ROMAN CALENDAR CONVERSION

A simpler way

Many people who want to convert a date into Roman simply want to write it in Roman numerals rather than convert it into a complex and - to most people - meaningless date such as A.D. III ID. MART. An easy and elegant way to write a date in Roman numerals is this.
  1. Take the day of the month and write that in lower case Roman numerals
  2. Take the month and convert it into a Roman abbreviation
  3. Take the year and convert it into Roman numerals

That would express the 13th of March 1999 as

xiij MART. MCMXCIX or

MART. xiij MCMXCIX

Convert the day
Convert the number of the date into Roman numerals using lower case letters. Romans had no lower case letters - they were an invention of medieval scribes and became formalised with the advent of printing in the 15th century. But as much latin was used in medieval times as in the ancient period. Often, they made numbers look prettier by using a 'j' instead of an 'i' in the final place in a number. Sometimes they would use a 'u' instead of a 'v' in a number. So you can decide if you want to make the number look a bit more special. Whatever looks best or right is acceptable - scribes went by rules of asthetics as much as arithmetic. Here is my choice. You - and your engraver - can make your own.

1i
2ij
3iij
4iv
5v
6vi
7vij
8viij
9ix
10x
11xi
12xij
13xiij
14xiv
15xv
16xvi
17xvij
18xviij
19xix
20xx
21xxi
22xxij
23xxiij
24xxiv
25xxv
26xxvi
27xxvij
28xxviij
29xxix
30xxx
31xxxi


Convert the month
Roman names for months were much the same as ours. The full list is:-

JANUARIUS, FEBRUARIUS, MARTIUS, APRILIS, MAIUS, JUNIUS, JULIUS, AUGUSTUS, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER.

or as they are more correctly written as Romans did not have a 'J' or a 'U' in their alphabet

IANVARIVS, FEBRVARIVS, MARTIVS, APRILIS, MAIVS, IVNIVS, IVLIVS, AVGVSTVS, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER.

Fortunately the Romans abbreviated them and you can safely use the first three letters followed by a stop. The only exceptions are MART. and SEPT. and only MART. looks odd. Few will notice if you omit the 'T'. And it doesn't matter too much if you choose JUL. rather than IVL. And you could use lower case letters if you wanted.

Converting the year
Look up the year you want here.

Then write the three of them down in order. In the UK and Europe we tend to write dates in the order day/month/year. In North America people write month/day/year. In Japan they use the more logical - and best for computers - year/month/day. Here are some examples.

xxij APR. MCMXLVIII

vij AVG. MCMLXXIX

JUN. xv MCMLXXV

IVL. xii MCMLXXVII

 


All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1999-2005