6

Arthur Schopenhauer writes in Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung:

. . . ich vermuthe, daß der Einfluß der Samskrit-Litteratur nicht weniger tief eingreifen wird, als im 14ten Jahrhundert die Wiederbelebung der Griechischen . . .

Richard Burdon Haldane translated this in 1844 as:

. . . I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century . . .

Obviously, it makes more sense to refer to a revival of Greek literature in the 1400s (the century of the Renaissance) than in the 1300s. So why does Schopenhauer write "im 14ten Jahrhundert"?

  • Can “14te Jahrhundert” mean “1400s”? - No. – Hubert Schölnast Aug 24 '16 at 5:21
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Why Schopenhauer wrote "im 14 Jahrhundert" will probably stay his secret unless you find a way to ask him. Maybe a typo, maybe he was into greek literature "before it became mainstream", no way to tell. That's not a question for this forum anyway.

Regarding the main point of your question, centuries are counted in German language just as they are in English.

"Das 14. Jahrhundert" always means the years between 1300 and 1400.

Haldane translated "Das 14. Jahrhundert" incorrectly.


P.S. Seeing the comments, I feel I should expand a bit...

By definition, the 14th century starts with 1301 and 1300 is actually part of the 13th century.

However, there is often confusion about that, and many attribute the '00 years to the wrong century. The '00 years can't be included in the same sentence as "always means", since the speaker could easily be mistaken. In practice, the meaning only reliably applys to the years between.

Here's a bit of language-independent Information that helps:
There is no year zero in the Gregorian Calendar, just as there is no month zero or day zero.
The first year is year one. The first century is the first hundred years.
Centuries always start with 01.01.##01 and end with 31.12.##00.
Remember: There is no Zerember.

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  • Apparently there is a a way to tell, for those who didn't sleep through most of history class, like me. Oops. – Estharon Aug 24 '16 at 10:56
  • Und wahrscheinlich gibt es die gleichen unterschiedliche Meinungen zu welchem Jahrhundert die Jahre 1300 und 1400, und zu welchem Jahrtausend das Jahr 2000 gehört. – gnasher729 Aug 27 '16 at 22:18
  • 1
    @gnasher729 Wohl wahr. Witzig, wie die ganze Welt ein Jahr zu früh Millenium gefeiert hat... Das dürfte daran liegen, dass wir beim Datum die begonnene Zeitspanne zählen, bei der Uhrzeit aber die abgeschlossene. Darum gibt es auch Null Uhr, aber kein Jahr Null. Überhaupt gibt es im gesamten Kalender keine alleinstehende Null, die gab es ja in den römischen Numeralen nicht. Ich habe mir das irgendwann über den simplen Merksatz "Es gibt keinen Nullember" eingeprägt, und musste seitdem nicht mehr nachschlagen. Gerade weil das aber viele nicht wissen, habe ich meine Antwort so formuliert. – Estharon Aug 29 '16 at 15:55
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The Renaissance did indeed start in the 14th century, the trecento, with a new interest in the old litterature, just think of Dante Alighieri. Schopenhauer writes this correctly, but Haldane translates incorrectly, maybe due to a wish to correct a supposed fault in the original.

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  • Certainly true, I hadn't thought of that. – user67444 Aug 24 '16 at 10:23

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