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De mensibus Anglorum
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Antiqvi avtem Anglorvm popvli (neqve enim mihi congrvvm videtvr aliarvm gentivm annalem observantiam dicere et meae reticere) ivxta cvrsvm lunae svos menses compvtavere vnde et a luna Hebraeorvm et Graecorvm more nomen accipivnt Si qvidem apvd eos luna mona mensis monath appellatvr Primvsqve eorvm mensis qvidem Latini Ianvarivm vocant dicitvr Givli Deinde Febrvarivs Solmonath Martivs Rhedmonath Aprilis Eostvrmonath Maivs Thrimilchi Iunivs Lida Iulivs similiter Lida Avgvstvs Weodmonath September Halegmonath October Winterfylleth November Blotmonath December Givli eodem Ianvarivs nomine vocatvr
Antiquī autem Anglōrum populī (neque enim mihi congruum vidētur, aliārum gentium annālem observantiam dīcere, et meæ reticere) juxtā cursum lūnæ suōs mēnsēs computāvēre; unde et ā lūnā Hebræōrum et Græcōrum mōre nōmen accipiunt. Sī quidem apud eōs lūna mōna, mēnsis mōnath appellātur. Prīmusque eōrum mēnsis, quidem Latīnī Jānuārium vocant, dīcitur Gīuli. Deinde Februārius Solmōnath, Mārtius Rhēdmōnath, Aprīlis Ēosturmōnath, Māius Thrimilchi, Jūnius Līda, Jūlius similiter Līda, Augustus Wēodmōnath, September Hālegmōnath, Octōber Winterfylleth, November Blōtmōnath, December Gīuli, eōdem Jānuārius nōmine, vocātur.
Now the ancients of the English people (for it does not seem proper to me to tell about the way other people follow the years and keep silent about mine) reckoned the months following the course of the moon; hence did they get their name from the moon, after the fashion of the Hebrew and the Greek. For the moon among them is called mona and the month monath. And the first of their months, that the Latins call January, is named Giuli. Then February is named Solmonath, March Rhedmonath, April Eosturmonath, May Thrimilchi, June Lida, July also Lida, August Weodmonath, September Halegmonath, October Winterfylleth, November Blotmonath, December Giuli, the same name as January.



Incipiebant avtem annvm ab octavo Calendarvm Ianvariarvm die vbi nvnc natale Domini celebramvs Et ipsam noctem nvnc nobis sacrosanctvm tvnc gentili vocabvlo Modranicht id est matrvm noctem appellabant ob cavsam vt svspicamvr ceremoniarvm qvas in ea pervigiles agebant
Incipiēbant autem annum ab octāvō Calendārum Jānuāriārum diē, ubī nunc nātāle Dominī celebrāmus. Et ipsam noctem nunc nōbīs sacrōsānctum, tunc gentīlī vocābulō Mōdranicht, id est, mātrum noctem, appellābant, ob causam, ut suspicāmur cēremōniārum quās in eā pervigilēs agēbant.
But they started the year on the eighth day before the calends of January, when we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. And this very night, that is now most holy to us, they called then by the heathen word Modranicht, that is the night of the mothers, supposedly because of rites that they completed by staying up all through the night.



Et qvotiescvnqve communis esset annvs ternos menses lunares singvlis anni temporibvs dabant Cvm vero embolismvs hoc est XIII mensivm lunarivm annvs occvrreret svperflvvm mensem aestati apponebant ita vt tvnc tres menses simvl Lida nomine vocarentvr et ob id annvs ille Thrilidi cognominabatvr habens IV menses aestatis ternos vt semper temporvm caeterorvm Item principaliter annvm totvm in dvo tempora hyemis videlicet et aestatis dispartiebant sex illos menses qvibvs longiores noctibvs dies svnt aestati tribvendo sex reliqvos hyemi Vnde et mensem qvo hyemalia tempora incipiebant Winterfylleth appellabant composito nomine ab hyeme et plenilunio qvia videlicet a plenilunio eivsdem mensis hyems sortiretvr initivm
Et quotiēscunque commūnis esset annus, ternōs mēnsēs lūnārēs singulīs annī temporibus dabant. Cum vērō embolismus, hoc est, XIII mēnsium lūnārium annus occurreret, superfluum mēnsem æstāti appōnēbant, ita ut tunc trēs mēnsēs simul Līda nōmine vocārentur, et ob id annus ille Thrilīdi cognōminābātur, habēns IV mēnsēs æstātis, ternōs ut semper temporum cæterōrum. Item prīncipāliter annum tōtum in duo tempora, hyemis, vidēlicet, et æstātis dispartiēbant, sex illōs mēnsēs quibus longiōrēs noctibus diēs sunt æstātī tribuendō, sex reliquōs hyemī. Unde et mēnsem quō hyemālia tempora incipiēbant Winterfylleth appellābant, compositō nōmine ab hyeme et plēnilūniō, quia vidēlicet ā plēnilūniō ejusdem mēnsis hyems sortirētur initium.
Every time the year was a common one, they assigned three lunar months to every of its seasons. But when an embolism happened, that is, a year of thirteen lunar months, they added the additional month in summer, so that there were three months called by the same name Lida; therefore was that year known as Thrilidi, and it had four summer months, while all the other seasons still had three. Moreover, they originally divided the whole year into two seasons, winter, of course, and summer, and ascribed to summer the six months when days are longer than the nights, and to winter the six remaining months. Hence did they call Winterfylleth the month from which the winter times began, by a name compounded from winter and full moon, evidently because the beginning of the winter was set from the full moon onwards of that very month.



Nec ab re est si et caetera mensivm eorvm qvid significent nomina interpretari curemvs Menses Givli a conversione solis in avctvm diei qvia unvs eorvm praecedit alivs svbseqvitvr nomina accipivnt Solmonath dici potest mensis placentarvm qvas in eo diis svis offerebant Rhedmonath a deo illorvm Rheda cvi in illo sacrificabant nominatvr Eostvrmonath qvi nvnc paschalis mensis interpretetvr qvondam a dea illorvm qvae Eostre vocabatvr et cvi in illo festa celebrabant nomen habvit a cvivs nomine nvnc paschale tempvs cognominant consveto antiqvae observationis vocabvlo gavdia novae solemnitatis vocantes Thrimilchi dicebatvr qvod tribvs vicibvs in eo per diem pecora mvlgebantvr Talis enim erat qvondam ubertas Britanniae vel Germaniae de qva in Britanniam natio intravit Anglorvm Lida dicitvr blandvs sive navigabilis qvod in vtroqve mense et blanda sit serenitas avrarvm et navigari soleant aeqvora Weodmonath mensis zizaniorvm qvod ea tempestate maxime abvndent Halegmonath mensis sacrorvm Winterfylleth potest dici composito novo nomine hyeme plenilunivm Blotmonath mensis immolationvm qvia in ea pecora qvae occisuri erant diis svis voverent Gratias tibi bone Iesu qvi nos ab his vanis avertens tibi sacrificia lavdis offere donasti
Nec ab rē est sī et cætera mēnsium eōrum quid significent nōmina interpretārī cūrēmus. Mēnsēs Gīuli ā conversiōne sōlis in auctum diēī, quia ūnus eōrum præcēdit, alius subsequitur, nōmina accipiunt. Solmōnath dīcī potest mēnsis placentārum, quās in eō diīs suīs offerēbant; Rhēdmōnath ā deō illōrum Rhēda, cuī in illō sacrificābant, nōminātur; Ēosturmōnath, quī nunc paschālis mēnsis interpretētur, quondam ā deā illōrum quæ Ēostre vocābātur, et cuī in illō fēsta celebrābant, nōmen habuit, ā cujus nōmine nunc paschāle tempus cognōminant; cōnsuētō antiquæ observātiōnis vocābulō gaudia novæ solemnitātis vocantēs. Thrimilchi dīcēbātur, quod tribus vicibus in eō per diem pecora mulgēbantur. Tālis enim erat quondam ūbertās Britanniæ, vel Germāniæ, dē quā in Britanniam nātiō intrāvit Anglōrum. Līda dīcitur blandus, sīve nāvigābilis, quod in utrōque mēnse et blanda sit serēnitās aurārum, et nāvigārī soleant æquora. Wēodmōnath mēnsis zīzaniōrum, quod eā tempestāte maxime abundent. Hālegmōnath mēnsis sacrōrum. Winterfylleth potest dīcī compositō novō nōmine hyeme plēnilūnium. Blōtmōnath mēnsis immolātiōnum, quia in eā pecora quæ occīsūrī erant diīs suīs vovērent. Grātiās tibi, bone Jēsū, quī nōs, ab hīs vānīs āvertēns, tibi sacrificia laudīs offere dōnāstī.
We do not stray away from the topic if we now deal with interpreting the name of all others of their months. The months called Giuli get their name from the return of the sun towards the increase of the day, because one of them comes before and the other follows it. Solmonath can be told to be the months of cakes, which they then offered to their gods; Rhedmonath is named after their god Rheda, to whom they sacrificed at that time; Eosturmonath, which is now interpreted as the month of Easter, once held its name from their goddess called Eostre, for whom they then celebrated festivals, and by whose name they now refer to the time of Easter: they call the joys of the new solemnity by the customary name of the old observance. Thrimilchi was thus named because the beasts were then milked thrice a day. For such was then the of fruitfulness of Britain or of Germany, whence the English nation came into Britain. Lida means “gentle” or “navigable” because on both these months the quiet breezes are gentle, and they then used to sail the calm seas. Weodmonath is the month of tares, because there are great plenty of them at that time. Halegmonath is the month of holy rites. Winterfylleth can be expressed by a new compound name, the winter-full-moon. Blotmonath is the month of immolations, because they then devoted to their gods the beasts that were to be slaughtered. Thanks to thee, good Jesus, who turned us away from this nonsense and granted us to offer thee praises in sacrifice.

Commentary
De temporum ratione “The Reckoning of Time” is a treatise written in 725 by the Venerable Bede, an English monk of Northumbria and the most eminent scholar of his day. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church in 1899. His most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”, is one of the most important historical sources about early Anglo-Saxon England, and gained him the nickname of “Father of English History”.

The core of De temporum ratione relates to the computus, that is the calculation of the date of Easter, but the treatise also deals with a variety of related topics such as the measurement of time and its astronomical bases, and describes several ancient calendars. In particular, the chapter 15 De mensibus Anglorum “Of the Months of the English” lists the names of the months used by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons calendar. They are the direct source of the month names used by the Hobbits, as J. R. R. Tolkien presents them in the Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings: Afteryule, Solmath, Rethe, Astron, Thrimidge, Forelithe, Afterlithe, Wedmath, Halimath, Winterfilth, Blotmath, Foreyule. In practice, the Hobbit names are but modernizations of Old English month names, simulating what their phonetic evolution would have been if they had remained in use. In the “pseudo-translation” frame by which Tolkien claims to translate old chronicles from the Red Book of the Westmarch, he resorts to this method to represent in fiction the specifically Hobbit words of the Common Speech (Westron). There are a few other instances of such “typically Hobbit” words, for instance mathom, from Old English máðm, máðum “precious thing, treasure”.

We have supplemented the text with macrons to mark etymologically long vowels.

The text’s transcription emulates the capitalis rustica, a style of the Latin alphabet that was in use in the imperial Rome and Late Antiquity for writing on papyrus or parchment with a reed pen. We made use of Hasan Guven’s typeface Vatican Rough Letters.

References
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Lord of the Rings. London: HarperCollins, 1999. 3 vol. ISBN 0-261-10235-1.
Beda Venerabilis. De Temporum Ratione. Turnhout: Brepols, 1977. (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina CXXIII B, Bedae Venerabilis Opera, vol. VI,2). 🌍 Chronologie und Kalender.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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