January: named after Janus, protector of the gateway to heaven
February: named after Februalia, a time period when sacrifices were made to atone for sins
March: named after Mars, the god of war, presumably signifying that the campaigns interrupted by the winter could be resumed
April: from aperire, Latin for “to open” (buds)
May: named after Maia, the goddess of growth of plants
June: from junius, Latin for the goddess Juno.
July: named after Julius Caesar
August: named after Augustus, the Roman Emperor
September: from septem, Latin for “seven”
October: from octo, Latin for “eight”
November: from novem, Latin for “nine”
December: from decem, Latin for “ten”
Calendar trivia: the later Emperor Domitian attempted to rename September "Germanicus" and October "Domitianus." Since he was killed not long after, the change never caught on.

The Month is taken from the cycles of the Moon phases, which takes about 29.5 days. The Babylonians used 29 and 30 days alternately. The Egyptians used all 30 day months, also the Greeks. The Romans made the Julian calendar on one 28 day month and the others either 30 or 31. The month (which is lunar) is not suitable for determining seasons, it has to be the Sun. The Month is determined in two ways. First, the period taken to complete one orbit of the Earth. Second, the time for the moon to complete a cycle of its phases, called the Synodic month and is 29.53059 days, this is the basis of the calendar month.

In the year 46 BC the calendar was hopelessly confused. So Julius Caesar initiated a reform of the entire system. He appointed the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes to undertake the revision of the Calendar. Sosigenes did away with the lunar system and replaced it with the (tropical) solar year of 365.25 days. These changes resulted in the creation of the Julian calendar. Well now, this 365.25 days for the Julian calendar was off a bit, the tropical being 365.242199 days. The difference amounts to 11 minutes and 14 seconds per year. So.. by the year 1572 the calendar was in error by a full 10 days. Pope Gregory III issued a "papal bull" and the Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius went to work on this problem. The length of the year was redefined as 365.2422 days a difference of 0.0078 days per year from the Julian calendar. (we now have here a Gregorian calendar). This changed amount of error to 3.12 days every 400 years. Clavius had allowed for such discrepancy and suggested that three out of every four centennial years , which would ordinarily be leap years, should instead be regarded as common years. This lead to the practice that no centennial year could be a leap year unless it was divisible by 400. Following this rule 1700, 1800, and 1900 were common years, but the year 2000 would be a leap year. This Gregorian reform gives us an extremely accurate calendar system. The Gregorian calendar established January 1 as the beginning of the year and has been referred to as the "new style calendar" and the Julian referred to as the "old style calendar".

A year is divided roughly into 12 roughly equal portions called "months"

The order of the 12 Months of the year are as followed:

Fascinating, no?
Before 44 BC, the month of July was known as Quintilis, from the Latin "quintus" for fifth. It was renamed by the Roman consul Marcus Antonius in honor of Julius Caesar, who was born on July 15th. Also, in 8 BC the month of Sextilis was renamed in honor of Julius's successor, Augustus Caesar by the Roman Senate, even though Augustus was born in September. Sextilis is based on "sextus", Latin for sixth.

The next Caesar, Tiberius, put an end to the Senate's month renaming, with the remark, "And what will you do if there are thirteen Caesars?". Various other emperors, including Caligula and Domitian, attempted to rename the months, but they failed to last.

Month (?), n. [OE. month, moneth, AS. mon, mona; akin to mona moon, and to D. maand month, G. monat, OHG. manod, Icel. manur, manar, Goth. m�xc7;nos. 272. See Moon.]

One of the twelve portions into which the year is divided; the twelfth part of a year, corresponding nearly to the length of a synodic revolution of the moon, -- whence the name. In popular use, a period of four weeks is often called a month.

⇒ In the common law, a month is a lunar month, or twenty-eight days, unless otherwise expressed. Blackstone. In the United States the rule of the common law is generally cahanged, and a month is declared to mean a calendar month. Cooley's Blackstone.

A month mind. (a) A strong or abnormal desire. [Obs.] Shak. (b) A celebration made in remembrance of a deceased person a month after death. Strype. -- Calendar months, the months as adjusted in the common or Gregorian calendar; April, June, September, and November, containing 30 days, and the rest 31, except February, which, in common years, has 28, and in leap years 29. -- Lunar month, the period of one revolution of the moon, particularly a synodical revolution; but several kinds are distinguished, as the synodical month, or period from one new moon to the next, in mean length 29 d. 12 h. 44 m. 2.87 s.; the nodical month, or time of revolution from one node to the same again, in length 27 d. 5 h. 5 m. 36 s.; the sidereal, or time of revolution from a star to the same again, equal to 27 d. 7 h. 43 m. 11.5 s.; the anomalistic, or time of revolution from perigee to perigee again, in length 27 d. 13 h. 18 m. 37.4 s.; and the tropical, or time of passing from any point of the ecliptic to the same again, equal to 27 d. 7 h. 43 m. 4.7 s. -- Solar month, the time in which the sun passes through one sign of the zodiac, in mean length 30 d. 10 h. 29 m. 4.1 s.


© Webster 1913.

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