七月---凯撒之月

七月---凯撒之月

廖康


英语月份的名称来自拉丁语,欧洲多数语言也莫不如此。因为拉丁语是罗马帝国的官话,在欧洲通用了1500多年。如果您稍微了解一点拉丁语或罗曼司语言,就可能对September, October, November, December这些月份的名称产生疑问。顾名思义,这些月明明是“七月、八月、九月、十月”嘛!而且,为什么八月有31天?把前几个月天数一单一双的规律打乱了。答案和尤利乌斯•凯撒(Julius Caesar)有关。

罗马从建国直到凯撒的鼎盛时期一直使用一种根据月亮的变化而制定的历法,把一年分为十个月,其名称为:Martius (March 一月) ,火星之月;Aprillis (April二月) ,开启之月,拉丁文aperire意为“开启”,此乃春时,百花竞开;Maius (May三月) 、生长女神玛雅(Maia)之月;Junius (June四月) ,青春之月,拉丁文juvenis 意为“年轻”;Quintilis五月、拉丁文quinque意为“五”;Sextilis六月,拉丁文sex意为“六”;September七月,拉丁文septem意为“七”;October八月,拉丁文octo意为“八”;November九月,拉丁文novem意为“九”;December十月,拉丁文decem意为“十”。此历法不准确,造成很多混乱。

公元前48年,凯撒征服了埃及。他从亚历山大市天文学家索斯根尼(Sosigenes)那里得到更科学的历法,既古希腊数学家阿里斯塔库(Aristarchus)于公元前239年制定的日历,并将其带回罗马,两年后开始使用。此历法遂以凯撒的名字尤利乌斯(Julius)衍化出来的形容词Julian 而闻名,世人称之为“尤利安历法”。现在世界通行的日历就基于此历法,它在一年之初加了两个月:Januarius、双面神Janus之月,他的一张脸看着过去,一张脸看着未来。Februarius、净化之月,拉丁文Februaorum是古罗马的净化和赎罪节。英文的January和February便由这两个字衍变而来。

增加的这两个月改变了原先月份的次序,使原来的一月变为三月,原来的二月变为四月,依此类推。然而,由于人们对那些月份的名称已经习惯了,便沿用旧名。于是,原先的数字月Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December就变成七月、八月、九月、十月、十一月、十二月了。我猜想,古罗马人开始可能觉得词不达意,但久而久之,见怪不怪。这是语言惯性的早期实例之一。那时候,八月有30天;二月通常有29天,闰年有30天。

月份的名称看来就这么定了,但仅仅两年后,历史就发生了转折。凯撒被刺杀,安东尼(Mark Anthony)击败谋杀首领布鲁特斯(Marcus Brutus),成为罗马最有权势者。为了荣耀凯撒,更是为了昭显忠心,以便巩固他自己的地位,安东尼将七月Quintilis更改为Julius,那是凯撒的名字,英文的July便由此而来。西方人不象中国人那样要避名讳,他们觉得世界上最美妙的音乐就是自己名字的声音。不久,历史又发生了转折,安东尼贪恋埃及艳后,久居异乡,乐不思归,凯撒的侄子奥古斯都(Augustus)遂强大起来,击败了安东尼,成为罗马帝国第一个皇帝,而且在众人眼里,他是罗马帝国最伟大的领袖。自然,他也不能轻慢自己。于是,他用自己的名字Augustus取代了八月Sextilis。英文的August 也由此而来。八月是他的幸运之月,他在八月首次领衔执政,在八月打过几次胜仗,也是在八月结束内战。唯一美中不足的是,八月乃小月,只有30天。那又何妨?有权就可以有日子。奥古斯都一道最高指示,就从二月拿过来一天,放入八月,还美其名曰此乃皇恩浩荡之举,因为二月是古罗马杀牲、杀人之月,以此来净化自己,为自己赎罪。天知道那是什么逻辑!二月少了一天,也许还真少杀了几个无辜。

这就是英语月份诸名称的来历。其中四个数字月(September, October, November, December)的语义和实际意义不同。两个月连着有31天,打乱了原先的规律,还有一个月比其它月份的日子少得多,可见掌权者可以如何为所欲为。凯撒采用新历法,对世界文明无疑有巨大贡献。他的名字被安东尼用来为政治服务,因此,也作为七月的名称而流传下来。然而,真正应该流芳百世,却为世人遗忘的人物是历法的制定者,希腊的数学家兼天文学家——阿里斯塔库。

原载《看世界》2006年第5期

2006年4月25日
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关于月份的来历略知一二,但不知这些细节,谢谢分享。



这篇是先用英文写的,抄在下面:
July: the Month of Julius Caesar

Kang Liao

The English names of the months are derived from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire and the lingua franca in Europe for more than fifteen centuries. If you have some knowledge of Latin or Romance languages, have you ever wondered why September, October, November, and December are the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months respectively?  Probably you may have thought these words are odd, since semantically they mean the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months. Furthermore, why does August have 31 days, changing the pattern of odd-and-even numbers established in the previous months? The answers have to do with Julius Caesar.

Up to the height of Julius Caesar’s power and splendors, the Romans had been using a lunar calendar that divided a year into only ten months: 1) Martius (March), the month of Mars, who was the Roman god of war; 2) Aprilis (April), the month of opening, when the womb of nature opens with new life, as aperire means “to open” in Latin; 3) Maius (May), the month of Maia, who was the goddess of growth; 4) Junius (June), the month of youth, as juvenis means “young” in Latin; 5) Quintilis, the fifth month, as quinque means “five” in Latin; 6) Sextilis, the sixth month, as sex means “six” in Latin; 7) September, the seventh month, as septem means “seven” in Latin;  October, the eighth month, as octo means “eight” in Latin; 9) November, the ninth month, as novem means “nine” in Latin; 10) December, the tenth month, as decem means “ten” in Latin.

After Julius Caesar conquered Egypt in 48 BC, he acquired a solar calendar - Aristarchus’s calendar of 239 BC - from the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes.  More accurate than its Roman counterpart, this calendar was adopted by Caesar in 46 BC. It came to be known as the Julian Calendar, which had two months added at the beginning of a year: Januarius (January), the month of Janus, the Roman deity who had two faces and could look back to the year past and forward on the current year; and Februarius (February), the month of purification, as Februaorum was the Roman festival of purification and expiation.

Although these two months disrupted the order and made the fifth month the seventh, the sixth month the eighth, and so on, since people had been accustomed to the names of the ten months, the names remained unchanged. Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December then became the seventh, eighth, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth months respectively, and they must have sounded misplaced, but this is only one of many examples of the inertia of language. Back then, Sextilis, the eighth month, had 30 days, and Februarius, the second month, had 29 days, except in each leap year when it had 30 days.

The names of the months seemed to be settled, but only two years later, Julius Caesar was assassinated. Mark Anthony became the most powerful man in Rome after defeating Marcus Brutus, one of the assassins and the conspirators. In honor of Julius Caesar as well as to stabilize his own power, he renamed Quintilis Julius, from which the English word July is derived. Then the course of history took a turn. Anthony stayed too long in Egypt, indulging in amorous pursuits with Cleopatra, and was defeated by Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar’s grandnephew, who became the first Roman Emperor and, in a worldly sense, perhaps the greatest ruler of the Roman Empire. In honor of himself, he renamed Sextilis Augustus (August), because that was his "lucky month" in which he began his first Consulship, celebrated three Triumphs, and ended the Civil War, among some other military deeds. The only shortcoming was that the month had only 30 days. Then he took one day from Februarius and put it into Augustus, so that he would not be regarded as inferior to his granduncle, Julius Caesar. It was also to show his benevolence because February was the month when the Romans purified themselves by sacrificing animals as well as human lives. One day fewer possibly meant a few men saved.

This is the origin of the English names of the months, five of which are not what they mean semantically. Two months in a row have 31 days each, breaking the original pattern, and one month is much shorter than the others. Julius Caesar’s adoption of the solar calendar is a great contribution to our civilization, but his name was used by and compared with other politicians for their own power and fame. As a result, his name is remembered along with July. However, the name that should have been remembered with glory but has been forgotten is the creator of the calendar, the Greek mathematician and astronomer—Aristarchus.

[ 本帖最后由 廖康 于 2011-7-31 07:41 PM 编辑 ]


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