Valentine’s Day as Saint Valentine Would Have Recorded It

By THL Lorraine Devereaux


As some of you know, I’m a nerd about calendars and clocks. So this weekend I decided to figure out the Roman-style date for Valentine’s Day.

First I needed to know whether February was a month when the Ides fell on the 13th or the 15th. In only four months of the year does the Ides fall on the 15th – March, May, July and October. Remember how Caesar was killed on the Ides of March? For years I thought the Ides was always the 15th. That would have been too easy.

Although all four months in which the Ides falls on the 15th  have 31 days, not all months with 31 days are the same. In January, August and December the Ides falls on the 13th.

Once I determined the Ides fell on the 13th, and that my chosen date (the 14th) fell after the Ides, I needed know how many days there were in the month. This is especially tricky with February, since it is not only the shortest month, but once every four years it is a day longer.

Why do I need to know how long the month is? Because the Romans, in their infinite wisdom, decided that counting from the beginning to the end of the month was too simple. They preferred to count from the end of the month to the middle (the Ides). Then they counted from the Ides to the Nones (usually the 5th, but in those four special months, it’s on the 7th). And they counted from the Nones to the Kalends, or the first day of month.

Now, when I first got into this, I thought the “Nones” fell on the 9th. Nones means nine, right? How mistaken I was. It actually means nine days before the Ides. If the Ides is on the 13th, the Nones is nine days earlier, on the 5th. Of course in those four months when the Ides falls on the 15th the Nones is on the 7th. Luckily, the Kalends doesn’t move.

So, if the date you’re interested in is February 3, the Roman date is “iii nonis Februarius” (three days before the Nones of February). And if the date you’re interested in is February 9 the Roman date is “v idus Feburarius” (five days before the Ides of February).

If you’re trying to do the math, and you can’t make it work, it’s because the Romans counted inclusively. The day before the Nones is also the second day before the Nones.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around this. Finally I remembered sitting in church on Easter morning. As I child I listened to the priest say “On the third day he arose.” I remember counting on my fingers – from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is one day, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning is two days, where’s the third day? I was told for the early Church (the “Roman” church) it was one day for Friday, one day for Saturday and one day for Sunday (three days).

So the Nones is nine days before the Ides, because both the Nones and Ides are counted. And the Kalends is five days before the Nones, because the Nones and the Kalends are both counted.

Which brings us to the dates after the Ides. That’s the majority of the month. Any date after the Ides is counted as so many days before the Kalends of the next month. So for February 14, the date is written as “xvi kalendas Martius.” That’s 16 days before the Kalends of March. Washington’s birthday, Feburary 22, is “viii kalendas Martius” (you’ve got it – 8 days before the Kalends of March). Here’s a list of how you write the 14th day of January, February, March and April:

January 14        xix kalendas Februarius
February 14     xvi kalendas Martius
March 14         pridie idus Martius*
April 14            xviii kalendas Maius

*Calling the day before the Ides (or Kalends or Nones) “pridie” solves the problem of having to call the day both ii idus and i idus.

The 14th of the month is 19 days before, or 16 days before, or 18 days before the Kalends of the next month depending on how long the month is. Don’t ask me how such a convoluted system lasted for nearly two thousand years.

Two points to keep in mind. First, the tale ending of Roman nouns changes depending on how the word is used. I don’t pretend to understand the system. Sometimes it’s nones, sometimes it’s nonis, sometimes I see it as nonae. February is Februarias, Februariis or Februarius depending on usage. Second, I’ve used lower case Roman numerals because most of the medieval examples I’ve seen use lower case. The Romans themselves would have used capital letters (they used all caps all the time). The Carolingians loved the little letters. You may see examples of both.

If you want to see how all this works using a medieval Book of Hours calendar, check out this Khan Academy video created by the Getty Museum: (4:29 minutes).

If you’re not interested in figuring it out a date for yourself, go to A medieval-minded German (Otfried Lieberknecht) put together a calendar utility that figures out any date, past or present, for you. It will also take a Roman-style date and translate it into modern reckoning.

Useful Resources:

Bridget Ann Henisch, The Medieval Calendar Year (University Park, Penn., Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999). This work analyzes the Labors of the Months and similar themes in medieval calendars. It includes many examples of medieval calendars in Books of Hours. It also includes a useful Appendix that details how to determine a date using Roman-style dating.

“Calendarium” includes the Roman sections of William Smith’s A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (John Murray, London, 1875). It goes into depth about the early Roman calendar and Caesar’s reforms, but near the end it has a useful chart for figuring the date using Roman-style dating:*/Calendarium.html.

“Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy” includes calendar charts for each year in the 11th through 16th centuries at



Lovebirds in the 14th-century Codex Manesse (Cod. Pal. germ. 848, f. 249v). Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, CC BY-SA

Lovebirds in the 14th-century Codex Manesse (Cod. Pal. germ. 848, f. 249v). Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, CC BY-SA

GoFundMe Campaign Started for Getting the Great Machine to Gulf War

Last summer the Great Machine made its maiden trip out of Kingdom, when Master Gerald Goodwine took his mechanical marvel to the 50th Year Celebration.

That outing was so successful, and the reaction of the Knowne World so positive, that Master Gerald wants to take to the road again. This time, the destination is Gulf War.

The Great Machine and its accessories have grown so much, however, that a larger conveyance is needed to make the trek. So Lady Tola Rufusdóhtor has started a GoFundMe page to seek donations. The plan is to rent a semi and trailer. The goal is $3600, to cover the rental and fuel.

Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

Click here to support Let’s get the Great Machine to Gulf by Tola Rufusdóhtor

The drums of war are on the horizon. As the army prepares for battle so to do the Masters, Mistress and teachers of artisan row. However one of these Masters need the help of anyone who can spare a bit of money or time.


Silver Hammer Scroll for Thaddeus Ellenbrock

Silver Hammer Scroll for Sir Thaddeus Ellenbrock

Text, Calligraphy and Illumination by Mistress Rahil al-Sirhaan.


Photo courtesy of Mistress Rahil

Photo courtesy of Mistress Rahil

Logan, Shah, and Ylva, Khanum,

Protectors of the Heartland

From forked rivers in the East

To the West’s burning sand,

Have listened well with Falcon’s ear

And seen with Falcon’s eye

The works and skills of an artist

And bid Thaddeus Ellenbock draw nigh.

On battlefield his armor shines,

This valiant lion-heart,

But while encamped on water’s edge

Warrior turns carpentry to art.

For as the Falcon soars above

The plains of green and gold,

Sharp eye settles on a pavilion,

Wondrous to behold.

There are tapestries and lanterns,

And carpets woven fine,

Silver dishes topped with delicacies,

And ewers filled with wine.

But richer than these elegant wares,

Hidden beneath tent’s shade

Are the finely crafted furnishings

That this artisan has made.

Upon tables, benches, chests and saddles

The Falcon eye does fall

And so into Calon Majesties’ Court

Skilled craftsmen do They call.

All those who bear the markings

Of Silver Hammer shining bright

Shall now be joined by Thaddeus Ellenbock,

The noted carpenter knight.

Silver Hammer Scroll for Viga-Valr viligísl, known as Vels

Silver Hammer Scroll for THL Viga-Valr viligísl, known as Vels

Text by Mistress Bridget Edan, Lady Izza bint Zaqara, THL Marcella the Unknown, Master Eadweard Boisewright, Lady Mor Hoistlair and Master Gottfried Von Koln. Calligraphy and Illumination by HL Lavilla Senestor


Vels Silver Hammer

Silver Hammer Scroll for THL Viga-Valr viligísl, known as Vels


Long have We looked out upon Our populace and have seen the deeds of Our artisans and craftsmen but one stands out among others. He is a wanderer of five Kingdoms but stands and defends the Heartland as his home. We have seen the pearl of Atlantia’s eye, manic alchemist extraordinaire, worker of entropy, leader of warriors, ginger haired wonder, and We find these prognostications to be irrefutably true; however this wordfame does not end here.

This gentle’s prodigious skills and scholarly pursuits have wrought items of such magnificent beauty that all are in awe. Careful cuts and polishing so that all could see their visage, intricate inlay and flowers of wood bring delight to the populace. To grant this man a wood shop would nary be a fitting honor.

Let all bear witness that We grant unto Viga-Valr viligísl all appropriate badges and privileges as we welcome him into the Order of the Silver Hammer.

To continue his pursuits, We grant leave to Our forests to harvest the optimum branches free of bore worms for chairs and benches, Our mines to seek out the minerals to create dyes and pigments of color, Our streams to collect sands for glass to create enameling and one chicken to do with as he sees fit.

Done by our hand, the seventeenth day of September, in the year 51 of Our Society sitting in Our Barony of Coeur d’Ennui.


(Logan)                                                 (Ylva)

Basileus                                               Basilissa

Queen’s Prize Tournament Court summary, Saturday, September 17, A.S. 51

Logan the Bowyer – Leather Mallet
Thaddeus Ellenbock – Silver Hammer
Ogawa Matajirou Ujimori – Leather Mallet
Verena Näherin – Calon Lily
Aesileif Jotunsdottir – Award of Arms
Rowan del Wiche – Golden Calon Swan
Cathus the Curious – Laurel
Viga-Valr viligísl – Silver Hammer
Æsa Jarnauga – Award of Arms
Amalie Helena Hasselbring – Award of Arms
Alyce “Apple” Night – Leather Mallet
Marius Lucian Fidelis – Laurel

Sawbina Fahy won the Queen’s Prize.
Margarette von Rothenburg won a prize from Her Majesty the Queen for her youth entry.
Her Majesty gave honorable mentions to Andromir Vukovic and Anna Plantyn.

A Boon was begged that Honorable Lady Neathery of Safita be elevated to the Order of the Pelican.
The new Kingdom Chronicler will be Countess Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill.
The new Kingdom List Minister will be Mistress Brialen Ulfsdottir Vikings.
A Boon was begged that Honorable Lady Catrijn vanden Westhende be elevated to the Order of the Laurel.

Scenes from the Life of David, ca 1160-1180. Public Domain in the US

Scenes from the Life of David, ca 1160-1180. Public Domain in the US

Eynon Llangenydd’s Queen’s Prize Pictures Online

Gleaned from Facebook:

THL Eynon Llangenydd announces:

My pictures of most of the QPT projects and some of the artisans have been uploaded to a Flickr album. I might pare the numbers down a bit and post to a Facebook album later. I didn’t get everyone’s projects and some shots were a bit awkward to avoid disturbing judging


Presentation scene; detail of a miniature from BL Royal MS 15 E vi, f. 2v. 15th C. Public domain in the US

Presentation scene; detail of a miniature from BL Royal MS 15 E vi, f. 2v. 15th C. Public domain in the US

The Battle of the Bridge — Winner of the Skaldic Challenge at Valor XXXVII


Lady Elaisse de Garrigues

by Lady Elaisse de Garrigues

War was calling. Our enemies were massing far to the east, so our mighty Konung, Duncan Bruce of Logan, mustered our warriors for the long march to that faraway kingdom. Many battles were fought in the great Pennsic War, but this is the tale of one particular battle—a battle for a bridge.

The army of Artemisia had twice our number, nay, tenfold at least, and the only thing holding them back was the churning water of the rain-swollen river. That endless horde, eager to storm across the bridge and slaughter everything in its path, was a chilling sight, but the Calontiri knew no fear. Logan strode to the bridge and hurled a spear toward those shining Artemisian helms with a bellow of “Odin owns you all!”

With a shield-shattering roar, the Calon host charged onto the bridge. The Artemisians could not withstand the Calontiri onslaught. Slowly at first, then with greater speed, the Artemisians fell back as our warriors fought their way across the bridge.

“Arrow!” someone shouted. First one dark missile, then another, arced through the sky then landed harmlessly on upheld Calontiri shields. Logan laughed. “You’ll need more than pointy sticks to send me to Valhalla!” he roared with a deadly swing of his war hammer.

The Artemisians fell back, and back, until the Calon host had nearly reached the far side of the river. “Arrow!” someone called again. This time the sky darkened and the air hissed with dozens of missiles speeding toward the Calontiri. “Shields!” Logan bellowed. Our warriors hunkered beneath as the deadly rain beat against the wood and iron of the Calon shields. That, my friends, is the moment Artemisia charged.

Taken by surprise, the Calontiri fell, one after another joining their dying comrades in the growing river of Calon blood. The survivors retreated, defeat bitter on their tongues. As brave as our warriors are, they might have slunk home in shame, but Logan stood firm. “By Tyr, we will not be beaten!” he shouted. Drawing courage from their Konung’s strength, the Calon host surged forward once again.

As before, the Artemisians staggered under our swords and we forced our way across the bridge. And as before, a flock of fletched missiles darkened the sky. This time we were ready, though. This time, when the Artemisians charged, our warriors met them with deadly steel. This time, the bridge ran slick with Artemisian blood.

And though many Calon warriors found their way to Valhalla, thanks to Logan’s courage, strength and will, no Artemisian crossed that bridge that day.

Demo Report: Kalmar Industries Company Picnic, Ottawa, KS 8-6-2016

Sir Cai arranged for his company to allow the SCA to hold a full-on demo at his annual company picnic. Kalmar Industries in Ottawa, KS hosted SCA folk from multiple nearby groups, including the Shire of Carlsby, the Shire of Cum an Iolair, the Shire of Crescent Moon, the Canton of Aston Tor and the Barony of Forgotten Sea. Visitors from distant groups, including the Barony of Vatavia and the Shire of Golden Seas even joined in the fun. This author is certain she has left out some groups, as well. Apologies for that. There were so many people, the demo was certainly the size of a decent event!

Look at all that Meanest Mother Melee fighting!

Look at all that Meanest Mother Melee fighting!

We had enough people for tourney fighting, cut-and-thrust and archery events side-by-side, multiple-fighter melees, several meanest-mother melees and even some old style Holmgang melees. This author heard laughing and great fun coming from the list field throughout the day. Epic deaths were seen. Even Ottawa residents came to the park, set up their lawn chairs and watched the sport throughout the day, enjoying the unusually mild August weather.

Ottawa's newest spectator sport

Ottawa’s newest spectator sport

The SCA personnel put on a fine showing of our best artisanry, too. We fully encircled the list fields with pavilions full of our best displays, from scribal arts through a fully functional forge thanks to Baron Lothar! Several people combined their talents to show how wool moves from sheep to fully woven fabric, including spindles, a spinning wheel, and two kinds of looms.  Mistress Dorcas provided an entire pavilion of heraldic goodies and information, too.

Amazing fiber arts demo - sheep to shawl!

Amazing fiber arts demo – sheep to shawl!

An all-day chainmail demo by HL Thomas the Black, armoring, sewing, displays of the Baronial coronets, finished garb hanging in the pavilions, and lots of people willing to talk about the SCA and our period of history provided a well-rounded, educational opportunity for the Kalmar employees, their families and others who visited. Many friends and family members of the SCA folks came by to see us, too!

H.L. Thomas the Black and his chain mail demo

H.L. Thomas the Black and his chain mail demo

Sir Cai graciously printed outstanding informational brochures and amazing laminated SCA bookmarks for us to give to visitors during our recruitment efforts. These proved very popular with the younger set, who also enjoyed the hands-on nature of most of the demo items. Being able to touch real, hand-woven fabric, chainmail, armored fighters and heraldic banners caused more than one young mouth to gape in amazement as they saw storybooks come alive before their eyes. Lady Maegwynn provided heraldic announcements before the fighting, including explanations of the SCA – who we are, what we do, and why the visitors should come around and check out the demos.

Baron Lothar explaining how he is forging his Holder Down Thing

Baron Lothar explaining how he is forging his Holder Down Thing

As a reward for our demo, the Kalmar folks provided the SCA demo-ers with a luscious BBQ lunch of pork, turkey, beef and all the sides. Bounce-houses and a bounce-obstacle course for the kids were available, although us adults were sadly not allowed. We debated the wisdom of obtaining ones rated for grownups for the next Tor Party at Lilies.

It was a beautiful day of temperate weather, gentle breezes, great fun fighting and some of the best fun many of us had in a long time. We wish the rest of you had been able to join us! Enjoy the photos – I’ve linked them to my Flickr page, because I took so many. These are just a few teasers.

Link to Photos:

In joyous fealty to the Crown and People of Calontir, I remain your loyal servant and Scribe-

Takashoka Spaekona Aidan Cocrinn, OL

From Her Royal Majesty Ylva, Patroness of the Arts

Another great opportunity at Pennsic! This one is for the A&S War Point, and has been offered to Calontir by TRMs Ealdormere, Nigel and Adrielle. The entrant would need to be “unwreathed” (not a Laurel), and other information is below. Please contact ME ASAP if you are interested. We want to let Them know by Friday at noon.

“Basics of the A&S War Point

When – Thursday of War Week, in the Great Hall. 9-3pm

Entrants are encouraged to arrive around 8-ish to set up- each entrant will pick a number out of a hat, which will correspond to a table space. (Approximately 3-4 feet). Artisans are encouraged to stand by their displays to interact with visitors but it is not mandatory.

Judging is by “populace choice”- any person with an A&S award given to them from a Crown (AoA, GoA, and Peerage levels) will receive 3 pony beads to vote with. Judging takes place from 9-3. From 3-4pm the votes are tallyed, and results are announced at 4.

Documentation is not required, but, because at least some of the voters are laurels, it is probably wise to provide it. The works of a specific artisan are judged as a body of work- so you could bring one mas terpiece, or several smaller pieces. Last years winners spanned the gamut- we had one single, extraordinary piece as the top winner on one side, and multiple part bodies of work win for the other side.

The Great Hall will be overseen by volunteers during the competition- A&S Officers and solicited help from several kingdoms, but there’s always room for more volunteers. 🙂

We would love to be able to show off one of Our artisans in this way!

Ylva drottning