August – the origins of the month’s name
In 45 B.C., after consultations with astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, Roman General Julius Caesar began reforming the Roman calendar. In the process of the reform, the fifth month Quintilis was renamed in his honour – Julius.
After Julius’s grandnephew Augustus became Emperor of Rome, he also saw a need for a month of his own. The Senate passed a resolution changing the name of the sixth month Sextillus to Augustus.
It is believed that to avoid demoting the authority of Emperor Augustus, this month was lengthened to 31 days, taking that extra day from February and equaling it to Julius’ month.
Other Roman rulers, including Caligula, Nero and Domitian, also attempted to rename months, but these changes did not last long. It was only these two – Julius and Augusts – who succeeded in having their months permanently named after them.