the Week

I have heard a lot of different theories about the week and the way it was arranged.

The Romans used a time interval longer than seven days in their earlier period but gradually adjusted it down to seven. From what I can tell, the Hebrews had seven days since their earliest writings.

But today we have seven days named Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There are also interesting theories about how they came up with those names.

Sun-day and Moon-day are fairly obvious but the next few seem to come to us from the old Norse gods: Tewes-day, Woden’s-day, Thor’s-day, and Freya-day. The last day was named for Saturn.

Apparently some monk in the past realized the planets arranged in their distance from the Earth were Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn.

The “distance-from” criteria is wrong as we now know but I can not figure out how someone thought the Sun was closer than the Moon since the latter eclipses the former, and not vice-versa.

Also, I question the rational of equating Woden, king of the gods, with Mercury. Actually, this bit of connection was done by the early Roman writers and their correlation seems to have stuck, regardless of the rationale or complete lack of it.

But Woden was Mercury? Wasn’t he the god that plucked out his eye for wisdom? And the only planet I know with a large red spot is Jupiter.

And they thought Thor was Jupiter? Yeah, I can see that the god with the bright red hair and red beard, and very warlike, should not be equated with the red planet.

Obviously, someone is not putting things together correctly to my mind. But, maybe I’m wrong.

Still, if you follow the Sun and planets in order of brightness: Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn. And there, amazingly, you also have the arrangement of the days of the week.

At least, to my mind, it really seems to be that simple.

Also, it is interesting that the Spanish still call Saturday, “Sabado”, the Sabbath. We celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, even though it used to be on Saturday as well. So why did its worship on Saturday end? Well, let’s not get into that discussion at the present as it would open a whole big can of worms.

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