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Medieval Facts & Myths: Why the loony calendar?

Why were dates in Medieval England marked as the Kalends, Nones, and Ides of each month?

The answer is simply loony. As in, the names of lunar phases.

These names were based on the Roman calendar, a legacy from Rome's occupation of England. And they can certainly seem loony today.

In the beginning, the name of each day was based on the first crescent, half and full phase of the moon. Before long though, the whole system got out of whack. But the Romans still kept the same names:

KALENDS was the first day of the month. Simple enough. But from here on, it gets bizarre.

NONES fell on the fifth day of the month when a month had 30 or fewer days. Or on the seventh day in a month with 31 days. What about February? OMG, you don’t want to know.

IDES came eight days after Nones. (Made famous by Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR, as most of us know.)

This clunky system lasted until the 16th century when England adopted the Gregorian calendar we still use today. You can thank Pope Gregory for making our months less loony.

In KING ROBIN, the chapters are dated using Kalends, Nones and Ides of the month and year.


Medieval Facts & Myths is a blog series featuring KING ROBIN, a novel by R. A. Moss from Beck and Branch Publishers. LEARN MORE or ORDER NOW



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