Talk:Old Style and New Style dates

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execution of Charles I early in the year[edit]

I see this:

"so for example the execution of Charles I was recorded at the time in Parliament as happening on 30 January 1648 (Old Style).[8] In modern English-language texts this date is usually recorded as "30 January 1649" (New Style).[1]"

OK, we're talking about different New Year's day, but the string I just quoted is mentioning 30 January in both the Old Style and the New Style, which were actually 10 days apart at the time. Can someone explain this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Modern English-language texts, when writing about historical events in one country where the Julian calendar was in effect, will usually give dates in the Julian calendar, but treat January 1 as new year's day. "Old style" is sometimes meant to refer to only the new year's day change, independent from the Julian/Gregorian change. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:55, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
The modern practive of historians (and WP) is that the year runs from 1 January not 25 March, but the days are given according the contemporary English calendar in England. According to contemporary dating, Charles was executed on 30 January 1648, which we now refer to as 30 January 1649 (or 1648/9). A contemporary from another country might have given the date as 30 January 1648/9 February 1649. However I have only seen that form in international correspondence - diplomatic and mercantile. Peterkingiron (talk) 16:54, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

UK Fiscal Year[edit]

According to the article, 25 March in New Style is 6 April, and this date is still the first day of the fiscal year in the United Kingdom. This is simply not true - the fiscal year starts on 1st April (hence the frequent jokes about various budgetary measures being April Fools' jokes). See for example Fiscal Year#United Kingdom. I suggest deleting this whole sentence - or can somebody clarify? Maybe it used to start on 6th? -- (talk) 23:01, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

There was an edit made by an IP address on 1 April this year that removed all mention of the personal fiscal year from the UK section, along with the detailed history of why it runs from 6 April until 5 April the next year. I have reverted most of that edit, so there is no reason to delete the sentence in this article. -- PBS (talk) 12:53, 1 October 2013 (UTC)


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)

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)