The Persian Calendar

, par Stewart

Chardin had noted the use of two different calendars in Persia, lunar and solar. Montesquieu in this novel uses lunar months, no doubt because they “are the common months of all Muhammadams, for both spiritual and civil purposes” (Chardin, V, 116-118). But he makes them correspond to the months of the European solar calendar, as Robert Shackleton showed in a definitive article on the subject. [1] We therefore reproduce the table which Shackleton drew up, adding the names used by Chardin.

Designations of Persian months
Names in Persian Letters Names as they appear in Chardin
Zilcadé January Zirkadé
Zilhagé February Zilhajé
Maharram March Maharram
Saphar April Safar or Sefer
Rebiab I May Rebiah I
Rebiab II June Rebiah II
Gemmadi I July Gemadi I
Gemmadi II August Gemadi II
Rhegeb September Regeb or Rajeb
Chahban October Chahban
Rhamazan November Rhamazan
Chalval December Cheval


[1Robert Shackleton, “The Moslem chronology of the Lettres persanes”, French Studies, no. 8, 1954, p. 17-27 ; reprinted in R. Shackleton, Essays on Montesquieu and on the Enlightenment (Oxford : Voltaire Foundation, 1988), p. 73-83.