Days of the week
How would you translate the days of the week ?
Monday is dies Lunae or literally "Day Moon" seem right ?
Are some of the day names based on Norse gods ? The Norse gods would not be know in Ancient times.
We see the traces of Norse gods in the English (< Germanic) names, which seem to be translations of the Latin names. Dies Lunae = day of the Moon = Monday; Dies Martis = day of Mars = Tuesday (and that's supposed to be the possessive form of a Norse god's name); Dies Mercurii = day of Mercury = Wednesday (and that's supposed to be the possessive form of Woden / Odin!), and so forth.
Thank you so much for the information! Yes, I haven't considered the origins of the English weekday names at all. I was only fixated on Latin. :)
A small addition:
I quote from my Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary:
Originally translated from the Latin for 'day of Mars' dies Marti and named after the Germanic god Tiw.
Originally translated from the Latin for 'day of Mercury' Mercurii dies and named after the Germanic god Odin.
(Sorry, my English is rather shaky. I'm German.)
Thank you! I'm sure I once saw that name of the Germanic god Tiw, but had forgotten it--it would be interesting to know what made people connect him and Mars, and Odin and Mercury.
I know nothing about Tiw, but one would have thought Jupiter made a better connection with Odin, right? (And Thursday = Thor's day; in Latin, dies Iovis, or Jupiter's day.)
Suzanne, I'm very sorry. Well, I wanted to answer you. Before that, I thought it would be good to look again in one of my books:
"Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte" by Richard M. Meyer For instance, there are 11 pages about the god Tyr (= Tiw or Tiu).
After reading I am completely confused. Conjectures, refutations, oontradictions, exceptions, limitations, objections... How dreadful!
Sorry, I have only compiled a list of links for this reason. I have chosen carefully. But if you don't like it, just ignore it, please!
In addition to what etymon3 said, Sunday was also called diēs dominica (or dies dominicus), "the Lord's day," by Christians, espec. after the time of Constantine the Great. (Latin "diēs" could be either masculine or feminine, at times.) The feminine form is what gave French "dimanche," see Wiktionary and also this very informative discussion (found just now).
FWIW, in Latin from the Roman Republic (up to about 30 B.C.) and beyond you don't see mention of seven-day weeks or weekdays. I don't know why the Romans changed over to speaking about "weeks" but seem to recall reading that the names of some of the weekdays were found in graffiti from Pompey, so the change must have started by 79 A.D. . . . And this Wikipedia (or is it "Weekipedia"?) article has some good information about the Roman week; the whole "History" section, including before the link, is well worth reading, as is the article linked at the bottom, "Names of days of the week."
My understanding is that the days of the week sort of became a thing only after the introduction of Christianity. After all why would various non-Jewish peoples care about a 7 day cycle. It's not like their gods told them to rest on the 7th day and keep it holy. The actual term for this 7 day period came from the late latin "septimana" and survives in several forms in the romance languages (e.g. semana from Spanish and Portuguese).
My understanding is that in the romance speaking parts of Europe retained the roman god names for the weekdays at least while the Germanic parts of Europe grafted on their cultural equivalents. Sabado (in Spanish) comes from Hebrew but it seem the Anglo-Saxons preferred Saturn; while Sunday turned into "the Lord's Day" in the romance areas, while the Anglo-Saxons kept the sun in Sunday.
Does anybody know why the names for what we call the weekend changed?
I, too, always assumed that it was the rise of Christianity that gave the (originally) Jewish 7-day week to the world; but I think it's known--see the names of the days of the week, that our fellow students have been posting here about--that the ancients were able to view the close planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc.) and had named the days of the week for them. Are not these the divinities honored in the Roman Pantheon building? (I suspect that one of our learned readers will actually know how this works.)