Where Do the Names of the Months Come From?

Monthly hand writing on colorful notes on a wooden board background.
Credit:nuntarat eksawetanant/ Shutterstock

The short answer is Rome, but the long answer is much more interesting. Remember Romulus’ 10-month calendar? Well, September, October, November, and December simply mean “seventh month,” “eighth month,” “ninth month,” and “tenth month” in Latin, respectively. But these names no longer made sense after the later additions of January, named after the Roman god Janus, and February, named after the Roman purification festival Februa.

As for the rest of the months, March is named for the Roman god Mars, April after the Greek goddess Aphrodite (though there’s some debate about whether it might be based on the Latin word aperio, which means “I open” in relation to spring flowers), May after the Greek deity Maia, and June in honor of the powerful Roman goddess Juno.

The names of the last two months come from a few powerful Romans who got a little full of themselves. In 44 BCE, the month Quintilis (which means “fifth” in Latin) was changed to July in honor of Julius Caesar. His heir, Augustus, received the same honor in 8 BCE, when Sextilis (you guessed it, meaning “sixth” in Latin) was changed to August.

Categories: Articole de interes general

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