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I'm wondering when and by whom the idea of a work-free weekday was invented.

This is actually two parts, and I wonder about both of them and a (superficial, I'll admit) research turned up very little, all of it much too recent to be the true thing.

  • First, who had the idea of having a work-free day in the week?
  • Second, who had the idea to coordinate everyone's free day to the same day?

We know that the Romans had no weekends (because they didn't have weeks, only months), but the Jews did, at around the same time. Did they come up with it or copied it from someone else?

Did other Middle Eastern cultures have work-free days? Did someone else (Asian, South American, etc.) invent the same thing independently?

closed as off-topic by Tomas By, Denis de Bernardy, Alex, John Dee, JLK Jul 22 at 9:50

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    You may want to check this out, especially the Babalonian section: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabbath – Brian Z Jul 21 at 19:18
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    @BrianZ I have no idea why it didn't occur to me to search for Sabbath. Thanks. – Tom Jul 21 at 20:17
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    The Romans had work-free days for various religious festivals, just not at regular intervals. There also originally had a market days once every eight days, but that fell into disuse, I think by the start of the Empire. – C Monsour Jul 22 at 1:20