Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Counting Years

Rome was founded in 753 B.C. and we now live in 2012 A.D., so this year, Rome celebrates it 2765th birthday. Right?

I read it on several places yesterday, but it's wrong. There's no year zero. It happened 2764 years ago. The same mistake was made by those classicists who celebrated the battle of Marathon one year too early.

Another question: does it matter? I think most scholars will say that it doesn't, if only because the year is legendary. But that is too simple. This is a type of mistake that non-specialists can recognize and do recognize. I remember that in September 2010, people in Athens were laughing at a newspaper that had made the error in print.