The Origin of Month Names
Date: 10/17/98 at 16:47:44 From: Courtney Waugh Subject: History of calender Dear Doctor Math, If oct is the prefix for 8 and dec is the prefix for 10, why is October the 10th month and December the 12th month? When were the other two months added and why? A relative told me that July was added for Julius Caesar but I don't know why. Thank you, Courtney Waugh
Date: 10/19/98 at 13:48:08 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: History of calender Hi, Courtney, There are two parts to the answer. Two months were added, but adding them didn't change the numbering, and it happened long before Caesar. There were originally only ten months in the Roman year. The two that were added, in the seventh century B.C., were January and February. The ancient Roman calendar still started in March, however. Only later, in the second century B.C., was it changed to start in January. As for Julius Caesar, he didn't add a month, but he changed its name. Before he and Augustus Caesar after him renamed months for themselves, those months (July and August) were named for their numbers. Here is a list of the months with names that came from their number: Roman name Latin No. No. ---------- ------- --- Quintilis (July) Quinque 5 Sextilis (August) Sex 6 September Septem 7 October Octo 8 November Novem 9 December Decem 10 Here are two pages on the Web that tell more about this: Roman Calendar (James Grout, SPQR: Encyclopaedia Romana) http://itsa.ucsf.edu/~snlrc/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/romancalendar.html Calendopaedia - The Roman Calendar (Michael Astbury) http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/7671/roman.htm - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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