The original calendar consisted of 10 months beginning in spring with March; winter was left as an unassigned span of days.
These months ran for 38 nundinal cycles, each forming a kind of eight (i.e., "nine") day week ended by religious rituals and a public market.
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It is usually exclusive of the Alexandrian calendar of Roman Egypt, which continued the unique months of that land's former calendar; the Byzantine calendar of the later Roman Empire, which usually dated the Roman months in the simple count of the ancient Greek calendars; and the Gregorian calendar, which refined the Julian system to bring it into still closer alignment with the solar year and is the basis of the current international standard.
Roman dates were counted inclusively forward to the next of three principal days: the first of the month (the kalends), a day less than the middle of the month (the ides), and eight days—nine, counting inclusively—before this (the nones).
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The winter period was then used to create January and February.
The legendary early kings Romulus and Numa were traditionally credited with establishing this early fixed calendar, which bears traces of its origin as an observational lunar one.
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In particular, the kalends, nones, and ides seem to have derived from the first sighting of the crescent moon, the first-quarter moon, and the full moon respectively.