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February 30 Was a Real Date However, leap years were not observed in the first years after the reform due to a counting error.In the first years of the Julian calendar’s existence – until 12 Common Era (CE) – every third year was a leap year due to a calculation error.Among the ancient Greek historians and scholars, a common method of indicating the passage of years was based on the Olympic Games, first held in 776 BC. The modern Olympic Games (or Summer Olympic Games beginning 1896) do not continue the four year periods from ancient Greece: the 669th Olympiad would have begun in the summer of 1897, but the modern Olympics were first held in 1896.The Olympic Games provided the various independent city-states with a mutually recognizable system of dates. Another common system was the indiction cycle (15 indictions made up an agricultural tax cycle in Roman Egypt, an indiction being a year in duration).Astronomers have identified this eclipse as one that took place on 15 June, 763 BC, which has allowed absolute dates of 892 to 648 BC to be assigned to that sequence of eponyms.This list of absolute dates has allowed many of the events of the Neo-Assyrian Period to be dated to a specific year, avoiding the chronological debates that characterize earlier periods of Mesopotamian history.In the Julian calendar, every four years is a leap year, with a leap day added to the month of February.At the time, February was the last month of the year, and Leap Day was February 24.
Each year at the Akitu festival (celebrating the Mesopotamian new year), one of a small group of high officials (including the king in later periods) would be chosen by lot to serve as the limmu for the year, which meant that he would preside over the Akitu festival and the year would bear his name.The earliest attested limmu eponyms are from the Assyrian trading colony at Karum Kanesh in Anatolia, dating to the very beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, and they continued in use until the end of the Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. Assyrian scribes compiled limmu lists, including an unbroken sequence of almost 250 eponyms from the early 1st millennium BC.This is an invaluable chronological aid, because a solar eclipse was recorded as having taken place in the limmu of Bur-Sagale, governor of Guzana.The Julian calendar's formula to calculate leap years produced a leap year every four years.This is way too often, and eventually the Julian calendar and important religious holidays, like Easter were several days out of sync with the fixed dates for astronomical events like equinoxes and solstices.