Thursday, 29 December 2016

Calendar Notes: looking forward and back

Coin minted by Brutus to mark the assassination of Julius Caesar (on the ides of March)


As part of my review of the year I have been spending some time looking at dates on my fast-filling diary for 2017. I am using my Outlook calendar for lightweight-travel sake, but with my visual wiring, I do prefer a real live wall calendar, preferably with boxes I can write in.

Thinking about calendars, looking at 50% off calendars in the shops and practicing my high school Latin (!) by deciphering the mottos on the Harrow School crest on my walk yesterday all converged. This morning I had a eureka moment. OMG, only just realised! (after all these years, lol) Calendar comes from kalends: the first day of a Roman month. We all know about the ides of March, from Shakespeare, don't we? (translated as 15 March)

In the Roman year the days of the month were denoted by reference to the kalends, ides or nones which were the first day of the month, the middle of the month and eight days before the ides respectively. The dates were set by counting back from the next named reference day. So today would be 4 days before the kalends of January.

As I tell my kids: I may not pick up on it at first, but I always work it out in the end.

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