Roman Calendar -- Instructions

Roman Calendar Instructions & Explanations

    USING THE CALENDAR

    In the calendar of the ancient Romans, the months contained three primary markers -- the Kalends, the Nones and the Ides. The Kalends were always the first day of the month. The Nones were usually the 5th but sometimes the 7th, and the Ides were the 15th but sometimes the 13th. All the days after the Ides were numbered by counting down towards the next month's Kalends. The holidays were generally bunched together to form continuous celebrations, and the remaining days of the month were usually nondescript workdays.

    The days were each identified with certain letters and names. The Kalends were always identified as shown in the diagram at right. The archaic form of the K, for Kalends, was used in front of the name of the month. The first letter was called the Nundinae ("nine day") , or the Nundinal letter, and it represented the market day. Every 9th day (counting inclusively) was a market day, but as it shifted every year, a designated letter between A and H would represent the market day for that year. The final letter identifies the type of day for purposes of religious observance or legal business.

    The diagram at left shows a typical non-holiday. The first letter is the nundinal letter for the market day. If the market day for this year was E then this would be a market day. The second letter signifies the type of religious or legal observance required or permitted on this day. In this case the letter C represents dies comitiales, days when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters. The other letter designations :

    In the diagram at the right is a typical festival, or feriae. On these days the day letter follows the holiday name, which is abbreviated in these calendars. These holidays are explained in the write-up for each day.

    The Romans enjoyed more holidays than the number of our holidays and weekends combined. Roman taxes were also only a tithe, or 10%. One of the hallmarks of progress seems to be that the populace is always made to work longer and, on top of it all, they are taxed more.

    The full calendar won't print because of its size, unless you have a very large screen and can capture the full image. A printable, but slightly grainy, version of the calendar is available in two sections: kalen1.gif and kalen2.gif. These can be printed directly, if your screen is large enough, but downloading (right-click) and printing from a graphics program will give you more format control, like minimizing the borders. Alternatively, adjust your screen one size larger with the Windows Control Panel DISPLAY option and these sections should then print directly.