MadSci Network: Other

Re: Why is October the 10th month when the name indicates eight

Date: Thu Sep 2 13:44:51 1999
Posted By: Curtis Chen, Other (pls. specify below), Webmaster, AT&T Labs
Area of science: Other
ID: 935749151.Ot

Hi Robert--

Our modern calendar is indeed based on the Roman calendar, but it's gone through many changes through the centuries. The earliest version of this calendar, which predates the founding of Rome, had only ten months.

The first month was Martius, named after Mars, the Roman god of war. There are still disagreements over the sources of the names of the next three months (Aprilis, Maius and Junius), but the last six months were simply numbered: Quintilis (fifth), Sextilis (sixth), Septembris (seventh), Octobris (eighth), Novembris (ninth), and Decembris (tenth).

Later changes include the addition of Januarius and Februarius to the beginning of the year, and the renaming of Quintilis to Julius (in honor of Julius Caesar) and Sextilis to Augustus (in honor of Octavian, otherwise known as Emperor Augustus).

Hope this helps!

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