View Full Version : Germanic Chronology: Did the ancient Germans have a starting point in their reckoning of years?

Friday, December 11th, 2009, 09:59 PM
Hey writing a paper for school and I cant find this answer anywhere! i was just wondering if the ancient Germans had a starting point in their reckoning of years (such as B.C./A.D/A.U.C. and so on), and if so what year would year 0 by their reckoning?
Thanks. :)

Friday, December 11th, 2009, 11:52 PM
Dehe, I don't think there is a specific Germanic calendar with a first year (I know there are ancient Germanic calendars with months and all, but no year 0 where their history starts). Germanic lands are considered prehistory until the early Middle Ages, because the Germanic tribes before the end of the Roman Empire didn't keep record of their history. They then adopted the "Christian" calendar, with year 0 at the birth of Jesus. I wouldn't be surprised that the pagan Vikings may have started a calendar to number years but I personally never heard of one.

Saturday, December 12th, 2009, 12:22 AM
Norman, in all of the sources that i have poured over in the past 3 hours the closest was one which said that often they would use a big event in their history such as five years after the battle of such and such and so on (actually i think that document was on this forum as a matter of fact). So i suppose thats the answer (?)...Either way, I've managed to circumvent the topic in my paper, so yay! But thank you for your time guys i appreciate it.

Hauke Haien
Saturday, December 12th, 2009, 12:26 AM
Germanic calendars do not count a linear stream of time with a beginning and a teleological end, they organise cyclical harvest years, in medieval times extending to Metonic cycles of 19 years (on rune/prime staffs).

History is passed along orally in order to preserve its meaning rather than a succession of events and since this meaning is thought to be eternal, it makes no difference whether it was only witnessed last year or 3000 years ago.