The Pure Solar Lunar Calendar of the Anglo-Saxons


Bede (672 – 735) was an English monk at the monastery at Monkwearmouth and its companion monastery in modern Jarrow, County Durham, both of which were then in the Kingdom of Northumbria. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work entitled Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title “The Father of English History”. His nickname was ‘The Venerable’, and therefore his Latin name became Bēda Venerābilis. Bede was a skilled linguist and translator, and his work made the early Latin and Greek writings much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons. Bede’s monastery had access to an impressive library.


In 725, Bede wrote a Latin treatise entitled De temporum ratione (The Reckoning of Time). This treatise includes an introduction to the traditional ancient and medieval view of the Cosmos, including an explanation of how our spherical home planet influenced the changing length of daylight, of how the seasonal motion of the sun Helios and the moon Luna influenced the changing appearance of the new moon phase at evening twilight, and a quantitative relation between the changes of the tides at a given place and the daily motion of the moon Luna. In this treatise, Bede included a chapter on De Mensibus Anglorum (The English Months), by which he preserved the Anglo-Saxon lore on the pure solar lunar calendar.


The early Anglo-Saxons divided the solar cycle in pure lunar cycles. In Old English each pure lunar cycle was called a ‘monath’, spelled as monað or monaþ. The symbols ð or þ originated from the Rune alphabet, both representing ‘th’. The Old Frisian word for month was ‘mōnath’, and the German word for month is still ‘monat’. Later on, the Old English word ‘monath’ (meaning ‘moonth’) became shortened to ‘month’.


On average, the lunar cycle lasts about 29.5 days. A full solar cycle equals about 12.37 lunar cycles. That is why the pure solar lunar calendar has about once every three years a thirteenth month. This additional month was added in the middle of the summer season. The first summer month (or monath) was called ‘ærra litha’ (ærra means ‘former’, ‘first’ or ‘preceding’, and litha (or liða) comes from the verb ‘lithian’ (or ‘líðian’), meaning to travel, to sail, or to glide). The second summer month was called ‘æftera litha’ (æftera means ‘follower’). In the years with a thirteenth month, it was inserted as the third litha monath, named ‘thri-lithi’. Bede writes that “Litha means ‘gentle’ or ‘navigable’, because in these summer months the calm breezes are gentle and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea.”





























The last month of the summer was called ‘weod-monath’ (weed month). The word weod (weed) referred to herbs and grass, as well as things we nowadays think of as weeds. Bede explains that “Weod-monath means ‘month of tares’ (vetches), for they are plentiful then.”


The first month of Autumn was named ‘halig-monath’ (holy month). Bede comments that the name refers to a “month of sacred rites”. This was a time of thanks for the safe return of ships from sea and for the fruits of the summer harvest.


The first month of Autumn was named ‘winter-fylleth’. This was the month to fill the winter stock. Bede points out that originally the year was divided into only two seasons, summer and winter. The six months in which the days are longer than the nights was the summer, and the other six were the winter. These winter season of six months started at the full moon phase of the ‘winter-fylleth’ month, therefore also meaning ‘the fully filled moon at the start of the winter’. After filling the winter stock, the cattle that would probably not survive the winter were slaughtered in the following month called ‘blot-monath’ (blood month).


The midwinter was called ‘geol’ (or ‘geola’), pronounced as ‘yule’. The Old English name for the hart of this mid winter period was ‘yuletide’. The first midwinter month was named ‘ærra geola’ (former midwinter month), while the second midwinter month was named ‘æftera geola’ (following midwinter month). According to Bede, the year began on ‘modra-necht’ (or ‘modra-niht’). This “Mothers’ Night” corresponds to the longest night of the year.


After the midwinter months came the ‘sol-monath’, literally meaning the ‘mud month’. The last month of the wintery half year was named ‘hreth-monath’ (or ‘hreðmonað’). Bede writes that this month is named for the goddess Hretha, also known as the ‘glory goddess’. In ancient Germania, this month was named ‘Retmonat’ or ‘Redtimonet’. Nowadays this month is know as March, named after the red planet Mars.


The first month of the summery half year was named ‘eoster-monath’. Bede writes that this month was named after a goddess Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated at this time. In Old High German, this feast was named Ostara. The start of this summery half year was the full moon phase in this month. Then it was celebrated that the length of the day time has taken over the length of night time. This passing over became know as ‘Passover’. In archaic English, it was named ‘Paschal’. In many other languages we find similar names, like Pesach (Hebrew), Pâques (French), Paaske (Danish), Pasen (Dutch), Cáisg (Scottish Gaelic).


The second month of the summery half year was named ‘thri-milce’, meaning the month of three milkings. According to Bede, this name originated from the fact that in this month the cattle were milked three times a day, as such was the fertility of Germania, from whence the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain.


This proofs beyond any doubt that this pure solar lunar calendar of the Anglo-Saxons originating from Germania predated the Roman calendar, which was later forced upon all conquered peoples by the Vatican control group.


© 2015 September 2 – : Wholly ScienceJohan Oldenkamp