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First Coins of the A.D.

It is time to talk about time in the Middle Ages. The first coins to have the Christian year regularly stamped on their coins were minted in Aachen (pronounced: AH-chen with ch as in loch or Bach), Germany. The coin is a large, thick penny called the groschen (pronounced: GROW-sin with a rumble in the back of the throat on the "r"). A.D. is the abbreviation for the Latin words Anno Domini meaning "Year of our Lord." implying the birth date of Jesus as year 1. In the modern day some people object to the A.D. abbreviation because it implies a religious affirmation so they substitute the more general C.E. for "Common Era" and B.C.E. for "Before the Common Era." This abbreviation has the added virtue of being read as the "Christian Era" and "Before the Christian Era". [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most European and English dates in the Middle Ages are by the Julian Calendar which is a solar calendar with small, accumulating inaccuracies that caused the calendar to drift relative to the seasons. This is why in the modern day the month of December (meaning the 10th month) is the 12th month. When they made the adjustment to the modern Gregorian calendar in 1582 the Julian dates were that much out of whack. You can see why almanacs were so important when it came to planting seasons. If your grandfather always planted on a certain date, you had to adjust the date because the calendar had moved a few days. This is also why we celebrate George Washington's birthday in February even though he wrote that his birthday was in March. He was using Julian dates.

FYI: Dates in Muslim territories are by a lunar calendar that drifts considerably and they have recently tried adjusting the calendar to correct for this drift. The Jewish calendar is also a lunar calendar with adjustments which make the dates bounce a bit from year to year but get back on track on a 19 year cycle. [5] [6]

Richard Loved Eleanor

Eleanor of Lancaster, the Countess of Arundel, has passed away. She was the fifth daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and her second husband was Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel. When he died four years later his final wish was to be interred in a manner equal to his wife. He wrote: "I desire that my tomb be no higher than hers, that no men at arms, horses, hearse, or other pomp, be used at my funeral, but only five torches." Their tomb effigy shows Eleanor and Richard holding hands. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It may not seem like much, but Richard loved Eleanor. I included this account because it reminded me of a chapter in the Michael Crichton novel, "Timeline." In this science fiction novel, time travelers are dropped into the middle of the 100 Years' War. When they return, they search and find the tomb of a couple they knew. It was quite sentimental and I suspect that Michael Crichton used the real life love Richard and Eleanor as a model. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1372, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Anno Domini - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. Aachen - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Groschen - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Julian calendar - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Gregorian calendar - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Hebrew calendar - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Eleanor of Lancaster - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Crichton, Michael. Timeline. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1999. bibliography. (BOOK)

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