Monday, February 27, 2006


So, I don't know if I've mentioned, we are currently in the year 1427. Or thereabouts. I'm not really sure. Here in Morocco, though, they like to put the hijra dates on things, and not just on historical manuscripts. They put it on the newspapers (well, they also put the milaadi, Gregorian, date on those), on the plaster of buildings, and on calendars.

The manuscripts are what really get me, though.

Since I'm working on a limited period of time (1609 to 1666 milaadi--a literal translation of milaadi would be "birthy"), I thought one day that I would simply do the math to figure out the limit dates, since until then I'd been guesstimating every time.

So I looked up an equation online, and went through a couple of pieces of notebook paper, and came up with a different number _every_ time. And when I finally ended up with numbers that looked reasonable (and not, say, a hundred and fifty years apart even though I'm looking at a half-century time period and even though the hijra year is shorter, it's not a third), I looked up the dates, and both of the numbers that I'd figured were completely wrong.

I'd like to think that the equation was wrong.

Have I mentioned that I haven't taken math since high school?

Anyhow, the other day when I was at the library of the mudiriyyat al-wathaa'iq al-malakiyya (the directorship of royal archives), they asked me what years I was looking for, and I told them in milaadi, and they looked it up in a big concordance, and the fact that they have a thick binder dedicated to figuring this out made me much happier.


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