Scramblin' thru... Roman Calendar
Suuuure, give July an extra day...
The Roman Calendar was fundamentally a religious document, but the names it ascribed to each month are still used today. It was organized in Ancient Rome and amended as needed during the Republic and Empire. Some months were named after gods, while others were numbered.
The calendar originally began with March... so September, for instance, took its name from the Latin word septem for "seven". Our current calendar is known as the Gregorian calendar.
The Gregorian Calendar
Translation: god of beginnings
Why named this?: This month "begins" the year.
Translation: From Latin word Februarius ("to purify")
Why named this?: This was a Roman month of sacrifices and purification.
Translation: god of war
Why named this?: This was the start of the year for soldiers (no fighting in winter). Before Julius Caesar reorganized the calendar, this month used to be the first of the year.
Translation: Latin for "to open"
Why named this?: This is the month when trees "open" their leaves
Translation: goddess of growth
Why named this?: This is the month when plants start to function and grow.
Translation: Queen of Roman gods (a.k.a. Hera in Greece)
Why named this?: The etymology (origin) of the name for
this month is uncertain.
Origin: Julius Caesar
Translation: Dictator of Rome from 48-44 BC
Why named this?: Born in this month, Caesar reorganized the calendar. This month was formerly called "quintiles"
for the fifth month (counting from March, which used to be the first month of the year).
Translation: Emperor of Rome from 27BC-14 AD
Why named this?: He was the first Emperor at the start of the Roman Empire. This month was formerly "sextilis" for the sixth month (counting from March).
Translation: Latin for "seven"
Why named this?: Seventh month (counting from March).
Translation: Latin for "eight"
Why named this?: Eighth month (counting from March).
Translation: Latin for "nine"
Why named this?: Ninth month (counting from March).
Translation: Latin for "ten"
Why named this?: Tenth month (counting from March).
Throughout history, the number of days in a week has varied from 5 to 30. (Thirty days? I know, right? Worst. Week. EVER!)
The Sumerians are credited with writing the first "history" and they used 7 days, as did the cultures which followed in the Middle East (the Babylonians, Akkadians, and Hebrews.)
An 8-day week was used by the Romans and the Incas. (Emperor Constantine changed it to seven.)
The Greeks did not have a word for "week" but divided the year into 12 months of 30 days. When the Soviet Union was created in 1917, they adopted a 5-day week.
Eventually, everyone settled on seven days.
We have seven days in the week mainly because the ancients were aware of seven "heavenly bodies": Sun, Moon, and the five (of the nine) planets that they
could see: Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.
The Romans were the first to name the days after the mythological Gods that
had planetary connections, like Jupiter (King of the gods), Mars (God of War), and
Venus (Goddess of Love).
Along the way, and much later, the Teutonic peoples (a.k.a. Germans/Angles/
Saxons/Nordics/etc.) replaced some of them with a few heavyweights from their own pantheon, giving the days a nice mix of
planetary objects and Norse Gods.
For English-speakers, the names came from the three heavenly objects (Sun, Moon, Saturn) and four of the Teutonic gods.
The Romance languages like French and Latin, the
original (Roman) planetary names were retained.
Thus we have:
(From: The Moon's Day.) This was retained by the Spanish in "Lunes", which comes from "lunar" or moon.
(From: Tewe's Day)
Tewe was a Norse/Germanic female deity. This one used to be Mars' Day, which explains the Spanish "Martes" and the French "Mardi", as in "Mardi Gras" or "Fat Tuesday".
(From: Woden's Day)
Woden was the chief god in Teutonic mythology. This one used to be Mercury's Day, which gives us the Spanish "Miércoles".
(From: Thor's Day)
Thor was the hammer-wielding of thunder, storms, and strength. This one used to be Jupiter's Day, which gives us the Spanish "Jueves".
(From: Freia's Day)
Freia was the German goddess of love. This one used to be Venus' Day, which gives us the Spanish "Viernes".
(From: Saturn's Day)
Saturn was the leader of the Titans and known as Cronus in Greek Mythology.
(From: The Sun's Day)
The sun is... well... the sun. Not much else to explain.
In 46 BC, Julius Caesar revised the calendar to reflect the solar year, making it 365 days with a leap year of 366 days every fourth year. This calendar established the current order of the months and the days of the week.
Pope Gregory XIII's Gregorian calendar replaced Caesar's Julian calendar
Like my Mom always said:
"April showers bring May flowers... and what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims!!!"