[tei-council] Dates and calendars

Gabriel Bodard gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Wed Aug 15 07:37:35 EDT 2012

On 2012-08-14 21:46, Martin Holmes wrote:
> So I think it's important to be able to use @calendar whenever you use
> @*-custom, and @calendar SHOULD be taken to refer to the values of
> @*-custom. In other words, I think the definition of @calendar should be
> expanded thus:
> "indicates the system or calendar to which the date represented by the
> content of this element, and/or the dates expressed in attributes from
> att.datable.custom, belong."
> Without this, there's no way to provide a formal link from a date like this:
> <date when-custom="3050"/>
> to a calendar (e.g. Anno Mundi).

Surely that's precisely what @datingMethod is for? <date 
when-custom="3050" datingMethod="#anno_mundi"/> means I'm normalizing a 
date to the AM calendar (which is defined in a <calendar> element with 

The distinction between @calendar and @datingMethod is very clear (the 
former defines the content of the element, the latter the @*-custom 
attributes). Martin's suggestion is premised on the fact that in all of 
the examples we are imagining the two are the same, so it seems an odd 
redundancy to say:

<date from-custom="1547" to-custom="1633" calendar="#julian" 

Which is indeed a pain (I might be inclined to say that when 
@datingMethod is absent, we assume the *-custom attributes follow the 
same calendar as defined in @calendar, but that makes me slightly nervous).

But consider the following cases where the transcribed date and the 
non-Gregorian normalization are different calendars. It is the norm in 
classical studies to normalize all dates to the proleptic Julian 
calendar, to avoid saying something like: <date when="-0044-03-13">the 
Ides of March</date> (which should be March 15th). This is true even if 
the date we're encoding is not Julian, but in some other form: "Pachon 
19, 12th year of the reign of Tiberius" or "11 October, 4th Indiction"

For these we'd use something like @calendar="#romano-egyptian" 

I'm not sure it's a very good idea to expect @calendar to serve double 
service as Martin suggests...


Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Research Associate in Digital Epigraphy)

Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Email: gabriel.bodard at kcl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1388
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2980


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