…Anno Societatus. The dates read at the end of any given SCA scroll usually include one of three dating systems. A.S. or Anno Societatus translates to “the year of the society”, meaning the SCA year. The SCA year rolls over on May 1st. Conveniently, if you can’t figure out the Latin numerics, it’s the same as the Super bowl that falls within the current SCA year. The May 1st new year’s date means that Gleann Abhann’s first crown list of 2007 is actually the second crown list of A.S. XLI The convention of Anno Societatus came into use in A.S. 1, I am told, by the uppity college students who created the SCA.
…for auld lang syne… And while we’re talking about new years… the new year has been observed on January 1 since late roman times, and not with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar as is widely thought. Alternative New years’ days were used much like we modernly use a fiscal year, liturgical year or the SCA year and typically fell on holy feast days; Dec 25 (Christmas), Mar 1, Mar 25 (the annunciation), and Easter.
…Anno Domini. A.D. or “the year of our Lord” is the current calendar that we use today. It is synonymous with CE for common era/Christian era. Years are numbered beginning with 1 marking the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Dates before that time are counted backwards and noted as B.C. “Before Christ” or B.C.E. “Before Common Era.” The date of the Anno Domini was calculated in 525 and its use spread across western Europe into the 8th century. The venerable Bede used Anno Domini in his historical writings. Before that time, Christians usually calculated their dates in consular years, based on how long the leading Roman consuls had been in office. Period documents and grants are frequently dated "The year of the Incarnation, YYYY."
…Beware the Ides of March... The Julian Calendar was introduced in 45 B.C. by Julius Caesar And is generally divided into Old Use and New Use:
Old Use is among the most complicated of calendars to use. It can also be seen in the calendar section of Psalters and Books of Hours, indicated by the letters KL, ID, and N in columns next to the various saint‘s feast days. Kalends is the first day of the Month. Ides falls on the thirteenth except in March, May, July and October, when it falls on the fifteenth. Nones falls the ninth day before Ides, counting Ides. Every other day of the month is assigned a number, counting backwards from one of the three key dates. In a modern calendar, the Feast of the Epiphany falls on January 6th, but in the old julian calendar this date would be expressed as VIII ID: the 8th day before Ides of Jan. Leap Day falls on the 24th of Feb, extending that day to a 48-hour day and is noted as A.D. VI bis Kal. Mar, bis being short for bissextile day. In spite of the popularity of Psalters and Hours, it is supposed that relatively few knew how to calculate the roman dates. Being able to figure the date of the Julian Calendar by Old Use was probably considered one of those quaint archaic bits of useless knowledge particular to well-educated people in the same vein as someone nowadays who can use an abacus or slide rule when calculators are faster and easily available.
Eventually, the days of the month came to be numbered consecutively, 1 through 30(or 31). As calendars were updated, leap day moved to the 29th of Feb. The new use Julian Calendar is the standard working calendar for most of the SCA-relevant middle ages. Documents and letters were dated using this calendar with a combination of roman (for the year) and Arabic numerals (for the day). In the Julian Calendar a leap year is celebrated every four years without exception, which allows the calendar to drift forward a bit over time - a whole day for every 134 years. People began looking for a reform of the archaic roman system when they realized that the vernal equinox had drifted off-date by nearly ten days.
…being 2007 Gregorian… The Julian calendar stopped being used (officially) on Thursday October 4th 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII added ten days to correct the drift, beginning the Gregorian calendar on the next day Friday, October 15th 1582. As can be expected, delayed adoption, partial adoption and total resistance to the change befuddled the calendars of near and far Europe for hundreds of years. The British Empire did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until well into the 1700’s and some Eastern orthodox countries held out until the 1900‘s. The Gregorian calendar is essentially a modern calendar, figuring a leap year every four years, except on years divisible by 100, but not divisible by 400. Understand?
Sadly, use of the Gregorian Calendar is for most of us, out-of-period. Personally, I prefer to substitute "Anno Domini" as an alternative to "Gregorian" when writing scrolls unless it is a very late period scroll. Saint’s feast days (…being also the feast of Saint Patrick) were also cited as well as important locations (…at this sixteenth Gulf War) and coronation anniversaries (…in the Reign of Padruig II).