why do we have a 7 day week

Those who believe in the strict truth of the book of the Bible (I do not myself) would of course say it goes back to God's creation of the world, see Genesis Chapters 1 and 2
Most others say the week comes from Ancient Babylon, known directly from at least 500 BC but presumably older, if the Jewish religion absorbed it during the Captivity in Babylon which is thought to have ended 538 BC see: The 7 day week's origins appear to be based on Babylonian Astrology, which knew 7 'planets' (i. e. wanderers in the sky, as opposed to the fixed constellations): Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Each was thought to 'rule' the first hour of hour of a day of the week.


This made each day propitious for some activities but not for others, although there was not originally a Sabbath or a Weekend. Hence why several religions that later developed in the Middle East have one day of a 7 day week as their Holy Day, but possibly also why there is no consensus as to which day it is: Wednesday for Yazidis, Thursday for Druze, Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews, Sunday for Christians. [For some reason no religion seems to like Mondays!? ] This took longer to spread to Europe. The 1st Century BC Roman writer and politician Cicero complained that the Jews were 'lazy' because they refused to work 1 day in 7.


His contemporary the Roman general Pompey had an advantage attacking Jerusalem in 63 BC because the Roman besiegers worked 7 days a week to build up ramps from which to attack the city walls while the pious Jewish defenders would only work to knock them down 6 days a week and stopped for the Sabbath. I'm afraid the answer is that we don't know. The Romans gradually replaced their 8 day week (the ) with a 7 day week over a course of a century, after in 46 BC. Their reasons for doing so are unclear, however we do know that the two cycles co-existed for quite some time. Ultimately, the nundinal cycle fell in disuse and the 7 day cycle prevailed.


One interesting hypothesis, supported by, is that the 7 day cycle prevailed over the nundinal cycle because of its astrological symbolism: Each day represents one of the seven. While we don't know for sure what prompted the switch, Hellenistic astrology seems like a far more likely influence for the Romans than Jewish culture. In 321 AD, the 7 day week - by then the norm - was officially adopted by Emperor Constantine. Constantine's primary reason for normalizing the length of the week seems to have been for all his subjects, regardless of religion, to observe the.

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