by Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

July 2015

July is the seventh month of the year (between June and August) in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with the length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in 44 BC in honor of the Roman general, Julius Caesar, it being the month of his birth. Prior to that, it was called Quintilis. It is on average the warmest month in most of the Northern hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer) and the coldest month in much of the Southern hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter). The second half of the year commences in July. In the Southern hemisphere, July is the seasonal equivalent of January in the Northern hemisphere.

In the ancient Roman calendar, Quintilis or Quinctilis[1] was the month following Junius (June) and preceding Sextilis (August). Quintilis is Latin for "fifth": it was the fifth month (quintilis mensis) in the earliest calendar attributed to Romulus, which began with Martius ("Mars' month," March) and had 10 months. After the calendar reform that produced a 12-month year, Quintilis became the seventh month, but retained its name. In 45 BC, Julius Caesar instituted a new calendar (the Julian calendar) that corrected astronomical discrepancies in the old. After his death in 44 BC, the month of Quintilis, his birth month, was renamed Julius in his honor, hence July.

Sextilis ("sixth") or mensis Sextilis was the Latin name for what was originally the sixth month in the Roman calendar, when March (Martius, "Mars' month") was the first of ten months in the year. After the calendar reform that produced a twelve-month year, Sextilis became the eighth month, but retained its name. It was renamed Augustus (August) in 8 BC in honor of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Sextilis followed Quinctilis, which was renamed Julius (July) after Julius Caesar, and preceded September (from septem, "seven"), which was originally the seventh month. Julius (July) was renamed from Quintilis ("fifth" month) in honor of Julius Caesar, who had adopted his grand-nephew Octavian, the future Augustus, and made him his heir. It has sometimes been thought that the month has 31 days because Augustus wanted as many days in his month as in his predecessor's, but Sextilis in fact had 31 days since the reform during Caesar's dictatorship that created the Julian calendar.

The decree of the Senate (senatus consultum) renaming Sextilis reads in part:
Whereas the emperor Augustus Caesar, in the month of Sextilis, was first admitted to the consulate, and thrice entered the city in triumph, and in the same month the legions, from the Janiculum, placed themselves under his auspices, and in the same month Egypt was brought under the authority of the Roman people, and in the same month an end was put to the civil wars; and whereas for these reasons the said month is, and has been, most fortunate to this empire, it is hereby decreed by the senate that the said month shall be called Augustus.

Wikipedia gets credit for all the facts above! This calendar stuff really facinates me.

Pleas be sure to come to the NNJ Mensa picnic on August 9, 2015, at noon in Van Saun Park.