Between the 1st and 3rd centuries, the Roman Empire gradually replaced the eight-day week with a seven-day week. The days were named after the planets of Hellenistic astrology (practiced in the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE). They are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon.

The Germanic peoples adapted the system introduced by the Romans, by substituting the Germanic deities for the Roman ones (with the exception of Saturday).

  • Sunday (the Sun): adapted from the Old English meaning ‘Sun’s day’.
  • Monday (the Moon): adapted from the Old English meaning ‘Moon’s day’.
  • Tuesday (Mars): adapted from the Old English, this was the day of the Norse God Tiw, who was similar to the Roman God Mars.
  • Wednesday (Mercury): adapted from the Old English, this was the day of the Germanic God Woden, who was similar to the Roman God Mercury.
  • Thursday (Jupiter): adapted from the Old English, this was the day of the Norse God Thor, who was similar to the Roman God Jupiter.
  • Friday (Venus): adapted from the Old English, this was the day of the Anglo-Saxon God Frige, who was similar to the Roman Goddess Venus.
  • Saturday (Saturn): named after the Roman God Saturn.