Interpretatio germanica

Interpretatio germanica is the practice by the Germanic peoples of identifying Roman gods with the names of Germanic deities. According to Rudolf Simek, this occurred around the 1st century AD, when both cultures came into closer contact. Some evidence for interpretatio germanica exists in the Germanic translations of the Roman names for the days of the week:

In most of the Romance languages, which derive from Latin, days of the week still preserve the names of the original Roman deities, such as the Italian for Tuesday, martedì (from the Latin Martis dies). This is also the case with Saturn in some West Germanic languages; such as the English "Saturday", the West Frisian Saterdei, the Low German Saterdag and the Dutch zaterdag all meaning Saturn's day.[1]

Simek emphasizes the paucity of evidence and notes that comparison with Roman gods is insufficient to reconstruct ancient Germanic gods and equate them definitively with those of later Norse mythology.[2]


  1. ^ "Saturday". Online Etymological Dictionary. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  2. ^ Simek, Rudolf. (2007) Translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer, p. 174. ISBN 0-85991-513-1