Latin/Time Lesson 2

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. Here you can peruse a new lesson in Latin, in a simple format. If you would like to catch up, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

We are studying the Latin terms for time; last lesson covered the diēs hebdomadis (days of the week), and now we will go into the mēnsēs annī (months of the year). We’ll keep it simple for our sample sentences, and you can go directly there if you wish. The least you need to know: The Roman calendar is the basis of ours, but it started out with March as the first month of the year and only 10 months. In about 700 B.C. January and February were added – this is why September through December are the 9th through 12th months of our calendar instead of the 7th through 10th, and it also explains why leap year days are added at the end of February. And in 45 B.C. Julius Caesar reformed the calendar to be close to our current, Gregorian form. The months Quintilis and Sextilis were renamed July and August after Julius and Augustus.

Cavē Īdūs Mārtiās

If you want a fuller explanation, this is a helpful site, as well as this and the Wikipedia entry. The Romans counted backwards from the Kalends, Nones or Ides of each month; to record dates as the Romans did would be very complex and most modern sources simplify it. For example, the Latin Vicipaedia and the Nūntiī Latīnī both give their datelines in this format:

Veneris die 25 mensis Martii 2016 (“on Friday 25 of the month of March 2016” literally translated).

But at Nova Rōma, which tries to recreate Roman culture as authentically as possible, the same date is given

hodie a.d. VIII Kal. Apr. MMDCCLXIX a.u.c or “today the 8th day before the Kalends of April, 2,769 years from the founding of the city” (with Rome being founded in 753 B.C.)

We are not going to make anyone count backwards to determine the date, because it is likely to make your head hurt. One more thing; the names of the months can be expressed as masculine nouns, but originally they were adjectives, and agreed with the nouns they modified – so they are technically masculine adjectives to agree with the unspoken noun mēnsis. In some older forms the adjective form is still used and may be feminine, as in Cavē Īdūs Mārtiās. I list the noun form first, then the adjective form. They are either 2nd declension or 3rd declension in form.

New Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
Kalendae, Kalendārum (pl.) the Kalends, the first day of every month The form Calendae, Calendārum (pl.) is also accepted
Nōnae, Nōnārum (pl.) the Nones, the 7th day of March, May, July, October, and the 5th of all other months
annus, ī year
mēnsis, mēnsis, mēnsium (m.) month
Īdūs, Īduum (f.)(pl.) the Ides The 15th day of March, May, July, October, and the 13th of all other months
prīdiē (adv.) the day before used with acc.
Iānuārius, ī (Iānuārius, a, um) January
Februārius, ī (Februārius, a, um) February
Mārtius, ī (Mārtius, a, um) March
Aprīlis, is (Aprīlis, e) April
Maius, ī (Maius, a, um) May
Iūnius, ī (Iūnius, a, um) June
Iūlius, ī (Iūlius, a, um) July
Augustus, ī (Augustus, a, um) August
September, Septembris (er, is, e) September
Octōber, Octōbris (er, is, e) October
November, Novembris (er, is, e) November
December, Decembris (er, is, e) December

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Mēnsēs annī the months of the year
per multōs annōs for many years
inter multōs mēnsēs for/ during many months
Iānuāriō in January
mēnse Aprīlī in the month of April
Līberī mēnse Februāriō chocolātum edunt. The children eat chocolate in the month of February.
Cavē Īdūs Mārtiās! Beware the Ides of March/ watch out for March 15!
Aprīlis ante Maium venit. April comes before May.
Kalendae Iūniae the Kalends of June, the first of June
prīdiē Kalendās Iūniās the day before the Kalends of June, May 31
ā Maiō ad Iūnium from May to June
ā Februāriō ad Aprīlem from February to April
prīdiē Nōnās Iūlias the day before the Nones of July/ the 6th of July
Iūlius, Augustus, et September July, August, and September
Mēnse Augustō in hortō labōrāmus. In the month of August we work in the garden.
ā Septembrī ad Decembrem from September to December
Octōbrī arbōrēs sunt pulchrae. In October the trees are pretty.
Amīcus meus Kalendīs Novembribus venit. My friend is coming on the first (Kalends) of November.

Practice[edit | edit source]

Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

Other than the odd names for the fixed points of the month (which are by no means essential for every Latin student to master), the names of the months are pretty easy for English speakers. Next time we’ll go into some of the other time vocabulary, and we should probably also start learning numbers soon. Valēte et habēte bonam fortūnam!