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one of misery and misfortune to the entire nation. The dies Saturni, on the contrary was, as well for the week as for any other division of time, a favourable period of commencement. Saturn and Janus were one, and the latter is more particularly invoked by Ovid (Fasti, Lib. I. v., 7).
Jane biceps, anni taciti labentis origo, as Virgil gives to Saturn the honourable office of heading the rule of the immortals on earth (Ænæid, viii.)
Primus ab æthereo venit Saturnus Olympo. We have already mentioned the guneral derivation of the word Nundinæ from novem dies, though like the German acht
tage for the week, and the French quinze jours, or the quindici giorni of the Italians for the fortnight, the tale might not always be correct, and therefore another derivation may be thrown out for consideration. The Nundina were origiginally days of recreation and sacrifice, and therefore, like the Feriæ, dies non fasti; on them no public business could be undertaken; no courts of law were then open, though this was subsequently altered, and the prætors sat, that the country people who flocked to market with their produce might also have their disputes adjudicated on. If we, therefore, suppose that the word ding or thing, so universally prevalent through Northern Europe for a court or tribunal, to have been early known in Italy and subsequently lost, the prefix non or nun would express their abstinence from law life as nithing, as our Saxon laws express an outlaw—a worthless fellow-and it would also account for its boding of ill, if personified as the opprobrious niding, and be the reason for Ovid's expression (Fasti, Lib. I. v., 57).
Nonarum tutela Deo caret, for without the covering protection of a deity, the permission of entering to so many of the country rabble would hardly have been prudent.
This seems to be a condensed statement of all that we know of the Roman diurnal divisions, and of the introduction of a seven-days' computation into Rome, which, after the Julian time-reformation was effected, became more general, and was possibly one of the consequences of this judicious innovation, until with the principles of Christianity under Constantine, it was formally inducted into the Roman Calendar,
Before, however, adverting to the Teutonic and Northern names of the week days, we will shew the various plans in which some learned writers have endeavoured to account for their Roman positions, which I believe you will agree with me are more ingenious than probable; and their variety will prove the necessity admitted by the Romans for fresh explanation, and the unsatisfactory state in which they have left the question.
Dio Cassius gives two methods ;-in the first he takes the planets in the Ptolemaic order, and naming them in their order of distance from the earth-Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon—he begins with Saturn, as the most distant, and counting the hours, the 25th, or first hour of the next day, will belong to Sol or the Sun, who therefore gives his name to the second day; the 49th, or first of the third day, to the Moon ; the 73rd, or first of the fourth day, to Mars; the 97th, or first of the fifth day, to Mercury; the 121st, or first of the sixth day, to Jupiter; and the 145th, or first of the seventh day to Venus, as the days each governs respectively.
A most ingenious method, certainly; but too complex to have originated a mode of enumeration in the early periods, and by nations to whom the Ptolemaic system was totally unknown; that it was not, however, satisfactory to Dio himself may be inferred from his offering another solution, according to a musical scale, which he calls Diatesseron, of which, however—as I am unfortunately unskilled in the mysteries of the gamut or of thorough bass—I must be satisfied with a mere enumeration.
He places the seven planets in a circle, according to the following diagram :--and be
to ginning again with Saturn, he passes
each time he names a planet over the two next intervening to
name the third. Thus, if Saturn be first by counting to the right, passing by the following Jupiter and Mars, weglo gain Sol the Sunday; starting again from it, we omit Venus and Mercury, and have Luna or the Moon for the third day; and so from
the third sign again is Mars, the fourth day; the fifth is Wednesday or Mercury; the sixth Thursday or Jupiter; and the seventh Friday or Venus.
No doubt, many other hypotheses might be formed by ingenious mathematicians, with sufficient time and patience. I shall show you a second diagram by the learned Scaliger, which not only testifies his great learning, but also his dissatisfaction with both these preceding ones of Dio Cassius, He takes an eptagon, or seven equal sized figure, inscribed in a circle, and upon the junction of these seven lines he places the signs of the planets, but in a succession very different from that of Dio Cassius; and I may here observe that the finding a suitable order of position seems the principal difficulty, and the key to all further solutions of this kind.
The following diagram will give his method. Beginning with any of them, he draws from it and every other of the signs seven isoceles triangles to the chords of the arc betwixt every two. In these triangles the star at the right basle angle is the first; that at the vertex the second; that at the left basle angle the third ; and this is the order in which they are opposite to one another. Thus, if we begin with the Sun, (1) the Moon (2) is opposite to him and Mars (3) on the descending line. From Mercury (4) we ascend to Jupiter (5); from Jupiter descend to Venus (6); and Saturn (7) remains at the apex of a triangle in solitary greatness, without a vis a vis.
I think it need scarcely be asked if any of the stated methods are satisfactory to this assembly. The more complicated and ingenious, the more distant they must be considered from the ideas and opinions of the remote nations amongst which undoubtedly they first arose for the division of time into weeks, consequent upon their early observance of the moon-phases, and their veneration of that luminary.
1 De emendatione Temporum. Edit. 1629, p. 8.
I must again impress upon your attention, that in this paper it is with the names of these week days and their sequence that I have undertaken to grapple; but shall for the present restrict myself to the nomenclature of Europe.
In all the countries which earliest and longest remained under Roman sway, these names take their origin from the Roman mythology. I will only instance the French Lundi, Mardi, Mecredi, Jeudi, Venredi, Samedi, Dimanche,--respectively from Luna, Mars, Mercurius, Jovis, Venus, Saturnius; the latter form an etymological agreement which would require too extensive an explanation at present. But you will again observe that, as with the planets, we have in them all no set order of power, or rank, nor any other satisfactory reason for this sequence, according to the stations given by their poets in the classic Olympus. If we, however, look to the Northern names, we shall find that these Roman terms are but translations of the names found in all Northern theogonies. The religion of Italy was eminently tolerative; and when, in the progress of the Roman arms and conquests, they discovered new deities, they were induced, from the best conformities of aitributes and offices, to ascribe to them the names of their own creed. Thus Woden, who is represented throughout the Edda as the leader of the Asi and Indo-Germanic race, to the sea of Azoph and Asgard, was titled Mercury. Thor, the wielder of the thunder, and his dreadful missive, was changed into their own cloud-compelling Jupiter; and Venus, their beau-ideal of all female loveliness, was made god-mother to the more masculine and less graceful Freia. Tuisco they named Mars-for they found the name of Teutones and the exercise of valour rarely separate. Of Saturn from the God Sater. Of the Sun and Moon days I need not dilate. Jamieson's Dictionary gives a god Seater yet for Scotland; but it is evident that herein the Romans were not original, but imitators; and therefore that we must seek a reason for these names beyond their empire. Had the modern Germans kept their old creed, we should most probably have found in their language, and its cognate northern dialects, these names intact. But the influence of the Christian system—and possibly a hankering after originality—has removed from their days' names almost entirely their celestial titles. We have, it is true, Freitag or Freia's day, and the Sun and Moon days. But Wednesday is Mittewoch (mid
week), and Thor's day is the thunder-day ; Donnerstag—and Tuesday the council-day ; Dinstag from ding or thing, a tribunal—as the Thingwald, the court mound of the Isle of Man. Saturday is Sonabeud, Sunday eve. These denominations help us to consider and illustrate a more satisfactory source for these names, but are in themselves insufficient.
Where, then, are we to look for the true and entire series and its real cause ? and I answer fearlessly—in our language alone, and its ancient faith. In the first, the names of the days remain without alteration in their full integrity, as is found in no other tongue; in the second, by the consideration of what remains of their creeds and customs, we can find in this sequence of our deities an order of rank and power that is perfectly consistent and satisfactory.
Our present order of Sun-Mon-Tues-Wednes-Thurs-Fri and Satur-day embraces the seven principal, -and possibly, in the first ages-only deities of the Northern Indo-Germanic nations. Their series, however, as we now name them consecutively after Monday, is not regular, and in no discoverable order or sequence; but the question is, can this order be that originally fixed upon on the formation of this creed; and is it not rather a consequence of the introduction of Christianity, when, in honour of the resurrection, the Sunday was given as the first day of the week, and preceded all the rest ? It will therefore be necessary to inquire, was such the pre-Christian circuit and order of our heathen forefathers, and if not, at what other point did they commence ?
To arrive at this knowledge, permit me to give you a slight abstract of the power, rank, and attributes of each of these seven deities as acknowledged in the Edda, and of which reminiscences are still found in the neglected traditions of our peasantry, and the by-corners of our most distant counties.
The first of them in power and pre-eminence was certainly Thor. His command of the thunder is the same force which gives superiority to the Zeus of Homer and to the Jupiter Capitolinus of the Romans, whilst his dreaded Miölnir, the Crux ansata, was a fit representative and nearly akin, in its oldest form, to the double trident or thunderbolt of Jove. The command over the most direful, as well as powerful, element of nature, gave a common character and dignity to its possessors.
The next in dignity was Woden, to whose activity and