Regnal year dating

It is thus for history what latitude and longitude are for geography.

The first requisite in any system of historical chronology is an era, that is to say a fixed point of time, the distance from which shall indicate the position of all others. It is supposed by many that the calculation of Dionysius was incorrect, and that the birth of Christ really occurred three years earlier than he placed it, or in the year of Rome 750 which he styles 3 B. This, however, is immaterial for the purposes of chronology, the first year of the Christian Era being that fixed, rightly or wrongly, by Dionysius.

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In Scotland, from 1 January, 1600, the beginning of the year was reckoned from that day.

In France the year was variously reckoned: from Christmas Day, from Easter eve, or from 25 March.

The term , the derivation of which is not certainly known, appears first to have been employed in France and Spain to signify a number or rule. His system was adopted but gradually, first in Italy, then in other parts of Christendom.

Since the need of a definite system of chronology was first recognized by mankind, many and various eras have been employed at different periods and by different nations. It is to be noted that there is no year 0 intervening, as some have imagined, between B. England would appear to have been among the earliest regions to have made use of it, under the influence of the Roman missioners, as it is found in Saxon charters of the seventh century. The Romans frequently reckoned from the traditional foundation of their city ().

Within the year, it was long usual to specify dates by reference to some well-known feast in the ecclesiastical calendar, as, for instance, "the Friday before Pentecost" or "the day of St. Unlike the Olympiads, the indictions themselves were not numbered, but only the place of a year in the indiction in which it fell.

Thus ; signifies not "in the fourth indiction", but "in the fourth year of its indiction", whatever this was.

Of all starting points a movable feast like Easter is obviously the worst.

From 1564 the year was reckoned in France from 1 January to 31 December.

It was obvious that such an element of computation could serve only to verify more precisely the date of a year already approximately known.

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