Parts 1 and 2 of Our Latin Calendar were about the six deities for whom the months of January through June were named, and Part 3 was about Rome's two rulers for whom July and August were named. This last part is about the "Wrong Numbers" in the names of the last four months: September through December.
Julius Caesar replaced the ancient lunar Roman calendar of 10 months with the solar calendar of 12 months, based on Earth's revolutions around the sun. His Julian calendar was the major western world calendar for 15 centuries, until refined and replaced in 1582 by the 12-month Gregorian calendar, under the direction of Pope Gregory XII. Since neither Caesar nor Pope Gregory changed the names of the last four months of the old 10-month calendar, for 2000 years these months have had inaccurate names.
The name of this month is from the Latin mensisseptember,meaning "seventh month." September is from Septem ("seven") and -ber (a suffix equivalent to English "-th"). Note that -ber is the ending of all four of the names discussed here and that mensis is Latin for "month. " Although September was the seventh month in the ancient Roman calendar, since the year 46 BC (date of the Julian calendar) it has been the ninth month. The illustration on the right is described by Wikipedia as "a panel from a 3rd-century mosaic of the months, located at El Diem, Tunisia (Roman Africa)." It depicts two men making wine by crushing grapes with their feet, a characteristic activity of the month of September in Roman art.
How many arms does an octopus have? How many keys are in an octave? What does the word October mean? Octo is Latin for "eight." Mensis October was the eighth of ten months on that oldest Roman calendar. In ancient Rome, October "marked the close of the season for military campaigning and farming" (Wikipedia). The mosiac panel on the left has a 8-pointed star (appropriately) above the heads of the two men, who are facing each other. Their arms and empty hands suggest they are making peace, or perhaps congratulating each other after winning a battle or completing the hard task of harvesting.
1. NOVEMBER 4 (SATURDAY)--ANNUAL FALL LUNCHEON at CNU: SAVE THE DATE! INVITATIONS will be emailed soon!To register officially, follow CNU's INVITATION directions. PLEASE REPLY BY DEADLINE. A PLANNING TO ATTEND LIST will be posted on this website in OCTOBER.
2. HONORING "CECY" CUNNINGHAM: We honored our first CNC president, "Scotty" Cunningham, by dedicating our Memories book to him, plus putting over $10,000 into the scholarship fund in his name, and later, encouraging CNU to name its Student Center after him. From 2007 onward, his widow regularly traveled from Maryland to our campus to attend every First Decaders event she could, including 50th reunions, as long as she could, even into her nineties, and in 2014, along with her daughter and son-in-law, she came with many boxes of "Scotty's" memorabilia to donate to CNU. On August 31, "Cecy" died, at age 98. The family requests donations to the Cunningham Scholarship. Do we want to do more to honor her dedication to our university? Send your suggestions to First Decaders chair email@example.com.
3. MAY 12TH (FRIDAY) 50th Reunion, CLASS OF 1973: SAVE THE DATE! INVITATIONS will be emailed by CNU. To register officially, follow CNU's INVITATION directions. PLEASE REPLY BY DEADLINE. A PLANNING TO ATTEND LIST will be posted on this website in APRIL.
If you took or taught classes at CNC between 1964 and 1968, you probably remember the ordeal of being in Newport Hall or Gosnold Hall on hot, sticky days when neither classroom building was air conditioned. Both were designed for air conditioning, but not funded for it for several years. How did we faculty and students survive the often overwhelming and humid heat on the Shoe Lane campus in those years, especially in summer classes?
Glued inside each 1965 CNC yearbook, the Trident, was a copy of this color photo of Christopher Newport Hall--the only picture thus far located showing all of the exterior of that first building on the Shoe Lane campus. Notice that the two separate one-story units on the front had some tall, very narrow louvered windows which opened outward. When cranked straight out, these provided some small relief from the heat, especially on breezy days, for those using the first campus library (left) and/or the lecture hall (right).
Less fortunate were the people using the offices and classrooms in the two-story unit of Newport Hall. The only windows that opened there were the small rectangular transoms below the fixed windows visible in the above Trident photo. Located in all the offices and classrooms, these transoms were essentially useless, because they opened only a few inches. Even worse, there were no shades, blinds, or curtains on most windows to block the sun's heat.
The one area on Newport's first floor that was air conditioned from the beginning was the Computer Center, because, unlike humans, the computers could not tolerate any humidity at all. On extremely hot days, especially during summer sessions, Professor Graham Pillow had more visitors than usual in that Computer Center because some faculty and staff, including me, would create excuses for stopping by there to cool off for a bit. The photo on the right, from the 1969Trident, shows Graham using the center's now obsolete hole punching machine.
Hotter than the first floor was, of course, the second floor, which housed faculty offices and classrooms. During one summer class meeting, English Professor Barry Wood placed a thermometer on a patch of shade on his classroom floor, and it quickly read over 100 degrees!
The above picture of Barry Wood (left) is from the 1969 Trident; that of Steve Sanderlin (right) is from the 1972 Trident.In his Memories book essay "Remembering the English Department's First Decade," Professor Steve Sanderlinwrote: "Teaching under such conditions was a real challenge! Dress rules suddenly changed: in summer sessions, students (but not faculty) could wear Bermuda shorts. Cold beverages, previously forbidden, were allowed in the classrooms. Huge, heavy roll-around fans were brought in, but these only blew the hot air around and made so much noise that one had to scream loudly to be heard. For the first time in my career, I taught without a coat and tie. Some of us longed to be back in the old Daniel building!" (p. 42). Built in 1914, the Daniel building, although not air conditioned, had excellent ventilation because of its very high ceilings and tall windows that opened wide.
Like Newport Hall, Gosnold Hall (1966 Trident photo above), completed in September of 1965, also had no air conditioning--plus the same style windows as Newport. In his Memories book essay "Marine Biologist Finds CNC His Perfect Port," Professor Ron Mollick (1971 Trident photo left), a San Diego native who joined CNC's Biology Department in the fall of 1968, wrote that initially he thought that his office in Gosnold was "uncomfortably hot" because of "malfunctioning air conditioning equipment," but , he added: "I soon learned that most buildings on campus were not air-conditioned! I immediately purchased a great big box fan that I placed at my door. It blew a gale and required that I weigh down every paper on my desk" (p. 57).
Ratcliffe Gymnasium and the combined Captain John Smith .Library and Smith Hall Administration Building opened in the fall of 1967. Both had central air conditioning by the second semester. The above Daily Press photo shows President Cunningham and Registrar Jane Pillow at the reception and mailboxes area in 1967.The hotter the weather, the more time students and faculty spent in those buildings, of course. And faculty also often lingered longer than necessary in Smith Hall, reading their mail posted in the reception area and socializing with colleagues in various offices.
Finally, in 1968, funding was allocated for the much-needed air conditioning of both Newport Hall and Gosnold Hall. Dr. Sanderlin recalled in his Memoriesbook essay that the installing of the central air conditioning system in Newport was "not without some mishaps .... One day as I was walking down the hall on the second floor, I heard a loud noise and anguished cries. The maintenance man installing equipment in the attic had fallen through the ceiling and landed on a student sitting in a classroom! Fortunately, no one was badly hurt. But this incident and others were not uncommon for a while" (p. 43). Accidents aside, what a relief it was for all when we were able to retire our electric fans.
Revised and republished September of 2023. ______________________________________________________________________
Dr. Jane Chambers, Editor and Head Writer
Chatia Chalmers, Webmaster
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