To follow on from my previous post (and to repeat myself slightly, for the sake of completeness), here are the names of the months of the year. For a while the Roman emperors named the months after themselves or their families, but eventually they settled on the names we still use:
- January: named after Janus, the two-faced god of doors and gateways. One face looked back on the old year while the other face looked forward to the new one.
- February: named in honour of the Februa festival, personified by Februus, the Roman god of purification.
- March: named after Mars, the god of war, with his month ushering in the start of the war season when hostilities resumed after stopping for winter.
- April: named after Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, or the Latin word aperire, meaning ‘to open’, representing Spring, when plants start to grow again.
- May: named after Maia, a goddess of the earth and of plant growth, symbolizing a month associated with a surge in plant activity.
- June: named after Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth. The goddess brings happiness & prosperity to all who wed in her month.
- July: named after Julius Caesar in honour of his reorganising the calendar, achieved before he was stabbed by his best friend.
- August: named after Augustus Caesar, the grand-nephew and adopted heir of Julius Caesar, who in 8 BC transformed Rome from a republic into an empire.
- September: from the Latin word septem (seven), as this was the seventh month of the ancient Roman calendar, which started the year in March. The rest of the months are also the Latin names for their place in the calendar. October, octo (eight), November, novem (nine), December, decem (ten).