Annus mirabilis

"Annus mirabilis" is a Latin phrase meaning "wonderful year" or "year of wonders" (or "year of miracles"). It is used particularly to refer to the years 1665–1666.

The Year of Wonders (1666)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known written usage of the Latin phrase "Annus Mirabilis" is as the title of a poem composed by English poet John Dryden about the events of 1666 C.E. The phrase "annus mirabilis" translates as "wonderful year" or "year of miracles". In fact, the year was beset by great calamity for England (including the Great Fire of London), but Dryden chose to interpret the absence of greater disaster as miraculous intervention by God, as "666" is the Number of the Beast and the year 1666 was expected by some to be particularly disastrous.

In addition to this, the English fleet defeated a Dutch fleet in the St James' Day Battle, for a great victory at sea. (However, in 1667 the Dutch burned much of the English fleet in the raid on the Medway and Charles II was forced to sue for peace.)

Isaac Newton, 1666

In the year 1666, Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. As such, it has later been called Isaac Newton's "Annus Mirabilis". It is this year when Isaac Newton observed an apple falling from a tree, and hit upon gravitation (Newton's apple). He was afforded the time to work on his theories due to the closure of Cambridge University by an outbreak of plague. Going to his country home, he thought about many things that, in Cambridge, he did not have the opportunity to do with such devotion.

William Pitt, 1759

A series of victories by the British military in 1759 in North America, India, and in various naval engagements, is occasionally referred to as William Pitt's annus mirabilis, and was the decisive year of the Seven Year's War.

Albert Einstein, 1905

The year 1905 has very much been linked to the term "annus mirabilis", as Albert Einstein made revolutionary discoveries concerning the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion and the special theory of relativity.


This phrase has since been used to refer to other years.

*This phrase has also been used to describe 1939 Hollywood because of all the classic films produced this year.

*Annus Mirabilis has been used to describe 1989 and the political events which took place in Eastern Europe, which saw the end of communist governments in several countries including Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

*The phrase "Annus Mirabilis" was also used by Philip Larkin in 1967 as the title for one of his best known poems, which celebrated the onset of more relaxed sexual mores in 1960s Britain:

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

ee also

* 1666
* 1905
* Annus horribilis
* List of Latin phrases


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Annus mirabilis — (Latein für Wunderjahr) wird verwendet um Jahre besonderer Erfindungen und Entdeckungen zu kennzeichnen, insbesondere wenn mehrere bedeutende Ereignisse in ein und dasselbe Jahr fallen. Es folgen einige Beispiele für anni mirabiles:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Annus mirabilis — est une locution latine pouvant signifier « merveilleuse année », « année de merveilles » ou « année des miracles ». Elle aurait servi la première fois pour désigner l année 1666. Au XXIe siècle, elle sert à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Annus mirabilis — (лат., год чудес)  в культуре англоязычных стран наименование нескольких календарных годов, отмеченных необычными важными и позитивными событиями. В английской культуре чаще всего понятие применяется в отношении 1666 года. Содержание 1… …   Википедия

  • annus mirabilis — (n.) 1667, Latin, lit. wonderful year, year of wonders, title of a publication by Dryden, with reference to 1666, which was a year of calamities in London (plague, fire, war) …   Etymology dictionary

  • annus mirabilis — [an′əs mə rab′ə lis] n. pl. anni mirabiles [an′ī΄ mə rab′ə lēz΄] [L] a year regarded as pivotal, crucial, etc …   English World dictionary

  • annus mirabilis — {{#}}{{LM A02497}}{{〓}} {{[}}annus mirabilis{{]}} {{■}}(lat.){{□}} {{《}}▍ s.m.{{》}} Año admirable: • En las declaraciones que hizo a la prensa, afirmó que aquel año había sido para ella un annus mirabilis.{{○}} {{★}}{{\}}PRONUNCIACIÓN:{{/}} [ánus …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

  • annus mirabilis — n. (Latin) miraculous year , wonderful year , remarkable year, (e.g.: Last year was the annus mirabilis for my firm ); fateful year …   English contemporary dictionary

  • annus mirabilis — noun Any given year that undergoes a multitude of significant and fateful events, be they disasters or successes. See Also: annus horribilis …   Wiktionary

  • annus mirabilis — noun (plural anni mirabiles) Etymology: New Latin, literally, wonderful year Date: 1660 a remarkable or notable year …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • annus mirabilis — /ahn noos mi rddah bi lis/; Eng. /an euhs meuh rab euh lis/, pl. anni mirabiles /ahn nee mi rddah bi les /; Eng. /an uy meuh rab euh leez , an ee/, Latin. year of wonders; wonderful year. * * * …   Universalium

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