Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique)

Michael L. Siemon (
Fri, 20 Oct 1995 01:39:55 -0400

In article <46769r$>, Claude Dion
<> wrote: (Andrew Cooke) wrote:
+> monday - lunes - moon
+> tuesday - martes - mars
+> wednedsay - miercoles - mercury
+> thursday - jueves - ? (maybe jovian - jupiter)
+> friday - viernes - venus
+> saturday - sabado - saturn
+> sunday - domino - looks like the catholic church got in here... :-)
+ Could sabado have come from Sabbath instead?

Yes, sabado comes from Sabbath. And *lots* of countries have day names
including that and the "lord's day" for the next one, and NO TRACE of the
Roman god-names (or their German equivalents such as we have in English).

There seem, in fact, to be TWO independent (or mostly so, anyway :-)) sources
for the 7-day week, Jewish on the one hand (and through Christian usage that
influences much of Europe, most directly the Greek and Greek-influenced
states) and an astrological (probably Hellenistic-Egyptian in origin) week
derived from planetary "rulers" of the hours of the day. Cf. Otto Neugebauer
on this stuff. The Romans were getting BOTH sources at about the same time,
and were terribly confused thereby about the "fact" of the Jews observing
their rest on "Saturn's day." But the Romans tended to be confused about ALL
aspects of calendrical usage :-); a more numerically incompetent nation has
seldom persisted as long as they managed ... Roman confusion perpetuates
itself in all modern states that have been tainted by earlier Roman stages.

Luckily, we HAVE managed (with some difficulty!) to abandon the totally
bizarre and useless Kalends-Nones-Ides nonsense, but we *still* teach
Roman numerals, for God's sake. As if the sheer awkwardness of these
damned stupidities were somehow a recommendation!

Michael L. Siemon (

"We must know the truth, and we must love the truth we know,
and we must act according to the measure of our love."
Thomas Merton