Study Questions to Parts II and III of
Stephen Jay Gould's
Questioning the Millennium

1. When do centuries end?

2. What year after the founding of Rome did Dionysus Exiguus use to determine Christ's birth?

3. Why did Dionysus start the year with January 1st?

4. How do we know that Dionysus Exiguus' dating is wrong?

5. What second error did Dionysus make by restarting the calendar with the year 1 A.D.? What mathematical principle did he lack to do it right?

6. WHY do calendrics hold a fascination for humans?

7. Why does Gould refer to "bloody-minded nature" in reference to calendars?

8. How did the Julian calendar go wrong?

9. How did the Gregorian calendar fix these problems?

10. Why did the Soviet Union celebrate the "October Revolution" in November?

11. What is a metonic cycle?

12. Why does Gould refer to his son as an "idiot savant"?

These questions were prepared by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students in Honors 210 "Reading Through the Millennia" at Monmouth College. If you have any questions about this material, you can contact him at