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AlexG194

Fantasy Alternate Calendar making

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For a fantasy setting I'm trying to figure out how I should  date my main characters  diary entries. I'm using the basic 12 month thing it's just this:How do I write the years? I would also appreciate you guys doing a podcast on alternative calendars if you don't mind-Alex

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The simplest system is to pick some important event in your world and count the years since then.

 

Real-world calender systems have used things like:

 

- Years since the world was thought to have started

- Years since the country was founded

- Years since a religious figure did something notable

- Years since an important, world-defining event

 

So it really all depends on your world.

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Honestly, with calendars you can do pretty much whatever you want to. The two big models, however, are:

  • Year number is the number of years since some defining Big Event - the Gregorian calendar most of us use follows this model (e.g. 2014 is "2014 years since the birth of Christ" or "2014 years since the beginning of the Common Era")
  • Year number is the number of years since the last defining Big Event. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings calendar is like this - it uses not only date, month, and year, but age as well

You could, of course, do something wonky (I just started reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, and it looks like the calendar there goes through multiple iterations of the same year number, with each iteration being "dedicated" to a different god - e.g. the 77th year of Sendovani comes after the 77th year of Morgante). I've wanted to see a truly decimal system of keeping time for a very long time now (that's a system where the conversion factors between one unit of time and the next are always powers of 10; e.g. 1 year = 10 months, 1 month = 10 or 100 days, 1 day = 10 hours, 1 hour = 10 or 100 minutes, 1 minute = 100 seconds... or something like this). 

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Honestly, with calendars you can do pretty much whatever you want to. The two big models, however, are:

  • Year number is the number of years since some defining Big Event - the Gregorian calendar most of us use follows this model (e.g. 2014 is "2014 years since the birth of Christ" or "2014 years since the beginning of the Common Era")
  • Year number is the number of years since the last defining Big Event. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings calendar is like this - it uses not only date, month, and year, but age as well

You could, of course, do something wonky (I just started reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, and it looks like the calendar there goes through multiple iterations of the same year number, with each iteration being "dedicated" to a different god - e.g. the 77th year of Sendovani comes after the 77th year of Morgante). I've wanted to see a truly decimal system of keeping time for a very long time now (that's a system where the conversion factors between one unit of time and the next are always powers of 10; e.g. 1 year = 10 months, 1 month = 10 or 100 days, 1 day = 10 hours, 1 hour = 10 or 100 minutes, 1 minute = 100 seconds... or something like this). 

I just want to point out that Brandon says 'or things like this' a lot, so I laughed at your last line. I have no idea if that's Brandon's influence or your own way of speaking in general, but I find it funny cause I've been half-expecting myself to come out with that phrase sometime. :)

On topic - If I remember correctly, the Ancient Egyptians used to measure time based on their king, ie "5th year of the reign of Ramses" which can make things confusing when you don't know how many Ramses' there were, or when they lived in relation to each other or other kings.

A quick google search tells me that the Aztec Calendar has a complicated system that's very interesting. Have a look at some calendars of the Ancient world and see how they work.

 

Depending on your culture, the calendar might be partially flexible too - we have two extra months in our calendar than the Romans did (I think March and...February? were added later? Not sure at all about that).

 

You could also look at using a solar vs lunar calendar, or some combination of the two. Or something that has nothing to do with the movement of the planets.

 

Hopefully that gave you some ideas and wasn't just me hopelessly rambling on. Hopefully.  ^_^

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July was added later due to Julius Caesar and August was named after Augustus. Both have thirty-one days to show the importance of the persons they were named after. 

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