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New York Times Crossword Puzzle Gothic

For many historians, old calendars discovered on historical sites are like guides or tips for solving a puzzle (a historical puzzle, that is). Why? Because unlike our calendars today that only contain numbers and the names of months and days, ancient calendars tend to contain more information. Feast days and important historical events, for example, are well chronicled in most ancient calendars. The language and form of writing used in the calendars, on the other hand, can reveal the culture of the people who used the calendar. With all this information, calendars can indeed help historians solve a historical puzzle, although not if the calendar itself is part of the puzzle.

Such is the case with the Gothic calendar or the calendar used by the Goths, an East Germanic tribe that originated from Scandinavia. Historical documents pertaining to the Goths are rare, and the Gothic calendar that was once found in a Gothic church did not provide enough aid for historians to know more about their history. Why? Because the Gothic calendar was incomplete. In fact, the calendar contained only two months, which historians have interpreted as pertaining to the months of October and November.

Because of the extreme lack of details, even the exact names of the months used in Gothic calendars are not known to historians (except for the months of October and November). Some historians, however, have attempted to reconstruct the calendar and have come up with the following names: Sulamenoths (January), Hrothimenoths (February), Austramenoths (March), Thrimilukimenoths (April), Fruma Linthja (May), Afar Linthja (June), Wiudamenoths (July), Hailagamenoths (August), Wintrufulliths (September), Blotamenoths (October), Fruma Jiuleis (November), and Afarjiuleis (December).

Just like our present calendar system, Gothic calendars are also made up of a seven-day week. Again, the names and the details about these days were not clear either in the discovered Gothic calendar or on any other historical documents pertaining to the Goths. However, using various sources, including the Bible, some historians were able to come up with the following names: Fraujinsdags (Lord's Day), Kirikadags (Church day), Arjaussdags, Midjawiko, Pintadags, Pareinsdags, and Sambatodags.

With names that only Germans and historians can probably decipher, there is not much for us to understand about the history and culture of the Goths from the Gothic calendar; not even from the one reconstructed by some historians. And until the time that other historical documents pertaining to the Goths and the Gothic calendar can be found, the calendar probably remains only a part of the historical puzzle.

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