I was wondering what the original names of the months in Latin? The earliest one that I can find is from TimeAndDate:Roman Calendar:

Months in the Republican Calendar 
Month Names Number of Days
Ianuarius   29
Februarius  28
Martius 31
Aprilis 29
Maius   31
Iunius  29
Quintilis   31
Sextilis    29
September   29
October 31
November    29
December    29

The link doesn't provide the names in the ancient Roman calendar, which had only 10 months.

There are inconsistencies in the names of months.

The names for July and August were named after ordinal number + -ilis suffix,

The name for April was named after something not exactly an ordinal number + -ilis.

The names for September, October, November and December were named exactly the same as they were in Modern English. Their etymology also show that their roots were cardinal numbers not ordinal numbers, besides that they have suffixes different from -ilis.

The names for March, May and June were named after the names of gods and goddesses.

In the ancient Roman Calendar, were the names of the 10 months named all after ordinal numbers, similarly to the names for July and August, with a suffix -ilis? What were their names then?

How were the names of the months changed afterwards?

Note: Due to censorship, I cannot access much of the internet or Wikipedia.

  • 1
    There are several questions related to this which appear to the right of the question. One which seems to address your concerns would be Why did the Romans only name some months and number others?
    – justCal
    Jun 18, 2023 at 3:27
  • 2
    It looks like you mixed something with the endings: -us, -ilis and -ber are all adjective suffixes. They just mean "of the", "relative to" or "belonging to", because the names of the months in Latin were adjectives to the noun mensis ("month"). So all the months have similar names, some of them were called after gods (April was named after the Etruscan name of Aphrodite/Venus), some were given a number. Jun 18, 2023 at 6:33
  • 1
    The names of the months were stablished in the early Roman kingdom (with Numa, the 700 BCE)... according to Livy, writing 700 years later. So it was sort of "mythical" even for the Ancient Roman historians. It seems reasonable they called the first months (March, April...) after deities and then used numbers, but we will never know if Mars was called "Primius" during the foundation of Rome. Jun 18, 2023 at 11:56
  • 2
    @tim - I'll move that into the question. the comment looked like it was a reply to a comment that had already been deleted. In particular there was nothing in the comment that tied it to missing preliminary research. In general, OP commenting on their own posts is an anti-pattern that diminishes the chance & quality of answers.
    – MCW
    Jun 18, 2023 at 12:15
  • 2
    This user was pointed to this question and this question on the Latin site but never explained why they didn't answer his question.
    – cmw
    Jun 18, 2023 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


Short answer is No they were not. thought there are a couple of answers here, the two new added months were January which is also named after a god, ie Janus. Also February which wasnt in the orginal calendar was named after Februum, a time for purification.

The first 10 months of the old Roman Calendar were not all named after numbers or gods:

Martis - Mars god of war

Aprilis - thought to be based on the roman word for open, as in flower buds open

Mauis - Maia goddess of fertility

Iunius - Juno goddess of love and the state (though some claim its from the Junius family)

Quintilis - 5

Sextilis - 6

September - 7

October - 8

November - 9

December - 10



The Roman calendar was only 10 months long and included the following months: Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December. The last six months were assigned names according to their ordinal numbers.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/e/september/#

  • 2
    You say "Yes!" but the rest of the answer actually says no. The first four months weren't named after ordinal numbers.
    – Steve Bird
    Jun 21, 2023 at 12:56
  • The question is partially correct. I expressed myself a bit wrongly. Not all the months were named after ordinal numbers, but most of them were. Jun 21, 2023 at 13:07

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