How Did the Planets Get Their Names?

We know there are nine planets. But in ancient times, people knew of only six: the earth and the five planets that can be seen without a telescope.

Venus, the brightest planet in our sky, was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Mercury, the fastest- moving planet, was named after the fleet-footed messenger of the gods.

Mars was named after the Roman god of war.

Saturn was named after the Roman god of farming.

Jupiter, the largest planet, took its name from the Romans’ chief god.

The planet Uranus wasn’t discovered until 1781, and was originally called Georgium, after King George III, who ruled England at the time. But it was soon decided that since all the other planets took their names from ancient gods, the new planet should also. It was then named after the Greek god of the sky.

Next to be discovered was Neptune, in 1846. It was originally called Leverrier after the man who first sighted it, but was later named after the Roman god of the sea.

And Pluto, discovered in 1930, was named after the Roman god of the dead.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

12 thoughts on “How Did the Planets Get Their Names?”

  1. The Annunaki were the first to tell us the names of these planets. These records date back to nearly six thousand years. Within them, the planets names are clearly spelled out and they have even been explored already by the Annunaki. Look at ancient hyroglyphs that clearly show our sun in the center of 9 planets with a tenth further away then the rest.

  2. What a mess! The planets of course have different names far before the concept of planets existed… but the current names were really given by Greek astronomers (referring to their Gods) and afterwards renamed by the Romans (referring their equivalent Gods)…

    Our blue planet is named “ground” or Earth in English or Terra in Latin… however, Terra is also the Jupiter’s mother’s name… so… our planet was really named after Terra (Jupiter’s mother) by the Romans and afterwards freely translated as “ground” as terra also means “ground” in Latin…

    Dates are not clear but probably Greeks named the planets before being invaded by the Romans around 300 BC… and afterwards renamed by invaders…

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