The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic: An Introduction to the Study of the Religion of the Romans

By W. Warde Fowler | Go to book overview

MENSIS APRILIS.

THERE can hardly be a doubt that this month takes its name, not from a deity, but from the verb aperio; the etymology is as old as Varro and Verrius, and seems perfectly natural1. The year was opening and the young corn and the young cattle were growing. It was therefore a critical time for crops and herds; but there was not much to be done by man to secure their safety. The crops might be hoed and cleaned2, but must for the most part be left to the protection of the gods. The oldest festivals of the month, the Robigalia and Fordicidia, clearly had this object. So also with the cattle; oves lustrantur, say the rustic calendars3; and such a lustratio of the cattle of the ancient Romans survived in the ceremonies of the Parilia.

Thus, if we keep clear of fanciful notions, such as those of Huschke4, about these early months of the year, which he seems to imagine was thought of as growing like an organic creature, we need find no great difficulty in April. We need not conclude too hastily that this was a month of purification preliminary to May, as February was to March. Like February, indeed, it has a large number of dies nefasti5, and its festivals

____________________
1
Varro, L. L. 6. 33; Censorinus, 2. 20. Verrius Flaccus in the heading to April in Fasti Praen.: . . . 'quia fruges flores animaliaque et maria et terrae aperiuntur.' Mommsen, Chron.222. Ovid quaintly forsakes the scholars to claim the month for Venus ( Aphrodite), Fasti, 4. 61 foll. I do not know why Mr. Granger should call it the boar-month (from aper), in his Worship of the Romans, p. 294.
2
Segetes runcari, Varro, R. R. I . 30. Columella's instructions are of the same kind (11. 2).
3
C. I. L.280.
4
Röm. Jahr, 216.
5
February has thirteen, all but two between Kal. and Ides. The Nones and Ides are N + P. April has thirteen between Nones and 22nd; or fourteen if we include the 19th, which is N + P in Caer. The Ides are N + P, Nones N.

-66-

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The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic: An Introduction to the Study of the Religion of the Romans
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • ABBREVIATIONS. xii
  • Mensis Martius. 33
  • Mensis Aprilis. 66
  • Mensis Maius. 98
  • Mensis Iunius. 129
  • Mensis Quinctilis. 173
  • Mensis Sextilis. 189
  • Mensis September. 215
  • Mensis October. 236
  • Mensis November. 252
  • Mensis December 255
  • Mensis Ianuarius. 277
  • Mensis Februarius 298
  • Conclusion 332
  • NOTES ON TWO COINS. 350
  • INDEX OF SUBJECTS 353
  • INDEX OF LATIN WORDS 364
  • INDEX OF LATIN AUTHORS QUOTED 366
  • INDEX OF GREEK AUTHORS QOUTED 372
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