How Did August Get Its Name?

While some months are named after numbers and some are named after gods, August is just one of two months in the calendar named after a man: Augustus Caesar (via That said, to many Romans, Augustus was probably as close to a god as humanly possible.

That's because Augustus Caesar is widely considered to be the greatest (and first) emperor of Ancient Rome. In fact, his name Augustus, bestowed to him by the Senate of Rome, was a reflection of this esteem, as it means "sacred" or "grand" in the original Latin, per

According to, Augustus, born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, was just 17 when he learned that his uncle, Julius Caesar, had been killed. Despite his youth, he was able to consolidate power and become the sole ruler of Rome. Though his reign only lasted 40 years, he managed to double the size of the Roman empire so that it extended from the British Isles to India. Moreover, the government made major reforms that would have a lasting impact on world history. For example, Augustus instilled formal and documented systems of censuses and taxation. He spearheaded the creation of a vast road network — the origin of the phrase "all roads lead to Rome."

Augustus decided to name August after himself in A.D. 8.

What was August's original name?

Though it seems difficult to imagine the summery month having another name, its original title was something else entirely: Sextilis. According to The British Museum, Sextilis is Latin for the sixth month, meaning that it followed the same pattern as the succeeding months, like September, October, November, and December. Similarly, July was once called Quintilis, meaning the fifth month.

Augustus decided that August should be named after him because it was a month that encapsulated many of his greatest victories. For example, the defeat and suicide of Antony and Cleopatra — who had been his greatest rivals for the throne — had taken place in the first week-and-a-half of the month in the year 30 B.C., per

It was also likely chosen as it came after July, which had recently been renamed after his uncle, Julius Caesar. The consecutive months added to the sense of lineage that was emerging in the Roman emperorship. Ironically, August was also the month of Augustus's death. He died on August 19, A.D. 14, near Naples, Italy (via