ǣrra līða

ǣrra līða, m.n: the “former Līða” or “first Līða”, i.e. June. (“ar-rah leeth-ah”)


From the British Library Medieval Manuscipts blog: Calendar pages for June in the Hours of Joanna of Castile. Bruges. Between 1496 and 1506. MS Additional 18852, ff. 6v-7.

Þænne monað bringð

ymb twa and feower   tiida lange,

Ærra Liða,   us to tune,

Iunius on geard,   on ϸam gim astihð

on heofenas up   hyhst on geare,

tungla torhtast,   and of tille agrynt,

to sete sigeð.   Wyle syððan leng

grund behealdan   and gangan lator

ofer foldan wang   fægerust l[e]ohta,


—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 106b-115a

Then after two and four days, the (next) month, Ærra Liða, June, brings long (daytime) hours to town, to our enclosure, during which the gem, the brightest of stars, ascends into heaven above, highest in the year, and descends from its standing-place, sinks to its setting. Then the fairest of lights and of things in this world wishes to behold the ground longer and go more slowly over the earth. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

Kazutomo Karasawa says that the month Liða seems to have covered both June and July, with June called Ærra Liða (former Liða) and July called Æfterra Liða (latter Liða). According to Bede’s De temporum ratione, “Lida is said to be amiable and navigable since, in both of these months [i.e. June and July], the serenity of winds is pleasant and people are accustomed to navigating on plain surfaces of the sea.” The Old English Martyrology says the months are called Liða “because the air and the winds are then mild”. Karasawa observes, “Bede and the martyrologist etymologically connect the month-name Liða (also spelt Lida) with liðe ‘gentle, soft’, liðan ‘to travel, sail’, lid ‘ship’, lida ‘sailor’, etc.”*

*Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 105

(You can see my review of the book here.)

2 thoughts on “ǣrra līða

  1. Pingback: æftera lȳða | Old English Wordhord

  2. Pingback: 月の英語名とその語源 |

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