Today is

Waning Crescent  Latin 1/12  waning

Back to Home Page

The Wonder of Whiffling

Roman fraction conversions

Adventures in Popedom

Asteroid Facts

Ten of the World’s Rarest Gemstones

World’s Rarest Metals & Things
Today's Date in Latin

The Romans didn’t number dates consecutively throughout the month, but rather in terms of how many days into the future the kalends, nones, and ides of some particular month would occur. The kalends (“day when accounts are due”) was always the first. The nones and ides were either the 5th and 13th or the 7th and 15th, depending on the month.

After the ides, the countdown to the following month began. An added complication was that Romans counted differences inclusively, so for example the 11th of January was considered three days before its ides (the 13th) rather than two as we would reckon them.

The naming conventions will reflect those of Imperial Rome subsequent to 8 BCE when its senate renamed the month of Sextillus after Augustus Caesar (Quintillus had been renamed after Julius Caesar some 36 years earlier) and completed the final tweaks in the lengths of the twelve months as we now know them. Later emperors such as Nero and Commodus 1  tried to name months after themselves, but these schemes didn’t outlive them.

You’ll see the numerals without subtractive notation (IV, IX, etc.) since although that custom did exist at the time it didn’t prevail until the Middle Ages. Also, there’s no distinction between I and J or between U and V 2  which were post-Shakespearean innovations.


And then we also have Roman FRACTION Conversions
Other than Latin, here is today’s date in over 400 more-or-less obscure languages
“Chums, Italics, landsmen, heed my syllables...”
“I have a vewy gweat fwiend in Wome, his name is...”

* Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. (“The times are changing and we with them.”)
Special thanks to Johan Winge for his scholarship in re-creating this second century Roman cursive.

1. Commodus adopted some honorifics to give himself a total of twelve names. Here are the months he then declared, corresponding to them: Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius, Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, and Exsuperatorius. What a guy.

2. As perplexing as such renderings as VESVVIVS (Vesuvius) and VVVLA (uvula, meaning “little grape”) might appear to us, back then no one batted an eye. It appears they called this dual-purpose V letter “oo.”

Back to Home Page