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Το ῎Ανευ Κλίσι Ελληνική
Greek Without Inflexions

το χρόνο

The original version of ΤΑΚΕ 'existed' in a different time-line in which neither the Julian nor Gregorian calendar existed. It had a calendar in which the old Macedonian calendar had been modified and developed in a way very similar to the way Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII had modified the old Roman calendar in our world! Revised ΤΑΚΕ has dropped all this. What is given below deals with the modern internationally used Gregorian calendar; however, I have added, for those interested, an appendix outlining the old lunisolar calendar of the Athenians and the Macedonians, with a brief description of how I had modified the latter.

το ἡμέρα (The day)

The ΤΑΚΕ word ἡμέρα means 'day', both in the sense of a 24 hour period and also meaning 'daytime' as opposed to 'night'. The various parts of the 24 hour period are:

ὄρθρο (dawn)
δείλη (afternoon)
μεσό νυκτό (mid night)
πρώιο /'projjɔ/ (morning)
ἑσπέρα (evening)
μεσό ἡμέρα (mid day)
νυκτό (night)

The ΤΑΚΕ words for the units of time which make up a day are:

ὥρα (hour)λεπτό (minute)δευτερόλεπτο (second)

To ask the time, one says:
τίνο ὥρα ἔς; (What time is it? What's the time?)

When telling the time, there is a 'traditional' system used with analog clocks, and more modern system used with digital timepieces, on timetables etc. The table below illustrates the way time is told in ΤΑΚΕ.

Analog clock Digital clock, timetables etc.
(It's) one o'clock(ἔς) ἑνό (ὥρα) (It's) 13.00 hrs (It's 1.00 pm)(ἔς) δέκα τρία (ὥρα)
three o'clockτρία (ὥρα) 3.00 hrs (It's 3.00 am)τρία (ὥρα)
five past threeτρία και πέντε 3.05 (am)τρία και πέντε *
quarter past threeτρία και τέταρτο 3.15 (am)τρία δέκα πέντε
twenty-five past threeτρία και δίσδεκα πέντε 3.25 (am)τρία δίσδεκα πέντε
half past threeτρία και ἥμισυ 3.30 (am)τρία τρίσδεκα
twenty to fourτέσσαρα πλην δίσδεκα 3.40 (am)τρία τετρακίσδεκα
a quarter to fourτέσσαρα πλην τέταρτο 3.45 (am)τρία τετρακίσδεκα πέντε
ten to fourτέσσαρα πλην δέκα 3.50 (am)τρία πεντακίσδεκα

*In the digital/ 24 hour system, και (and) is used only before single digit numbers, i.e. where in English we say "oh" or "zero".


το ἐκ το ἑβδομάδο ἡμέρα (The days of the week)

In the classical period, the Greeks had no shorter grouping of days than the lunar month. But under the Roman Empire the seven-day week of the ancient Near-East gradually came into use from the time of Augustus onwards and was made official by Constantine in 321 CE. The are occasional references to days being assigned to each of the "seven planets" (i.e the sun, moon and five planets seen by the naked eye). But the usual Greek practice was simply to give them ordinal numbers in the Hebrew fashion and, following Hebrew, to call the last day of the week 'Sabbath" (Saturday).

Of course, all this was done nearly two millennia before the International Organization for Standardization nominated Monday as day 1 in 1988; so the ancient Hebrew and Greek numbering starts from Sunday. The Greeks modified the Hebrew system in that the first day is named the Dominical day (i.e. Lord's day) and Friday is 'Preparation' [for the Sabbath]. The Greek names for Monday through to Thursday are 2nd … 5th in the feminine form with ἡμέρα "understood". They came to be regarded as feminine nouns; I adopt the ΤΑΚΕ names as though the Greek forms are nouns. Therefore, the days of the week in ΤΑΚΕ are:

ΚυριακόΔευτέραΤρίτηΤετάρτηΠέμπτηΠαρασκευήΣάββατο or

For Σάββατο or Σάμβατο, see '3.6 Gemination' on the 'Orthography & Phonology' page.


το ἔτο (The year)

The four seasons of the year are:

ἔαρο (Spring)
φθινόπωρο (Autumn/ Fall)
θέρο (Summer)
χειμῶνο (Winter)

The ancient Greeks used a lunisolar calendar. the months each began with a new moon and lasted, in theory, for one lunation. The trouble was that each city state had its own version: its own names of months; its own method of intercalation; its own starting point!

Under the Roman Empire the Greeks came to use the Roman Calendar and, of course, still use it to this day, usually in the Gregorian version that is now commonly used internationally, but the older Julian version is still used by the Greeks for determining the date of Easter. Of course, whether using the Julian or Gregorian version, the names of the months are the same:

JanuaryἸανουάριο JulyἸούλιο
FebruaryΦεβρουάριο AugustΑὔγουστο
MarchΜάρτιο SeptemberΣεπτέμβριο
AprilἈπρίλιο OctoberὈκτώβριο
MayΜάϊo NovemberΝοέμβριο
JuneἸούνιο DecemberΔεκέμβριο

το ἡμερολογισμό (The date)

How the ancients expressed the day of the month
The ancient way of expressing the day of the month was complicated and differed in detail in different cities. It was connected with the moon's phases and divided the month into three decades, the last decade being a day short in the 29 day months. The first and the last days of the month had special names, the first being ἡ νουμηνία (← νοεμηνία) [ἡμέρα] "new moon [day]" and the last being ἡ ἕνη καὶ νέα [ἡμέρα] "the old and new [day]"; the other days were numbered according the decade they were in:
  1. The first decade was that of the "waxing month"; thus, for example, ἡ ἱσταμένου τοῦ μηνός τετάρτη [ἡμέρα] = the fourth [day] of the waxing month, i.e. the 4th of the month. However, in a Boiotian inscription we find Δαματρίω νιουμεινίη πετράτη (Attic: Δημητρίου νουμηνία τετάρτη) = 4th noumēnia of [the month] Demetrios, i.e. the first ten days were all noumēniai.
  2. As for the second decade, this is not entirely clear even with the Attic calendar where the 14th day of the month, for example, would, according to the French Wikipedia article on the Attic calendar, be ἡ μεσοῦντος τοῦ μηνός τετάρτη [ἡμέρα] (the fourth [day] of the middle of the month), whereas according to the English Wikipedia article on the Attic calendar, it would be ἡ τοῦ μηνός τετάρτη καὶ δεκάτη [ἡμέρα] (the fourteenth day of the month). There may well have been other variants in other cities.
  3. The decade was that of the "waning month" and both Wikipedia articles agree that in Athens the days were numbered downwards towards the end of the month; thus, for example, ἡ φθίνοντος τοῦ μηνός τετάρτη [ἡμέρα] = the fourth [day] of the waning month, i.e. the fourth day before the end. However, in the same Boiotian inscription quoted in 1 above, we find Ἀλαλκομενίω ϝικαστῆ κὴ ἓκτη (Attic: Ἀλαλκομενίου εἰκαστῆ καὶ ἓκτη) = 26th day of [the month] Alalkomenios. Thus clearly there were alternatives to the Athenian metodo.
How ΤΑΚΕ expresses the day of the month
Clearly as ΤΑΚΕ as it is using the modern Gregorian calendar it cannot employ ancient systems that refer to the waxing or waning moon. The obvious thing is to do just what the last Boiotian example above does, i.e. simply give ordinal position of the day irrespective of any moon phase, i.e. the 14th of the month will simply be το ἐκ το μηνό δέκατο τέταρτο [ἡμέρα]; if the month is named we will have, for example:
  • το ἐκ Ἰούλιο δέκατο τέταρτο [ἡμέρα] = the fourteenth [day] of July
  • Ἰούλ. 14´ = 14th July/ July 14
How ΤΑΚΕ expresses the year
Since at least the eighth century the western calendars, whether Julian or Gregorian have numbered years as anno Domini if they follow the conception and birth of Christ. Years before that are noted as being so many years before Christ. Anno Domini is Latin for "in-the-year of-the-Lord" and years are expressed by ordinal numbers agreeing with anno (masculine ablative singular); thus the year in which this current revision is being made is anno Domini bismillesimo undecimo "in the two-thousandth [and] eleventh year of the Lord".

The Gregorian calendar, however, and the year-numbering system associated with it, is now the most widely used calendar in the world; indeed, for decades, it has been the de facto global standard. It has, therefore, become quite common to find years designated as of the Common Era rather than anno Domini, e.g. AD 2011 or 2011 CE.

In ΤΑΚΕ we designate the years as ΚΕ = Κυριακό Ἐποχή (Dominical Era, i.e. Era of the Lord) or Κοινό Ἐποχή (Common Era) - the former reflecting its traditional usage and the latter the current de facto usage. Thus, following the same pattern as the the day of the month above:

  • το έκ το Κυριακό Ἐποχή δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο [ἔτο] = Anno Domini two thousand and eleven
  • ΚΕ 2011´ = AD 2011
  • το έκ το Κοινό Ἐποχή δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο [ἔτο] = two thousand and eleven Common Era
  • ΚΕ 2011´ = 2011 CE

Years BC[E] (Before Christ/ Before [the] Common Era) are expressed thus:

  • το προ το Κυριακό/ Κοινό Ἐποχή δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο [ἔτο] = two thousand and eleven BC[E]
  • πΚΕ 2011´ = 2011 BC[E]

In practice, of course, we normally omit AD/CE and BC/BCE if it is obvious from context; we do this also in ΤΑΚΕ, e.g.

  • το δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο [ἔτο] = two thousand and eleven
  • 2011´ = 2011
How ΤΑΚΕ expresses year, month and day
The ancient custom was to designate the year first and then the month; so in the Boiotian inscription mentioned above we find:
  • Ξενοκρίτω (ἄρχοντος), (μεινὸς) Ἀλαλκομενίω (Theokritos being archon, in the month Alalkomenios, i.e. In Alalkomenios in the archonship of Theokritos)
  • Ὀνασίμω ἄρχοντος Βοιωτοῖ[ς], μεινὸς Πανάμω (Onasimos being archon to the Boiotians, in the month Panamos)

There is a longer and more complicated example from Thoukydides:
τῷ δὲ πέμπτῳ καὶ δεκάτῳ ἔτει, ἐπὶ Χρυσίδος ἐν Ἄργει τότε πεντήκοντα δυοῖν δέοντα ἔτη ἱερωμένης καὶ Αἰνησίου ἐφόρου ἐν Σπάρτῃ καὶ Πυθοδώρου ἔτι τέσσαρας μῆνας ἄρχοντος Ἀθηναίοις, μετὰ τὴν ἐν Ποτειδαίᾳ μάχην μηνὶ ἔκτῳ καὶ δεκάτῳ …

"But in the fifthteenth year [of the thirty years' truce], when Khrysis was in the 48th year of her priesthood at Argos, and Ainesias was ephor in Sparta, and Pythodoros had still four months to serve as [eponymous] archon at Athens, in the sixteenth month after the battle at Poteidaia …"

Thoukydides has to resort to this long-winded way of dating because there was no uniform way of dating years among the Greeks, nor indeed of months as each city state had its own calendar. But the important things for us to notice is that he identifies the year first; he does this by setting it in the context of what he is talking about,i.e. the thirty years' truce signed between Athens and Sparta, in the year 446/445 BCE, and the formulas for dating years in the three most important Hellenic city-states (Argos, Sparta and Athens. With the last one, Thoukydides not only identified the year by naming the eponymous archon for that year (there were other archons also), but also gave an indication of the month by saying Pythodoros still had four months to go as archon. Then he identifies the month again by saying it was the sixteenth after the battle of Poteidaia.

We should also that the expressions for the year and the month are in apposition, i.e. in the xth year, in the yth month, and not in some formula such as 'in the yth month of the xth year (which is what the first version of ΤΑΚΕ did). The two Boiotian examples have both the year and the month in the "genitive of time within which"; Thoukydides expresses both the year (τῷ δὲ πέμπτῳ καὶ δεκάτῳ ἔτει) and month (μηνὶ ἔκτῳ καὶ δεκάτῳ) with the "dative of time when" (the Thoukydides example is a little more complicated in that the three persons holding office in Argos, Sparta and Athens are expressed by the genitive case following the preposition ἐπὶ).

As the whole tenor of this revision is to make ΤΑΚΕ more clearly ancient Greek without inflexions, we shall follow ancient precedent and:

  1. express the year first and month (and day) second;
  2. have the two expressions in apposition (i.e. not one grammatically dependent on the other).

Thus the day on which this paragraph is being written is expressed thus:

  • το δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο [ἔτο], το ἐκ Μάϊo δισδέκατο ἕκτο [ἡμέρα] = the twenty-sixth of May, two thousand and eleven

or, if we use the preposition ἐν (see next Section), we have:

  • ἐν το δισχιλιοστό δέκατο πρῶτο, ἐν το ἐκ Μάϊo δισδέκατο ἕκτο = on the twenty-sixth of May, in two thousand and eleven
We will abbreviate the date thus:
  • 2011´ Μάϊo 26´ = 26th May 2011 (UK) or May 6, 2011 (USA)
  • 2011-05-26 = 26/05/2011 (UK) or 5/26/2011 (USA)

το περί το χρόνο φράσι (Expressions of time)

Time 'when' is expressed with the preposition ἐν, e.g.
ἐν το δύο [ὥρα] (at two [o'clock])
ἐν το πέντε και ἥμισυ (at half past five)
ἐν το πέντε τρίσδεκα (at five thirty)
ἐν το Δευτέρα (on Monday)
ἐν το ἐκ Ἰούλιο δέκατο τέταρτο (on the 14th of July)
ἐν το χιλιοστό ἑπτακισεκατοστό ὀκτακισδέκατο ἔνατο, ἐν το ἐκ Ἰούλιο δέκατο τέταρτο (on the 14th of July, seventeen eighty-nine)
ἐν το ἔαρο (in Spring).

Other expressions

διά δύο ἔτο (for two years)
ἐν δύο ἔτο ἀπό νῦν (in two years time; two years from now)
δύο ἤδη ἔτο (two years ago)3
> ἀπό το τρία [ὥρα] (since three [o'clock])
μέχρι το τρία [ὥρα] (until three [o'clock])
σήμερον (today)
ἐχθές (yesterday)
προχθές (the day before yesterday)
αὔριον (tomorrow)
μεταύριον (the day after tomorrow)
σήμερον το πρώιο (this morning)
ἐχθές το δείλη (yesterday afternoon)
αὔριον το ἑσπέρα (tomorrow evening)
ἐν τοῦτο το ἑβδομάδο (this week)
ἐν το πρότερο ἑβδομάδο (last week)
ἐν το ὕστερο ἑβδομάδο (next week)

3ἤδη is not a unique 'inposition'; it is an adverb meaning "already, by this time". It may be used by itself or with other adverbs of time, e.g. νῦν ἤδη (now already, already by this time), τότε ἤδη (then already, already by that time). With the meaning of English 'ago' it had the order given here in the ancient language, and I have retained this in ΤΑΚΕ.


Appendix: Attic and Macedonian Calendars

As I explained in Section 3 above, the ancient Greeks used a lunisolar calendar; or rather, until the Macedonian calendar became universal under Alexander the Great, each city state used its own version of a lunisolar calendar. In effect, each month corresponded to a lunation, i.e. each month began with the new moon. As a lunation is approximately 29½ days, in practice the months were alternately 29 and 30 days.

Twelve lunations made up a year; this gives a year of 354 days which is about 11¼ days short of a solar year. To bring the calendar back right, so to speak, a thirteenth month was intercalated every so often or rather a month was repeated every so often. At Athens, it seems that the 6th month, Ποσιδηϊών, got repeated on an ad hoc basis when the calendar was getting out of line with the solar year; the second Ποσιδηϊών was known as ἐμβόλιμος Ποσιδηϊών (intercalary Posideion).

During the 5th century, the 19 year Metonic cycle started being used to determine intercalation; during the 19-year cycle an intercalary month (ἐμβόλιμος μείς) was introduced on seven occasions but we do not know the details. We may be sure that each city state would have had its own method of calculation. By the time the Macedonian calendar became widely used, the Metonic cycle was well established. It seems that in the Macedonian calendar the month Ξανθικός got repeated (i.e. ἐμβόλιμος Ξανθικός) six times during the Metonic cycle and Ὑπερβερεταῖος got repeated once (ἐμβόλιμος Ὑπερβερεταῖος). But the details of when these intercalations took place is not clear.

The calendars we know most about are the Attic calendar of 5th & 4th century Athens and the Macedonian calendar which, thanks to the conquests of Alexander, became used throughout the Hellenic world. The months are given in the table below. The most common starting point for the year among the Greeks appears to have been at the new moon following the autumnal equinox. This is when the Macedonian calendar began. The Attic calendar, however, was unusual in that the Athenian new year was in mid-summer. The first month of the Attic calendar was Ἑκατομβαιών which began on the new moon following the summer solstice.


The Attic names are all masculine nouns; their genitives end in -ιῶνος. The Macedonian names were originally adjectives agreeing with the masculine noun μείς (gen. μηνός = month. Later a nominative μήν is found, being a back-formation from the genitive); however, it became the practice to omit μείς and simply use the adjectives as masculine nouns, cf. Latin Ianuarius (mensis).

In the original version of ΤΑΚΕ, I abandoned the lunar bit, making the Macedonian calendar purely solar by adding an extra day to each month, i.e. months alternated 30 and 31 days. This gives a year of 366 days which, of course, is approximately three quarters of a day too long. To remedy this, Ὑπερβερεταῖος was cut down to just just 29 days, getting its full quota of 30 in leap years only. The system of leap years worked in exactly the same way as in our modern version of the Gregorian calendar. In fact, the way the Macedonian calendar got changed in RHATL bore a striking similarity to way the old Roman calendar was changed by Julius Caesar and by Pope Gregory XIII in our world! Whether this would have happened in any Hellenic alternative time-line is anyone's guess.