The long, hot days of summer are rising before us and bring many opportunities for adventures with our courageous canine companions. But why do some call this period the dog days of summer? Well, as with many things, we have the Greeks to thank. But let’s look at the timing of the days first.
Various computations of the dog days in the northern hemisphere have placed their start anywhere from July 3 to August 15 and lasting for anywhere from 30 to 61 days depending upon latitude.
The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around panting.
Many people today use the phrase to mean something like that—but originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.
To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year.
So, did the Greeks get it right? Are the dog days, around when Sirius rises, really the hottest days of the year? Continue reading