Latin & mythology: why Jupiter/Jovis?

Maeglin: You and kimstu were having your discussion as I wrote and posted.

Let me just clarify something: I’m not suggesting the ordering of weekdays is an ancient convention. I am suggesting that by the time the convention was adopted, associations between Roman and Germanic deities were already established.

Perhaps the Romans made the associations they thought best fitted, regardless of what the Germanic peoples thought, and imposed their system on everyone. But Caesar certainly didn’t do this all by himself.

C’est tout.

Dimanche comes from Latin dies dominicalis: the “Lord’s Day.” Compare Italian domenico, Spanish domingo.

Samedi probably comes from Sabbath, as Sabbath is the basis for Saturday in most languages: Italian sabato, Spanish sabado, Polish sobota, Russian subota, Hungarian szombat, Arabic sabt, etc.

Odd that while English kept the original Germanic names for six of the days, it uses one Latinism: Saturday. While the Romance languages have dropped Saturn from the week! What was the original Germanic name for Saturday?

German has dropped most of the mythological names and invented new ones: Saturday is Sonnabend, ‘Sunday eve’. But another German name for Saturday is Samstag – borrowed from samedi?

Dutch, like English, has picked up the Latinism: Zaterdag. But Danish and Swedish have lørdag, lördag. What the heck does lör- mean?

Just a thought, but might it be clue to the name of the Nordic god? Assuming samedi comes from “sabbath”, then samedi/Saturday and other forms offer us no clues about the name of the Nordic/Germanic deity associated with Saturn and that day of the week.

Maeglin: I would hope that a Hellenistic attestation of planetary order goes farther back than Cicero.

I would hope. Plato in the Epinomis says, “The moon describes its own orbit quickest of all, bringing the month and the first full moon; and we must regard as second the sun, which executes its turnings during its own complete circuit, and the planets which keep it company.” That seems to imply that to Plato, the second closest planet is the sun, or maybe the sun together with Mercury and Venus. By the time of Geminus in about 70 BCE, though, the “standard order” is firmly established, as he describes it in the Isagoge. I would imagine that it was accepted as early as Eudoxus and Callippus with their systems of homocentric spheres, but I don’t know of an explicit attestation of the entire order that goes back that far.

As for Cassius Dio, we don’t have to believe his reconstruction (though I confess I can’t see any equally plausible reason why the weekdays should be ordered as they are), but at least we know that by his day, the order of the weekdays was sufficiently long-established that its origins had become somewhat uncertain.

I thought Dyaus meant god and pitar meant father in Proto-Indo-European. Then through language change we eventually get the Greek Dyaus alone as Zeus, which I am guessing was probably pronounced more like JOWSS than like
ZOOSS in real Greek, and in Latin we keep the father part and have Jupiter. Similarly, Demeter can be worked out as going back to Da (god) Mother, the Mother Goddess as Zeus was the Father God. Then Poseidon is also traceable back to Dyaus-pitar only backwards, as the don part going back to the dyaus and the pos going back to pitar. They say in any case that most of the Greek gods’s names have unknown etymologies, and that they survive in Albanian as the closest language to their ancient Greek names! (See Albanian on the internet).But I think what is interesting is that thus we see how the gods as personalities were originally merely people playing roles in rituals as the Father God and the Mother Goddess, etc., just like all throughout the world then and now people like to put on masks of “the gods” or spirits and dance around. (Vide opening of Olympics, ie., the Aboriginees dancing with masks on). Those who took the roles literally began thinking of these roles on a stage as being references to gods who pre-existed the ceremonies, although there are many myths that read like they are institutions of ceremonies that they are celebrating, which is also revelatory.

I just had a quick discuss with the b/f on this. He’s pretty knowledgable about Norse culture and mythology. According to him, from reading various sources, apparently the Norse only worked with a 5 day week rather than a 7 day week as was used in the area around the Mediterrean Sea. It would appear that the days we attribute to weekends didn’t exist in the Norse calendar system. I’m trying to get a source out of him for this. :slight_smile:

As for Odin/Wotan and Hermes/Mercury, both are gods of magic and patrons of travelers (according to the old sources) so I think that’s how the association goes.

I’ll post more as I get it.

…whereas Thor and Jupiter/Zeus are strongly associated because they were both controllers of thunder and lightning.

Here I come to save the day hehehe, not really but an explanation of how language works.
Iuppiter, Iovis… Now the thing that sticks out the most is the “PP” to “V” change. We must think outside of the box. what does “P” become when aspirated? The answer is “PH” or “F” and what does that become when adding voice beneath it? Quite simply, it becomes “BH” or “V”…
So basically P,B, F, V and yes even M are related in the whole relativity of language.

Coincidentally this also explains Irish Gaelic spellings for the V sound as “MH” and “BH”… In some words “MH” also symbolizes “W” as in english “water” . Plus we must keep in mind that “V” was not really the letter that it is today when the Romans had thir influence on the north sea islands. it was the vowel “U”.
To this day the Irish Alphabet contains no V or W… these sounds were earlier written adding a dot about the P B and M.
Irish days are as follow:
Dé Luain
Dé Máirt
Dé Céadaoin
Dé hAoine
Dé Sathairn
Dé Domhnaigh

Isn’t it domenica, in Italian? Domenico would be when it’s a man’s name. Portuguese and Galego call it domingo as well; Catalan is similar to French (diumenge) (hey, it’s a zombie, but it’s a multilingual one!).

Unlike the other divinely inspired days, the origin of Lørdag appears to be sadly prosaic:

Just in case you should forget your weekly shower, I guess it’s handy to have the name of the day to remind you.

I can see “Deus” and “Dio” in there… that is, God. Which is kinda cool.

Nah, it’s short for "lögardagen" – from proto-German Laugr, “waterfall.”

In other words, “bath day”!



Except this is an illusion. As mentioned in zombie-days, “Iuppiter” is two words:

Iu + (p)piter. The double-p is an orthographic convention to indicate a geminated consonant in the middle of the word, a slight difference that has been explained to me a million times and I still don’t get. Still found in Southern Italian dialects.

The “v” is also an illusion. In Classical Latin, “u” and “v” were not distinguished in writing, and in sound were more like English u + w.

So it’s:

Iu ppiter

So the question shouldn’t be about p / v, but u / ou, and where the initial d- went.

Incidentally, the phenomenon of supplementing the inflexions of a word with etymologically distinct forms is called, and can be found in many more prosaic situations, for example go and went.

Well, it was Baron Samedi who was the leader of the zombies, right?

While we’re at it, an aspirated P isn’t like a F; it’s like a P with an aspiration after it. The association between phi and f is fairly recent (at least, more recent than classical times).

I know this is a zombie, but what the hell, I might as well chime in that Zeus in Greek is prounounced as ZDAY-oos. In Classical Greek, zeta is a diagraph pronounced as a -zd- sound (like the middle consonant sound made in “Mazda”). So the path from Zeus to Dios isn’t really that far. It just elides the leading -z- sound.

I don’t think TizzoneIA was using the linguistic definition of aspiration; based on the other examples, he/she was probably referring to the use of that word in Irish Gaelic: Irish initial mutations. Sometimes lenition is referred to as “aspiration” in English.

I’ve always thought the bovine tie-ins were interesting. Practically all ancient civilizations held the bull in great and almost divine regard as a symbol and as late as The Illiad Hera is being referred to as cow-eyed (and not as an insult) and the cow as still her symbol. Both Zeus/Jupiter and Osiris had tales in which they transformed into bulls. In the tale of the Exodus the Hebrews fashion a bull calf when their collective ADHD makes them forget God parting the waters the week before. I wonder if these can all ultimately be traced to the same source as the veneration of cattle in Hinduism.

If I remember right, can’t our letter A be traced back to a drawing of an ox head?