June. This was the fourth month of the old Roman year, but the sixth month as reformed by Numa and Julius Cesar. Romulus assigned to it thirty days as the proper limit, thereby increasing it four days. Numa Pompilius reduced the number of days to twenty-nine; but Julius Caesar confirmed its position, and restored the day which Numa had taken away from it.
Divers opinions exist as to the origin of the name of this month. Some derive it from Junius Brutus, who expelled the Tar-quins from Home on the first of this month, and settled the Government upon the people; others assert that it is derived from the Latin word Junius, because it is considered as the month for young persons. The most probable and more generally received opinion is, that it derives its name from the goddess Juno, in honour of whom a festival was celebrated at the commencement of the month.
The Synonymes of the month are as follow : - In Latin, Junius; French, Juin; Italian, Giugno ; Portuguese, Junho; and. Saxon, Sere Monath, or dry month.
In the earliest times, our Saxon ancestors called June Weyd-monat, because, says Verstegan, " their beasts did then weyd in the meddowes, that is to say, goe to feed there, and hereof a meddow is also in the Tutonicke, called a weyd, and of weyd we yet retain our word wade, which we understand of going through watrie places, ouch as meddowes are wont to be."
The ancients represented this month as a young man, clothed in a mantle of dark grass-green colour, having his head ornamented with a coronet of flowers, while he held an eagle in his left hand, and bore a basket of summer fruits upon his right arm. At his right was the sign of Cancer, the crab, alluding to the sun entering that sign on the 22nd of the month, to make the summer solstice. (See the engraving).
In this month the wind is still cold, but Flora reigns triumphant, and every hedge, and bank, and bush, and field are in full bloom. The blossoms of the fruit-trees, however, gradually drop off, the grass in the meadows gets high, and partially obscures the yellow ranunculi, which decorated them in spring.
Our calendar contains several remarkable days in June. The 1st is dedicated to St. Nicomede, who was a pupil of St. Peter, and was discovered to be a Christian by his honourably burying Felicula, a martyr.
The 6th day is dedicated to St. Boniface, who was a Saxon presbyter, born at Crediton, in Devonshire. His name was Winfred, or Winefrid; and, after being educated in a Benedictine monastery, at Exeter, he was sent to Friesland as a missionary. In 745 he was created Archbishop of Mentz, and was murdered in 755 by the peasantry in East Friesland, while holding a confirmation.
The 11th day is dedicated to St. Barnabas, whose proper name was Jores. He was descended from the tribe of Levi, and was bom at Cyprus, but educated under Gamaliel, at Jerusalem, and was associated with St. Paul, preaching the Gospel in various countries, for upwards of fourteen years. He suffered martyrdom at Salamis, in his native isle, by being stoned to death by the Jews. The festival of this saint used to be observed with great ceremony, garlands of roses and woodroof being worn during the observance.
The 15th day is dedicated to St. Vitus, who was a Sicilian martyr, under Diocletian. Formerly it was a custom to offer fowls on the festival of this saint, to avert the disease called 8t, Vitus's dance.
The 17th day is dedicated to St. Alban, who suffered martyrdom in 303, and was the first Christian martyr in this island. He was converted to Christianity, by Amphialus, a priest of Caerleon, in Monmouthshire, who, flying for protection from persecution, was hospitably entertained by St. Alban, at Verulam, in Hertfordshire, now called, after his name, St. Alban's - Amphialus, being closely pursued, made his escape, dressed in St. Alban's clothes. This, however, being 6oon discovered, exposed St. Alban to the fury of the Pagans, and he, refusing to perform the sacrifice to their gods, was first miserably tortured, and then put to death. John Wesley, the founder of the religious sect called after him Wesleyan Methodists, was born at Epworth, in 1703.
19th. On this day, in 1215, the Barons of England compelled King John to sign the Magna Charta, or Great Charter, at Runny-mede, a meadow between Staines and Windsor. In 1820 died Sir Joseph Banks, the naturalist, in his seventy-seventh year.
The 21st of this month is the longest day in. the year.
June 17, 1776. A sanguinary battle took place on Breed's Hill, (now generally regarded as Bunker Hill), in which the British were severely cut up, but they finally gained possession of the hill, the Americans retiring across Charlestown Neck with inconsiderable Loss.
The 24th day is Midsummer-day. It is also called St. John's-day, being held in commemoration of the nativity of John the Baptist, who was beheaded by the stratagem of the wife of Herod.
28th. In 1577, Peter Paul RuBens, the most celebrated painter of the Flemish school, was born at Cologne. His " Village Fete," in the Louvre, and his " Battle of the Amazons," and "Last Judgment," at Munich, are considered by many judges as his best paintings.
The 29th is dedicated to St. Peter, and is kept with great pomp at Rome, being a high festival of the Roman Catholic Church.
30th. In 1474 the first book printed in England was completed on this day by Cax-ton, and was called "The Game and Play of the Chesse."
Ludovico Ariosto, one of the most distinguished poets of Italy, at a period when Europe was in a state of semi-barbarism, was also born in this month, at Reggio, in 1474, and died at Ferrara, in 1533. His principal production was the incomparable poem of " Orlando Furioso."