Ab urbe condita
Ab urbe condita, or Anno urbis conditæ abbreviated as AUC in either case, is a convention, used in antiquity and by classical historians to refer to a given year in Ancient Rome. Ab urbe condita means "from the founding of the City," while anno urbis conditæ means "in the year since the City's founding." Therefore, the traditional year of the foundation of Rome, 753 BC, would be written AUC 1, while AD 1 would be AUC 754. The foundation of the Empire in 27 BC would be AUC 727. Usage of the term was more common during the Renaissance, when editors sometimes added AUC to Roman manuscripts they published, giving the false impression that the convention was used in antiquity. In reality, the dominant method of identifying years in Roman times was to name the two consuls who held office that year. In late antiquity, regnal years were in use, as was the Diocletian era in Roman Egypt after AD 293, in the Byzantine Empire after AD 537, following a decree by Justinian; the traditional date for the founding of Rome, 21 April 753 BC, is due to Marcus Terentius Varro.
Varro may have used the consular list and called the year of the first consuls "ab urbe condita 245," accepting the 244-year interval from Dionysius of Halicarnassus for the kings after the foundation of Rome. The correctness of this calculation has not been confirmed. From the time of Claudius onward, this calculation superseded other contemporary calculations. Celebrating the anniversary of the city became part of imperial propaganda. Claudius was the first to hold magnificent celebrations in honor of the anniversary of the city, in AD 48, the eight hundredth year from the founding of the city. Hadrian and Antoninus Pius held similar celebrations, in AD 121, in AD 147 and AD 148, respectively. In AD 248, Philip the Arab celebrated Rome's first millennium, together with Ludi saeculares for Rome's alleged tenth sæculum. Coins from his reign commemorate the celebrations. A coin by a contender for the imperial throne, explicitly states "ear one thousand and first", an indication that the citizens of the empire had a sense of the beginning of a new era, a Sæculum Novum.
The Anno Domini year numbering was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in Rome in AD 525, as a result of his work on calculating the date of Easter. Dionysius did not use the AUC convention, but instead based his calculations on the Diocletian era; this convention had been in use since AD 293, the year of the tetrarchy, as it became impractical to use regnal years of the current emperor. In his Easter table, the year AD 532 was equated with the 248th regnal year of Diocletian; the table counted the years starting from the presumed birth of Christ, rather than the accession of the emperor Diocletian on 20 November AD 284, or as stated by Dionysius: "sed magis elegimus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi annorum tempora praenotare". Blackburn and Holford-Strevens review interpretations of Dionysius which place the Incarnation in 2 BC, 1 BC, or AD 1, it has been calculated that the year AD 1 corresponds to AUC 754, based on the epoch of Varro. Thus, AUC 1 = 753 BC AUC 753 = 1 BC AUC 754 = AD 1 AUC 1000 = AD 247 AUC 1229 = AD 476 AUC 2206 = AD 1453 AUC 2753 = AD 2000 AUC 2772 = AD 2019 List of Latin phrases
The traditional China calendar, or Former Calendar, Traditional Calendar or Lunar Calendar, is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years and days according to astronomical phenomena. It is defined by GB/T 33661-2017, "Calculation and promulgation of the Chinese calendar", issued by the Standardisation Administration of China on 12 May 2017. Although modern day China uses the Gregorian calendar, the traditional Chinese calendar governs holidays in China and in overseas Chinese communities, it lists the dates of traditional Chinese holidays and guides people in selecting auspicious days for weddings, moving, or starting a business. Like Chinese characters, variants of this calendar are used in different parts of the Chinese cultural sphere. Korea and the Ryukyu Islands adopted the calendar, it evolved into Korean and Ryukyuan calendars; the main difference from the traditional Chinese calendar is the use of different meridians, which leads to some astronomical events—and calendar events based on them—falling on different dates.
The traditional Japanese calendar derived from the Chinese calendar, but its official use in Japan was abolished in 1873 as part of reforms after the Meiji Restoration. Calendars in Mongolia and Tibet have absorbed elements of the traditional Chinese calendar, but are not direct descendants of it. Days begin and end at midnight, months begin on the day of the new moon. Years begin on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Solar terms govern the end of each month. Written versions in ancient China included stems and branches of the year and the names of each month, including leap months as needed. Characters indicated whether a month was short; the traditional Chinese calendar was developed between 771 and 476 BC, during the Spring and Autumn period of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. Before the Zhou dynasty, solar calendars were used. One version of the solar calendar is the five-elements calendar. A 365-day year was divided into five phases of 73 days, with each phase corresponding to a Day 1 Wu Xing element.
A phase began followed by six 12-day weeks. Each phase consisted of two three-week months. Years began followed by a bǐngzǐ day and a 72-day fire phase. Other days were tracked using the Yellow River Map. Another version is a four-quarters calendar. Weeks were ten days long, with one month consisting of three weeks. A year had 12 months, with a ten-day week intercalated in summer as needed to keep up with the tropical year; the 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches were used to mark days. A third version is the balanced calendar. A year was 365.25 days, a month was 29.5 days. After every 16th month, a half-month was intercalated. According to oracle bone records, the Shang dynasty calendar was a balanced calendar with 12 to 14 months in a year; the first lunisolar calendar was the Zhou calendar, introduced under the Zhou dynasty. This calendar set the beginning of the year at the day of the new moon before the winter solstice, it set the shàngyuán as the winter solstice of a dīngsì year, making the year it was introduced around 2,758,130.
Several competing lunisolar calendars were introduced by states fighting Zhou control during the Warring States period. The state of Lu issued its own Lu calendar. Jin issued the Xia calendar in AD 102, with a year beginning on the day of the new moon nearest the March equinox. Qin issued the Zhuanxu calendar, with a year beginning on the day of the new moon nearest the winter solstice. Song's Yin calendar began its year on the day of the new moon after the winter solstice; these calendars are known as the six ancient calendars, or quarter-remainder calendars, since all calculate a year as 365 1⁄4 days long. Months begin on the day of the new moon, a year has 12 or 13 months. Intercalary months are added to the end of the year; the Qiang and Dai calendars are modern versions of the Zhuanxu calendar, used by mountain peoples. After Qin Shi Huang unified China under the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, the Qin calendar was introduced, it followed most of the rules governing the Zhuanxu calendar, but the month order was that of the Xia calendar.
The intercalary month, known as the second Jiǔyuè, was placed at the end of the year. The Qin calendar was used into the Han dynasty. Emperor Wu of Han r. 141 – 87 BC introduced reforms halfway through his reign. His Taichu Calendar defined a solar year as 365 385⁄1539 days, the lunar month was 29 43⁄81 days; this calendar introduced the 24 solar terms. Solar terms were paired, with the 12 combined periods known as climate terms; the first solar term of the period was known as a pre-climate, the second was a mid-climate. Months were named for the mid-climat
Republic of China (1912–1949)
The Republic of China controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, its government moved to Taipei in December 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army, his party led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.
In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang established a rival government in Canton City, Canton Province, together with the fledgling Communist Party of China. The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death, started the Northern Expedition military campaign in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, completed in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a nationalist government in Nanking, massacred communists in Shanghai, which forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. There were industrialization and modernization, but conflict between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remnant warlords, the Empire of Japan. Nation-building took a backseat to the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War resumed in 1946 between the KMT and CPC, with both sides receiving foreign assistance due to the Cold War from the USA and USSR, respectively.
During this period, the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replaced the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic's fundamental law. Near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the nationalist government on the Chinese mainland; the Government of the Republic of China moved from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, controlling only the Taiwan area after 1949. The official name of the state in the mainland was the "Republic of China". Shortly after the ROC's establishment in 1912, while it was still located on the Chinese mainland, the government used the short form "China" to refer to itself, which derives from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne, the name was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state during the Qing era; the ROC used alternate names throughout its existence were Republican China or Republican Era, as well as the Beiyang government, the Nationalist government.
A republic was formally established on 1 January 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution, which itself began with the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911 overthrowing the Qing dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. From its founding until 1949 it was based on mainland China. Central authority waxed and waned in response to warlordism, Japanese invasion, a full-scale civil war, with central authority strongest during the Nanjing Decade, when most of China came under the control of the Kuomintang under an authoritarian one-party military dictatorship. At the end of World War II in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered control of Taiwan and its island groups to the Allies, Taiwan was placed under the Republic of China's administrative control; the communist takeover of mainland China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 left the ruling Kuomintang with control over only Taiwan, Kinmen and other minor islands. With the 1949 loss of mainland China in the civil war, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan and the KMT declared Taipei the provisional capital.
The Communist Party of China took over all of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China in Beijing. In 1912, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established to replace the monarchy; the Qing dynasty that preceded the republic experienced a century of instability throughout the 19th century, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism. The ongoing instability led to the outburst of Boxer Rebellion in 1900, whose attacks on foreigners led to the invasion by the Eight Nation Alliance. China signed the Boxer Protocol and paid a large indemnity to the foreign powers: 450 million taels of fine silver. A program of institutional reform proved too late. Only the lack of an alternative regime prolonged its existence until 1912; the establishment of the Chinese Republic developed out of the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing government on 10 October 1911. That date is now celebrated annually as the ROC's national day known as the "Double Ten Day".
On 29 December 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected president b
Japanese calendar types have included a range of official and unofficial systems. At present, Japan uses the Gregorian calendar together with year designations stating the year of the reign of the current Emperor; the lunisolar Chinese calendar was introduced to Japan via Korea in the middle of the sixth century. After that, Japan calculated its calendar using various Chinese calendar procedures, from 1685, using Japanese variations of the Chinese procedures, but in 1873, as part of Japan's Meiji period modernization, a calendar based on the solar Gregorian calendar was introduced. In Japan today, the old Chinese calendar is ignored. Japan has had more than one system for designating years. Including: The Chinese sexagenary cycle was introduced early into Japan, it was used together with era names, as in the 1729 Ise calendar shown above, for "the 14th year of Kyōhō, tsuchi-no-to no tori", i.e. 己酉. Now, the cycle is used except around New Year; the era name system was introduced from China, has been in continuous use since AD 701.
Since the Taishō Emperor's ascension in 1912, each emperor's reign has begun a new era. Nengō are the official means of dating years in Japan, all government business is conducted using that system, it is in general use in private and personal business. The Japanese imperial year is based on the date of the legendary founding of Japan by Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC, it was first used in the official calendar in 1873. However, it never replaced era names, since World War II has been abandoned; the Western Common Era system has come into common use since the Meiji period. Now, most people know it, as well as era names; the official dating system known as nengō, has been in use since the late 7th century. Years are numbered within eras. Beginning with Meiji, each reign has been one era, but many earlier Emperors decreed a new era upon any major event; the nengō system remains in wide use on official documents and government forms. The imperial year system was used from 1872 to the Second World War. Imperial year 1 was the year when the legendary Emperor Jimmu founded Japan – 660 BC according to the Gregorian Calendar.
Usage of kōki dating can be a nationalist signal, pointing out that the history of Japan's imperial family is longer than that of Christianity, the basis of the Anno Domini system. Kōki 2600 was a special year; the 1940 Summer Olympics and Tokyo Expo were planned as anniversary events, but were canceled due to the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese naval Zero Fighter was named after this year. After the Second World War, the United States occupied Japan, stopped the use of kōki by officials. Today, kōki is used, except in some judicial contexts; the 1898 law determining the placement of leap years is based on the kōki years, using a formula, equivalent to that of the Gregorian calendar: if the kōki year number is evenly divisible by four, it is a leap year, unless the number minus 660 is evenly divisible by 100 and not by 400. Thus, for example, the year Kōki 2560 is divisible by 4; the Japanese government has announced a new period of year on 2019 April Reiwa. The Heisei Period will end on 2019 April 30 and so the new period of year is expected to start on first of May 2019.
See "Seasonal days", below. The modern Japanese names for the months translate to "first month", "second month", so on; the corresponding number is combined with the suffix 月. The table below uses traditional numerals. In addition, every month has a traditional name, still used by some in fields such as poetry; the opening paragraph of a letter or the greeting in a speech might borrow one of these names to convey a sense of the season. Some, such as Yayoi and Satsuki, do double duty as given names; these month names appear from time to time on jidaigeki, contemporary television shows and movies set in the Edo period or earlier. The old Japanese calendar was an adjusted lunar calendar based on the Chinese calendar, the year—and with it the months—started anywhere from about 3 to 7 weeks than the modern year, so in historical contexts it is not accurate to equate the first month with January. Japan uses a seven-day week, aligned with the Western calendar; the seven-day week, with names for the days corresponding to the Latin system, was brought to Japan around AD 800 with the Buddhist calendar.
The system was used for astrological purposes and little else until 1876. The names of the days come from the five visible planets, which in turn are named after the five Chinese elements, from the moon and sun. On the origin of the names of the days of the week see East Asian Seven Luminaries. Sunday and Saturday are regarded as "Western style take-a-rest days". Since the late 19th century, Sunday has been regarded as a "full-time holiday", Saturday a half-time holiday; these holidays have no religious meaning. Many Japanese retailers
The Nanakshahi calendar is a tropical solar calendar, used in Sikhism and is based on the'Barah Maha'. Barah Maha was composed by the Sikh Gurus and translates as the "Twelve Months", it is a poem reflecting the changes in nature which are conveyed in the twelve-month cycle of the Year. The year begins with 1 Chet corresponding to 14 March; the first year of the Nanakshahi Calendar starts in 1469 CE: the year of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev. The Nanakshahi Calendar is named after the founder of Guru Nanak Dev. Sikhs have traditionally recognised luni-solar calendars: the Nanakshahi and Khalsa. Traditionally, both these calendars followed the Bikrami calendar with the Nanakshahi year beginning on Katak Pooranmashi and the Khalsa year commencing with Vaisakhi; the methods for calculating the beginning of the Khalsa era were based on the Bikrami calendar. The year length was the same as the Bikrami solar year. According to Steel, the calendar has twelve lunar months that are determined by the lunar phase, but thirteen months in leap years which occur every 2–3 years in the Bikrami calendar to sync the lunar calendar with its solar counterpart.
Kay abbreviates the Khalsa Era as KE. References to the Nanakshahi Era have been made in historic documents. Banda Singh Bahadur adopted the Nanakshahi calendar in 1710 C. E. after his victory in Sirhind according to which the year 1710 C. E. became Nanakshahi 241. However, Singh states the date of the victory as 14 May 1710 CE. According to Dilagira, Banda "continued adopting the months and the days of the months according to the Bikrami calendar". Banda Singh Bahadur minted new coins called Nanakshahi. Herrli states. Although Banda may have proclaimed this era, it cannot be traced in contemporary documents and does not seem to have been used for dating". According to The Panjab Past and Present, it is Gian Singh who "is the first to use Nanak Shahi Samvats along with those of Bikrami Samvats" in the Twarikh Guru Khalsa. According to Singha, Gian Singh was a Punjabi author born in 1822. Gian Singh wrote the Twarikh Guru Khalsa in 1891; the revised Nanakshahi calendar was designed by Pal Singh Purewal to replace the Bikrami calendar.
The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Nanak Dev in 1469 and the Nanakshahi year commences on 1 Chet. New Year's Day falls annually on; the start of each month is fixed. According to Kapel, the solar accuracy of the Nanakshahi calendar is linked to the Gregorian civil calendar; this is because the Nanaskhahi calendar uses the tropical year instead of using the sidereal year, used in the Bikrami calendar or the old Nanakshahi and Khalsa calendars. The amended Nanakshahi calendar was adopted in 1998 but implemented in 2003 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee to determine the dates for important Sikh events; the calendar was implemented during the SGPC presidency of Sikh scholar Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar at Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib in the presence of Sikh leadership. Nanakshahi Calendar recognizes the adoption event, of 1999 CE, in the Sikh history when SGPC released the first calendar with permanently fixed dates in the Tropical Calendar. Therefore, the calculations of this calendar do not regress back from 1999 CE into the Bikrami era, fixes for all time in the future.
Features of the Original Nanakshahi calendar: Uses the accurate Tropical year rather than the Sidereal year Called Nanakshahi after Guru Nanak Year 1 is the Year of Guru Nanak's Birth. As an example, April 14, 2019 CE is Nanakshahi 551. Is Based on Gurbani – Month Names are taken from Guru Granth Sahib Contains 5 Months of 31 days followed by 7 Months of 30 days Leap year every 4 Years in which the last month has an extra day Approved by Akal Takht in 2003 In 2010, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee modified the calendar so that the dates for the start of the months are movable so that they coincide with the Bikrami calendar and changed the dates for various Sikh festivals so they are based upon the lunar phase; this has created controversy with some bodies adopting the original 2003 version called the "Mool Nanakshahi Calendar" and others, the 2010 version. By 2014, the SGPC had scrapped the original Nanakshahi calendar from 2003 and reverted to the Bikrami calendar however it was still published under the name of Nanakshahi.
The Sikh bodies termed it a step taken under pressure from the Shiromani Akali Dal. There is some controversy about the acceptance of the calendar altogether among certain sectors of the Sikh world. SGPC president, Gobind Singh Longowal, on 13 March 2018 urged all Sikhs to follow the current Nanakshahi calendar; the previous SGPC President before Longowal, Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, tried to appeal the Akal Takht to celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh on 23 Poh as per the original Nanakshahi calendar, but the appeal was denied; the PSGPC and a majority of the other gurdwara managements across the world are opposing the modified version of the calendar citing that the SGPC reverted to the Bikrami calendar. They argue that in the Bikrami calendar, dates of many gurpurbs coincide, thereby creating confusion among the Sikh Panth. According to Ahaluwalia, the Nanakshahi calendar goes against the use of lunar Bikrami dates by the Gurus themselves and is contradictory, it begins with the year of birth of
The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions and daily Psalm readings, among many ceremonial uses. In Israel, it is used for religious purposes, provides a time frame for agriculture and is an official calendar for civil purposes, although the latter usage has been declining in favor of the Gregorian calendar; the present Hebrew calendar is the product including a Babylonian influence. Until the Tannaitic period, the calendar employed a new crescent moon, with an additional month added every two or three years to correct for the difference between twelve lunar months and the solar year; the year in which it was added was based on observation of natural agriculture-related events in ancient Israel. Through the Amoraic period and into the Geonic period, this system was displaced by the mathematical rules used today; the principles and rules were codified by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah in the 12th century.
Maimonides' work replaced counting "years since the destruction of the Temple" with the modern creation-era Anno Mundi. The Hebrew lunar year is about eleven days shorter than the solar year and uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar year, with the addition of an intercalary month every two or three years, for a total of seven times per 19 years. With this intercalation, the average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 40 seconds than the current mean tropical year, so that every 217 years the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean tropical year; the era used. As with Anno Domini, the words or abbreviation for Anno Mundi for the era should properly precede the date rather than follow it. AM 5779 began at sunset on 9 September 2018 and will end at sunset on 29 September 2019; the Jewish day is of no fixed length. The Jewish day is modeled on the reference to "...there was evening and there was morning..." in the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis.
Based on the classic rabbinic interpretation of this text, a day in the rabbinic Hebrew calendar runs from sunset to the next sunset. Halachically, a day ends and a new one starts when three stars are visible in the sky; the time between true sunset and the time when the three stars are visible is known as'bein hashmashot', there are differences of opinion as to which day it falls into for some uses. This may be relevant, for example, in determining the date of birth of a child born during that gap. There is no clock in the Jewish scheme. Though the civil clock, including the one in use in Israel, incorporates local adoptions of various conventions such as time zones, standard times and daylight saving, these have no place in the Jewish scheme; the civil clock is used only as a reference point – in expressions such as: "Shabbat starts at...". The steady progression of sunset around the world and seasonal changes results in gradual civil time changes from one day to the next based on observable astronomical phenomena and not on man-made laws and conventions.
In Judaism, an hour is defined as 1/12 of the time from sunrise to sunset, so, during the winter, an hour can be much less than 60 minutes, during the summer, it can be much more than 60 minutes. This proportional hour is known as a sha'ah z'manit. A Jewish hour is divided into parts. A part is 1/18 minute; the ultimate ancestor of the helek was a small Babylonian time period called a barleycorn, itself equal to 1/72 of a Babylonian time degree. These measures are not used for everyday purposes. Instead of the international date line convention, there are varying opinions as to where the day changes. One opinion uses the antimeridian of Jerusalem. Other opinions exist as well; the weekdays proceed to Saturday, Shabbat. Since some calculations use division, a remainder of 0 signifies Saturday. While calculations of days and years are based on fixed hours equal to 1/24 of a day, the beginning of each halachic day is based on the local time of sunset; the end of the Shabbat and other Jewish holidays is based on nightfall which occurs some amount of time 42 to 72 minutes, after sunset.
According to Maimonides, nightfall occurs. By the 17th century, this had become three-second-magnitude stars; the modern definition is when the center of the sun is 7° below the geometric horizon, somewhat than civil twilight at 6°. The beginning of the daytime portion of each day is determined both by sunrise. Most halachic times are based on some combination of these four times and vary from day to day throughout the year and vary depending on location; the daytime hours are divided into Sha'oth Zemaniyoth or "Halachic hours" by taking the time between sunrise and sunset or between dawn and nightfall and dividing it into 12 equal hours. The nighttime hours are s
Richard II of England
Richard II known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to King Edward III. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne. During Richard's first years as king, government was in the hands of a series of regency councils, influenced by Richard's uncles John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock. England faced various problems, most notably the Hundred Years' War. A major challenge of the reign was the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, the young king played a central part in the successful suppression of this crisis. Less warlike than either his father or grandfather, he sought to bring an end to the Hundred Years' War. A firm believer in the royal prerogative, Richard restrained the power of the aristocracy and relied on a private retinue for military protection instead. In contrast to his grandfather, Richard cultivated a refined atmosphere at court, in which the king was an elevated figure, with art and culture at its centre.
The king's dependence on a small number of courtiers caused discontent among the influential, in 1387 control of government was taken over by a group of aristocrats known as the Lords Appellant. By 1389 Richard had regained control, for the next eight years governed in relative harmony with his former opponents. In 1397, Richard took his revenge on the Appellants, many of whom were exiled; the next two years have been described by historians as Richard's "tyranny". In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, exiled. Henry invaded England in June 1399 with a small force that grew in numbers. Meeting little resistance, Bolingbroke deposed Richard and had himself crowned king. Richard is thought to have been starved to death in captivity, although questions remain regarding his final fate. Richard's posthumous reputation has been shaped to a large extent by William Shakespeare, whose play Richard II portrayed Richard's misrule and his deposition by Bolingbroke as responsible for the 15th-century Wars of the Roses.
Modern historians do not accept this interpretation, while not exonerating Richard from responsibility for his own deposition. While not insane, as historians of the 19th and 20th centuries believed, he may have had a personality disorder manifesting itself towards the end of his reign. Most authorities agree that his policies were not unrealistic or entirely unprecedented, but that the way in which he carried them out was unacceptable to the political establishment, leading to his downfall. Richard of Bordeaux was the younger son of Joan of Kent. Edward, eldest son of Edward III and heir apparent to the throne of England, had distinguished himself as a military commander in the early phases of the Hundred Years' War in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. After further military adventures, however, he contracted dysentery in Spain in 1370, he never recovered and had to return to England the next year. Richard was born at the Archbishop's Palace, Bordeaux, in the English principality of Aquitaine, on 6 January 1367.
According to contemporary sources, three kings – "the King of Castille, the King of Navarre and the King of Portugal" – were present at his birth. This anecdote, the fact that his birth fell on the feast of Epiphany, was used in the religious imagery of the Wilton Diptych, where Richard is one of three kings paying homage to the Virgin and Child, his elder brother, Edward of Angoulême, died near his sixth birthday in 1371. The Black Prince succumbed to his long illness in June 1376; the Commons in parliament genuinely feared that Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, would usurp the throne. For this reason, the prince was invested with the princedom of Wales and his father's other titles. On 21 June the next year, Richard's grandfather Edward III, for some years frail and decrepit died, after a 50-year-long reign; this resulted in the 10-year-old Richard succeeding to the throne. He was crowned king on 16 July 1377 at Westminster Abbey. Again, fears of John of Gaunt's ambitions influenced political decisions, a regency led by the King's uncles was avoided.
Instead, the king was nominally to exercise kingship with the help of a series of "continual councils", from which John of Gaunt was excluded. Gaunt, together with his younger brother Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham, still held great informal influence over the business of government, but the king's councillors and friends Sir Simon de Burley and Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland gained control of royal affairs. In a matter of three years, these councillors earned the mistrust of the Commons to the point that the councils were discontinued in 1380. Contributing to discontent was an heavy burden of taxation levied through three poll taxes between 1377 and 1381 that were spent on unsuccessful military expeditions on the continent. By 1381, there was a deep-felt resentment against the governing classes in the lower levels of English society. Whereas the poll tax of 1381 was the spark of the Peasants' Revolt, the root of the conflict lay in tensions between peasants and landowners precipitated by the economic and demographic consequences of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of the plague.
The rebellion started in Kent and Essex in late May, on 12 June, bands of peasants gathered at Blackheath near London under the leaders Wat Tyler, John Ball, Jack Straw. John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace was burnt down; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury, Lord Chancellor, the king's Lord High Treasurer, Rober