Sunday, September 14, 2008

September and October

Here's a thought: why is it that 'September' and 'October' are the ninth and tenth months respectively when everybody knows that the 'sept' and 'oct' prefixes mean 'seven' and 'eight' respectively? I'm sure that we have all heard the stories about how way back when the Romans were all over the place, having orgies and whatnot, the first Emperor, Julius Caesar, wanted his name remembered forever (apparently being the first Emperor of Rome and slaughtering a truckload of Gauls wasn't quite enough to ensure this. Well, it was a different time.)

The callendar of the time must have only had ten months in it so Julius figured that with a little bit of shuffling he could wedge another one in there. Next thing you know the Roman calandar has a shiney new month stuffed in between June and September, and in a fit of humbleness Julius called it July.

Well the years pass and poor old Julius gets whacked in the Roman Forum and his nephew Gaius follows in his footsteps, becoming Emperor number two, which is good work if you can get it (by the way, Julius's real first name was Gaius too). Gaius takes the name Augustus and one day while taking care of the Empires business (which probably involve a ton of scroll-work) he looks up and notices a calandar with "July" on it. "What the crap," he says. "If old Julius could do that, so can I!" (sorry about the profanity but the Romans were a rougher crowd than most of us are used to). Before you could say "send over a couple of gladiators and a hungry lion" there is another new month for the calandar makers to deal with, and as with Julius, Augustus named the month after his own bad self, thus August. And just as Augustus followed Julius now August followed July. Sweet.

So is this story true? Millions of years ago (thousands really) did the year have ten rather than twelve months? I'd have to do some research on that but it's election time again so I don't feel like it.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Julius Caesar - "Big Julie"

Caesar Augustus - "Augie"


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