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CultureAbbreviated Months (7bre, 8bre, 9bre, 10bre and Xbre)

Here's a little tutorial that will help with reading the last four months of the year. In written French there is an abbreviated style with numbers replacing letters that have the same or similar sound. Today in France this is found for example on some nineteenth (and early twentieth) century gravestones and documents.

This style has its roots in the 10 month Calendar of Romulus. That calendar didn't have the months January and February. It started with March and ended with December. So the months July through December, were named for their sequence. That is fifth month – Quintilis (Latin for fifth), sixth month – Sextilis (Latin for sixth), seventh month – September (septem is Latin seven), eighth month – October (octo is Latin for eight), ninth month – November (novem is Latin for nine) and tenth month – December (decem is Latin for ten).

Quintilis for a time kept its original name but changed to Julius – July in his honor of Julius Caesar. Sextilis also kept its original name but was changed to Augustus – August in in honor of the first Roman emperor, Augustus.

The months September to December have kept their original names even if they are no longer numbered correctly. So in this style the months can be written as follows in French:

  • 7bre - septembre (septem-bre) = September
  • 8bre - octobre (octo-bre) = October
  • 9bre - novembre (novem-bre) = November
  • 10bre or Xbre - décembre (decem-bre) = December

Examples

Postcard with 7bre for September.

Gravestone with 8bre for October.

9bre for November.

Xbre for December.

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