> Quintilis was renamed after Julius Caesar.  Later Sextilis was renamed
> after Augustus Caesar.  It is often said that the month lengths were
> changed at the same time, but at least one version of that story is
> fabricated and there's a distinct lack of evidence for it.  Other emperors
> had months renamed after themselves too, but those names didn't stick.
> There's no evidence that any of them was accompanied by changes in the
> lengths of months either.

The Oxford Companion to the Year is pretty explicit about this in its
chapter on the Roman Calendar. It says that before Julius Caesar:

        Ianuarius    29   Quinctilis   31
        Februarius   28   Sextis       29
        Martius      31   September    29
        Aprilis      29   October      31
        Maius        31   November     29
        Iunius       29   December     29

The reason was most of the months had odd lengths because odd numbers
were lucky, but to get the year to have an odd number of days you
need one month to have an even number of days.  There was a leap
month system where Februarius was cut short and an extra month was

After the reform:

        Ianuarius    31   Quinctilis   31
        Februarius   28   Sextis       31
        Martius      31   September    30
        Aprilis      30   October      31
        Maius        31   November     30
        Iunius       30   December     31

They also explain where the extra days were inserted. They say
Quinctilis was renamed Julius after he'd been murdered. Their
entry for "30 February" notes:

        There is no truth in the assertion by some modern (but no
        ancient) writers that Julius Caesar gave all the odd months
        31 days, February 29 days and 30 in a leap year, and all
        the even months (including Oct) 30, but that Augustus upsets
        the logical arangement in order to make his month of August
        as long as Caesar's July. Nevertheless, 30 February has
        existed three times in the calendars of particular countries:
        once in Sweden, twice in the Soviet Union.


Reply via email to