Names for days of the week and months in Ancient Greek, names for months Old English/Norse

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
Do we know what were the words for days of the week and names of the months in Ancient Greek? The Latin names for months are used in almost all European languages. I would also like to know how well do we know the names of months in Old Norse and Old English, since the days of the week would probably be almost the same as they are in Germanic languages now.
 
  • Most ancient calendars were lunisolar. In Ancient Greece, each state had its own lunisolar calendar with unique names for each month:

    Athens

    • «Ἑκατομβαιών» Hĕkătŏmbaiṓn (masc.) = middle/late June to mid-July --> lit. long month, from «ἑκάς» hĕkás or «ἕκατος» hékatŏs + Classical v. «βαίνω» baínō, and signified the increase of daylight length to a maximum, during summer.
    • «Μεταγειτνιών» Mĕtăgeitniṓn (masc.) = middle/late July - mid-August --> lit. month of changing neighbourhoods («μετά» mĕtắ + «γείτων» geítōn) dedicated to Apollo, who in Athens bore the epithet «Μεταγείτνιος» Mĕtăgeítniŏs (masc.), god-of-the-changing-neighbourhoods.
    • «Βοηδρομιών» Bŏēdrŏmiṓn (masc.) = middle/late August - mid-September («βοή» bŏḗ + «δραμοῦμαι» drămoûmaĭ the suppleted future form of «τρέχω» trékʰō) --> lit. month of giving succour dedicated to Apollo, who in Athens had also the epithet «Βοήδρομος» Bŏḗdrŏmŏs (masc.), Succourer. On the 3rd day of the month, the Athenians remembered and celebrated the victory over the Persians at Plataea (479 BCE) and on the 6th, the Athenian victory at Marathon (490 BCE).
    • «Πυανεψιών» Pŭănĕpsiṓn = middle/late September - mid-October («πύανος» púanŏs + «ἕψω» hépsō) --> lit. month of boiling beans dedicated to Apollo (again).
    • «Μαιμακτηριών» Maimăktēriṓn (masc.) = middle/late October - mid-November (from «μαιμάω» maimáō) --> month of boisterous Zeus; Zeus had the epithet «Μαιμάκτης» Maimáktēs (masc.), the-boisterous-one. The season starting with this month, was characterised by the setting of the Pleiades («Πλειάδων δύσις» Pleiắdōn dúsis).
    • «Ποσειδεών» Pŏseidĕṓn (masc.) = middle/late November - mid-December (dedicated to Poseidon). During this month, the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year occurred, called «διαμεμετρημένη ἡμέρᾱ» dĭămĕmĕtrēménē hēmérā --> mensurated day.
    • «Γαμηλιών Gămēliṓn» = late December - mid-January (from «γάμος» gắmŏs) dedicated to the sacred marital bond between Zeus and Hera.
    • Ἀνθεστηριών Ăntʰĕstēriṓn = (early Classical era) late December - late January, (Classical era) late February - mid-March (from «ἄνθος» ắntʰŏs) --> lit. month of flowers (named after the flowers the faithful offered to the dead) dedicated to Dionysus, who in Athens had the epithet «Ἀνθεστήριος» Ăntʰĕstḗriŏs (masc.), god-of-flowers. During this month, the day of Zephyr's blowing («Ζεφύρου πνοή» Zĕpʰúrou pnŏḗ) which was the day between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, usually occurred, which according to the ancients signified the beginning of Spring.
    • «Ἐλαφηβολιών» Ĕlăpʰēbŏliṓn (masc.) = (early Classical era) late February - mid-March, (Classical era) late February - late March («ἔλαφος» élapʰŏs + «βάλλω» bắllō) --> lit. month of hunting deer dedicated to Artemis, who was called «Ἐλαφηβόλος» Ĕlăpʰēbólŏs (fem.), the-hunter-of-deer.
    • «Μουνυχιών Mounŭkʰiṓn (masc.) = late March - mid-April --> lit. month of Mounychia dedicated to Artemis, who in Athens had the epithet «Μουνυχία» Mounŭkʰíā (named after «Μουνυχία» Mounŭkʰíā, the main harbour of Piraeus where the goddess was venerated locally).
    • «Θαργηλιών» Tʰărgēliṓn (masc.) = middle/late April - late May («θέρω» tʰérō + «ἥλιος» hḗliŏs) --> lit. month of hot sun dedicated to Apollo and Artemis; it was the first month of summer. The first day of the month was called «ἄκρᾱ ἔαρος» ắkrā éarŏs --> extreme end of Spring and signified the beginning of Summer.
    • «Σκιροφοριών» Skĭrŏpʰŏriṓn (masc.) = late May - middle/late June --> lit. month of offering the sacred veil dedicated to Athena; the «Σκίρᾱ» Skírā, a sacred veil, Athenian women had weaved the previous year, was offered to the goddess («Σκίρᾱ» + «φέρω» pʰérō). The last day of the month was the new year's eve and was called «ἐξιτηρίᾱ» ĕksĭtēríā («ἔξω» éksō + suffix «-τήρ» -tḗr) --> closing, dismissal day.
     
    Sparta

    • «Ἀρτεμίσιος Ărtĕmĭsiŏs» (masc.) = mid-March - mid-April, month dedicated to Artemis.
    • «Γεράστιος» Gĕrắstiŏs and «Γεραίστιος» Gĕraístiŏs (masc.) = mid-April - mid-May (from «γέρας» géras) --> lit. month of reverence, dedicated to Poseidon.
    • «Φλιάσιος» Pʰlĭắsiŏs (masc.) = mid-May - mid-June --> lit. month of Phliasian wine (named after the Phliasian Plain, home of the best ancient Greek wine), dedicated to Dionysus.
    • «Ἀγριάνιος» Ăgrĭắniŏs (masc.) = mid-June - mid-July (from the adj. «ἄγριος» ắgriŏs) --> lit. month of savages (named after the three daughters of Proitos, Lyssippa, Iphinoe and Iphianassa who according to myth, snubbed the feast of Dionysus, the god punished them by turning them mad and like wandering savages the girls climbed tall mountains for the rest of their lives); dedicated to Dionysus.
    • «Ὑακίνθιος» Hŭăkíntʰiŏs = mid-July - mid-August --> lit. month of Hyacinth, dedicated to the lesser god venerated locally, «Ὑάκινθος» Hŭắkintʰŏs (masc.).
    • «Καρνεῖος» Kărneî̯ŏs (masc.) = mid-August - mid-September --> lit. month of Ram, dedicated to the lesser god venerated locally, «Κάρνος» Kắrnŏs (masc.) which is the Doric name for ram, also an epithet of Apollo, and Dionysus.
    • «Πάναμος» Pắnamŏs (masc.) = mid-September - mid-October --> lit. month of long days dedicated to Panamian Zeus («πάναμος» pắnamŏs (masc. & fen,) is Doric for «πανήμερος» pănḗmĕrŏs («πᾶν» pân + «ἡμέρᾱ» hēmérā), all day long).
    • «Ἡράσιος» Hērắsiŏs (masc.) = mid-October - mid-November --> lit. month of Hera.
    • «Ἀπελλαῖος» Ăpĕllaîŏs (masc.) = mid-November - mid-December --> lit. month of Apollo («Ἀπέλλων» Ăpéllōn was the name of Apollo in the Doric Greek dialect).
    Unfortunately no information is available concerning the name of the last Spartan month or any intercalary months in the Spartan calendar.
     
    Kingdom of Macedon

    • «Δῖος» Dîŏs (masc.) = mid-October - mid-November --> lit. month of Zeus (adj. «δῖος» dîŏs, belonging to heaven, godlike also belonging to Zeus).
    • «Ἀπελλαῖος» Ăpĕllaîŏs (masc.) = mid-November - mid-December; «Ἀπέλλων» Ăpéllōn was the name of Apollo in the Doric Greek dialect.
    • «Αὐδηναῖος» Audēnaîŏs (masc.) = mid-December - mid-January --> lit. month of loud sounds (from «αὐδή» audḗ).
    • «Περίτιος» Pĕrítiŏs = mid-January - mid-February --> lit. honoured month (i.e. great, long), from the Doric verb «περιτίω» pĕrĭtíō («περί» pĕrí + «τίω» tíō, to bestow honour).
    • «Δύστρος» Dústrŏs (masc.) = mid-February - mid-March --> lit. Ill-tempered month (possibly from the prefix «δυσ-» dus-).
    • «Ξανθικός» Κsăntʰikós (masc.) = mid-March - mid-April --> lit. month of Xanthion (Xanthium Strumarium, a plant used by the Macedonians for dyeing the hair blond) dedicated to Apollo, who bore the epithet «Ξανθικός» Κsăntʰikós.
    • «Ἀρτεμίσιος Ărtĕmĭsiŏs» (masc.) = mid-April - mid-May, month dedicated to Artemis.
    • «Δαίσιος» Daísiŏs (masc.) = mid-May - mid-June --> lit. month of meal (from the Doric «πανδαίσιον» păndaísiŏn (neut.), «πᾶν» pân + «δαίς» daís; «πανδαίσια» were outdoor social gatherings at which food was cooked and distributed).
    • «Πάνημος» Pắnēmŏs (masc.) = mid-June - mid-July --> lit. month of long days (from «πανήμερος» pănḗmĕrŏs («πᾶν» pân + «ἡμέρᾱ» hēmérā), all day long).
    • «Λῷος» Lô̩ŏs (masc.) = mid-July - mid-August --> lit. Best month («λῷος» is the Doric superlative for the adj. «ἀγαθός» ăgatʰós; the Attic superlative is «λῷστος» lô̩stŏs).
    • «Γορπιαῖος» Gŏrpĭaîŏs (masc.) = mid-August - mid-September --> lit. Grim month (from the adj. «γοργωπός» gŏrgōpós «γοργός» gŏrgós + «ὤψ» ṓps).

    The ancient Macedonian calendar had two intercalary lunisolar months:

    -«Ὑπερβερεταῖος» Ηŭpĕrbĕrĕtaîŏs (masc.) = mid-September - mid-October --> lit. month of excess term (Doric verb «ὑπερβέρω» hŭpĕrbérō, Attic «ὑπερφέρω» hŭpĕrpʰérō, to surpass, excel, «ὑπέρ» hŭpér + «φέρω» pʰérō).
    -«Ἐμβόλιμος» Ĕmbŏlimŏs (masc.) --> lit. Intercalary month («ἐν» ĕn + «βάλλω» bắllō).
     
    The ancient Greeks divided each month (which was lunar) into three periods of ten days (δεκάδες dĕkắdĕs, δεκάς dekás in singular). And each lunar month had fixed thirty days.

    The first day of the month was called νουμηνίᾱ noumēníā (νέᾱ + μήνη) and each day after the first, was numbered (δευτέρᾱ deutérā, second, τρίτη trítē, third etc.) followed by the distinction ἱσταμένου hĭstăménou, of standing (μηνός mēnós, of-month was usually omitted).

    The second period of ten days began with πρώτη ἐπὶ δεκάδι prṓtē ĕpí dĕkắdĭ, first upon ten, and ended with the last one, usually called εἰκάς eikắs, twentieth.

    Τhe last ten days were (usually) numbered backwards starting with δεκάτη ἀπιόντος dĕkắtē ăpĭóntŏs, tenth (day) of the leavetaking, and the last day of the month was the ἕνη καὶ νέᾱ hénē kaí néā, old & new, ἕνη is the feminine form of ἕνος hénŏs.

    After the 430's BCE, the Greeks used what's called the Metonic cycle, named after Meton of Athens to compensate for the lost days of the calendar. Roughly, they squeezed in, seven intercalary months (called ἐμβόλιμος, ἐμβόλιμοι in plural < ἐν + βολή) within the 19-year Metonic cycle, at first randomly, later, they added one intercalary month on the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th year in each cycle. The intercalary month was named after the name of the previous month it followed.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    The Latin names for months are used in almost all European languages.

    __________

    Partly true in my language - Cymraeg/Welsh (a P Celtic Language). Half our months are Latin based, the other 6 are purely Celtic.

    Latin source
    Ionawr < ianuarius ('January')
    Chwefror < februarius ('February')
    Mawrth < martis ('March'. Also: dydd Mawrth, 'Tuesday')
    Ebrill < aprilis ('April')
    Mai < maius ('May')
    [...]
    Awst < augustus ('August')


    Celtic source
    Mehefin < mediosaminos 'mid-summer' ('June')
    Gorffennaf < gorffen + haf 'end of summer' ('July')
    [...]
    Medi < medi 'harvest' ('September')
    Hydref < hydd bref 'stag's cry for a partner' ('October' Also: 'hydref', 'Autumn')
    Tachwedd < argyedd 'harm' ('November'. In Breton: 'miz du' - 'the black month')
    Rhagfyr < rhag + byr 'rampart, bulwark (of winter) ('December')
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In Old English: æfterra ġeōla, solmōnaþ, hrēþmōnaþ, ēastermōnaþ, þrimilċe, ǣrra līþa, æfterra līþa, wēodmōnaþ, hærfestmōnaþ, winterfylleþ, blōtmōnaþ, ǣrra ġeōla. December and January were the 'earlier' and 'later' parts of a time Yule (Geola) and June and July were likewise the two parts of a single midsummer time.
    It might be more accurate to describe these names as Old English records of the month names of the pre-OE Anglo-Saxon pagan calendar. Bede already describes the Anglo-Saxon calendar as a historic and not as a current calendar. To my knowledge, these names were never used as the English names of the Julian calendar. This is different from the Old High German month names, which continued to used for the months of the Julian calendar for several centuries.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The ancient Greeks divided each month (which was lunar) into three periods of ten days (δεκάδες dĕkắdĕs, δεκάς dekás in singular). And each lunar month had fixed thirty days.

    This is not entirely correct. The lunar cycle is approximately 29 and a half days. The Greek lunisolar calendar (like others of the same type) had months of alternating 30 and 29 days. In the “defective” (29-day) months the third “decade” had only 9 days.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Old English: æfterra ġeōla, solmōnaþ, hrēþmōnaþ, ēastermōnaþ, þrimilċe, ǣrra līþa, æfterra līþa, wēodmōnaþ, hærfestmōnaþ, winterfylleþ, blōtmōnaþ, ǣrra ġeōla. December and January were the 'earlier' and 'later' parts of a time Yule (Geola) and June and July were likewise the two parts of a single midsummer time.

    Among other European languages, Czech, Polish, and Finnish have native names for the months, and Basque is half and half like Welsh.
    In Polish the names are mixed, ten months have Slavic names (partly shared with Czech) and March and May have Latin names: respectively 'marzec' and 'maj' (pronounced 'mazhets' and 'may', with 'a' and 'e' like in Italian).
    Besides Polish, Czech and Finnish there are other European languages that have their native names: Hungarian, Lithuanian, Sorbian, Kashubian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Breton, Croatian, Irish (mixed), Scottish Gaelic, Welsh (mixed).
     
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