Wheat harvest, wine harvest, war.

There was a traditional Greek saying which I remember reading, which translated as “Wheat harvest, wine harvest, war.”

The idea was that in an agrarian society warfare was often seasonal.  In Greece the summer was too hot and the warfare was mostly in the winter and spring, starting just after the wine harvest.

In order to give the calendar for my fantasy setting an interesting and agrarian feel I intend to give each month a name based on what should be done within that month.

Thus there is the wine harvest month, but also a wheat sewing month, a livestock slaughtering month etc.  I will note down a vague timeline of seasonal activities here and then decide which activity the month should be named after.

a useful link is here: http://www.penultimateharn.com/history/medievalfarmingyear.html

By Thys Fyre

I first encountered this poem on the blog above. It seems to be an anonymous English poem of the 14th or 15th century (Raymond Oliver, Poems without names: the English Lyric 1200-1500).

Januar: By thys fyre I warme my handys

Februar: And with my spade I delfe my landys

Marche: Here I sette my thynge to sprynge

Aprile: And here I here the fowlis synge

Maii: I am as lught as burdie in bowe

Junii: And I wede my corn well mow

Julii: With my sythe my mede I mowe

Auguste: And here I shere my corne full lowe

September: And with my flaylle I erne my brede

October: And here I sawe my whete so rede

November: At Martynesmasse I kylle my syne

December: And at Chritemasse I drynke redde wyne

another useful link is here : http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval_farming.htm

January: the hedge moon

Febuary: The manure moon

March: Birthing moon

April: plough moon

May: the harrow moon

June: Haymaking moon

July: Possibly the war moon.

August: Harvest moon

September: Threshing moon

October: Wine moon

November: Blood moon (slaughter of livestock)

December: The feasing moon

13th month: The hidden moon.

They use a lunar callendar of 13 months, each 28 days long, so that any illiterate can easily tell when it is in the year.  This gives 364 days in the year.

Every generation, 22 years, there is an extra month, called the passing of the age.  This month follows after the war month and helps to bring the callendar in line with the seasons of the lunar cycle.  This is not a perfect correction, but the system has not been in place for long enough for it to cause any great problem.