January 18, 2010

Gateway month

I'm sure I must've learned at some point in the past that January is the month of the two-faced god. Janus, the god of gateways, also represented for the Romans time.
There are actually four months of the year named after ancient gods: March (Mars), May (Maia), June (Juno) and of course, January.
I am awaiting a campaign, led by Glenn Beck or someone of his ilk, to rename these months after the four gospels. Or the four horsemen. After all, what self-respecting "Christian" nation still invokes the names of idols?

1 comment:

Grammarian@mindspring.com said...

If you went back to the Roman Empire with a modern wristwatch, it wouldn't keep correct time, because the Romans didn't divide the day into 24 equal hours; they divided the daylight into 12 equal hours, meaning that hours were longer in the summer than in the winter. (It wasn't just the Romans. It was everyone everywhere until about 700 years ago.)

For more on this fascinating subject, read Time's Pendulum: From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, the Fascinating History of Timekeeping and How Our Discoveries Changed the World by Jo Ellen Barnett.