Sunday, June 15, 2008

Power of Coins by K.Radhakrishna

POWER OF COINS by K.Radhakrishna
(Note : This article was first published in RBI Magazine “Without reserve” Oct 1997 -Jan 1998 vol. XXXI No.4 - No. 1 and is published now with permission of the author.)

Praetorians were personal body guards of the Roman General, an elite corps who were given better conditions than the Roman armies. Their proximity to the center of government made them politically important. They were responsible for making Publius Helvius Pertinax Emperor of Rome. His austerity and discipline did not benefit the Praetorian guards. Laetus, prefect of Praetorian guards, incited them to murder the emperor. At noon on 28th march, 193 A.D the guards separated the head of Pertinax from his body and placed it on a lance which was carried in triumph to the Praetorian camp.

In the midst of this disorder, the governor of the city, Suplicianus who was also a father-in-law of the dead emperor expressed his desire to become the next emperor. The Praetorian guards assumed the position of “Emperor Makers”. They held the head of the emperor on the lance and ran out upon the ramparts proclaiming in a loud voice that the Roman world was to be sold to the best bidder by public auction.

The news reached the ears of Didius Julianus, a wealthy Roman Senator. His wife, daughter and his sycophants convinced him that he deserved the Roman throne. He hastened to the Praetorian camp, where Suplicianus was still entreating the guards; and began to bid against him from the foot of the ramparts. The illegal, shameful and immoral negotiation was transacted by faithful emissaries, who passed alternately from one candidate to the other and acquainted with the offers of his rival. Suplicianus had already offered 5000 Denaril to each guard. Ambitious Julianus offered 6250 Denaril. The gates of the camp were instantly thrown open to the purchaser; he was declared emperor and ruled for 66 days. On 2nd June, 193 A.D. he was beheaded as a common criminal by the orders of Septimius Severus, the next incumbent to the throne.

Each Denarus weighs 3.41 grams Comprising 10 percent of alloy and 90 percent of silver. 6250 such coins were given to 300 Praetorian guards. If price of silver is taken at Rs 25000 per Kg, it would work out to Rs 15 Crores, perhaps being the cheapest bargain for winning the Roman World.
(In India an M.P may be spending more than that during elections.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

=> Millennium Mix-up by K.Radhakrishna

MILLENNIUM MIX-UP By K. Radhakrishna
(Note : This article was first published in RBI Magazine “Without reserve” Oct-Dec 1999 vol. XXXI No.4 and is published now with permission of the author.)

In olden days there was a tradition in India wherein the king would honour the most learned man. For this coveted honour one had to win against all the other learned contenders in debate on any subject or in any branch of knowledge. Ashtavakra of Upanishadic lore is credited to have won such debates on intricate philosophical subjects. Raja Janak is said to have honoured him. Shri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita philosphy is credited with winning over several learned men in debate who later became his disciples. Though now, honour by kings and making disciples out of losing contenders are relics of the past, it is a fact beyond doubt that laymen and scholars alike are drawn towards debates which interest them or which concern them. Against this background let me start a debate.

Is it true that:
- In the year 1935 A.D, RBI was established?
- In the year 1947 A.D, India got Independence?

Though the incidents did take place, they did not take place in the years that are stated against them. Read on for an explanation in this matter.
When we say that we are in the year 1999 we mean the Christian era and the Anno Domini, Which is dependent on the year of birth of Jesus Christ. It is to be noted that before the Christian era years were reckoned from the election of the Roman emperor or from the foundation of the city of Rome. With the establishment of Christianity they began to be reckoned from the birth of Jesus Christ.

It happened that dates "from the date of Christ" did not begin to be cast until centuries after Christ's day. An error in calculation by Dionysius "Exiguus" (Which means the younger) went unnoticed. He had introduced the present method of dating in the year 532 AD. Dionysius made the birth of Christ coincide with the Roman year 754 whereas further studies have since ascertained that Jesus was actually born in 747 or 748, that is six or seven years earlier than Dionysius supposed.

Julius S Africanus a historian of Alexandria, Egypt in his "Chronicon from the creation of the world to the year 221” established December 25th as the date of the birth of Jesus.

From these results the curious fact that the Christian calendar which we now use instead of starting from the birth of Jesus Christ actually started six or seven years after it. Though it is odd to say so, it is a fact beyond doubt that Jesus Christ was born six years "Before Christ" (as is generally understood). Thus it can be said that on 24th December, 1994 the Christian era has completed 20 centuries or two millennia. Doesn't it then make sense to claim that on 25th December 1994 we have already stepped into the 21 st century?

Further explanation for this claim is based on the following events.
Herod the Great, who ruled Palestine from 37 BC to 4 BC died in the year 4 B.C He was afraid of losing his throne in view of the birth of Christ especially as the scriptures proclaimed, "a baby born to be king of the Jews". He requested the visitors from the east who were in search of the baby Christ to inform him of the location of the child. Subsequently Herod the Great realized that the visitors had tricked him as they had left without informing him. Herod then gave orders to kill all boys in Bethlehem (in Palestine) and its neighborhood who were two years old and younger This was done in accordance with what he had learnt from the visitors about the time they started their search for the baby Christ.

The relevance of boys of two years and younger ordered to be killed during the reign of Herod the Great as per the Biblical account and the historical fact that Herod died in the year 4 BC give evidence to the fact that Christ was actually born six years "Before Christ", which also means 1994 AD is actually the year 200I - the first year of the 21 st century.
(Note: This artile is not about Birth of Jesus but the starting of/Calculation of the start of A.D.)