July 12th, 2004


userinfo senji
2004/07/12 13:47:00 - The Battle of the Boyne
Today is the day that the Orangemen celebrate the Battle of the Boyne.

However, it seems to me that today is entirely the wrong day to to this on. You see, at the time they were using the Julian calendar, and it was the first day of July, 1690. In the Gregorian calendar at that point in use in mainly Catholic dominated areas of Europe it was the 11th July.

10 years later, in 1700 (or arguably 1699) the Julian Calendar contained a 29th February that didn't exist in the Gregorian Calendar. (To be really picky it included an additional "sixth day before the calends of March" meaning that the last 5 days of the month had a different name, and that the 24th was a day that didn't exist in the Gregorian Calendar; but lets not be really picky).

52 further years later, Great Britain and Dominions moved to the Gregorian Calendar, by decreeing that 14 Sep followed 2 Sep. It would appear that at this time the Orangemen moved the celebration of the Battle of the Boyne to the 12th July.

For the rest of that century this will have provided the correct Julian date for the celebration, but in 1800 (or arguably 1799) the Julian Calendar once again included an additional "sixth day before the calends of March" which the Gregorian Calendar didn't include; such that at this point the Orangemen were one day out and should've been celebrating on the 13th. This happened again in 1900 (or 1899), and will occur again in 2100.

So, in conclusion, the logical dates to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne would be:

  • 1st July: Using the standard "sod it" approach to dealing with these renumbered days.

  • 11th July: The Gregorian date upon which the Battle actually occurred.

  • 14th July: The actual 1st of July in the Julian Calendar.

Current Mood: [mood icon] curious

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userinfo mickat24
[userpic]
2004/07/12 09:01:54
Hmmm, lots of stuff I don't know about in there. Tell me more about the Battle of the Boyne. And about the Gregorian and Julian calendars, which one is in use now (okay, I know that), why they decided on that one, and what the differences are. If you're bored. Please? :)
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/07/12 09:22:25
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_calendars#Julian_and_Gregorian_calendars is probably a good place to start reading about calendars.

About all I know about the Battle of the Boyne is contained in the link in that entry, although http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Boyne appears to be a good page about it too. In brief it's regarded (possibly inaccurately) as the major battle between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland.
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userinfo mickat24
[userpic]
2004/07/12 09:45:31
Ah, okay. Thanks!
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userinfo yrieithydd
2004/07/12 11:20:36
I think using the Gregorian date on which it actually occurred is the most sensible option, but I see what you mean about the illogicality of marking it today. At least I no longer live somewhere where it is celebrated. The Liverpool Orangemen's lodge came to Southport for the day. Thus sensible locals avoided the town that day. Unfortunately in 1994, I was on work experience at the time. It was a very dull day in the library because no one was coming in if they could avoid it. Waiting the bus to go home, I could see it at the previous bus stop but there was gridlock so it could actually get to us!
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userinfo sheffers
2004/07/13 20:59:24
Would it be overly contentious at this point to suggest a Fourth Way? That is, don't celebrate it at all anymore because the original historical happenings are now lost in a sea of sectarian propaganda from hardliners on both sides and continuing to celebrate it only helps to exacerbate said divide? I only wish someone amongst the Protestant community in Ulster would suggest that. *ends *
With regard to the actual dating of the battle as a historical event, the most logical and sensible solution to me seems to be 14th July as being nearest to the actual day in the year 1690 in which it occurred.
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The Battle of the Boyne - Squaring the circle...

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