Time on Tuesday

In addition to seconds, minutes and hours, calendars are also critical components in the process of marking time.
Modern names for days of the week are centuries old and linked to celestial bodies. Some are obvious, but others are a bit more subtle.

Okay, maybe not this guy exactly.

Okay, maybe not this guy exactly.

Sunday = the sun’s day

Monday = the moon’s day

Tuesday = Tiw’s day, Tiw being the Old English word for Tyr, the Norse god of war

Wednesday = Wodin’s day, Wodin is Old English for Odin, also a Norse god, ruler of Asgard

Thursday = Thor’s day

Friday = Freya’s day, Freya being the Norse goddess of love and beauty

Saturday = saturn’s day

The Norse influence on the language is clear, with four of the seven days of the week being named directly for Norse gods. The Norse were also looking to the heavens, using the stars and planets to plot courses for their ships. Once again, time is guided by the stars.

Inspiration for this post came from The Time Book: A Brief History from Lunar Calendars to Atomic Clocks, written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Richard Holland. (And yes, Thor and The Avengers)

From the collection of the British Museum.

From the collection of the British Museum.

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