Time

Where do the names of the months come from?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. The "World Book Encyclopedia" records that the Romans began with a calendar consisting of 10 months, borrowed from the Greeks. They named the months Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis (which means five, as it was the fifth month), Sextilis (six), September (seven), October (eight), November (nine) and December (10). There were still around 60 days left at the end of the year, due to the 10 lunar cycles together being shorter than the solar cycle, so Januarius and Februarius were formed at the end of the year. Julius Caesar redid the calendar in 46 B.C., keeping the 12 months, but disregarding the moon's cycle. He allocated 30 or 31 days to each month, with Februarius having 29 days. Later, he moved Januarius and Februarius to the beginning of the year, which explains why the extra day of the leap year comes in the second month and not the first or last. After the death of Julius Caesar, Quintilis was renamed July in his honor. When Sextilis was later named August to honor Augustus, a day was taken from Februarius so that August would have the same number of days as July.

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