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French Republican Calendar

Year I
Autumn VendemaireWine Sep 22, 1792
BrumaireMist Oct 22, 1792
Frimaire Frost Nov 21, 1792
Winter NivoseSnow Dec 21, 1792
PluvioseRain Jan 20, 1793
VentoseWind Feb 19, 1793
Spring GerminalBudding Mar 21, 1793
FlorealFlowering Apr 20, 1793
PrairialMeadows May 20, 1793
Summer MessidorReaping Jun 19, 1793
Thermidor Heat Jul 19, 1793
FructidorFruit Aug 18, 1793
Sansculottides Complementary Sep 17-21, 1793.
The republican calendar was not the least curious production of the great French Revolution. Royalty was abolished in Prance by a decree of the National Convention on the 21st of September, 1792, and the following day, on the proposition of one of its members, that for the future all publicacts should be dated as of year I. of the French republic, the convention decreed that it should be so.

This was only the first step towards the formation of a new calendar, including a modification not only of the year of our Lord, but also of the days and the months,in fact, creating a totally new order of things in this respect. The Public Instruction Committee of the Convention was charged with the work of presenting an entirely new calendar. Accordingly on the evening of Sept. 19, 1793, G. Romme, of the Committee, made his report. The decree of the national convention, which establishes this somewhat extraordinary innovation, was that of the 5th of October, 1793, modified shortly afterwards by another decree of the 4th day of Frimaire year II. of the republic, which finally regulated the new calendar. It was intituled "A decree on the cera, the commencement and the organization of the year, and on the names of the days and months".

The vulgar era was abolished and the year began with the autumnal equinox Sept. 22. Each year was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and each month into three weeks of 10 days each, or decadi. This left, between the ending of the year and the falling of the next equinox, five days and over. There were then added five days, called Complementary, or SansCoulottides, with a sixth at the end of the third year, as the old month February was accustomed to accommodate leap year.

Philippe-Francois-Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine, the poet, contributed the really beautiful nomenclature of the months. The Convention declined, however, to accept his further suggestion that the names of the days should be designated, one decadi by plants, another by vegetables, and the third by animals. Fabre d'Eglatine was a poet and member of the Convention. Competing in the Floral Games at the Academy of Toulouse he won the prize of the Eglantine d'Or, adding the flower henceforth to his surname. Dwelling in the quarter of the Cordeliers in Paris he identified himself with the Club of Cordeliers and with Danton. His most important work in the Convention was in relation to the Revolutionary Calendar. He composed the sonorous and descriptive names of the months and divisions of time. He was condemned and executed with Danton slong with many others, who were guillotined at Paris, April 5, 1794.

It will be observed that, as a mnemonic aid, all the months of the same season had the same termination. As all the public acts of the French nation were dated according to this altered style for a period of more than twelve years, its record here may be useful. Though this era commenced on the 22d September, 1792, its establishment was not decreed until the 4th Frimaire of the year II. (24th November, 1793.)

After the fall of Robespierre an attempt was made to return to the old calendar, but it remained in official use until the Year XIV of the Republic, or 1806 of the old era. In many parts of France it was really never observed. This Calendar continued in use for twelve years. The revolutionary calendar existed until the 10th Nivose, year of the Republic XIV. being the 31st December, 1805, when the Gregorian mode of calculation was restored at the instance of Napoleon.

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Page last modified: 07-08-2018 23:39:49 ZULU