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no its just for publicity
nope. Caesar didn't implement the leap year until after the calendar was made, so if you do the math, the end of the world should have happened over a year ago. So maybe not JUST for publicity, even though part of it is, but someone overlooked a critical fact.
By what? The Earth is a pretty gosh-darned big object. It would take a very very large amount of concentrated energy to destroy it, or even just bung it up seriously enough that it could no longer support life. If that much energy was being gathered and focussed on the Earth, with only 6 months to go, don't you think somebody would have noticed? The Sun getting a lot hotter, a rogue star getting bigger and bigger in telescopes....something? If it's all going to happen by magic, on the other hand, then I guess there needn't be any warning. But in that case it might well also be destroyed 10 minutes from now. I don't see why magical destruction has to give any particular kind of warning.