Talk:Old Style and New Style dates

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Am I missing something? In the "Difference in the start of the year" section I can't understand the reference to the Battle of Hastings being universally recognised as taking place on 14 October 1066, followed by the next sentence beginning with "But the start of the Julian year was not always 1 January...". Where's the contradiction? There is no question mark over when Hastings was fought because October wasn't in the slightest way affected by any subsequent decision regarding the start of the new year. Only events in the first quarter of that year would be affected, as they would have been recorded as 1065. So, the "for example" in the sentence can't apply to Hastings, can it? The example needs to be a relevant one. 00:35, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

It is because the date 14 October 1066 is in the Julian Calendar, if one was to map it onto the Gregorian calendar it would be a different date, but next to no one does this. Things get more complicated when one starts to look at dates earlier in a year. -- PBS (talk) 21:45, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, but does that mean in giving the date 14 October as an example the emphasis is on the 14th, as the day of the month, and not on the year, which would still be 1066 for both styles of dating? I focussed on the year date as I understood the paragraph to be an explanation of how the point when the year changed would affect dating (if the battle had been in February, it would have been 1065 to contemporaries and 1066 translated to the Gregorian calendar). Unless I'm particularly obtuse (always possible), I think the intended sense of the sentence is unclear. Kim Traynor | Talk 21:54, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the Battle of Hastings example was not useful and probably misplaced. I have now deleted it as a part of rewriting much of the lead Section. Mike Spathaky (talk) 02:16, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Article not covering world perspective[edit]

I would like to nominate this article for deletion since, like I said in the subject line, it doesn't cover world perspective, but rather says "When recording British history it is usual to use the dates recorded at the time of the event with the year adjusted to start on the first of January. So, for example, the Battle of Hastings is universally known to have been fought on 14 October 1066. But the start of the Julian year was not always 1 January, and was altered at different times in different countries." To my understanding, British history is NOT WORLD history. Fandelasketchup (talk) 20:48, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Deletion policy describes Wikipedia's deletion policy. Articles about a particular area of the world, rather than the whole world, are certainly allowed. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:01, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
The phrases Old Style and New Style have been used at least since the seventeenth century to describe different calendar changes. The context of the use of these particular phrases has mainly been in English-speaking countries and (through the English parliament's 1750 Act) "England and her Dominions" which then included most of European-settled North America. This is English Wikipedia. All in all an English language bias is therefore inherent in the subject. The section on countries that used lunisolar calendars may address the world perspective issue anyway. However I am not sure (and the section does not state) whether the terms Old Style and New Style have actually been used in those contexts. That asepct of the general subject of calendars is covered in the article Gregorian calendar and is probably best left there.
It is important that somewhere in WP the complexities of this subject are explained clearly and fully as they are often misunderstood even by historians. What the article should focus on is explaining actual usage of the terms, not what some editor(s) may think should be the "proper" usage, either in general writing or in WP artcles. That is for elsewhere.
I oppose deletion. Mike Spathaky (talk) 02:59, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
It would probably be best if the non Julian/Gregorian calendar sections were moved into Dual dating and this article was kept specifically for the New Style Old Style differences. -- PBS (talk) 11:38, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Section worldview[edit]

I have changed the title of the section about 'start of year' to make it explicit that the section is about Britain and its colonies. Nobody should expect such a section to have a 'world view' so I have also removed the tag. If someone wants to add relevant material about start of year date in other cultures, then let them add this to another/a new section. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 22:48, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Changes to the lead on 9 March[edit]

There are a number of problems with the new lead.

  1. Wikipedia does not user "terms" in the lead.
  2. "From sixteenth century onwards in contemporary documents" is OR both for the start and for the implication that all documents still use them".
  3. There are not three possible ambiguities there are two. The confusion of the edit is shown by the use of "Mike Spathaky" footnote on point three.

For these reasons I am reverting the changes. It may well be possible to clarify what is there but I think that this attempt is confusing and misleading. -- PBS (talk) 09:42, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not use "terms" in the lead? What on earth do you mean by that? If we're talking about terms, then certainly we should use "terms" in the lead. I thought the edit was a definite improvement - the version you've reverted back to is certainly more confusing and inaccurate - could you not have corrected the imperfections of the new version rather than lazily reverting back to an inferior one? W. P. Uzer (talk) 11:00, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Articles describe things not terms. Ie "genocide is" not "genocide is a term for". Lets salami slice it (I have retrospectively put numbers before the points I made) Please comment on those numbered points and explain how how those points makes for a less confusing and more accurate lead than the current wording. -- PBS (talk) 11:29, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used in English-language historical studies to indicate either whether ... or whether ... Please show me another example of writing where one would write "either whether ... or whether ..." rather than "either that ... or that ..." because in my dialect of English "either whether" just looks and sounds odd. one could write ""eitherwhether ... or whether ..." but the advantage of "either" is it indicates a binary choice "whether" does not (one can daisy-chain "or whether"s together). -- PBS (talk) 11:49, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Terms are things - in this case, the things we are describing are terms (or perhaps there's a better word - designations?), so it seems entirely appropriate to use the word "terms" (or some such better word) in the lead. And this "either whether .... or whether ..." would not be my first choice, but it's a consequence of your insistence on saying the whole thing in one sentence rather than separating it into clear points as the previous editor had done. It can't be "either that... or that ..." because that would mean that OS and NS can indicate (in total) two things, whereas in fact they can indicate four things. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:32, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The do indicate two things: NS either indicates the start of year has been adjusted adjusted or the use of the Gregorian calendar. Likewise OS is the other side of the same coin it indicates that the start of year has not been adjusted, or it indicates that the Julian calendar is in use. How do you count four? -- PBS (talk) 15:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The four that you've just listed: NS indicates one of 2 things, OS indicates one of 2 things, and 2+2=4. To adopt your metaphor: two coins have a total of four sides. (The sentence as it was phrased before implied that only two out of these four "sides" could be designated by OS and NS, which is not what it wanted to say.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:57, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
In practice there are only three things: true Old Style dating (Julian Calendar, and year beginning 25 March); true New Style dating (Gregorian Calendar, and year beginning 1 January); and the "compromise" version (days and months given according to the Julian Calendar, but the start of year set at 1 January), which was often used informally in Britain pre-1752 (sometimes with dual dating, e.g. 1733/4); and is commonly used by modern historians of the early modern period, often explained by some such formula as "all dates are Old Style, but the beginning of the year has in all cases been adjusted to 1 January". The theoretical fourth option, use of the Gregorian Calendar but with the year beginning on 6 April, is to my knowledge only found in the very specific context of the UK fiscal year, and there it is never given an "Old Style" or "New Style" label. The final wording (whatever it is) should make this clear. GrindtXX (talk) 18:38, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The article is about terms; ultimately, it is about what name to give a particular orbit of the Earth about the Sun. But it is also explains which orbits, and portions of orbits, go with which names. The article concentrates on four systems: Gregorian, Julian, starting the year on January 1, and starting the year on March 25. Since the article is predominantly about the four systems, and not-so-much about what to call those systems, I think it is best to avoid the word "term(s)" in the lead. This contrasts with the article "Common Era" which isn't about when the years occur, but rather, what to call the system. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:12, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

The 6th of April is a bastard, because the British tax authorities changed from the Julian leap year system to the Gregorian one in 1900, so that can be put to one side. There are only two things described by NS/OS either Julian calendar adjusted to 1 January or the a date using two different calendars (Julian to Gregorian). The lead meant to summarise and introduce the content of the article and there are two sections (not four used to describe the two different usages of NS/OS):

  • Differences in the start of the year
  • Differences between Julian and Gregorian dates

--PBS (talk) 01:26, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, two sections, each of which is a "whether", not a "that" (it would be a "that" if we were talking about either O.S. or N.S. individually, but we're talking about both of them together). But as GrindtXX points out, there are actually three (not four or two) options. The first paragraph clearly needs some major reworking. The emphases on "English-language" and "historical studies" are also inappropriate - use of these concepts is not restricted to either of these domains (of course other languages use different words or letters to express them, but that's true of everything we write about). W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:24, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't know what the final text will look like, but it should not be inconsistent with the fact that Scotland used January 1 as the beginning of the year, together with the Julian calendar, from 1600 to 1752. This is currently relegated to a footnote. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:10, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
? It is not relegated to a footnote it is in the second paragraph of the lead: "In Scotland, the legal start of the year had already been moved to 1 January (in 1600), but Scotland otherwise continued to use the Julian Calendar until 1752" -- PBS (talk) 18:18, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Would it not in fact be better to be consistent with the title of the article, and begin "Old Style and New style dates are...", or perhaps more practically: "Old Style dates are ..(one or two sentences).. New Style dates are ...." ? W. P. Uzer (talk) 19:48, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't think it necessary as the article title is a descriptive one, the dates is simply a from of disambiguation as there are many things for which there are old and new styles. It may be desirable to include "dates" in the first sentence, but it should included for other reasons than simply to mirror the article title. -- PBS (talk) 01:36, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
It would also move away from the present situation where the first paragraph strongly implies that the subject of the article is the terms "Old Style" and "New Style", which you and Jc3s5h both say it is not. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:44, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Cultural references: Eleven Day Empire[edit]

Can someone add the Doctor Who/Faction Paradox reference to the Eleven Day Empire - the eleven days that Faction Paradox purchased from the British government when it changed over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar on 2nd/14th Spetember 1752??? -Tra- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

(not normaly) converting pre 1582 dates[edit]

See above Bamboozled

In the discussion above on the example of the Battle of Hastings is was said: "It is because the date 14 October 1066 is in the Julian Calendar, if one was to map it onto the Gregorian calendar it would be a different date, but next to no one does this." Although the location in the text of this example was incorrect, the fact that "next to no one" corrects the older OS dates to the current system is, i.m.h.o., an intresting point to make and more people should become aware of this, especialy on subjects that where influenced by the time of the year (e.g. weather, times of sunset) like the Battle of Hastings; fought on 14 = 20 oktober. The current artical gives the perfect place to do just that.

Its says now: "Usually, the mapping of new dates onto old dates with a start of year adjustment works well with little confusion for events which happened before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. For example the Battle of Agincourt is universally known to have been fought on 25 October 1415, which is Saint Crispin's Day. But for the period between the first introduction of the Gregorian calendar......"

I propose to change that into: "Usually, the mapping of new dates onto old dates ...... For example the Battle of Agincourt is universally known to have been fought on 25 October 1415, which is Saint Crispin's Day. Well known days like this are usualy rememberd on their original date wihthout converting them to the Gregorian-dates. Although, unknowigly, the events are rememberd nine days early as in 1415 25 oktober fell in the same time of the year as the modern 3 november.

But for the period between the first introduction of the Gregorian calendar......"

Looking forward to your reactions. Vlaascho (talk) 22:09, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

I've moved your section down to the bottom of the page so others can see that there is a new section. I nearly missed you new section when it was placed near the top of the page
It is not just well known days but all days. It is actually quite difficult to work out the dates prior 1582 from primary sources. I mentioned this in a conversation earlier on this page (now archived)

Juliet Barker in her Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle describes the problems for medieval scholars (and year adjustment is a minor issue) as dates are given in all sorts of different ways, for example from the the year of the monarch's reign (do you number the start of the year from the coronation, or March 25 or some other date?) So two enemy chroniclers recording event may number the year of a battle differently by recording it in terms of the offset since the coronation of their their own king rather than in the "year of our Lord", which is how we do it today. Then there is a choice for the day date: so many days from a saints day (eg "two days after the feast of St. John") or so many days on the ide, or the day of the month. To the modern mind this is all very confusing, but we still do it to a certain extent when we count down to Christmas "only so many shopping..." etc or comment on how long there is between certain public holidays, its just that we use one specific dating method for formal writing and assume it has always been like that.

So when medieval historians like Juliet Barker put together dates they work in out from primary sources and then usually present the date in the Julian Calendar (and indicate in some way or other the start of the year they are using if a date that falls before before 25th March). I think that they stick to the Julian Calendar because at the time that is how Easter was worked out and to use Gregorian dates would mean that Saints days and Christmas would be on days different from their original calendar dates and leap year become a problem. One would have sentences like "The King went to Winchester on 29th of December to celebrate Christmas the next day."! So historians do it for all dates not just those which are particularly notable. -- PBS (talk) 14:59, 14 October 2014 (UTC)


the usual historical method of commemorating events of that period within Great Britain and Ireland by mapping the Julian date directly onto the modern Gregorian calendar

How do we know this, and how widespread was the custom? Jefferson's O.S. gravestone inscription is suggestive, and it would make sense for people to celebrate Name days in that fashion, but I can't help wondering if Bach had birthday parties on St. Benedict's Day or that of the other Guido. Sparafucil (talk) 10:39, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

The sentence says "historical method" not "contemporary behaviour" the clue lies in the bracketed clause "(as happens for example with Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November)." -- PBS (talk) 00:11, 14 January 2015 (UTC)