Groundhog Year

In the broad sweep of history the mainstream narrative implies the Julian Calendar was in “general use” across Europe throughout the Medieval Period.

The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in 46 BC (708 AUC), was a reform of the Roman calendar.

It took effect on 1 January 45 BC (AUC 709), by edict.

The Julian calendar was in general use in Europe and northern Africa until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the Gregorian calendar.

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century.

It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery.

Unfortunately, this implied storyline is very misleading because the Julian Year only started to slowly enter general circulation in Western Europe during the 13th century.

The Early Dated Coins of Europe 1234-1500 – Robert A. Levinson – 2007 – Early Dated Coins

The 13th century introduction of the Julian Year further reinforces the view that the monasteries only became established in Western Europe during the 11th century.

The manuscript evidence clearly suggests [that during the 11th century] the Machiavellian Monasteries calved up the European remnants of the Roman Empire between themselves by manufacturing the necessary historical narratives [and prodigious pedigrees] from their power bases in France and Germany.


Before the introduction of Julian Year coins the general population of England enjoyed a monotonous and numberless Groundhog Year that cycled through 12 liturgical months.

Finally, it should be noted that in early times documents were rarely dated at all.

Thus, private charters are commonly dated only from the time of Edward I, and even royal charters are often undated in the 12th century and before.

Medieval English Genealogy – Chronology and Dating

After the Norman Conquest “official documents” started using the Regnal Year.

For centuries, English official public documents have been dated by the regnal years of the ruling monarch.

Regnal years are calculated from the official date (year, month and day) of a monarch’s accession.

When a monarch dies, abdicates or is deposed, the regnal year comes to an end (whether the full year has run its course or not).

A new regnal year begins from a new date, with a new monarch.

Exchequer dating
To complicate regnal dating further, the medieval Exchequer used a different system of regnal years.

The Exchequer year ran from Michaelmas to Michaelmas (30 September-29 September), and in most reigns it was assigned the number of the conventional regnal year in which it ended.

Medieval English Genealogy – Chronology and Dating

From the late 13th century the Groundhog Year was enshrined in Breviaries.

The Breviary is a book in many Western Christian denominations that “contains all the liturgical texts for the Office, whether said in choir or in private.”

Pope Nicholas III approved a Franciscan breviary, for use in that religious order, and this was the first text that bore the title of breviary.

Pope Nicholas III, born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, was Pope from 25 November 1277 to his death in 1280.

The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.

The numberless Groundhog Year only started to breakdown in England after the first Julian Year coin was minted in 1548.

Following the launch of the 2016 Royal Mint Bullion coin range, we talk to the Director of The Royal Mint Museum, Kevin Clancy about the history of dates on coins.

When do dates first start appearing on coins?

“In Britain we start seeing coins with dates on them from the 16th century during the reign of Edward VI.

The coins of his reign are the first to have in numerals the year when they were issued.

Before this coins would have certain marks on them – symbols such as crowns or anchors.”

The Royal Mint – Why are there dates on coins?

This leaves Anno Domini languishing in the obscurity of the English Dark Ages only for it to resurrected 500 years later in Denmark with a very intriguing date: 1234 AD.

The anno domini system of numbering years was introduced in England by Bede in the eighth century (and was presumably the most influential English invention of the Dark Ages!).

Medieval English Genealogy – Chronology and Dating

Bede (672/3 – 26 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable (Latin: Bēda Venerābilis), was an English monk

As the accomplishments of the era came to be better understood in the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars began restricting the “Dark Ages” appellation to the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century).

This also leaves the reader to evaluate the evidence and decide for themselves whether the manuscripts of The Venerable Bede, The Anglo-Saxons and many others were:

1) Legitimately created during the Dark Ages
2) Fraudulently fabricated long after the Dark Ages.

At the synod of Whitby, in ad 664, Wilfred, as part of his advocacy of all things Roman, secured the acceptance in Northumbria of the Dionysian Easter Table. Dionysius himself had had no thought of establishing a new era, but now his device was adopted for chronological purposes by Bede.

Starting from English usage in the eighth century, the new era gradually spread to the Continent until in every country of Western Europe except Spain, Christians reckoned from ad 1.

In England this method was used for the dating of official documents long before it was adopted by continental chanceries.

The year ab incarnaione is found in Anglo-Saxon diplomas very soon after the death of Bede to replace or supplement dating by indiction, and was commonly used for such royal documents as bore dates (even when they also used the regnal year) until late in the twelfth century.

Handbook of Dates for Students of English History – C R Cheney
Royal Historical Society – First published 1945 – –

Google Translation
The first historian or chronicler to use Anno Domini as his primary dating mechanism was Vittore di Tonnenna, an African chronicler of the seventh century.

Google Translation
The first historian or chronicler to use Anno Domini as the main dating mechanism was Victor de Tonnenna , an African writer of the seventh century.

A few generations later, the Anglo-Saxon historian Bede , who was well acquainted with Dionysius’ work, once again used Anno Domini in his Ecclesiastical History of the Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”), completed in 731.

Google Translation
It was not until the tenth century that the Christian era was first used for the date of a papal document (AD 967) and it was not until the second half of the eleventh century that the church of Rome finally took the Christian era.

Note: See the Footnote for further information.

Either way, the English didn’t rush to adopt the Anno Domini numbering system and delayed implementing the Gregorian Calendar Reforms for 170 years.

Through enactment of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, Great Britain and the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct by 11 days.

Wednesday, 2 September 1752, was followed by Thursday, 14 September 1752.

This 170 year delay provides another opportunity to evaluate the Gregorian reforms.

Overall, the 170 year delay resulted in 1 additional day being removed from the British calendar and this indicates the annual drift between 1582 and 1752 was only 0.0058824 days per year.

This indicates the real annual drift in 1582 was also 0.0058824 days per year.

At this juncture it’s important to realise these calendar adjustments were limited to Whole Day increments and that Whole Day increments only occurred every 170 years.

This realisation has significant consequences for the analysis of the calendar adjustments.

On the one hand:

The real calendar drift of 0.0058824 days per year means it’s very unlikely the calendar drift had been accumulating since the official implementation of the Julian Calendar in 45 BC because the official Julian Calendar drift of 0.0075 days per year is 27.5% greater than the actual adjustments applied.

On the other hand:

If the Earth experienced an orbital excursion then the recurring 170 year period provides a list of indicative dates for when the Earth’s orbit around the Sun may have finally stabilised.

This anniversary list won’t help establish when the last orbital excursion began.

But it should help identify when the last orbital excursion settled back into a regular rhythm…

The following posts provide some further information regarding suspect manuscripts.

So why was Beowolf ignored for the best part of a thousand years?


What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is that the Custodial History of the Textus Roffensis begins with William Lambard in 1573 i.e. 450 years after it was said to have been written and about 885 years after the deaths of Hlothhere and Eadric.


Unsurprisingly, the Saint Petersburg Bede and the Moore Bede were dated by palaeographists based upon “a series of retrospective dates found in the margins”.



However, the “the lapse of so many centuries” coupled with “misapprehension” and “confusion” didn’t prevent 19th centuries cartographers from boldly displaying the long lost “little” city of Bela [aka: Zoar, Zoara, Zughar, Sughar or Sukar] on their maps.


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20 Responses to Groundhog Year

  1. Pingback: The Julian calendar and the Groundhog year | Silvia's Boinnk!!!

  2. I’m coming round to the conclusion that historical dating is BS.

    Predictability of celestial phenomena seems linked to one or other calendars and if the Julian one was/is lunar, the the absence of a solar calendar simply means the earth was never orbiting the Sun in a regular fashion, if at all. Which implies the sun being recent, and that seems to correlate with the adoption of Ra by the Egyptians.

    Not to be ignored is the fact of the academic discipline of archaeology is primarily concerned with proving biblical accounts with in situ strata and ruins. So our present calendar is actually a religious one, and made scientific by fiat.

    GH’s method using stratigraphy seems the most reliable and then no absolute dates can be assigned since the strata simply rank events – no different to the basics of the Austrian school of economics. Fortune tellers and astrologers need dates.

    And the present archaeological chronology is part and parcel of the Neo-Darwinist model of biological evolution that itself is simply creationism in slow motion.

  3. theognosis says:

    Very interesting blog, following similar threads than mine

    I here show that Scaliger is the first among french and italian authors to tell about a move from the julian calendar to the gregorian one. Former books explain the gregorian calendar and say that it was necessary to separate the feasts of the christians from the feast of the jews. And that it will be necessary to forget the golden number.
    Golden number in astronomy means the use of the metonic circle, which in turn means the use of the lunisolar jewish calendar.
    This use of the jewish calendar for the christian liturgy is supposed to concern the quartodeciman christians of Irenaeus in the 2d century.
    1st of January is the 1st day of the year in France for the first time in 1567. Very short use of a julian calendar so, with very little success.

  4. Pingback: Johannes de Sacrobosco: A Cuckoo In The Nest | MalagaBay

  5. Karl-Heinz Lewin says:

    Whoever you are who wrote this stuff, you are mistaking the introduction of Anno Domini dating for the introduction of the Julian year. Yes, I agree with you that nobody in the 13th century could have known how many years he was living after the events described Luke 2. There never had been a scientific / computistic debate about this. Whoever introduced Anno Domini dating into the real world (as opposed to Dionysius Exiguus who proposed a dating “ab incarnationem domini” but had no followers until Bede (8th or 1th century?) and then German King Otto III (AD M)), he did not even decreed it, he simply postulated it. So as for the number of the years, there definitely is a need for research.
    But the Julian year (of 365 days, with a leap day added every fourth year) was used by the Late Antique computists and by the High Medieval computists to compute the date of Easter.
    And, by the way, statements like
    “Overall, the 170 year delay resulted in 1 additional day being removed from the British calendar and this indicates the annual drift between 1582 and 1752 was only 0.0058824 days per year.
    This indicates the real annual drift in 1582 was also 0.0058824 days per year.”
    are really nonsense. Calendar computations cannot be carried out in floating point arithmetic; they must be done in integer arithmetic. 170 years multiplied by a difference (or “drift”) of 0.0075 per year cannot reasonably result in the omission of 1.275 days – you are forced to confine the omission to simply one integral day!

    • malagabay says:

      Less than a day adjustments are done by clock adjustments…

      The British Reform – 1752
      The delayed British calendar reforms [deleting 11 days] introduced a subtle change.

      This subtle calendar refinement eventually spread around the world when Greenwich Mean Time became an international standard.


    • Integer arithmetic – not only correct but also leads to an interesting can of chronological worms, apart from the new problems in Fourier analysis and other computational methods dealing with historical physical data such as tree rings and isotope half lifes.

      • In addition the need to add an extra day every four years means the Earth’s rotation is slowing down, or it’s orbit is slowing down, or a combination of both. In any physical system motion cannot be absolutely constant since this implies no friction whether interfacial (bearings) or induced (Electromagnetic feedback). So all physical systems have to slowly wind down unless there is a constant supply of additional energy to keep the system in constant motion.

        Whatever the case, astronomical retro calculation becomes very problematic in a physical sense (but not so in the intellectual since in that domain ad hoc adjustments are de rigeur to make observations fit dogma).

        If Easter needs to be computed each year anew, it means the system is not rotating constantly. If it were Easter would always occur at the same date.

  6. LH says ” — the need to add an extra day every four years means the Earth’s rotation is slowing down, or it’s orbit is slowing down, or a combination of both.” It is possible that such is due to polar ice load shifting to equator as water. Even so, the reverse may have happened too – several times – within the last ten millennia.

    Contrary to established ‘belief’ evidence indicates that the earth’s tilt swings way beyond the Stockwell/Newcomb asserted limits, meaning the earth slows and accelerates continuously, and substantially. I have in the last year correlated dates of such events from numbers of proxies that would eliminate any possible coincidence. In other words, days per year have been changing. By how much is an open question. See link below, near centre of pic, calendar viewing angle (equinox to solstice) is a near direct measure of earth tilt. And see how dates are supported by proxies.

    Of course, if one is looking at the last 800 years the above will not be very evident on a year’s length.

    Re Easter, or better Good Friday, that is set by the moon’s phase (and the moon has an 18.6 year cycle), the day of the week, etc,,,,, ie it is dictated by several factors and means nothing calendar-wise., . The fundamental is the solar year.

  7. Martin Sieff says:

    The wonderful power of these studies is that they force us to recognize what has always been hiding in plain sight. The annual orbit of the and rotation of the Earth has known repeated fluctuations I even in the past millennium and greater ones before that. The mechanisms to continually update the calendar are proof of that.

    Leibnitz’s great taunt at Newton is literally shown to be true – That Newton imagined his God as a clockmaker, and not even a good one at that as the mechanism kept running down and going wrong.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Interesting article. The Cartulary of Redon Abbey has records dating from the 830s which are measured in Regnal years. Not long before then, there were monarchs in the southwest of Britain who were overlords of lands on both sides of the Channel. Observe the similarity of county names such as Cornwall and Cornouaille, Lands end and Finis-terre. And of course the Mount of St Michael and Mont saint-Michel, the twin watchtowers ensuring the inescapable taxation of all shipping passing through the manche.

  9. Pingback: Hecker Horizon: Ho Ho Ho History | MalagaBay

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