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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.

The Kalends of a month marked its first new moon. The Nones of a month fell on the first quarter moon. The Ides of the month marked the full moon. (Yes, this is the famous "Ides of March" Caesar was warned about by the soothsayer in Shakespeare's play.)

These names were based on the Roman system leftover from Rome's occupation of the island.

Kalends, Nones and Ides were also designated as day numbers. But even then, the system was still loony. Kalends was the first day of the month. Nones fell on the fifth day of the month (when the months had 30 or fewer days) or on the seventh day (in months with 31 days). Ides came eight days after Nones. Makes perfect sense, right?

This 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.


Medieval Facts & Myths is a blog series featuring KING ROBIN, a novel by R. A. Moss releasing February 2021 from Beck and Branch Publishers.

Cinematic rights available.

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