practice of commencing the legal year on the 25th of March was discontinued, and the 1st of January was adopted; and the Gregorian calendar took the place of the Julian. The year 1751, which had commenced on the 25th of March, was brought to a close on the 31st of December. The year 1752 began on the next day, the 1st of January, and ran to the 31st of December, but was reduced by 11 days in the month of September, by omitting the nominal 3rd to the 13th, and calling the day after the 2nd the 14th.
The reason why eleven days were now omitted instead of ten, as in the year 1582, is that the " New Style " required that every hundredth year, which is not a fourth hundredth, should be counted as an ordinary year and not as a Leap-year, the first year to be so treated being 1700, in which the 29th of February was unwritten. The year 1800 being the second hundredth year so treated, the "New Style" differed from the "Old Style" in the 19th century to the extent of twelve days ; and the year 1900, being the third hundredth year not a Leap-year, the difference has risen to thirteen days in the present century.
Particulars of the various systems of dating will be found in Sir H. Nicolas's Chronology of History, and in J.J.Bond's Handy-Book of Rules and Tables for verifying Dates.