Monday, October 26, 2015


Renaming the Months

Tacitus, Annals 16.13, from Tacitus, The Annals. With an English Translation by John Jackson, Books XIII-XVI (1937; rpt. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 353, with the translator's footnotes on p. 352:
The months following April—otherwise known as "Neroneus"1—were renamed, May taking the style of "Claudius," June that of "Germanicus."2

1 XV.74.

2The names were his own—he was "Claudius Nero Caesar Germanicus"—not those of his adoptive father and grandfather. So Commodus, by drawing upon his farrago of titles, was able to construct a year comprising the months:—Amazonius, Invictus, Pius, Felix, Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exuperatorius (D. Cass. LXXII.15; Lampr. Comm. 11 sq.).
There is a misprint in Jackson's footnote 2: for "D.Cass. LXXII.15" read "D.Cass. LXXIII.15". Here is the passage from Dio in Earnest Cary's translation:
Finally, all the months were named after him, so that they were enumerated as follows: Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius, Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius. For he himself assumed these several titles at different times, but "Amazonius" and "Exsuperatorius" he applied constantly to himself, to indicate that in every respect he surpassed absolutely all mankind superlatively; so superlatively mad had the abandoned wretch become.


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