Herod’s Death, Jesus’ Birth and a Lunar Eclipse

Letters to the Editor debate dates of Herod’s death and Jesus’ birth

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2015.—Ed.


 
Giotto_adoration-of-the-magi

Giotto, Adoration of the Magi, c. 1306.

Both Luke and Matthew mention Jesus’ birth as occurring during Herod’s reign (Luke 1:5; Matthew 2:1). Josephus relates Herod’s death to a lunar eclipse. This is generally regarded as a reference to a lunar eclipse in 4 B.C. Therefore it is often said that Jesus was born in 4 B.C.

But physics professor John A. Cramer, in a letter to BAR, has pointed out that there was another lunar eclipse visible in Judea—in fact, two—in 1 B.C., which would place Herod’s death—and Jesus’ birth—at the turn of the era. Below, read letters published in the Q&C section of BAR debating the dates of Herod’s death, Jesus’ birth and to which lunar eclipse Josephus was referring.


 
When Was Jesus Born?
Q&C, BAR, July/August 2013

Let me add a footnote to Suzanne Singer’s report on the final journey of Herod the Great (Strata, BAR, March/April 2013): She gives the standard date of his death as 4 B.C. [Jesus’ birth is often dated to 4 B.C. based on the fact that both Luke and Matthew associate Jesus’ birth with Herod’s reign—Ed.] Readers may be interested to learn there is reason to reconsider the date of Herod’s death.

This date is based on Josephus’s remark in Antiquities 17.6.4 that there was a lunar eclipse shortly before Herod died. This is traditionally ascribed to the eclipse of March 13, 4 B.C.

Unfortunately, this eclipse was visible only very late that night in Judea and was additionally a minor and only partial eclipse.

There were no lunar eclipses visible in Judea thereafter until two occurred in the year 1 B.C. Of these two, the one on December 29, just two days before the change of eras, gets my vote since it was the one most likely to be seen and remembered. That then dates the death of Herod the Great into the first year of the current era, four years after the usual date.

Perhaps the much-maligned monk who calculated the change of era was not quite so far off as has been supposed.

John A. Cramer
Professor of Physics
Oglethorpe University
Atlanta, Georgia

Interested in learning about the birth of Jesus? Learn more about the history of Christmas and the date of Jesus’ birth in the free eBook The First Christmas: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition.

When Was Jesus Born? When Did Herod Die?
Q&C, BAR, January/February 2014

Professor John A. Cramer argues that Herod the Great most likely died shortly after the lunar eclipse of December 29, 1 B.C., rather than that of March 13, 4 B.C., which, as Cramer points out, is the eclipse traditionally associated with Josephus’s description in Jewish Antiquities 17.6.4 (Queries & Comments, “When Was Jesus Born?” BAR, July/August 2013) and which is used as a basis to reckon Jesus’ birth shortly before 4 B.C. Professor Cramer’s argument was made in the 19th century by scholars such as Édouard Caspari and Florian Riess.

There are three principal reasons why the 4 B.C. date has prevailed over 1 B.C. These reasons were articulated by Emil Schürer in A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, also published in the 19th century. First, Josephus informs us that Herod died shortly before a Passover (Antiquities 17.9.3, The Jewish War 2.1.3), making a lunar eclipse in March (the time of the 4 B.C. eclipse) much more likely than one in December.

Second, Josephus writes that Herod reigned for 37 years from the time of his appointment in 40 B.C. and 34 years from his conquest of Jerusalem in 37 B.C. (Antiquities 17.8.1, War 1.33.8). Using so-called inclusive counting, this, too, places Herod’s death in 4 B.C.

Third, we know that the reign over Samaria and Judea of Herod’s son and successor Archelaus began in 4 B.C., based on the fact that he was deposed by Caesar in A.U.C. (Anno Urbis Conditae [in the year the city was founded]) 759, or A.D. 6, in the tenth year of his reign (Dio Cassius, Roman History 55.27.6; Josephus, Antiquities 17.13.2). Counting backward his reign began in 4 B.C. In addition, from Herod the Great’s son and successor Herod Antipas, who ruled over Galilee until 39 B.C., who ordered the execution of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14–29) and who had a supporting role in Jesus’ trial (Luke 23:7–12), we have coins that make reference to the 43rd year of his rule, placing its beginning in 4 B.C. at the latest (see Morten Hørning Jensen, “Antipas—The Herod Jesus Knew,” BAR, September/October 2012).

Thus, Schürer concluded that “Herod died at Jericho in B.C. 4, unwept by those of his own house, and hated by all the people.”

Jeroen H.C. Tempelman
New York, New York

——————

John A. Cramer responds:

Trying to date the death of Herod the Great is attended by considerable uncertainty, and I do not mean to claim I know the right answer. Mr. Tempelman does a good job of pointing out arguments in favor of a 4 B.C. date following the arguments advanced long ago by Emil Schürer. The difficulty is that we have a fair amount of information, but it is equivocal.

The key information comes, of course, from Josephus who brackets the death by “a fast” and the Passover. He says that on the night of the fast there was a lunar eclipse—the only eclipse mentioned in the entire corpus of his work. Correlation of Josephus with the Talmud and Mishnah indicate the fast was probably Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month (mid-September to mid-October) and Passover on the 15th day of the first month (March or April) of the religious calendar. Josephus does not indicate when within that time interval the death occurred.

Only four lunar eclipses occurred in the likely time frame: September 15, 5 B.C., March 12–13, 4 B.C., January 10, 1 B.C. and December 29, 1 B.C. The first eclipse fits Yom Kippur, almost too early, but possible. It was a total eclipse that became noticeable several hours after sundown, but it is widely regarded as too early to fit other information on the date. The favorite 4 B.C. eclipse seems too far from Yom Kippur and much too close to Passover. This was a partial eclipse that commenced after midnight. It hardly seems a candidate for being remembered and noted by Josephus. The 1 B.C. dates require either that the fast was not Yom Kippur or that the calendar was rejiggered for some reason. The January 10 eclipse was total but commenced shortly before midnight on a winter night. Lastly, in the December 29 eclipse the moon rose at 53 percent eclipse and its most visible aspect was over by 6 p.m. It is the most likely of the four to have been noted and commented on.

None of the four candidates fits perfectly to all the requirements. I like the earliest and the latest of them as the most likely. The most often preferred candidate, the 4 B.C. eclipse, is, in my view, far and away the least likely one.
 


 
If Jesus was born in Bethlehem, why is he called a Nazorean and a Galilean throughout the New Testament? Learn more >>
 


 
A Different Fast
Q&C, BAR, May/June 2014

John Cramer responds to Mr. Tempelman’s letter to the editor (“Queries and Comments,” BAR, January/February 2014) that Herod’s death occurred between a “fast” and Passover. Mr. Cramer acknowledges that the fast of Yom Kippur fits the eclipse but doesn’t fit the time frame of occurring near Passover. There is, however, another fast that occurs exactly one month before Passover: the Fast of Esther! The day before Purim is a fast day commemorating Queen Esther’s command for all Jews to fast before she approached the king. Purim fell on March 12–13, 4 B.C. So there was an eclipse and a fast on March 12–13, 4 B.C., one month before Passover, which would fit Josephus’s statement bracketing Herod’s death by a fast and Passover.

Suzanne Nadaf
Brooklyn, New York

——————

John A. Cramer responds:

This suggestion seems plausible and, if I recall correctly, someone has already raised it. The consensus, if such exists, seems, however, to be that the fast really should be the fast of Yom Kippur, but resolving that issue requires expertise to which I make no claim. Too many possibilities and too little hard information probably leave the precise date forever open.
 


 
When Did Herod Die? And When Was Jesus Born?
Q&C, BAR, September/October 2014

Regarding the date of the death of Herod the Great, the question of which lunar eclipse and which Jewish fast the historian Josephus was referring to must be considered in light of other data that Josephus reported. Professor John Cramer’s suggestion that an eclipse in 1 B.C.E. would place Herod’s death in that year, rather than the generally accepted 4 B.C.E., cannot be reconciled with other historical facts recorded by Josephus.

As is well known, Herod’s son Archelaus succeeded him as the ruler of Judea, as reported by Josephus (Antiquities 8:459). Josephus also recorded that Archelaus reigned over Judea and Samaria for ten years, and that in his tenth year, due to complaints against him from both Jews and Samaritans, he was deposed by Caesar Augustus and banished to Vienna (Antiquities 8:531). Quirinius, the legate or governor of Syria, was assigned by the emperor to travel to Jerusalem and liquidate the estate of Archelaus, as well as to conduct a registration of persons and property in Archelaus’s former realm. This occurred immediately after Archelaus was deposed and was specifically dated by Josephus to the 37th year after Caesar’s victory over Mark Anthony at Actium (Antiquities 9:23). The Battle of Actium is a well-known event in Roman history that took place in the Ionian Sea off the shore of Greece on September 2 of the year 31 B.C.E. Counting 37 years forward from 31 B.C.E. yields a date of 6 C.E. for the tenth year of Archelaus, at which time he was deposed and Quirinus came to Judea. And counting back ten years from that event yields a date of 4 B.C.E. for the year in which Herod died. (The beginning and ending years are both included in this count, since regnal years for both Augustus and the Herodians were so figured.)

These reports, and the chronology derived from them, provide compelling evidence for the generally accepted date of Herod’s death in the spring of 4 B.C.E., shortly after the lunar eclipse of March 13, regardless of the fact that eclipses also occurred in other years.

Jeffrey R. Chadwick
Jerusalem Center Professor of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah
 


 
Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s BAR article “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” >>
 


 
There’s More Evidence from Josephus
Q&C, BAR, January/February 2015

In the letter to the editor in BAR, September/October 2014, Jeffrey Chadwick gives the argument for the death of Herod in 4 B.C. [used for determining the date of Jesus’ birth]. For over a century, this has been part of the standard reasoning for the 4 B.C. of Jesus’ birth. However, it does not come to grips with all of the data from Josephus. Elsewhere I have written about this. [An excerpt by Professor Steinmann can be read below.—Ed.]

One cannot simply and positively assert that a few short statements by Josephus about the lengths of reigns of his sons can be used to prove that Herod died in 4 B.C. Instead, one needs critically to sift through all of the evidence embedded in Josephus’s discussion as well as evidence external to Josephus to make a case for the year of Herod’s death.

Andrew Steinmann
Distinguished Professor of Theology and Hebrew
University Marshal
Concordia University Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

——————

Read an excerpt from Andrew E. Steinmann’s book From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (St. Louis: Concordia, 2011), pp. 235–238 [footnotes removed]; see also his article “When Did Herod the Great Reign?” Novum Testamentum 51 (2009), pp. 1–29.

Originally Herod had named his son Antipater to be his heir and had groomed Antipater to take over upon his death. However, a little over two years before Herod’s death Antipater had his uncle, Herod’s younger brother Pheroras murdered. Pheroras had been tetrarch of Galilee under Herod. Antipater’s plot was discovered, and Archelaus was named Herod’s successor in place of Antipater. Seven months passed before Antipater, who was in Rome, was informed that he had been charged with murder. Late in the next year he would be placed on trial before Varus, governor of Syria. Eventually Herod received permission from Rome to execute Antipater. During his last year Herod wrote a will disinheriting Archelaus and granting the kingdom to Antipas. In a later will, however, he once again left the kingdom to Archelaus. Following his death his kingdom would eventually be split into three parts among Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip.

Josephus is careful to note that during his last year Herod was forbidden by Augustus from naming his sons as his successors. However, in several passages Josephus also notes that Herod bestowed royalty and its honors on his sons. At Antipater’s trial Josephus quotes Herod as testifying that he had yielded up royal authority to Antipater. He also quotes Antipater claiming that he was already a king because Herod had made him a king.

When Archelaus replaced Antipater as Herod’s heir apparent some two years before Herod’s death, Antipater may have been given the same prerogatives as Archelaus had previously enjoyed. After Herod’s death Archelaus went to Rome to have his authority confirmed by Augustus. His enemies charged him with seemingly contradictory indictments: that Archelaus had already exercised royal authority for some time and that Herod did not appoint Archelaus as his heir until he was demented and dying. These are not as contradictory as they seem, however. Herod initially named Archelaus his heir, and at this point Archelaus may have assumed royal authority under his father. Then Herod revoked his will, naming Antipas his heir. Ultimately, when he was ill and dying, Herod once again named Archelaus his heir. Thus, Archelaus may not have legally been king until after Herod’s death in early 1 B.C., but may have chosen to reckon his reign from a little over two years earlier in late 4 B.C. when he first replaced Antipater as Herod’s heir.

Since Antipas would eventually rule Galilee, it is entirely possible that under Herod he already had been given jurisdiction over Galilee in the wake of Pheroras’ death. This may explain why Herod briefly named Antipas as his heir in the year before his death. Since Antipas may have assumed the jurisdiction over Galilee upon Pheroras’ death sometime in 4 B.C., like Archelaus, he also may have reckoned his reign from that time, even though he was not officially named tetrarch of Galilee by the Romans until after Herod’s death.

Philip also appears to have exercised a measure of royal authority before Herod’s death in 1 B.C. Philip refounded the cities of Julias and Caesarea Philippi (Paneas). Julias was apparently named after Augustus’ daughter, who was arrested for adultery and treason in 2 B.C. Apparently Julias was refounded before that date. As for Caesarea Philippi, the date of its refounding was used to date an era, and the first year of the era was 3 B.C. Apparently Philip chose to antedate his reign to 4 B.C., which apparently was the time when Herod first entrusted him with supervision of Gaulanitis.

Additional support for Philip having been officially appointed tetrarch after the death of his father in 1 B.C. may be found in numismatics. A number of coins issued by Philip during his reign are known. The earliest bear the date “year 5,” which would correspond to A.D. 1. This fits well with Philip serving as administrator under his father from 4–1 B.C. He counted those as the first four years of his reign, but since he was not officially recognized by Rome as an independent client ruler, he had no authority to issue coins during those years. However, he was in position to issue coinage soon after being named tetrarch sometime in 1 B.C., and the first coins appear the next year, A.D. 1, antedating his reign to 4 B.C. While the numismatic evidence is not conclusive proof of Herod’s death in 1 B.C., it is highly suggestive.

Given the explicit statements of Josephus about the authority and honor Herod had granted his sons during the last years of his life, we can understand why all three of his successors decided to antedate their reigns to the time when they were granted a measure of royal authority while their father was still alive. Although they were not officially recognized by Rome as ethnarch or tetrarchs until after Herod’s death, they nevertheless appear to have reckoned their reigns from about 4 B.C.
 


 
“Herod’s Death, Jesus’ Birth and a Lunar Eclipse” was originally published on January 7, 2015.
 


 

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

How December 25 Became Christmas: Andrew McGowan’s full article from the December 2002 issue of Bible Review

Christmas Stories in Christian Apocrypha by Tony Burke

Who Was Jesus’ Biological Father?

Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

Tour Showcases Remains of Herod’s Jerusalem Palace—Possible Site of the Trial of Jesus

Herod Antipas in the Bible and Beyond

An Eclipse of Biblical Proportions

A Comet Gives Birth to an Empire by Sarah K. Yeomans
 


 

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  • Sharon says

    These dates can not be correct. As of Herod’s death in 4 bc we see that Jesus is with Joseph and Mary in Egypt and have been there fr some time. God did not call them out of Egypt until after the Death of Herod. Then as they get into Israel Joseph and Mary learn somehow that Archelaus reigns in his fathers place and Joseph is fearful and God turns them to Galilee…So this means your dates are incorrect and in error. BCE 25 is the most likely date as there are much data that presents this 25 bce is the correct dating for the Birth of Christ on August 31//Sept. 1, 0025- bce. The 1st of Tishri, Feast of Trumpets, when all the angels and hosts in heaven sounded their voices.Trumpets, then 7 days later would be that Mary and Joseph to present him for circumcision according to Law, but also 33 days for Mary to remain unclean on the 34th day presenting 2 turtle doves for her offering.on 10/1/0025-bce.

  • Daniel says

    With the datum × set for the birth of Jesus Christ according to the third closing of the doors of Janus by Augustus Caesar in 00.00 A.D. 1/ 1 CE, events line up in natural concurrence.

    The lunar eclipse was on Thursday Dec 29 1 BC, ‘a fast day that very day’ — Thursday and Monday being public fast days as was the practice of observant Jews of that era, and also those days were when there were public readings from the Torah, of which on that eclipse day Matthius the high priest was unable to officiate. Fasting was during daylight and was over at the first sighting of stars at dusk — at the time when the December 29 1 BC partial eclipse was occurring, it was patently witnessed by many citizens → Ant. Book 17 Chap. 6,4.

    Herod the Great died aged 70 after this eclipse and further events that took place concerning his health and governing, shortly before Passover in A.D. 1 → War. Book 1 Chap.33.1; Ant. Book 17 Chap. 8.1. He died in the 37th year of his reign since he was declared King by the Romans when he had taken possession of the government in Jerusalem from Antigonus , being 3 years after obtaining the right to rule from Antony in Rome, 40 BC. He died in the 34th year of his reign granted by Jewish hierocracy to his ruling dynasty, when he had procured the death of the imprisoned Antigonus → Ant. Book 14 Chapters 14,15,16.

  • Daniel says

    Other coinage of interest:

    Byzantine medieval coins of Justin II and Sophia, have Greek alphabet numbers Gamma Kappa Iota and Mu inscribed, combinations of which commemorate the ANNO VITA year of birth of Jesus Christ, during the 43rd year of Augustus’ reign as Imperator, equivalent to A.D. 1. Also marked are Janisform ×s and crucifix †s.

    Coinage had to be of acceptable usage for different nations, hence in general the synergically read legends.

    In contrast, Medieval Christian crosses, pendants and rings quite overtly displayed the × and †.

    ¶ × marks the birth of Jesus Christ → midnight A.D. 01/01/01 when the doors of Janus were closed for the third time by Augustus Caesar. † marks his death on the cross → April 3rd A.D. 33 as per the Jewish Passover and NASA eclipse records for that year.

  • Daniel says

    For further treaty date validation see OCRE RIC I Augustus 211 Collection Munzkabinett Berlin: Incused and engraved on Gaius’ and Lucius’ togas are the letters Gamma and Mu for the 43rd year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, and with the Janusform X symbol, record the treaty event between the Roman and Parthian empires of January 1 A.D./CE 1.

    The same day that Jesus Christ is recorded by Pontius Pilate as saying he was born; the day when Augustus Caesar gave peace to the Roman world .

  • Daniel says

    Attaining an answer to the date of birth of Jesus Christ can be attained by sticking to the evidence.

    Documentary Evidence:

    Report of Pontius Pilate:

    Pontius Pilate attributed these words to Jesus Christ concerning his birth: “I was born the same day on which Augustus Caesar gave peace to the Roman world.”
    Ref – The Archko Volume, Pilate’s Report.

    The day that Augustus Caesar gave peace to the Roman world can be placed to be a time when the Roman people enjoyed peace and security [pax et securitus] within the borders of the Roman Empire.

    That day was celebrated by the ritual of the doors of the Temple of Janus being closed. At times of war they were kept open and rarely were they closed but on three occasions during the years of Augustus Caesar they were closed, of which he listed as a laudable achievement of his as Princeps – Res Gestae 13. The first two occasions were 31 BC and 25 BC but with no record for the third closing of the doors of Janus that day can be exacted judiciously from subsidiary historical records.

    The day then that the doors of Janus were closed for the third time can be determined to be the day that Jesus Christ was born.

    In Roman lore the deity of Janus is representative of the Roman God of beginnings, endings, transition and doors — the first of January was sacred as the bivalent setting aside of the hitherto past and in the setting course for the future. Solemn inaugurations of Roman consuls took place and new endeavours were begun and set on course — binding agreements [treaties] were instituted and festivities were celebrated on the calendrical New Years Day.

    So times of peace and security of any empire are when treaties are signed and threats are nullified. Of the range of years during the time of Jesus’ birth there was one occasion when a relevant treaty with the Roman Empire was signed; that was with the Parthian Empire.

    The Parthian Empire was at the time more than capable of attacking the Roman Empire over the other peoples and tribes. Utilizing archers possessing outstanding horsemanship their repeated hit and retreat attacks were able to overcome the strength of the Roman Legions.
    And so by ensuring no war broke out with the Parthians, Roman Legions could be on hand to defend other parts of the empire such as near Germanica, therewith ensuring peace and safety for the people residing and engaging in commerce within the Roman Empire.

    Augustus Caesar sent his sons Gaius and Lucius in the year 1 BC to the regions of Parthia to formalize terms with Phraates V ruler of Parthia on an island on the river Euphrates. The Euphrates was then to remain the boundary in which the Parthian army were not to pass. Gaius and Lucius were Consul-Designates with Gaius assuming the office of Consul at the age of 21 on January 1, A.D. 1 therewith consular powers to sign the treaty.

    January 1st then was the day for the signing of treaties and when the doors of the Temple of ¹Janus were closed for the third time by Augustus.

    The day of birth of Jesus Christ is determined as January Ist.

    Dio Cassius Archives:

    Roman Historian Dio Cassius has Gaius making peace with Phraates king of Parthia in early A.D. 1/ A.U.C.754/Reign of Augustus 43.

    The year is determined as A.D. 1.

    Dionysius Exiguus:

    Dionysius Exiguus documents that Jesus Christ was born at midnight on Sunday, January 1, A.D. 1/1 CE → Sunday as per irrefragable computations from your current day with intercalary days.

    Records of Augustus Caesar:

    Octavius/Augustus Caesar actuated coinage according to records.

    Numismatic allegorial material relating to Janus¹, Gaius and Lucius is instructive. Roman Imperial Coins [ref. RIC 1 Augustus 211] struck when they were consul-designates between Feb 5 2 BC [Augustus made pater patriae] and midnight A.D. 1, has them leaning on their grounded shields with hastae behind the shields pointed downwards and their parazonia sheathed. These are blazon symbols of peace.

    The formalized inauguration of peace given by Augustus Caesar to the Roman world is shown to the second, to the minute, to the hour, to the day, to the month, to the year, in an augury manner through the simpulum and lituus implements, accompanied by the saltire symbol, a stamp depicting the twin faces of Janus viewing the year past and the year to come: midnight 00.00/12 am Sunday January 1 A.D. 1/1 CE.

    Given Gaius and Lucius on coin RIC 1 Aug. 211, depict the imminent successful treaty according to the auspices of Augustus Caesar and Janus that was about to take place, then their return to Augustus in Rome is found on this lead coin → RIC Augustus 164A.

    This coin is described as a victory coin but there are mistakes in that conclusion. The coin is reclassified as a peace coin according to a concatenation of information pertaining to the coin and its events:

    RIC Augustus 164A commemorates Gaius’ and Lucius’ return to Rome after formalizing terms with Parthia therewith bringing peace upon the Roman Empire. On entering Rome they meet bareheaded Augustus seated in his curule chair. Still wearing their paenulas, [travel dress] and standing with parazonia sheathed on the left they extend olive branches in their right hands for Augustus to accept. [For victories, laurel branches are given, Augustus would be laureate as wreaths are sent in advance. The victorious commander/s would be kneeling in full regalia → Suet. Tiberius 20.] A wreath is then made from the olive branches to be worn by Augustus for when he would presently resides over the pacific celebrations at the Curia Julia.

    Beneath the field of the coin is the exergue containing letters. IMP is written and read in a synergic manner. IMP is the abbreviation for Imperator. I is also for first. Augustus was the first Imperator.
    Greek alphabet numbers of that era were used to date Roman coins for commerce usage in places such as Parthia. They are read in any order. Mu and Gamma are given for M/Μ and P/Γ. The gamma is seen in the not fully formed P. I is read Imperator also.

    Mu is number 40. Gamma is number 3. The 43rd year of Augustus’ reign as Imperator is read → A.D. 1. For I the 1st day and 1st month of the 43rd year is also read. X is also written in the exergue. X is a stamp of Janus that happens at midnight on the first of January, that is one face looks backwards and one face looks forwards.

    The treaty between the Roman empire and the Parthian empire was set to start at midnight A.D./CE 01/01/01.

    Also this is seen of the symbol X. It could be read as Imperator for the tenth time placing the coins strike date to 15 BC.[The year that Augustus was made Imperator for the 10th time.] But it is not read in that superficial manner. The IMP X series of coins in question is in commemoration of the formal closing of the doors of Janus in 29 BC for the Actium victory over Mark Antony. In that sea battle the Legio X Fretensis, Octavius’/Augustus’ beloved tenth Legion, with their heroical combat in the boarding encounters, tilted the fight in Octavius’ favour, helping to win him supreme rulership and the ensuing peace and security for Roman Empire.

    The X on coin RIC 164A is also a restituta symbol, as is the portrait of Augustus on the obverse a restituta portrait from 31 BC.

    Reattributing the 2nd closure of the doors of Janus to the 3rd closure of the doors of Janus on January 1 in the 43rd year of the reign of Augustus Caesar.

    Documenting the birth of Jesus Christ via Pontius Pilate, Dio Cassius and Dionysius Exiguus to A.D./CE 1. on a Sunday January 1st.

    ¹Janus resides over treaties: A Dictionary of Roman Coins, Republican and Imperial, Stevenson, Madden.

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