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More Origins of the Months of the Year

Some weeks ago, we examined why the months of the year are named as they are and where their origins lie. As mentioned previously, the original calendar year consisted of only ten months; 304 days to be exact, and it started in the month of March. Then king, Numa Pompilius, a great and powerful man, made this change and in fact altered the number of days in varying months in order for them to be odd numbered as odd numbers to the Romans were thought to be of good luck. This created a 355 day calendar year. Some ancient Roman calendars were used as decoration and painted on walls, while many were carved into stone, marble, or into walls. At around 45 BC modifications were made in the calendar in order to stay in line with the varying seasons. Introduction of the Julian calendar achieved this little problem by increasing the number of days in certain months which then created a 365 day calendar year.

Let’s move on to the last six months of the year, shall we?

Hot in the north and cold in the South, July is named after the legendary Roman dictator, Julias Caesar. He in fact, is the person responsible for developing the Julian calendar at around 46 BC. The reforms took place during the reign of Augustus, his successor. Quintilis (after quintilis mensis, “fifth month” in Latin, remember the calendar year started in March, making July the fifth month of the year)  was renamed Iulius, for Julius Caesar, of course.

August, if you haven’t guessed already, was named after Julias Caeser’s successor and grandnephew, Augustus. Originally named sextilis mensis after the “sixth month” in the year.

September was named after september mensi, “seventh month” in Latin. Note the relationship between seven and September in English, siete and septiembre in Spanish, and sept and septembre in French.

Our next month, October, is known as the “eighth month” or, october mensis. In Spanish note octubre and ocho (meaning eight, of course) and in French octobre.

Close to the end, November comes next. November is known as the “nineth month” or novembris mensis. In Spanish, nueve (nine) goes hand in hand with noviembre and in French neuf (nine) and novembre.

Last but not least, we have reached December. Named after decem, meaning “ten” which at the time marked the tenth and last month of the year. In Spanish, diez (ten) and diciembre and in French dix (ten) and décembre.

I sure hope you have enjoyed learning these interesting tidbits!