Footnotes from the Library

Lois Anderson

August—the hottest month in Arizona, although this whole summer has been very warm, so maybe that statement is not quite as valid as it once was. Anyway, it is too hot to do anything but sit. Sit inside that is, with the air conditioning blasting away full time. Include a fan to keep all the air in the house cooled, and then we can tolerate Arizona in August.

Ever wonder why some of our months have such funny names?

The Romans seemed to be the first to establish a formal calendar (at least, that is what my sophomore high school Latin teacher professed). There were 10 months up to that point, and several were named after numbers. September, Latin for seven; October, eight, etc. The astronomers were watching the skies and finally determined that the calendar needed some revisions which included the addition of two months. So, when Augustus Caesar (formally known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) became the first Roman emperor in 27 BC, he inserted two months into the calendar. One for Julius Caesar (a Roman general, statesman, historian, and Augustus’ predecessor) was called July, and another for himself, named August.

One of the other months, January, was named for the Roman God Janus who looked backward into the year past and forward into the future. At one time, I could have told you the origin of each month’s name, but I’ve aged, the memory is fading, and in the long run, who cares?

In the meantime, folks, grab a book or puzzle from the library, find the coolest place you can, and wait for the weather to back off from all this HOT stuff. All this heavy thinking is making me thirsty, so I think I’ll go find a cool beverage. Cheers!