Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Martius

Why name a month for the god of war?

Blame the Romans. For most of recorded history March was the first month of the calendar year. Romans believed that Mars, father of their founder Romulus, deserved the honor .

The ancients, untroubled by political correctness, called things as they saw it. The Goths anticipating good weather for battle held their war councils in March. Their neighbors implored their war gods for protection. The martial name stuck.

Other places, not worried by a thundering herd of marauders, named it and claimed it. The Saxons called it Lenct-Monat, translated to length month, as the days are finally longer than the nights (pay attention to this name, it comes up again in a few days). Celts called it Klydmonath-the stormy month. Scots name this the windy month, Finns the month where we see the ground. The non western world has a different scheme so they don't play.

Today is also marks St. David's Day, the patron of Wales. Unlike the lawless bacchanals in Ireland celebrating St. Patrick's Day on March 17, St. David festivals are more subdued, in keeping with the practices allowed a captured nation under colonial rule. A bit of singing, poetry, eating, a toast or two. The Red Dragon, the heraldic emblem of Wales will fly.

Toad

5 comments:

James said...

In today's PC world people seem to lose sight that our ancestors world celebrated war as part of life. Interesting post as always.

Suburban Princess said...

Always so interesting!
It's also our month!
Birthdays abound!

Divine Theatre said...

Nothing pithy to add...I just didn't want to be left out.

The Devoted Classicist said...

What a great garden feature!

David said...

Let's not forget our leeks!