It’s a very ableist and very rejected phrase… but have we ever stopped to question why it exists in the first place?
Other than Rett Syndrome, a type of autism in girls that often involves facial deformities, have there been any studies done to see any sort of similar facial features in a group of autistics?
If so many people around the world are saying the same thing, that means they all have an idea of an autistic “look” in their minds. Does anyone have any interesting studies or opinions about what exactly the autistic ‘look’ they’re thinking about is? And where it came from?
I have now been browsing the AskHistorians subreddit for quite a while. Earlier in the year, I noticed an uptick in questions about the origins of the AD dating systems and about western chronology in general, with several answers redirecting queries to the subreddit’s FAQ. Out of curiosity and since this is stuff that I have studied and I should know (no matter what my impostor syndrome tells me), I checked the relevant section of the FAQ (https://www.reddit.com/AskHistorians/wiki/language/#wiki_calendars
Sitting at the top of the list of answered question, there is the sixth episode of the AskHistorians podcast, titled “How did we decide what year it is?”. It was hosted by Algenon_Asimov and it dates back all the way to March 18th, 2014. The host attempts to answer the titular question and while at it, he goes into a bit of an exploration of various alternative dating systems. However, the focus of the podcast is on the origins of the Christian era, that is to say, the Anno Domini system counting the years from the supposed birth of Jesus Christ, with special attention given to the figure of the sixth-century monk Dionysius, who is often credited with coming up with it. The podcast concludes with a recap of the reception of his work by later chronologists.
I have a lot of issues with the contents of this podcast, which is surprising, because the majority of the answers in that FAQ are in fact quite solid and well-researched, including one written by the same user who hosted the podcast. While it’s not especially terrible, it is really not up to the usual standard of the subreddit. With this post I want to explain why. There are a few minor quibbles and one big problem. I will discuss them in due order, reporting the relevant timestamps, but I want to dedicate more space to the one major piece of bad history found in the podcast.
Starting at the 3.45-minute mark and ending at the 8.30 mark there is a list of various dating systems from the ancient world. These are: the Roman consular lists, the Ab Urbe Condita reckoning, the Seleucid era, the Anno Mundi, the Chinese regnal years era, the Olympiads and the Mayan calendar. I do not have much to say about this section, as most of the information reported is, as far as I know, correct. I take issue with the host’s pronunciation of “Ab Urbe Condita” (4.55): that’s a long I so the stress should fall on the antepenultimate syllable (CONdita and not conDIta). Moreover, you could argue that, while the last eponymous consul was indeed appointed under Justinian (4.30), the emperor did not abolish the consular position altogether, it just became one of the accessories of the imperial title, with the dating function being taken over by reference to the regnal years.
At the 8.40-minute mark we meet our protagonist: Dionysius the Scythian abbas
. I am not going to call him Exiguus and nor I have any intention to translate his name to Dennis the Little. Please be aware that this is more of pet peeve of mine than substantial criticism, as I will explain in a short while.
First, a bit of context: what little we know about Dionysius comes from two main sources: his own works and what his contemporary and admirer Cassiodorus wrote about him. Cassiodorus (Institutiones
, 1, 23.2-4) told us that Dionysius was born a Scythian, and that he was a bilingual scholar learned in both Latin and Greek, and a humble and devout monk who had moved to Rome sometimes in the early 500s. He was likely already dead by the time Cassiodorus was writing (the 550s). Cassiodorus called him an abbas
, a title of respect for an ascetic clergyman, though this does not necessarily mean that Dionysius had any organizational or leadership responsibilities in his community. Of Dionysius’s own work, quite a lot has survived. Most of it consists of translations of Greek texts into Latin, the most significant being that of canons of the ecclesiastical councils and of papal decretals from the fourth and fifth century. Even his work on chronology can primarily be described as a translation.
As promised, a little aside about my pet peeve: in the dedicatory prefaces of these works and in his Paschal letters (which are the main reason for his notoriety today) Dionysius seems to adopt the cognomen
Exiguus for himself, and the full name Dionysius Exiguus is the one that the scientific community has adopted for him. I can’t do anything about it, but since the study of epistolary conventions is what I wrote my thesis about, I will have everyone who bothers to listen to me know that, in this case, Exiguus is an epistolary formula humilitatis
and should not be understood as a cognomen
. In letters from Late Antiquity, the hierarchical nature of society and the need to show one’s adherence to the humility demanded by the Christian ethos caused writers to expand their salutations with expressions such as servus
(the least). Exiguus
(little) only appears in Dionysius’s work in this context: he would have not called himself that in other occasions. His friend Cassiodorus did not address him that way, and Dionysius was certainly not the last to use Exiguus
in a prefatory address. At least Alden Mosshammer seems to agree with me on this one (Mosshammer, 2008 p.6).
With this introduction and this little rant out of the way, let us go back to the podcast and into the meat of things. How did the Anno Domini come to be?
“Dionysius was working on how to keep track of when Easter fell each year
Yes. The host goes on to explain how Easter is a movable feast, as its date depends on both the solar and lunar calendars.
“There were already a few competing methods used to calculate Easter in different parts of Christendom
All of this is essentially correct, though a bit of context is missing. Dionysius was seemingly contacted by the papal curia
about the issue of Easter twice. In 525, he was tasked with translating the Alexandrian Easter tables, which he did, and to which he even appended a prefatory letter and a series of (translated) argumenta
explaining the inner workings of the 19-year lunisolar cycle around which they revolved. Why did the papal curia need him? Because they were facing a bit of a crisis with the Easter calculations then in use in the Latin church, those that Victorius of Aquitaine had worked out at the time of Pope Leo, in 457. Though Victorius had also based his work on the Alexandrian tables, he had left a few problematic years in which, because of both technical issues and clashing liturgical traditions, he proposed two valid dates for Easter instead of one. The year 526 was one of these occasions, hence why Dionysius had to go back to the Alexandrian sources in 525. He was again questioned about the 19-year cycle the following year, providing his answer in another letter.
“Dionysius had no great insights into calculating when Easter would be each year
Not really. We have no reason to think that Dionysius was not a competent computist. Sure, he was not original, but his letter showed that he understood the argumenta
that he translated, though not all of them can be attributed to him (Warntjes, 2010). “He basically just extended the work of some people in the bishopric of Alexandria … However, he did bring one innovation to the process: he came up with a new way of referring to the years”
Yes, Dionysius did extend the Alexandrian table for the 95-years (19×5) period from 532 to 626 and changed the frame of reference for counting the years. As the podcast correctly narrates (10.16-11.00), the Alexandrian tables counted the years according to the so-called Era of the Martyrs which begins with the reign of Diocletianus in 284 AD and Dionysius did not want the last great persecutor of the Christians to be remembered. Having rejected this system, Dionysius decided to count the years from the Incarnation of Christ, which he indicated as 525 years before his time, thus inaugurating the AD system. The host comments:
“By the way, Dionysius got it wrong, we now believe that Jesus was probably born about four to seven years earlier than Dionysius calculated … There have always been people who believed that Jesus was born earlier than the year Dionysius picked
The most recent studies, however, are inclined to question whether Dionysius actually came up with the new system all by himself. After all, he was translating and adapting the Alexandrian tradition for usage by the Latins, not doing original work. Is it not possible that the new system for counting years that he introduced was also something that he found in his Alexandrian sources? This is essentially the thesis of the most comprehensive study of the origins of the Christian Era by Alden A. Mosshammer and of a few competing theories such as that of Daniel P. McCarthy.
In the words of Mosshammer: “The general consensus of authorities earlier than Dionysius is that Jesus was born in the year corresponding to 2 or 3 BC … Most scholars have thought therefore that Dionysius did not follow an established tradition but generated his own date for the Nativity. Either he misinterpreted the evidence or he deliberately distorted it for reasons of his own. Some more recent scholars have thought that Dionysius did accept an already established date” (Mosshammer, 2008 p. 339-40). Mosshammer goes on to argue that the Christian era of Dionysius was a different take on the pre-existing Anno Mundi system adopted by Julius Africanus in the third-century AD. Regardless of whether one finds his arguments convincing (I personally am unsure, I really like McCarthy’s idea of an Eusebian origin for Anno Domini), the immense mole of data and theories that he collected, analysed and argued against, while writing his book leaves little doubt about whether Dionysius was the originator of the base-date of the AD system: he most likely was not, it is just a matter of finding his sources. Leofranc Holford-Strevens wrote illuminating words about Dionysius’s overall attitude towards his “new” dating system: “He does not explain or justify the underlying date, or even claim it for his own discovery but treats it as an unproblematic fact, corresponding to current knowledge or belief” (Blackburn & Holford-Strevens, 1999 p. 778).
So let see what our podcast has to say about the origins of this “new” system. How did Dionysius come up with his date, since the argument here is that it was something he invented by himself? Brace yourself, the real bombshell of bad history is about to hit.
“So why did Dionysius pick a year [for Jesus’s birth] that was contradicted by his own Bible? Well, because of something decidedly non-Christian called the Great Year”.
The Great Year? This is… unexpected. Leaving aside the fact that physical copies of what we would now call a Bible were likely not around in Dionysius’s time, where does this Great Year come from? When I first listened to this podcast, I started to think that I must have missed something major while studying this stuff, as I had no idea about the existence of a theory that argued that Dionysius derived his dating system from whatever a Great Year is. This, the host explains (12.26-14.10) is a confusing amalgamation of two separate astronomical facts. One is the theoretical notion, supposedly found in Plato, that there must exist one moment in time in which all the relevant elements of night sky (the visible planets, the moon, the sun, the ”moving” stars) complete their cyclical movement at the same time. The second element is the precession of the equinoxes, that is, movement of the axis around which Earth revolves on itself, which eventually results in the slow but visible shift of the circle of the Zodiac relative to the position of the sun during each equinox. According to the podcast the two notions “somehow got conflated, put together” (14.13). The Great Year is described as that period after which all things in the universe including the precession of the equinoxes, would cycle back to their starting position. At the time of Dionysius there was a belief that such Great Year was a period of 24000 years (14.51-15.10), and it was broken up into twelve ages of 2000 years each, corresponding to the sign of the Zodiac. Here the host goes on a tangent to remind us that the dawning of the Age of Aquarius was a thing among the hippies in the Seventies (15.10-15.41), which should have probably alerted him about the fact that this Great Year has a lot to do with astrological nonsense and little to do with the origins of the Anno Domini system.
Supposedly Dionysius had accurately calculated that there was going to be a conjunction of celestial bodies in what we now call the year 2000. Recognising it as the sign of the end of one of the twelve ages, he established the starting point of his dating system, associated with the birth of Jesus, exactly 2000 years before, so that Jesus would have been born at the beginning of the Age of Pisces and that the planetary conjunction that he had recognised would mark the beginning of the Age of Aquarius (15.41-16.35). He would have sacrificed chronological precision (Dionysius would have known that Jesus was likely born earlier than that), for the sake of his understanding of the Universe as dictated by ancient astrological knowledge. Now, don’t get me wrong, astrological notions such as these were perfectly valid tools of the astronomical sciences in Late Antiquity. It is plausible that someone like Dionysius was familiar with them, but there simply is no evidence to make the claim that they were this pivotal in his reworking of the reckoning of the years, which, it should be remembered was a minor adjunct to the Easter tables and probably not an original one at that.
“So even though we call it Anno Domini, or in the year of Our Lord, it’s a mishmash of astronomical and astrological influences”.
What to make of this? I had never heard about the Great Year having anything to do with our calendar. When I first listened to the podcast I was not sure, and in fact, I was afraid I had missed out something big while studying this stuff. I went back to my books (list in the bibliography) and found nothing about it. Googling about the Great Year and the Ages of the Zodiac led me to a plethora of websites for astrology nuts, but to nothing that might have been the academic source used by the podcast host. Finally, the Wikipedia page about Astronomical ages (link
) provided with one relevant article by one Sepp Rothwangl (actually three articles are referenced, but two are anonymous and yielded nothing upon inspection) that might have been the source of the podcast’s claim about the Great Year. The article is referenced precisely in the section establishing a possible connection between the Astrological Ages and the Anno Domini.
The Wikipedia page had built up my hopes of having found something more substantial than what I heard in the podcast, because it mentions that Dionysius’s alteration of the year-reckoning system was supposed to stave off the End-of-the-World panic associated with year 500 AD. Let me explain why I found this interesting. There is a documented belief among early Christian authors that the Second Coming of Christ should coincide with the end of the sixth millennium of the Age of World. There were several attempts at establishing a general calendar of the world (Anno Mundi) and at placing the birth of Christ in this absolute chronological framework. Two of the most successful Anno Mundi system were that of Julius Africanus, which placed the birth of Christ in AM 5500 (and which is also related to Dionysius’s Anno Domini according to Mosshammer’s theory) and that of Eusebius, which placed the birth of Christ in AM 5200 (Palmer, 2014; Declerq, 2000). According to these systems the End-Times would have begun respectively in AD 500 and in AD 800. Richard Landes has suggested that written records, more specifically chronicles and dating clauses counting down the years leading up to one of these dates shows that Christian intellectuals begun to post-pone the date of the Apocalypse as calculated in these two system, switching first to Eusebius’s count when the year 500 approached and then to the Dionysian date of AD 1000 as soon as the year 800 was upon them (Landes, 1988). This theory has been under revision in recent years, with scholars questioning whether these records were actually indicative of widespread End-Times panic (Palmer, 2014; Warntjes 2018). I was looking forward to finding out if any other evidence had emerged that could help in the debate.
Unfortunately, I could not find the article cited by Wikipedia, but I was able to read another article on the same topic by the same author, Sepp Rothwangl, on his Researchgate page (Link
). Alas there really was not much to it, no analysis of Dionysius work, no new connection with Julius Africanus, and the claim about Dionysius finding out about the year 2000 conjunction appears to be backed by no actual evidence. I will not engage with Rothwangl’s article at any length, mostly because I have no way to prove that it was the only source for u/Algenon_Asimov
in our podcast. The one clear connection between the podcast and the article is the notion that Dionysius somehow predicted the conjunction in the year 2000. I will only say that, now armed with a name, I went back to Mosshammer’s book. To my surprise Mosshammer did address Sepp Rothwangl’s theory but his words are rather damning, and they reflect the opinion I had already formed by myself: “Rothwangl attributes to Dionysius both an astronomical knowledge and an interest in Millennialism for which there is no direct evidence” (Mosshammer, 2008, p. 355.)
So, if I am correct in detecting Rothwangl as a source, it would appear that, in order to explain the origins of the AD system, the podcast was relying not on mainstream academic works but on a fringe position. Not only that, but the only portion of the theory that does have connection with actual academic debates, the possible connection with millenarist ideas, was completely left out during the host’s explanation. Overall, not a good look for AskHistorians.
Now, onto the final section of the podcast, about which I have only one minor quibble: the host links the upsurge in popularity of the Anno Domini system with Bede’s writing of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People
(17.50-19-25). While it is correct to say that his was the first book of history to make consistent use of the Christian Era, Bede’s major contribution to the popularity of the Anno Domini Era was his work on scientific chronology, or computus
, specifically the short tract De Tempore
and the longer and very well-received De Temporum Ratione
. These were widely read during the so-called Carolingian Reinassance and were the decisive factor for having most other computists adopt to the Dionysian reckoning of years. Easter calculations might have been the appanage of “the darkness of monasteries and churches” (17.25), but they had massive influence on Christian society at large. A work of history, no matter how well-written and popular, would never have had the same influence on Christian intellectuals as a massive tract on the reckoning of times.
Now, If I may, a few words about this podcast in particular and AskHistorians in general.
It is all well and good reach out to non-historians and try to explain the whys and whens of past events and how our way to see the world came to be. It should be, in fact, one of the main preoccupations of academic historians, even though they are, in my opinion, more often than not rather neglectful of it. But, when necessary, it must be said that things are more complicated than they look and that questions that to a layman would appear trivial, are in fact nigh-impossible to be answered in full, even by experts, least of all by people, who like myself, try to discuss history on the Internet in their spare time.
“How did we decide what year it is?” is precisely one such question. It seems trivial but it is in fact asking to unravel the entire history of western scientific chronology. And this history has darker periods marked by lack of evidence. The origins of Dionysius are unfortunately still somewhat in the dark. As Philip Nothaft bluntly puts it: “The precise rationale for Dionysius’s equation of the 284th year of the Diocletian era with the year 532 from the incarnation has long puzzled modern scholars and will probably never be explained to everybody’s satisfaction” (Nothaft, 2011). I think that the correct thing to do in a situation in which an answer is still desirable would be to present the topic as still being debated, explain why, and then maybe explain what are the major competing theories about it. I daresay, that I would not have written this post if the podcast had at least mentioned that “the Great Year theory” was one of many about the origins of Anno Domini (though it is fringe and one of the most “out-there”, as far as I understand). Why did Algenon_Asimov decide to present it as the only answer? I cannot speak for him, but I do believe that it has to do with every historian’s reluctance to admit that a certain problem simply cannot be solved and not every question can get an exhaustive answer. It also probably helps that, for various reasons, “Christian thing turns out to have been a Pagan thing all along” is a tried and tested trope of anglophone pop-history. Sitting comfortably on it is a good way to quickly answer questions, but not a good way to explain history to the public. This episode of the AskHistorian podcast should not be on top of the subreddit FAQ about calendars and chronology. It does not give a clear idea of the academic consensus about the origins of the Christian Era and does a disservice to the otherwise excellent work usually found on Askhistorians. Bibliography
Cassiodorus, Institutiones divinarum et saecularium litterarum
, ed. R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford 1939); trans. James W. Halporn, Cassiodorus. Institutions of Divine and secular learning and On the Soul
, Translated Texts for Historians 42 (Liverpool 2004).
Dionysius, Epistola ad Bonifatium et Bonum de Ratione Paschae
and Argumenta Paschalia
, ed. Bruno Krusch, Studien zur christlich-mittelalterlichen Chronologie: die Entstehung unserer heutigen Zeitrechnung
I Victorius. Ersatz der fehlerhaften Ausgabe Mommsens in den M.G.
II Dionysius Exiguus, der Begründer der christlichen Ära
(Berlin, 1938), pp. 75-86.
Bonnie Blackburn & Leofranc Holford-Streven, The Oxford Companion to the year. An exploration of calendar customs and time reckoning
Georges Declerq, Les origines de l’ère Chrétienne
Richard Landes, “The Fear of an Apocalyptic Year 1000: Augustinian Historiography, Medieval and Modern,” Speculum
75 (2000): 97-145; and the essays in The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation and Social Change, 950-1050
, eds. Richard Landes, Andrew Gow, David C. van Meter (Oxford, 2003)
Daniel P. Mc Carthy, “The Emergence of Anno Domini,” in Time and Eternity: The Medieval Discourse
, eds. Gerhard Jaritz and Gerson Moreno-Riaño (Turnhout, 2003), 31-53.
Alden A. Mosshammer, The Easter Computus and the origins of the Christian Era
C. Philip E. Nothaft, Dating the Passion. The life of Jesus and the emergence of scientific chronology (200-1600)
Time Astronomy and Calendars 1 (Leiden/Boston, 2011)
James T. Palmer, The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages
Sepp Rothanwgl, “The Scythian Dionysius Exiguus and his invention of Anno Domini” (2016), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308654229_The_Scythian_Dionysius_Exiguus_and_His_Invention_of_Anno_Domini
Immo Warntjes, “The argumenta
of Dionysius Exiguus and their early recensions”, in Computus and its cultural context in the Latin West, AD 300–1200. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on the Science of Computus in Ireland and Europe
(eds) Immo Warntjes & Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Turnhout 2010), 40–111
Immo Warntjes, “The final countdown and the reform of the liturgical calendar in the early Middle Ages”, in Apocalypse and reform from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages
(eds.) Matthew Gabriel & James T. Palmer (Abingdon 2018), 51-75.
The AskHistorians podcast episode 6, March 18th 2014
Wikipedia, s. v. Astrological Age https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrological_age
There's a lot going on this weekend and even better the weather forecast looks great with 60s and 70s and only a little rain on Saturday morning.
Here's 35 local events you can enjoy at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg and throughout the New River Valley: 1. Pink Moon Peach Milkshake IPA Release Moon Hollow Brewing, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 3:00 - 10:00 PM Admission is free. Beer and food are regular price.
Moon Hollow Brewing presents the Pink Moon Peach Milkshake IPA Release in support of the local Pink Boots Society. This year’s blend contains Loral, Eukanot and HBC 586. A heaping dose of lactose, peach purée and vanilla bean also help create a rich and delicious brew. $1.00 from each pint is donated the Pink Boots Society Blue Ridge Virginia Chapter. This helps the chapter continue to put on educational, community enriching events. The Pink Boots Society aims to assist, inspire and encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry to advance their careers through education. Food will be available for purchase from Countryman Jamaican Grill. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685855 2. Root Down in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Root Down is a jazz trio based in the New River Valley. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684803 3. College Softball: Chattanooga vs. Virginia Tech Tech Softball Park, Virginia Tech Friday, March 24, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM (Doubleheader) Admission: Free
Watch the Virginia Tech Softball team compete against non-conference opponent the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in a three game series. No tickets are required for Hokie Softball games. Parking is available behind the outfield at Tech Softball Park and enter along the right field side of the stadium. Stands open one hour prior to the start of the game. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685859 4. Music Theatre: "Book of Mountains and Seas" Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 7:30 - 9:00 PM Adult Tickets (based on seat location): $25.00 - $55.00 Virginia Tech Students with ID and Youth 18 & Under: $10.00
A daring new music theatre work by composer Huang Ruo and puppeteer, designer, and director Basil Twist, "Book of Mountains and Seas" is a modern take on ancient Chinese creation myths that are relevant to our current climate change struggle, featuring the chorus of Ars Nova Copenhagen alongside massive puppets and striking lanterns. The work is sung in Mandarin with English supertitles. Book of Mountains and Seas is inspired by the ancient Chinese compilation of early myths of the same title, which was first transcribed in 4th-century B.C. Book of Mountains and Seas is a 21st-century adaptation and expansion of four of these tales. The work contains timeless codes about the universe, creation, planet, nature, life, human ambition and fate, the relationship and interaction between mankind and the planet. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=678174 5. Will Easter & The Nomads in Concert Dogtown Roadhouse, Floyd Friday, March 24, 2023, 8:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: $8.00
Will Easter has one of those voices that is like a home-cooked meal for the soul. Will has the cool throwback rock edge of Tom Petty with the modern folk-Americana appeal of the Avett Brothers, but with something hard to put your finger on that could only be born out of the shadows and peaks of the North Carolina mountains. One iteration through a chorus and you’ll find yourself humming along, by the second time around you’ll be singing out loud, ready to hit the repeat button. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684795 6. Juxtaposition A Cappella Spring 2023 Concert: Time For A Hoedown Haymarket Theater (Squires Student Center), Virginia Tech Friday, March 24, 2023, 8:00 - 9:30 PM Virginia Tech Students: At the Door: $7.00 Non-Students: $10.00
Juxtaposition A Cappella presents their Spring 2023 Concert titled "Time For A Hoedown". Juxtaposition will be performing seven new songs including their entire ICCA set. Juxtaposition is an all-male Virginia Tech A Capella group that was established in 1994 and has since produced seven albums and been awarded numerous awards and honors. They enjoy performing their wide repertoire of 70's, 80's, 90's and current hits. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685879 7. 2023 Ramp N Roads Eastern Elementary/Middle School, Pembroke Saturday, March 25, 2023, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM Admission: Free
Renew the New presents the 2023 Ramp N Roads where volunteers will be cleaning up litter from highways and byways, boat ramps, and river & stream access points. Be prepared to pick up litter off road in ditches and over the banks. Each volunteer will be assigned a team who will be led by captain when they arrive at Eastern Elementary/Middle School. These captains will lead the on-site clean up and will provide any needed safety instructions. There will be no buses running this year. Each volunteer will take their own car or carpool and convoy to one of the planned cleanup areas. There you will be given gloves and bags to use. Each volunteer is asked to return to Eastern Elementary at noon where they will receive pizza for a to-go lunch and a t-shirt. Volunteers need to sign up in advance. This is a rain or shine event however pick up along roadways will be suspended during active rain if it happens. ReNew The New is a volunteer organization committed to stewardship of the of the New River flowing through Southwest Virginia. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685871 8. Yoga On Tap with Blacksburg Yoga Collective Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 9:30 - 10:45 AM Suggested donation of $15.00-$20.00.
The Blacksburg Yoga Collective presents Yoga On Tap with an energizing and uplifting flow. Flow with Blacksburg Yoga Collective in the beautiful settings of the Rising Silo Saturdays. These Kundalini-inspired, donation-based Yoga and meditation sessions focus on therapeutic movements and various breathing techniques aimed toward collective wellness. Meditate, chant, and move together to ease stress, manifest positivity, and improve our awareness and focus. Admission includes the class and a post-yoga non-alcoholic beverage from the brewery. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685840 9. 2023 Warm Hearth Village Arts & Crafts Fair Warm Hearth Village Center, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
If you love unique, beautiful, locally handcrafted gifts and art, then attend the 2nd Annual Warm Hearth Village Arts & Crafts Fair. The show will feature high-quality artisanal goods from both artists on our campus and throughout the New River Valley. Handmade items for sale will include pottery, woodworking, home goods, accessories, soaps, candles & more. The Huckleberry Cafe will be open for grab-n-go refreshments. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=683666 10. Free Wine Tasting Vintage Cellar, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Vintage Cellar presents Free Wine Tasting every Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Join them for a decadent wine tasting at our free wine tasting. They will teach you all about the regions and grapes from the wines as you taste. After the tasing, grab a bottle or glass and enjoy it with some food from their kitchen. Must be 21 or older to participate. IDs required. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685724 11. Open Virginia Tech Football Practice Lane Stadium, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM Admission: Free
Fans are invited to attend the open practice to get an early look at how the Hokie's 2023 football squad is shaping up. Gate 6 will open up at 11:45 AM for fans to enter. Note: It is prohibited for fans to take photos and videos when the Hokies are on the field. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685711 12. 2023 Beliveau Bridal Expo Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Bring your friends and family and visit with the area's leading wedding professionals on display to plan your perfect wedding in an elegant venue. Wedding vendors such as florists, musicians, photographers, bakeries and more will set up in our Great Hall to talk to you about their services. This is a great opportunity to meet many of the vendors in one afternoon. Food and wine will be available to purchase throughout the entire event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684117 13. Women's Lacrosse: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech Thompson Field, Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 - 2:00 PM Admission: Free
Watch the Virginia Tech Women's Lacrosse compete against ACC conference opponent and #7 ranked Boston College. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684297 14. Program: Vegetable Gardening Meadowbrook Public Library, Shawsville Saturday, March 25, 2023, 1:00 - 2:00 PM Admission: Free
Want to grow your own vegetables, but aren’t sure where to start? Join Dr. Emma Patterson, VCE Volunteer Master Gardener, to find out more about planning a vegetable garden, caring for it, and keeping it going through year’s end. Free seeds and soil testing kits will be provided. For ages 12 and up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685348 15. 2023 Oyster Dinner Drive-Thru Riner Volunteer Fire Department, Riner Saturday, March 25, 2023, 2:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: $15.00
The Riner Volunteer Fire Department presents their Annual Oyster Dinner Drive-Thru featuring fried oysters, baked beans, slaw and dessert. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Eagle Express, Riner Food Center and Village Barber Shop. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685387 16. Delta Chi's Into the Wild Benefit Concert featuring Audio Fever and The Red Ferns The Milk Parlor, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 2:00 - 5:00 PM Ages 21 & Over: $9.00, Ages 20 & Under: $12.00
The Delta Chi Fraternity at Virginia Tech presents their Into the Wild Benefit Concert featuring music from Audio Fever and The Red Ferns. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The Red Ferns is a groovy guitar band based in Blacksburg and Audio Fever is a Blacksburg based band as well. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685882 17. March Flashlight Tour St. Albans, Radford Saturday, March 25, 2023, 5:30 - 7:30 PM Admission: $15.00
Join St. Abans for their March 2023 Flashlight Tour which includes a little history and paranormal in one. This is a guided tour. Take a walk through the dark halls of St. Albans Sanatorium and join them for a flashlight tour of the building. Hear all the chilling tales of what paranormal investigators, and the public, have encountered within these 120 year old walls. A little bit of history, a little bit of paranormal. Tickets are available online in advance and will be sold at the door provided tickets are still available. Comfortable shoes and a flashlight are recommended as there will be lots of walking and many dark areas. Dress accordingly as the building is not climate controlled. You must be 18 years of age (16 if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian). Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685883 18. March's Beans and Banjos (Final Event) Meadowbrook Public Library, Shawsville Saturday, March 25, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 PM Admission: $5.00 requested donation
The Shawsville Ruritans and The LINC Letter presents March's Beans and Banjos and the final event of this series. Nothing lasts forever, not even Beans and Banjos. March's Beans and Banjos will be the last. Instead of having a couple of bands the organizers are inviting everyone who's ever played or sung at Beans and Banjos to come out and jam to play Beans and Banjos out in style. Beans and Banjos has been going for at least 14 years. Enjoy a dinner of beans, cornbread and desserts. Organizers ask for a donation of at least $5.00 to help keep the LINC Letter publishing. The LINC Letter is the non-profit community newsletter for Eastern Montgomery and is distributed to residents of Alleghany, Elliston, Ironto, Lafayette and Shawsville, Virginia. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685325 19. Amelia Empson in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Amelia Empson plays a variety of Indie-Folk and Americana covers and originals from the Appalachian Mountains with talent far beyond her years. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684804 20. Salsa Night 2023 Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 11:00 PM Advance Tickets: $12.00, At the Door: $15.00
Join Beliveau Farm Winery for a dancing experience with your loved one, group of friends, or come single; you are bound to have a good time no matter what. Lessons begin at 7:00 PM and the event lasts until 11:00 PM. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685126 21. 2023 March of Ales Mardi Gras Celebration German Club Manor, Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM Admission: $50.00
The Blacksburg Junior Women's Club (BJWC) presents the 2023 March of Ales Mardi Gras Celebration featuring unique beers for tasting, along with wine and a signature cocktail. Coffee, water, lemonade, hors d’oeuvres and desserts will also be available. Guests will enjoy entertainment by a DJ, dancing, and a live and silent auction. The auctions feature an extraordinary variety of items donated by local businesses and individuals. At the end of the evening, discounted Uber service will be available to guests. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door if the event is not sold out in advance. All money raised at March of Ales is used to fund service projects and donations throughout the year. The funds have benefitted groups and causes such as Special Olympics, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Montgomery County Christmas Store and many others. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685695 22. WUVT's Jazz Night with Copy Cat Syndrome and Yung LZRD Odd Fellows Building Lodge #20 (Wilson Avenue), Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Admission: $6.00
Join WUVT for a night filled with the sweetest jazz melodies provided by Copy Cat Syndrome and Yung LZRD. Copy Cat Syndrome is a fusion trio performing jazz based in Blacksburg, VA. LZRD is a jazz band from Blacksburg, VA. Entrance to this event is ticket only (sold online) with a maximum of 50 being sold. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the music starts at 7:00 PM. WUVT-FM 90.7 Blacksburg is the New River Valley's only source for independent, alternative programming. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685887 23. TechNotes Spring 2023 Concert: TechNotes Lightnin’: Feeling the 50s Haymarket Theater (Squires Student Center), Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 8:30 PM Advance Tickets: $5.00, At the Door: $7.00
TechNotes presents their Spring 2023 Concert titled "TechNotes Lightnin’: Feeling the 50s". Enjoy a night full of new songs and old TechNotes favorites and chances to win epic raffle prizes. TechNotes is a co-ed A Cappella group at Virginia Tech that performs at various events throughout the year. TechNotes was founded in 2010. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685878 24. Caroline Owens & Company in Concert Floyd Country Store, Floyd Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM General Admission: $15.00, Reserved Seating: $20.00
Caroline Owens is a 2X IBMA nominated Bluegrass and Gospel artist. She has performed alongside many of her heroes such as Alison Krauss, Suzanne Cox, The Isaacs, Larry Gatlin, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Lorraine Jordan and many others. And, has made quite a name for herself in the North Carolina bluegrass community. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685713 25. Hoppie Vaughan & The Ministers of Soul in Concert The Floyd Center for the Arts, Floyd Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30 PM General Public: $15.00, Students: $10.00
Don't miss your chance to see the long awaited return of Hoppie Vaughan & The Ministers of Soul. It will be a fun, funky night of soul. The diversely talented Hoppie Vaughan is all about the soul! He is a blue eyed soul singer, song writer, guitar and bass player. Besides performing solo, he is the front man for Hoppie Vaughan and the Ministers of Soul based out of Roanoke, VA performing classic soul, R&B, blues and funk. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685712 26. Three Band Concert with Kenny Vaughan, Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions and Friend of the Three Southpaw Cafe & Community Space, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:30 - 10:00 PM Admission: $5.00
Southpaw Cafe & Community Space presents a Three Band Concert with Kenny Vaughan, Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions and Friend of the Three. Friend of the Three is a band based in Virginia that performs adult alternative, pop and rock. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685881 27. Stand-Up Comedy Show Lost In Taste, Christiansburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10:00 PM - TBD Admission: $7.00
The Cosmic Comedy Club returns with performances by comedians Sage Delong, Derek Budd, Julia Goyer, Tony Rodriguez, Jermaine Callando and hosted by Andrew Gustafson. Recommended for ages 18 & up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685853 28. 2023 Hot Diggity Dog Day (Fun for Your Dog) Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 12:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free
Bring your pup and come have a day at Beliveau Farm Winery annual canine event. There's 165 acres of dog fun for your furrr-ever friend to explore and relax. Fresh air, dog parade, lots of outdoor space. Beliveau will have food and drinks for purchase throughout the day. With every hot-dog sold, they are donating 20% of our proceeds to the Montgomery County Humane Society. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685322 29. Community Quilting Bee: Rotary Cutting Fabric Blacksburg Library, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: Free
Blacksburg Library presents their monthly Community Quilting Bee with the the topic "Rotary Cutting Fabric". This month atteneeds will learn how to use a rotary cutter and ruler to make accurate fabric pieces. Everyone is welcome including beginners. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685349 30. Book Club: The Winemaker Blacksburg Wine Lab, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: $40.00
Join the Blacksburg Wine Lab for the Wine Lab Book Club tasting & discussing featuring "The Winemaker" by Noah Gordon. About The Winemaker: Josep Alvarez is a young man in the tiny grape-growing village of Santa Eulália, in northern Spain, where his father grows black grapes that are turned into cheap vinegar. Joseph loves the agricultural life, but he is the second son, and his father’s vineyard will be inherited by his brother Donat, the firstborn. He yearns for a job growing grapes and for an opportunity to marry Teresa Gallego. In Madrid, an assassination plot, conceived against the political leader of Spain by men of wealth and power, creates a storm of intrigue that sucks into its vortex a group of innocent young farm workers in Santa Eulália. How Josep’s life is changed drastically by these events, and how, ironically, they gradually turn him into an inspired vintner with an evolving vision of life, is the fascinating story of "The Winemaker". During the Book Club, enjoy four fantastic Spanish wines to taste. Chef Bryan will create a pairing board of house–made Spanish tapas, cheese and charcuterie to accompany the tasting. Reservations required. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685385 31. Willard Gayheart and Ricky Cox performing "Old Favorite Songs of the Blue Ridge" Floyd United Methodist Church, Floyd Sunday, March 26, 2023, 2:30 - 3:30 PM Admission: Free
The Floyd County Historical Society presents an encore performance of Willard Gayheart and Ricky Cox performing "Old Favorite Songs of the Blue Ridge. Ricky Cox’s friendship with Willard Gayheart also goes back 35 years. This shows in the programs they present together, harmonizing and appreciating one another’s contributions as they delight their audiences. Willard is a pencil artist from Southwest Virginia. He is originally from Eastern Kentucky, working mostly from the theme "Nostalgic Glimpses of the Appalachians". His works are positive images of Appalachian Culture, presenting the region as a place alive with interesting personalities. Besides his artistic talent with the pencil, Willard is also an accomplished bluegrass musician having played as a member of the bluegrass band The Highlanders. Ricky Cox has been entertaining and educating many of us for decades. Throughout his teaching career at Radford University he shared the history and culture of our region through his music and writing, earning a number of special recognitions along the way. Ricky contributed his photographic talents to the second of two books featuring Willard Gayheart’s drawings. Note: The event was originally scheduled for Sunday, March 12th, but had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685328 32. Blacksburg Community Band Spring Concert Blacksburg High School Auditorium, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 3:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
The Blacksburg Community Band presents their Spring Concert conducted by David McKee and Associate Conductor, Dean Chiapetto. Christiansburg High School's band director, David Miller, will be guest conducting. Jefferson Ritchie will solo on trombone. The Blacksburg Community Band, Inc. is an all-volunteer community organization formed in 1989 under the auspices of the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Town of Blacksburg. The ensemble is open to individuals of all ages and ability levels from the New River Valley and surrounding areas. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685314 33. Helping Hands Fundraiser with Spaghetti Dinner and Live Music Belview United Methodist Church, Radford Sunday, March 26, 2023, 4:30 - 7:30 PM Donations Appreciated
Join Belview United Methodist Church for some fun and great fellowship all while helping support a wonderful mission. Help them fund their Helping Hands Pantry by enjoying a spaghetti dinner starting at 4:30 PM, silent auction, raffle and live music from Eddie & Sherry Richards and Spoken For beginning at 6 PM. Belview's Helping Hands Pantry supplies clothes, personal care items, cleaning items and household items to those in need in Montgomery County, Radford, Dublin, Giles County and Pulaski and other surrounding areas. The Silent Auction starts at 1:30 PM and ends at 7:30 PM with over 40 items to bid on. There are over $2,000 in prizes for the raffle. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each, $10.00 for three or $20.00 for seven. Donate a pack of diapers, pull-ups or Depends and get three free raffle tickets on the day of the event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685880 34. Indian Run Stringband in Concert Palisades Restaurant, Eggleston Sunday, March 26, 2023, 5:00 - 7:30 PM Admission: Free
The Indian Run Stringband from Blacksburg, VA plays fiddle and banjo foot stomping dance tunes and sings traditional songs with old time harmonies perfect for dancing the two step. From dance tunes to the blues, the Indian Run Stringband plays with love and abandon. They make old-time music fresh and new. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685310 35. Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble in Concert with Guest Artist Michael Burritt Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 6:00 - 7:30 PM General Public: $15.00, Seniors: $12.00, Students & Youth: $10.00
The Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Annie Stevens, performs a concert with guest artist Michael Burritt who is one of his generation’s leading percussionists. He is in frequent demand, performing concert tours and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. He has been soloist with the United States Air Force Band, Dallas Wind Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Ju Percussion Group (Taiwan), Percussion Art Quartet (Germany) and the Amores Percussion Group (Spain). Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685872
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!