Romans

Astronomy Project

WHAT WAS ASTRONOMY TO THE ROMANS:

  • To the Ancient Romans, Astronomy was more than just a curiosity of the nights sky, it was the basis of their entire religion, in the nights sky their deities battled against each other, creating the stories that we now call myths.
  • some Romans became aware of the more refined, learned astronomy of the Greeks.

Uses & Contributions to Astronomy

  • The first Roman calendar was said to have been created by Romulus at the founding of Rome in 753 B.C.E. The original Roman calendar was based on the lunar month, and the year was thought to contain ten lunar months

  • The Romans most important contribution is the enforcement of a systematic calendar that would account that the year is 1/4 of a day more.
  • The calendar was first introduced in 46 B.C. It was the predominant calendar in most of Europe, and in European settlements in the Americas and everywhere else
  • The astronomers of Julius Caesar convinced him to do the Julian calendar which adds an extra day to the year every four years. Also known as a "leap year".

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To most Romans astronomy meant little more than knowledge of the major celestial bodies sun, moon, planets, and star constellations and the calendar.

Did the ancient Romans make any scientific discoveries?

For centuries the standard view has been that the Romans only did applied science – technology and engineering: the Greeks invented biology, zoology, physics and astronomy, while the Romans built roads and aqueducts.
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Reasons the planets have that particular name .

  • Mercury is the god of commerce, travel and thievery in Roman mythology. The planet probably received this name because it moves so quickly across the sky.
  • Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The planet is aptly named since it makes a beautiful sight in the sky, with only the Sun and the Moon being brighter.
  • Mars is the Roman god of War. The planet probably got this name due to its red color.
  • Jupiter was the King of the Gods in Roman mythology, making the name a good choice for what is by far the largest planet in our solar system.
  • Saturn is the Roman god of agriculture.
  • Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, the earliest supreme god.
  • Neptune, was the Roman god of the Sea. Given the beautiful blue color of this planet, the name is an excellent choice!
  • Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld in Roman mythology. Perhaps the planet received this name because it's so far from the Sun that it is in perpetual darkness.
  • Earth is the only planet whose English name does not derive from Greek/Roman mythology. The name derives from Old English and Germanic.

Sources

"Building an Empire and a Legacy: Roman "Science and Its Times

Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 1: 2,000 B.C. to A.D. 699. Detroit: Gale, 2001. p326-332. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group, COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale

"Science, Technology, and Health: Overview " World Eras

Ed. John T. Kirby. Vol. 3: Roman Republic and Empire, 264 B.C.E.- 476 C.E.. Detroit: Gale, 2001. p382-384. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group, COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale


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