German Months from Latin
Mensis The Months Die Monate
The English word calendar (Kalender in German) comes from the Latin word kalendae (calends, "the day when accounts are due") or the first day of the month. Roman dates were expressed in "kalendae," nonae" (nones), and "idus" (ides), the 1st, 5th and 13th days of a month (the 15th day in the months of March, May, July and October) respectively. The names for the months of the year came into English, German and most of the western languages via Greek and Latin. The earliest Roman calendar was originally lunar and only had ten months, with Martius (March) the first and December (deca = 10) the last. The later Roman Republican calendar was a 12-month 355-day calendar with each month having a length of 28-31 days. During the reign of Julius Caesar the Julian calendar was an attempt to bring the annual period closer to the actual 365.2422 days of a solar year. Caesar thus decreed that very four years there would be an extra day, with February 24 counted twice.
As the calendar and the actual solar cycles became increasingly out of alignment, due to the inaccuracies of the Julian calendar, in 1472 Pope Sixtus IV called on the German astronomer and mathematician Johann Müller (whose Latin name was Regiomontanus) to oversee improvements to the Julian calendar. Unfortunately, Müller was assassinated in 1476 and calendar reform was delayed for over a century until another German, the mathematician Christopher Clavius finished the project for Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. However, even this new Gregorian calendar, the same one (with minor reforms) in use today, was not adopted in many parts of the world until decades or even centuries later (1700 in Protestant Germany, 1751 in Great Britain).
Below are the twelve months in their Latin, German and English forms. Also see the older Germanic terms used before the 18th century - listed below this chart.
Latin Loan Words
Time and Calendar Glossary
Karl der Große und die Monate
Around 800, Charlemagne (Karl der Große) created official Old German (Altdeutsch) terms for the months. These were used until around the 15th century, when other German terms came into use - from about the 15th to the 18th century.
(still used in Austria)
(wine harvest month)
Latin in German
A related article on taking advantage of Latin-based vocabulary in German and English. From your Guide.
Latin Loan Words
An annotated glossary with Latin-based vocabulary in German and English.
An annotated glossary comparing day names in the three languages.
An annotated glossary comparing city and town names in the three languages.
A calendar of celebrations, feasts and holidays in the German-speaking world.
German Almanac - Tatsachen
Our book of facts in German and English. From the chemical elements to verbs.
Date and Time Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary of calendar and clock terms.
Lektion 12: German for Beginners
Lesson 12 of our free online German course is about the calendar and appointments.
German for Beginners - Contents
Our free online German course.
All of the annotated glossaries on this site - from aerospace to travel.
All of the grammar resources on this site.
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