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Germanic calendar


The Germanic calendars were the regional calendars used amongst the early Germanic peoples, prior to the adoption of the Julian calendar in the Early Middle Ages.

The Germanic peoples had names for the months which varied by region and dialect, which were later replaced with local adaptations of the Roman month names. Records of Old English and Old High German month names date to the 8th and 9th centuries, respectively. Old Norse month names are attested from the 13th century. Like most pre-modern calendars, the reckoning used in early Germanic culture was likely lunisolar. As an example, the Runic calendar developed in medieval Sweden is lunisolar, fixing the beginning of the year at the first full moon after winter solstice.

As in all ancient calendars, the Germanic calendar before the adoption of the Julian one would have been lunisolar, the months corresponding to lunations. Tacitus in his Germania (ch. 11) writes that the Germanic peoples observed the lunar months.

The lunisolar calendar is reflected in the Germanic term "month" (Old English , Old Saxon , Old Norse , and Old High German ,Gothic , ) being a derivation of the word for "moon", —which shares its ancestry with the Greek mene "moon", men "month", and Latin mensis "month".


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