The Names of the Months
Updated December 21, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
The Legacy of the Roman Calendar
The modern Gregorian calendar has roots in the Roman calendar, specifically the calendar decreed by Julius Caesar. So, the names of the months in English all have Latin roots. Note: The earliest Latin calendar was a 10-month one, beginning with March; thus, September was the seventh month, October, the eighth, etc. July was originally called Quintilis, meaning fifth; August was originally called Sextilis, meaning sixth.
See also Greek and Roman Mythology
- January: named after Janus, the god of doors and gates
- February: named after Februalia, a time period when sacrifices were made to atone for sins
- March: named after Mars, the god of war
- 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 in 44 B.C.
- August: named after Augustus Caesar in 8 B.C.
- September: from septem, Latin for “seven”
- October: from octo, Latin for “eight”
- November: from novem, Latin for “nine”
- December: from decem, Latin for “ten”
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