Dog Days

I was corresponding with a friend and mentioned the Dog Days. He asked me what they are. I had mentioned this period of the year in the northern hemisphere as when we get hot and lethargic, frustrated and perhaps peevish. I’ve written about this before, four years ago – Dog Days.

The Dog days are the period between 3rd July and 11th August (Gregorian) which is typically the hottest period of the summer. In Latin – Dies canicularis. In French – La Canicule currently meaning simply a heatwave period. Sarum mentions the sun in Leo and the Dog Days from 14th July (Julian) but doesn’t mention when they end. This time is marked by the rising of Sirius the “Dog Star” with the sun. The time is also marked by mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun in countries like Italy or Spain as Noel Coward used to sing. Most dogs lie down in some quiet and cool place and pant to get their body temperature down. If we listen to Summer of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, you will hear the double notes of the cello, representing the barking dogs in Venice.

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6 Responses to Dog Days

  1. Dale says:

    Today the temperature is expected, where I live, to go above 109 degrees. it is not at all like European dog days, it is far more akin to the cleansing fire of Purgatory.

  2. jim of olym says:

    Here in Western Washington state it was a balmy 78 degrees F. Where are you located, Dale, near the clensing fire?

  3. J.D. says:

    Here in North Central Florida the temps before the heat index have been between 93 and 97 F every day for the last few weeks. Sweat pours out just standing still by the mailbox or waiting to cross the street. Oh well, I guss I’m used to it!

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Off on a tangent via possibly interesting ‘summer reading’: I just lately learned from John Fitzgerald commenting at Bruce Charlton’s Notions that Louis Bouyer wrote novels pseudonymously – including ‘Prelude a l’apocalypse ou les derniers chevaliers du Graal’ (1982) by ‘Louis Lambert’ – which (tantalizingly for the non-French-speaker) has never been translated!

    Do you happen to know it? (If you do, and like it, do you know any publisher you could persuade to get you to translate it? he added greedily…)

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