July’s power

July panel from a Roman mosaic of the months (from El Djem, Tunisia, first half of 3rd century AD). — Ad Meskens photo

July panel from a Roman mosaic of the months (from El Djem, Tunisia, first half of 3rd century AD). — Ad Meskens photo

July is the month when the sun is strongest. Around here temperatures average 84, five degrees warmer than in June and three higher than in August. Although this week, we can expect unusually high temperatures.

Because the sun shows so much power in July, Mark Anthony had the month Quintilis changed to honor his late friend, Julius Caesar, a man of great power. The change also eliminated the nasty problem of the seventh month being named “five,” its old position in the Roman year.

The ancient Saxons were more down to earth about naming their months. July was Hay Monath, when they mowed and harvested hay, or sometimes Maed Monath, supposedly because the meads — the meadows — were in bloom then. However, mead is also an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey.

And since it’s said that mead imbues the drinker with wisdom, courage and strength, perhaps Maed Monath is the time to sit back, sip some mead, and quietly seek these admirable qualities. —J.S.

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