- Roman DatesRomanus dies
The following table shows the current English name for each and its Latin equivalent with the origin of the latter.
|English Name||Latin||Origin||pre Nuna||Nuna||Julian|
|January||Ianuarius||Janus is the Roman God of Beginnings and Endings, Gates and Doorways and is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions||29||31|
|February||Februarius||Februa is the Roman festival of purification which was held on February fifteenth each year and is possibly of Sabine origin. May also have been named after the Roman God Februus||28 *||28 **|
|March||Martius||Originally the first month in the Roman calendar. Mars is the Roman God of War and is identified with the Greek god Ares||31||31||31|
|April||Aprilis||Originally the second month in the Roman calendar Aprilis is taken from ‘aperire’ which means to open, like the opening of the spring buds? The Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, is identified with the Roman Goddess Venus||30||29||30|
|May||Maius||Originally the third month. The name probably comes from Maiesta, the Roman Goddess of Honour and Reverence. Other possible origin... Maia, meaning ‘the great one’, is the Italic Goddess of Spring, daughter of Faunus and wife of Vulcan||31||31||31|
|June||Iunius||Originally the fourth month and named in honour of Juno, the principle Goddess of the Roman Pantheon. However, the name might also come from ‘iuniores’ (young men - juniors) as opposed to ‘maiores’ (grown men - majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to young and old||30||29||30|
|July||Iulius||Originally the fifth month with the name Quintilus. The month is named after Julius Caesar who was born in this month. In 44 BC Julius reformed the Roman calendar, now known as the Julian calendar, and, of course, named the month himself||31||31||31|
|Augustus||Augustus||Originally the sixth month with the name Sextilis. The month is named after Augustus Caesar because this is the month where several fortunate events occurred during his life and, of course, he named this month after himself||30||29||31|
|September||September||The seventh month... Septem||30||29||30|
|October||October||The eigth month... Octo||31||31||31|
|November||November||The ninth month... Novem||30||29||30|
|December||December||The tenth month... Decem||30||29||31|
While Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar named months after themselves there are other facts that tie the Julian Calendar to our modern day version...
The first day of each month was called the kalendae, or Calends, by the Romans and as debts were due for repayment on this particular day of the month we have the word calendarium, which means accounts book. It is from this we get the modern day word calendar.
From the list above you can see that the original Roman calendar had only ten months which ran from March to December. January and February were added by the Roman King, Numa Pompilius, circa 700 BC and January began the year. The days in each month were distinctly different to today and only in 44 BC did they change to a more familiar pattern when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar.
* circa 450 BC it had 23 or 24 days on some of every second year
** 29 days on every fourth year and 28 days otherwise