Monday, October 6, 2008

Dating Conventions

No, I don’t mean bringing flowers or knocking on the door instead of beeping in the driveway; I mean B.C., B.C.E., A.D., and the like. I thought it was interesting that immediately prior to the signatures on the Constitution of the United States, the document contains the following:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Was this A.L.(Anno Libertas) convention, conventional? How long did it last? Does this mean that our Founding Fathers tried to buck over 1000 years of history? Or was it a sign of how strong their convictions ran regarding the establishment of the greatest nation on earth?

I feel defeated to admit that it seems but a quaint notion now held dear by so few of us.


Valda Redfern said...

I'd never noticed that bit, and I've not heard of its being done before. (I think A.L. would be anno libertatis, though.)

I think the French did something similar after their revolution (year 1 was 1792), but carried it much further by insisting that everyone use the new dating system. They also renamed all the months, made them contain thirty days each, and replaced weeks with "decades". The year began at the autumn equinox and ended with a five- or six-day period to make it up to 365 or 366.

The new system didn't take, and Napoleon restored the old calendar 13 years later.

Lynne said...

Thanks, Valda. So it was probably more of a idea of the time than a sign of their commitment to a new way of life.

Oh well. I still think it's pretty darn interesting on this October 6, 222 A.L.

Do you think we have to start counting backwards from last Friday now? Or add an "I." as in Inter Anno Libertatis?

Lynne said...

Yeah. That would be going on 233 years counting from the Declaration of Independence. But of course, with my recent Constitution issues, I was thinking of 1787 instead.

Valda Redfern said...

1776 or 1787 - both years do seem almost miraculous now.