July n. the seventh month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars
According to Wikipedia, it is, on average, the warmest month in most of the Northern hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). ‘Most’ clearly does not include fucking England. It’s wet. And cold. Roll on winter and some sunny days.
“Dog Days" also begin in July, and are (supposedly) the hottest, most sultry days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius*, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun, was responsible for the hot weather. Which is, of course, utter bollocks.
*Not to be confused with a former member of The Order of the Phoenix.
The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation, Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks, who knew a thing or two.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a brown dog* at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather. Also bollocks, obviously.
*Lucky for Snoopy that he was white.
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time; “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies”, according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813*. I don’t know what they were complaining about. Personally, I like nothing more than long, relaxed (and often quite madefied) phrensies.
*The year, not ‘almost a quarter past six in the evening’.
This ‘evil time’ is very believable. Although it could easily be applied to the whole bloody year.
Oh, and it’s also the charmingly summery name of a gorgeous friend of an even more gorgeous friend of mine. And a mystery why she wastes it by pronouncing it “Julie”.