The Outside Calendars

by Leo David Orionis

Chronology in the First Universe — The Mižinai and Loraonai Calendars —
The Verē Calendar — Adoption of the various calendars — Numbering the years
The Earth spins, and makes the day;
The Moon dances, and makes the month;
The Sun marches, and makes the year.
Turn, year, oh turn!

"Millenium", by the author

On the virtual Earth inside the mind of Anûk, the racial gestalt of the Iǹgrē, three astronomical facts determine calendrical time-keeping. The rotation of the Earth about its axis is the length of the day; the revolution of the Moon around the Earth is the basis for the length of the month; and the number of days it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun is the length of the year. None of these cycles is affected by the other. The year isn't a whole number of days, nor is a month. Figuring out the exact lengths of these cycles, and creating a calendar to fit, is the basis of all history. Without an accurate framework of years, history quickly turns to legend

It's strictly a Terrestrial problem, however, since the human race only has to deal with these facts when it lives on the virtual Earth.

Chronology in the First Universe

The human race evolved in the First Universe, on a planet called Vwyrdda by one of its cultures at one point of its history. That planet had many equally-advanced cultures, each with its own calendar, who fought each other, and frequent invasions and conquests by aliens from other star systems, for about four thousand years. Then, using a mixture of their own science and what they learned from various aliens, they began founding their own colonies. This ensured the survival of the human species, but introduced further difficulties to any sort of unified history.

When human beings were limited to one planet, historians knew that the histories of all the cultures and nations existed in the same time frame. There was a common geography in which history occurred, and common events provided markers across different calendars and local histories. Geological events such as volcanic eruptions, astronomical events like supernovae and great comets, wars between nations, alien invasions, and other observable events allowed a world-wide history to be knitted together.

Once humans spread out in the First Galaxy and beyond, the problem of chronology became worse in both scale and in kind, because of interstellar distances, relativity, eras of savagery, and local history based on local cosmography.

Because of interstellar distances, human worlds weren't really in touch with each other any more. Before faster-than-light flight, it might take centuries for news from any world to reach any other, if it ever did. Faster ships reduced the gap (and increased the likelihood of news being passed at all), but only instantaneous communications could remove it entirely. In addition, relativistic time-dilation, for those forms of travel subject to it, meant that there was a degree of uncertainty about dating. Ship time was not universal time, and even the finest astronomical observations (of the frequency of known millisecond pulsars, for instance) were only as good as the quality of the worse of the two sets of measurements. All too often, one of the two planets trying to establish a standard time, usually the younger one, didn't have the instruments for the necessary precision of observation, or the resources to make or buy them. Whenever instantaneous communication returned to civilization, there were always surprises in store for historians and chronologers.

All human cultures grew old and returned to savagery, either from internal or external forces. This senescence occurred both on the planetary, interplanetary, and interstellar scales; even intergalactic, when civilization rose to that level. Throwing gaps into the chronology of a world, a solar system, or an interstellar region where no one knew what year it was, how to travel faster than light, or (for that matter) how to work metal or make fire, meant that historians had to try to piece together the intervening years, when recovery began again, from what clues remained.

A further complication was that each inhabited planet had its own period of revolution ("day"), its own time to orbit its sun ("year"), and maybe other astronomical cycles that mattered to it, as well. Thus every planet had its own calendar! During periods of high civilization, single planets could agree on a worldwide calendar, as could star-sun ("solar") systems, interstellar unions, etc. But when civilizations fell, and later rose again, the chroniclers not only had lapses and gaps to deal with, but the fact that each reborn planet likely had a different calendrical system than previously.

The Mižinai and Loraonai Calendars

The Mižinē used a calendar based on the year, day, and month of their original home world, which was (of course) different from the year, day, and month of any other world in the First Universe. Their year was 623 days long, and was made up of 15 months of 42 and 41 days alternating:

Unsor (42 days)
Vor (41 days)
Lavor (42)
Zor (41)
Kanor (42)
Dor (41)
Fator (42)
Bor (41)
Ansor (42)
Nor (41)
Halor (42)
Sor (41)
Pavor (42)
Lor (41)
Ullor (42)

This corresponds a pair of five-fingered hands. The 42-month days match the knuckles of the closed fists, and the 41-month days represent the valleys between the knuckles, and the space between the two hands. In addition, the names of months with 41 days were one syllable, while months with 42 days had two-syllable names. Neither of these aids to memory was accidental.

The days themselves (approximately 1.8 times as long as a terrestrial day (not that "terrestrial day" would mean anything until billions of years later) were divided into ten hours of 100 minutes each. There was also a week of 6 days, with the days of the week named for the major gods of an old Mižinai pantheon.

The Mižinai calendar was the planetary calendar by the time the Mižinē achieved star flight, and it became the universal calendar as they reunited the fallen worlds of the Three Galaxies. Each world or polity had its own calendar, of course, and the Mižinē encouraged everyone to keep their own calendars as well as the Mižinai calendar.

When the Mižinē escaped from the First Universe, they created a new world for themselves in the Second Universe. This world has no seasons, because it was created with its orbital plane and its equatorial plane the same. Furthermore, it orbits so far from its primary sun that any year based on the time of its orbit would be ridiculously long. Its moons are small and visually insignificant. Hence, any calendar is purely a matter of convenience. The Mižinē went on using almost the same calendar in the Second Universe as they had in the First. The chief difference was in the length of the day. Since the new world had a different period of rotation from their old world, the Mižinē replaced the old day with the new one. This gave them a chronology in three parts; (1) the history of the First Universe, measured continuously by Mižinai dates and tied to the history of more ancient times by the reconstructed events of their predecessors; (2) the history of the transition from the First to the Second Universe, measured by ship's time in Mižinai days, months, and years, and tied to the cosmic time of the Second Universe when they were wholly in it between time jumps; and (3) the history of the Second Universe after their final jump through time, measured with the same calendar but with the new days.

When Hêrak burst and Mižinai civilization fell, the Mižinai calendar continued to be used on the continent of Loraon, but in a simplified form. Days were just named "1 of Unsor" (An al'Unsor), "2 of Unsor" (Anket al'Unsor), "3 of Unsor" (Adhar al'Unsor), etc., with the number in the appropriate case for the sentence, while the month name was in the genitive-partitive case.

The Verē Calendar

The Verē discarded the Mižinai/Loraonai calendar entirely, substituting a completely artificial one of their own. They kept the length of the day, but their year (eviusai) has 512 days (egarai), which is "1000" days in the octal number system: 8 x 8 x 8, or 8 cubed. This year is divided into 16 months (ekykai) of 32 days each.

Note that 16 is "20" in base 8, and 32 is "40". Thirty-two is also half of 64, which is "100" in base 8. So a month is "40" days long, two months are "100" days long, and "20" months of "40" days each make a year of "1000" days.

The following table shows the months of the calendar, in order, and the unofficial "seasons" (ekaδai) of convenience. The season names date back to Mižinai prehistory and the reasons behind them are forgotten. The names of the months are all flower names, some of which exist on the virtual Earth, and some of which don't, according to Anûk's whim.

Number (Octal) Month (Ekykai), flower Season (Ekaδai)
1 Dolai, "Shepherd's Pitcher" Krevai (Search)
2 Jazai, Cacao flower
3 Karθai, Lotus flower
4 Husai, Cherry blossom
5 Ĵimai, "Meteor Shower" Honai (Plant)
6 Wekai, Tulip
7 Xyřai, Sunflower
10 Sθenai, Violet
11 Vyrδai, Papyrus flower Ĵanai (Teach)
12 Lu*nai, "Bugcatcher"
13 Hed́ai, Bindweed
14 Borai, Hibiscus
15 Talai, Chrysanthemum Jořai (Friend)
16 Simai, "Spiral-Leaf"
17 Novai, Iris
20 Dirai, Rose

The days of a month are not numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. The first day of a month is Galestai (Beginnings, from gala, to start). Eight days later, the ninth day of the month is Numestai (Second Starts, from numa, to reconsider). Eight days after that, the seventeenth day of the month is Xidestai (Middles, from xida, to cut in half). The other days of the month count down until the next Galestai, Numestai, or Xidestai, as shown below for the month of Dolai. Galestē Dolao means "On the Galestai of Dolai". Garē pen Numestô Dolao means "On the day before the Numestai of Dolai".

Decimal Octal Day of the month (Dolai) Abbreviation
1 1 Galestē Dolao Gal. Dol.
2 2 Garē cušol pen Numestô Dolao 7 Num. Dol.
3 3 Garē kysol pen Numestô Dolao 6 Num. Dol.
4 4 Garē vîsol pen Numestô Dolao 5 Num. Dol.
5 5 Garē negol pen Numestô Dolao 4 Num. Dol.
6 6 Garē harol pen Numestô Dolao 3 Num. Dol.
7 7 Garē ket́ol pen Numestô Dolao 2 Num. Dol.
8 10 Garē pen Numestô Dolao p. Num. Dol.
9 11 Numestē Dolao Num. Dol.
10 12 Garē cušol pen Xidestô Dolao 7 Xid. Dol.
11 13 Garē kysol pen Xidestô Dolao 6 Xid. Dol.
12 14 Garē vîsol pen Xidestô Dolao 5 Xid. Dol.
13 15 Garē negol pen Xidestô Dolao 4 Xid. Dol.
14 16 Garē harol pen Xidestô Dolao 3 Xid. Dol.
15 17 Garē ket́ol pen Xidestô Dolao 2 Xid. Dol.
16 20 Garē pen Xidestô Dolao p. Xid. Dol.
17 21 Xidestē Dolao Xid. Dol.
18 22 Garē kym-cušol pen Galestô Jazao 17 Gal. Jaz.
19 23 Garē kym-kysol pen Galestô Jazao 16 Gal. Jaz.
20 24 Garē kym-vîsol pen Galestô Jazao 15 Gal. Jaz.
21 25 Garē kym-negol pen Galestô Jazao 14 Gal. Jaz.
22 26 Garē kym-harol pen Galestô Jazao 13 Gal. Jaz.
23 27 Garē kym-ket́ol pen Galestô Jazao 12 Gal. Jaz.
24 30 Garē kym-jedol pen Galestô Jazao 11 Gal. Jaz.
25 31 Garē kymol pen Galestô Jazao 10 Gal. Jaz.
26 32 Garē cušol pen Galestô Jazao 7 Gal. Jaz.
27 33 Garē kysol pen Galestô Jazao 6 Gal. Jaz.
28 34 Garē vîsol pen Galestô Jazao 5 Gal. Jaz.
29 35 Garē negol pen Galestô Jazao 4 Gal. Jaz.
30 36 Garē harol pen Galestô Jazao 3 Gal. Jaz.
31 37 Garē ket́ol pen Galestô Jazao 2 Gal. Jaz.
32 40 Garē pen Galestô Jazao p. Gal. Jaz.

A period of eight days is called a tavai or kymgarai, either of which may be translated as "week". However, the days of a "week" have no names, and "weeks" are never marked on calendars.

The day itself is divided into "20" hours (rosai), 8 of day and 8 of night. Each hour is divided into "100" (64) minutes (jeimai), and each minute into "100" seconds (fu*rai).

Adoption of the various calendars

The Mižinē used their own calendar, with the adjusted days, for as long as they spoke their own language and maintained their own culture. After the Pole Star went super-nova, their Loraonai descendants used the same calendar in a simplified form, as detailed above.

The Verē invented their calendar along with their language, and it's the universal calendar of the First History. In the Second History, it's the calendar used by the Verē privately during their enslavement, and adopted publicly after their liberation.

On Kantos, Êstâz's kingdom used the Verē calendar from the day the Râńē accepted his leadership against the Cundē and Girē. The Tlâńē and the Anθorâńē used the Mižinai 623-day calendar until their incorporation into the Kingdom. The Cundē and Girē had no calendars, and little sense of time; a given event was said to occur "in the reign of King So-and-so" and can rarely be pinned down more exactly, unless it corresponds in some way with an event or date in the calendar of a civilized society. After their conquest, they used the same calendar as the rest of the Kingdom.

On Syorkai, the priest-kings of Aatu invented their own calendar, completely different from any other. Without going into detail now, they had two different cycles of months: a religious cycle of 21 months (17 decimal), and an auspicious cycle of 27 months (23 decimal). A day was named by its place in both cycles, and since 17 and 23 are both prime numbers, a given date would take 607 months to recur (391 decimal). The months themselves are 53 days long (43 decimal), so the resulting "year" was 40,655 days long (16,813 days in decimal), about 32.84 times as long as the years of the Verē calendar.

The Iǹgrē adopted the Verē calendar as the universal calendar of the Second History. Colony planets used it as well, rather than set up calendars that would be unique for every planet; the colonists were accustomed to the idea that the calendar was artificial and need not reflect local astronomical constants. Aatu continued to use its own calendar, but used the universal calendar as well. Alien races also adopted the Verē calendar when dealing with the Iǹgrē, or even with each other.

Numbering the years

Even a nominally cyclical calendar like that of the Aatuans has to have a first year, from which the number of completed cycles run. The Mižinē counted their years from an event far back in the First Universe, whose significance has long been forgotten. They continued this reckoning, using ship's time, until they finished their jumps through the years of the Second Universe and began permanent habitation of their new home world. Then they started a new reckoning from the date their ship landed.

In the First History, the Verē continued that reckoning, in their own fashion. They also counted from the settlement of the planet (which they called Eoverai, Verē-world), but did so with their own calendar and in base 8. Thus Ihed́ai Vîd́a's reign as Speaker begins in the Verē year "10,001", which is 4097 in decimal.

In the Second History, the Verē decided to date events from Herâk's explosion, again using their own calendar and in base 8. An additional consideration is that Herâk exploded about "1300" years earlier in the Second History (704 years decimal); The invasion from the Universe of the Long Time, if it occurs in the Second History, and if it occurs at the same time, is expected in the year 2412.

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