French Revolutionary calendar


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French Revolutionary calendar,

the official calendarcalendar
[Lat., from Kalends], system of reckoning time for the practical purpose of recording past events and calculating dates for future plans. The calendar is based on noting ordinary and easily observable natural events, the cycle of the sun through the seasons with equinox
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 of France, Nov. 24, 1793–Dec. 31, 1805. Its introduction was decreed by the Convention on Oct. 5, 1793, but it was computed from Sept. 22, 1792, the autumnal equinox and the day after the proclamation of the republic. Supposedly philosophical and mathematical in its basis, it was divided into 12 months of 30 days (their names were invented by Fabre d'ÉglantineFabre d'Églantine, Philippe François Nazaire
, 1755–94, French dramatist and revolutionist. His chief work, Le Philinte de Molière (1790), was a sequel to Molière's Misanthrope.
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): Vendémiaire (vintage month); Brumaire (fog); Frimaire (sleet); Nivôse (snow); Pluviôse (rain); Ventôse (wind); Germinal (seed); Floréal (blossom); Prairial (pasture); Messidor (harvest); Thermidor (heat); Fructidor (fruit). The remaining five days, called sans-culottides, were feast days; they were named for Virtue, Genius, Labor, Reason, and Rewards, respectively. In leap years (the years III, VII, and XI) the extra day, the last of the year, was Revolution Day. The first day of the year (1 Vendémiaire) of year I, II, III, V, VI, and VII fell on Sept. 22 of the corresponding year A.D.; in the years IV, VIII, IX, X, XI, XIII, and XIV, it fell on Sept. 23; in the year XII, it fell on Sept. 24. There was no week; each month was divided into three decades of ten days each, with every 10th day (décadi) a day of rest. For the outstanding events known by the names of the revolutionary months in which they occurred, see VendémiaireVendémiaire
, first month of the French Revolutionary calendar. 13 Vendémiaire of the year iv (Oct. 5, 1795) was the day when Napoleon Bonaparte, until then an obscure general, won fame by putting down a serious insurrection.
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; BrumaireBrumaire
, second month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 18 (actually 18–19) Brumaire (Nov. 9–10, 1799), engineered chiefly by Sieyès, overthrew the Directory and established the Consulate under Napoleon.
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; ThermidorThermidor
, 11th month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) marked the downfall of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror.
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; FructidorFructidor
, 12th month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 18 Fructidor (Sept. 4, 1797), in which General Augereau was a key figure, annulled the previous elections and removed Lazare Carnot and François de Barthélemy from the Directory.
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