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

a well developed city life; experience has taught the citizen how his conduct towards the Di Manes can best be regulated and organized for the benefit of both parties. The Parentalia belong to a later stage of development than the Lemuria, though both have the same original basis of thought. The Parentalia was practically a yearly renewal of the rite of burial. As sacra privata they took place on the anniversary of the death of a deceased member of the family, and it was a special charge on the heir that he should keep up their observance1. On that day the family would go in procession to the grave, not only to see that all was well with him who abode there, but to present him with offerings of water, wine, milk, honey, oil, and the blood of black victims2: to deck the tomb with flowers3, to utter once more the solemn greeting and farewell ( Salve, sancte parens), to partake of a meal with the dead, and to petition them for good fortune and all things needful. This last point comes out clearly in Virgil's picture:

Poscamus ventos, atque haec me sacra quotannis Urbe velit posita templis sibi ferre dicatis.

The true meaning of these lines is, as Henry quaintly puts it'4, 'Let us try if we cannot kill two birds with one stone, and not only pay my sire the honours due to him, but at the same time help ourselves forward on our journey by getting him to give us fair winds for our voyage.'

As we have seen, the dies parentales began on the 13th; from that day till the 21st all temples were closed, marriages were forbidden, and magistrates appeared without their insignia5. On the 22nd was the family festival of the Caristia, or cara cognatio: the date of its origin is unknown, but Ovid6

____________________
1
Cic. De Legg. 2. 48. Cp. Virg. Aen. 5. 49:

Iamque dies, ni fallor, adest, quem semper acerbum,
Semper honoratum--sic di voluistis--habebo
.

2
Marq. 311 foll.
3
Purpureosque iacit flores, Virg. Aen. 5. 79. Cp. Cic. pro Flacco, 38. 95.
4
Aeneidea, 3. 15. He well compares Lucan, 9. 990. Tylor, Prim. Cult. ii. 332. Aeneas is here, as always, the true type of the practical Roman.
5
Marq. 311 and reff.
6
Fasti, 2. 617 foll. Among the calendars it is only mentioned in those of Philocalus and Silvius, and in the rustic calendars. Valerius Maximus is the next writer after Ovid who mentions it: 2. 1. 8. Cp. C. I. L. vi. 10234. Martial calls it 'lux propinquorum' (9. 55, cp. 54). For an inter-

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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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