Homeowners have been warned that they could face a fine of up to £1,000 if they do not fill out the census form by Sunday, March 21. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), who sent the survey out, said it will help to provide a “complete picture of the nation” by asking questions over who you live with, the type of property you live in and your employment status. Carrying out a census is an ancient practice that dates back to 1801 in the UK, but much further across the globe.
During the Roman Republic, it was used as a list that kept track of all adult males fit for military service.
And presenter Dave Stotts explained during his ‘Drive Thru History’ series what the ancient records can also apparently reveal about Jesus’ birth.
He said: “The Roman census wasn’t very popular. One of the main reasons that Rome went to all of the work of doing a census was to make sure that people were paying the taxes Rome demanded.
“For the Jewish people – who had endured centuries of outside control – the Roman census was considered another mockery of its historic, religious principles.
“However, the Roman census wasn’t voluntary, and there was no real way for the average Joe, or Joseph to fight it.
“If you look into our western calendar in some detail and pieced together the calendar of events related to Christ’s birth you will soon see a problem.”
Mr Stotts detailed how modern calendars came to interpret Jesus’ birth as 1AD.
He added: “According to our calendar, Jesus should have been born in 1AD, why?
“Because a long time ago the Church split the calendar into two eras – Before Christ and Anno Domini, or in the year of our Lord.
“But, according to Roman accounts, the birthdate of Jesus was believed to be December 25, 753AUC – meaning ‘from the foundation of this city’.
“Therefore, January 1, 754AUC, was considered the start of the Christian era.
“But Diocletian changed 754AUC to 1AD in his calendar and the rest is history.”
To complicate matters further there are disagreements over exactly when Christ was born in relation to the new calculation.
This is because the date of birth of Jesus is not stated in the gospels or in any historical reference, but most theologians assume the year of birth is actually between 6AD and 4BC.
According to experts, the historical evidence from Rome is too incomplete to allow a definitive dating, but the year is estimated through three different approaches instead.
These are through references to known historical events mentioned in the nativity accounts of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, by working backwards from the estimation of the start of the ministry of Jesus, and astrological or astronomical alignments.