The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook

By Philip G. Dwyer; Peter McPhee | Go to book overview

A NOTE ON THE REVOLUTIONARY CALENDAR

On 14 Vendémiaire II (5 October 1793) a new calendar was established by a 'Decree establishing the French Era', in order to mark the significance of the new age opened by the proclamation of the Republic on 22 September 1792 (retrospectively the first day of Year I of the new era). The calendar represented a repudiation of the Gregorian calendar and its saints' names; instead, there would be twelve 'rational' months of thirty days, each with three décades, and each day would have a name drawn from nature: in Frimaire, for example, honey, juniper tree and cork. The décadi or tenth days were named after farm implements such as pickaxe and shovel. The calendar lasted until New Year's Day 1806; its termination was part of Napoleon's accommodation with the Church.

Autumn:

Vendémiaire (month of grape harvest)

22 September-21 October

Brumaire (month of fog)

22 October-20 November

Frimaire (month of frost)

21 November-20 December

Winter:

Nivôse (month of snow)

21 December-19 January

Pluviôse (month of rain)

20 January-18 February

Ventôse (month of wind)

19 February-20 March

Spring:

Germinal (month of budding)

21 March-19 April

Floréal (month of flowers)

20 April-19 May

Prairial (month of meadows)

20 May-18 June

Summer:

Messidor (month of harvest)

19 June-18 July

Thermidor (month of heat)

19 June-17 August

Fructidor (month of fruit)

18 August-16 September

Sans-culottides: 'complementary' days from 17 to 21 September, plus an extra day in leap years. The four-year cycle was known as the franciade, 'in memory of the Revolution which, after four years of effort, has guided France to republican government'.

-xv-

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The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • A Note on the Revolutionary Calendar xv
  • Chronology xvi
  • 1 - The Ancien RÉgime Challenged 1
  • 2 - Revolutionary Action 16
  • 3 - Creating a Regenerated France 24
  • 4 - Exclusions and Inclusions 35
  • 5 - The Church and the Revolutionary State 43
  • 6 - Monarchy and Revolution 51
  • 7 - The Revolution at War 60
  • 8 - The End of the Monarchy 68
  • 9 - The Peasantry and the Rural Environment 80
  • 10 - A New Civic Culture 84
  • 11 - The Republic at War 90
  • 12 - Revolt in the VendÉe 97
  • 13 - The Terror at Work 103
  • 14 - The Thermidorian Reaction 115
  • 15 - The Directory 121
  • 16 - Bonaparte 128
  • 17 - Law and Order 140
  • 18 - Rule by Plebiscite 149
  • 19 - Governing the Empire 155
  • 20 - Resistance and Repression 169
  • 21 - The Russian Catastrophe 175
  • 22 - Collapse 187
  • 23 - The Hundred Days 193
  • 24 - French Men and Women Reflect 202
  • Index 209
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