January (n.) - After Yule

January (n.) - After Yule


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Definition

 January

noun
The first month of the year.

History & Etymology

 In English the name of the first month of year wasn’t always some variation of January. Before the Norman conquest in 1066 the English name was the Old English geola se æfterra which meant “after Yule” or “later Yule.”

After 1066 and the Norman conquest when William the conqueror became King of England, Latin became the official language and nearly all of the aristocracy spoke French natively, the word January began being used in an official capacity.

In future videos I’d like to take a closer look at the relationship between the british and the normans, and who really conquered who, but this is just going to be a quick video so keep an eye out for that.

William the conqueror and the Normans were Northern French aristocrats, and they brought their language with them when they conquered england. Bringing the word Ieneuer with them. This word traces all the way back to the origin of French Latin where it was pronounced Ianuarius. That name came from the patron god of that month Janus. Janus is the god of doorways, duality, time and beginnings which is very fitting for the first month of the year. The same can’t be said for the names of the month of September through December, but that’s another video for a later date.

Sources

https://www.etymonline.com/word/January#etymonline_v_1662
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus
http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/100755?redirectedFrom=january#eid
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

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