October was originally the eighth month on the Roman calendar, hence the name.
Days of fasting were very rare; most religious celebrations were feasts. Originally this fasting day had been ordered by the Senate to take place every five years as prescribed by the Sibyllines books, but by the Augustan period it was an annual event.
It was concerned in some way with the new wine vintage and had some connection with Jupiter.
Hoc die, AD MCDXCII, homo nomine Christopherus Columbus invenit novam terram quae est hodie insula Hispaniola. Mox multi, eum sequentes, venerunt ad terram quae est nunc nostra patria. In universum hodie hic non est magnus dies festus in nostra patria. In nonnullis urbibus tamen erunt magnae pompae et in viis multi populi ponent tabernas ad tempus in qua vendent cibos et alias res. Urbes in quas haec festivitates accidunt habent multi qui habent genus Italianum. Christopherus Columbus erat homo italianus sed navigavit ex Hispania ad hunc novum mundum.
Fortasse tu scribes, in Latine, scriptionem de hoc die et possum eam mittere ad Magistram Denny. Potes merere quingenti puncta insuper in categoria probationis si id facias. Mitte mihi id quod scribis, si tibi placeat.
Jupiter was infatuated with a water nymph and thus gave her the gift of immortality and special powers over water. The Fons Iuturnae, located in the Forum, was said to have healing powers. The story is that Iuturna took Janus also as a lover and with him had a son called Fontus. Fontus too was connected with safe and potable water. One celebrated potable water and prayed for a continuation of a good source on this day. Each spring, well, fountain was decorated with a garland either thrown into the water or placed around it.
This holiday dates back to the very early days of Rome when the people were divided into two groups; the Montani lived on the hills and the Pagani (villagers) lived on the low ground. There was a rivalry between the two to see who could produce the best race horse. Each group provided a two horse chariot (biga) for the race held on the Ides in the Campus Martius in honor of Mars. After the race the flamen Martialis (priest of Mars) would offer gratulationes to the winner, cut off the tail of the horse as an offering to Mars. The horse was then sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the hearth of the temple of Vesta. The horse's head was placed in the middle of two large teams made up of members of both factions. They in turn would fight over the head. The winner team carried it back to its part of town. You don't want to be the horse in this event.
Halloween did not exist in ancient Rome. The custom of going door to door, dressed in costumes and asking for treats is peculiar to the United States and Canada but it does have ancient origins. It developed from customs of the ancient Druids who believed, among other things, that on the evening of Oct. 31, Saman, the great lord of death, summoned all the souls of wicked peoples who had been condemned during the pas year and ordered them to invade the bodies of animals. The Druids built huge bonfires to ward off these spirits. Perhaps this is why we associate bonfires with the fall today. Add to the Druid tradition that of the Roman harvest festival that occurred about the same time in which Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees was honored. Nuts and apples were the Roman tokens of winter store of fruit. These two customs fell on common ground in Britain from whence so many of our American customs have evolved. Christian priests, seeking to draw people away from the pagan traditions, instituted a new set of holidays. To counter the black magic of the Druid superstition of October 31st, November 1st, the following day was set as All Saint's Day, and the evening which preceded it was dubbed All Hallows' Eve...the eve of all the holies. Names can change easily but customs die hard and variations of the Druid superstitions continued albeit often in a softer mode. In some parts of Europe, it was thought departed spirits would revisit their homes and thus food was left for them...and the home thoroughly cleaned (Fall cleaning custom today?) In other places, peasants sat together around a large fire, told stories and played games in which nuts and apples were featured. Dunking for apples then was different than the game you play. A lighted candle and an apple were placed at opposite ends of a stick and the stick whirled horizontally. As the stick passed, participants tried to bit the apple. Often they had hot wax instead.
Create Halloween Cards with Latin sayings; use traditional Halloween figures Latinized such as a witch in a chariot or a ghost appearing over the Colosseum.
Cavete (cave) umbras, phantasmas, spriritus, et lemures!
Felicem Sanctorum Vesperam - Happy Eve of the Saints ("of the Holies" ergo Halloween! See below for more vocabulary)
Write an original Halloween short story (in Latin of course, no more than a couple of paragraphs). Use correct Latin grammar and don't be afraid to use the subjunctive!Vocabulary Helps:
November was originally the ninth month of the Roman calendar, hence the name.
About Roman Elections:
In 509 B.C., Romans overthrew the kings and established the res publica... a type of state in which those who govern are chosen by the people of the state. Only citizen men could vote. Women and children were excluded from the vote. People were divided into two classes, patrician and plebeian. In the 2nd century B.C., equites were added to the class categories. Freedmen were awarded citizenship upon manumission and thus could vote.
Citizens of all levels could be public officials but a plebeian could not be a consul or dictator. Officials were not paid thus establishing a de facto requirement that a public official be wealthy. All offices within Rome, unless a special rule were in effect, were for a period of one year.
After a public gathering (contio) at which both citizens and non citizens were present, and during which various speakers could address those gathered, the chief magistrate would dismiss the contio. Non-citizens left and ropes were put into place which divided the group of citizens by the curiae, tribes or centuries there present.(curiae - the clans or old families, centuriata- groups based on property values; tributa- tribe, groups of plebeians)
The enclosure has a path to the platform from which the magistrates officiated. These paths or galleries were call pontes. In each area, the votes were taken one at a time, orally. The officials, rogatores, would mark off the names of the candidates on a special tablet. There were variations over the years but the general effect was that the tablets were thrown into an urn (cista) at the end of each pons, under the control of the custodes, who forwarded the votes to the diribitores. They then counted the votes till they found a majority - a majority of votes in a century established the winner of the centuriate, etc. The individual century winners were then counted and the one who took the majority then took the vote for the total assembly. Votes took place by ballot after the 2nd century B.C.
Voting was allowed only between sunrise and sunset on auspicious days appointed in the calendar. Roman citizens had to be in Rome in order to vote.
Offices for which one could run during the republic:military service, quaestor (treasury), praetor (judge), consul (head of state) and censor (morals and numbers). One had to follow this curule sequence. Non-curule offices en route to the role of consul would also include aedile (public works) and tribunus plebis. When one held an office "in one's own year" it meant that one had arrived at the office at the earliest age allowed without an exception such as being president of the USA at age 45.
A feast to honor Jupiter with theatre, games and races. On 13 November (the Ides) a banquet was held for senators and officials of the government. The games had their origin with the dedication of the Circus Flaminius in 230 B.C. Initially they were held but one day- 15 November, as were the Ludi Romani. It was later stretched into the 13 days. New plays were introduced in competitions during this time.
Dies ad Veteranos Meminendos - 11 November
(Veterans' Day, formerly Armistice Day, a.d. iii Idus Novembres)
In hoc die teneamus in memoria omnes qui pro nostra patria pugnaverunt. In cordibus nostris et precibus, praecipuas gratias dicimus omnibus qui vitas eorum dederunt.
Dies (a.d. iii Idus Novembres) optus erat quod in hoc die, A.D. MCMXI in Versailles, France, foedus signatum erat quod finis Belli Primi Universalis perfecit. Vocaverunt hoc bellum, Bellum Qui Omnia Bella Finit, sed, ut bene cogitas , non accidit.
Omnes nos debent agere gratias in hoc Die Gratiarum Agendarum et in omnibus diebus quod habitamus in tanta atria.
Thanksgiving Day in the United States traditionally recalls the successful completion of a year in this new land by the Pilgrims. They gathered to give thanks for a find harvest that would enable them to endure the coming winter and invited those who had helped them learn to cope in this new land, the Indians.
In Canada, where harvests are earlier due to an earlier winter, Thanksgiving day is celebrated on October 14. In Italy ,since there is a longer growing season, there are generally two harvests. One is in late August, called the Consualia. This word is adapted from the verb condo, condere - to build or store up. Heaps of food was set before Hercules' altar much as one might see at a harvest celebration in a Buddhist temple today. Perhaps the rumor of Hercules' famed appetite was the reason for this venue. The poet Horace recounted the event: "...early farmers with their comrades in toil, their children and faithful wives-after the crops were stored away, relaxing in a festive time their bodies and minds, which and been enduring hardships in the hope of rest."
There is also the celebration to thank the gods for a good harvest in December. In honor of Saturn, the god of harvests, this feast was called the Saturnalia. See more about this celebration in the Saturnalia segment of this book. Thanksgivings also were offered at various times such as one that celebrated after crushing the Catalinarian conspiracy. These were called supplicationes.
Ancient Greeks celebrated a Thanksgiving Day called Eleutheria in the month of Maemacterion, November by our reckoning. In place of a turkey, a huge black bull was sacrificed and then shared, not by a family but by the whole town. Beginning on the 16th day of Maemacterion in 479 BC, after the battle of Plataea , a procession started at the sound of a trumpet at dawn. The procession began with myrtle decorated wagons, the bull and young people following behind. It seems a bit like the Rose Bowl parade with the gala floats and school marching bands without a bull generally. The end of the Greek parade saw a float with the Archon of Plataea dressed as a triumphing military leader. (Grand marshal of an American parade?) Unlike our traditional football games on Thanksgiving, the Greeks held their games only every 5th year.
A Thanksgiving Hymn - translated by Arthur Weston from "We Gather Together"
(space in 2nd stanza sequimur is to note where to pause; line in last line of last stanza notes elision)
Laeti congregamur ad deum colendum
Qui castigat, corrigit, admonet nos;
Volentes vexare non possum turbare:
Cantate Domino, recordatur suos.
Nostrum Deum sequi mur, ducem benignum
Dum condit firmatque caeleste regnum;
Ut primo vincentes, sic semper manentes;
Tu nobis aderas, te habemus sanctum.
Omnes te laudamus, O Dux triumphator,
Orantes ut tu, Deus, nos protegas.
Qui te reveremur, ex malis salvemur,
Sit semper tibi laus, -nobis libertas.
Vocabulary for Thanksgiving:
December was originally the tenth month of the Roman calendar, hence the name
Rites of Bona Dea - Early December / Kalendae Maiae (see more in May section)
Romans believed that the "Good Goddess" protected the city of Rome and her women. The rites were secret; only women could attend; the hostess of the events was the wife of the Pontifex Maximus. There are rumors of what the rites entailed but not any fact. It was during the rites for Bona Dea that Publius Clodius disquised himself as a women and tried to witness the rites. He was an avowed enemy of Caesar who was Pontifex Maximus and whose wife, Pompeia, was mistress of the rites. He was discovered, the story goes, by Caesar's mother, Aurelia when Clodius, in a moment of suprise, forgot to use his falsetto voice, and spoke in his normal tone. He ran too quickly for many to see him and thus proof against him was but the word of slaves and Aurelia. As Caesar's mother, her witness had to be suspect, since love between Caesar and Clodius was absent. Although never actually accused of being involved in the scheme, Pompeia was divorced by Caesar with the statement "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion". This phrase is used today whenever a hint of scandal surrounds a public figure.
Hanukkah est Feriae Lucum in quibus in memoria teneamus miraculum in templo anno CLXIV BCE in Ierusalem. Dona dantur in quodam die octo dierum.
Hanukka est celebratio qui revocat repugnatiam Iudaicam contra imperatorum Antiochum Syriae qui ritus Iudaicos prohibuerat et populos Iudaicos deos Graecos venerari iusserat.
"Judah Maccabee" copias duxit contra legiones Antiochi, urbem Ierusalem liberavit et templum eorum a Graecis recepit. Incederunt "mennorah" templi inimo oleo, sed miraculum accidit. Erat paulum olei sed oleum duravit octo dies. Ergo est traditio celebrare ferias "Hanukkah" octo dies in memoria huius miraculi. Quoque Hanukkah vocatur Feriae Lucum!
Sub regnum Romanum miraculum olei factum est plus magnum momenti quam victoriam militarem fortasse evitare pugnam contra imperatorem fortissimum. Romani agnoverunt Iudaismum esse religionem validam et eam permiserunt. In America hodie Hanukkah celebratur quoque uno dono dato per diem celebrationis. Populi revocant victoriam infirmorum contra hostes fortissimos. Liberi ludum, nomine "Dreidel" ludunt qui est quoque auxilium revocare miraculum olei.
Narratio de Saturnalia
Omnibus Romanis Saturnalia sunt laeti dies anni. Dona inter Romanos dantur. ( are given) Parentes dona liberis dant. Servis brevis libertas a dominis datur; omnes ad mensam communem conveniunt ubi cibos omnis generis edunt. Unum cibi genus est panis; omnibus familiis sunt panis et vinum. Certa die, XVI a.d. Kal. Ianuarias, populus in urbe Roma magna cum laetitia vivit dum festa omnibus in partibus urbis geruntur.
Olim Saturaliorum diebus Marcus in foro parva sigillaria (little images, neuter pl.) emit et ad domum amici eius (his) festinavit. Sigillaria sorori et fratri amici dedit et cum gratia ea receperunt. Tum, omnes ambulaverunt per vias fori ubi dona, pupas (dolls) et sigillaria et cereos (wax figures) in tabernas spectaverunt. Subito clamores pompae (parade) audiverunt. Marcus et eius amicus ad portam insulae cucurrerunt.
In via spectaculum magnae laetitiae viderunt, nam in viam undique concurrit felix multitudino. Omnes riserunt et clamaverunt dum in viis saltant.(dance) Marcus et eius amicus igitur vi (with the force) multitudinis per vias concurrerunt. Vis (force.strength) multitudinis vinci (to be conquered) non potuitTandem, in theatrum venerunt ubi amicos in cavea (bench) iterum viderunt. Eiscum (with them ) panaria) (basketfor picnic- bread) cum cibo tulerunt, et dum spectacula spectant, ederunt. Dona publica, nuces (nuts) et mala (apples) et pira (pears) viderunt. (A rope from which fruit and nuts were shaken down was stretched across the theatre Hos ederunt. Laudes Imperatoris populus undique audivit, nam Imperator noctis umbris dona inter populum sparsit. Mox gladiatores, feminae, in scaenam (stage) cucurrerunt et gladiis pugnaverunt. Deinde saltatores et quaedam cymbalistriae venerunt. Tandem flammae orbes (circle) e caelo descenderunt in theatrum et homines eas exstinxerunt. Quando Marcus et eius amicus spectacula spectverunt, laeti fuerunt.
(Source - Statius Silvae VI)
Christmas is often compared to the Saturnalia, the best known of all Roman holidays. Extended from the 17th for a week or so finally, it was celebrated by calls on friends, feasts and the exchange of presents, including candles. Catullus called the Saturnalia the best of days, Optimus Dies. Martial, who tells us more about it than anyone else, wrote short bits of verse to accompany gifts then exchanged. Vergil, and other Roman poets look back to a simpler, kinder time when Saturn, not Jupiter, was in charge. Saturn was the god dethroned by his son Jupiter and the husband of Ops, the early goddess of the harvest. During his time there was no private property. Thus there was no theft or war for getting by violence what others had.
Doors needed no locks. There were no class distinctions; so, in the later celebration, masters waited on their slaves. Jupiter went in for hard efficiency; but Saturn had been a tolerant, easy-going, kindly old fellow. This is all a Greek remodeling of Italian Saturn, who (as derivation of his name from serere, satus, "planting of seed", shows) was an old agricultural deity. But the crowd got a big free meal at state expense; and the Saturnalia with them, as Christmas with us, was always the favorite holiday of all
The Saturnalia was originally a festival in honor of Saturn to whom the inhabitants of Latium attributed the introduction of agriculture and the arts of civilized life. One of the earliest names for Italy was Saturnia.
Legend says that Saturn fled to Latium, the region around Rome. He formed a settlement on the Capitoline Hill, teaching the early Romans the art of agriculture. We know that the early Romans were nomadic farmers and that it is probable that ancient authors heard such stories of their beginnings. The remains of a temple built in honor of Saturn still lie at the foot of the Capitoline Hill and form part of the Forum. (look at a map) In ancient days, this building housed a statue of Saturn holding a pruning knife. This statue symbolized his role in the teaching of agriculture.
Saturnalia begins of 17 December during the season when the agricultural labors of the year were fully completed. It was celebrated in ancient times by the rustic population as a sort of joyous harvest home, and in every age was viewed by all classes of the community as a period of absolute relaxation and; unrestrained merriment. During the first day Romans went to the temple to worship Saturn. After the rites were finished, feasting and merriment continued until December 25. During its continuance no public business could be transacted, the law courts were closed, the schools kept holiday, to commence a war was impious, to punish a malefactor involved pollution.
Special indulgences were granted to the slaves of each domestic establishment; they were relieved from all ordinary toils; they were permitted to wear the pileus the "cap" of liberty; they were granted full freedom of speech; and they partook of a banquet, attired in the clothes of their masters, who waited upon them at table.
Friends offered cries of Io Saturnalia to each other during the week and exchanged gifts. They gave each other clay dolls and nuts. (This is probably the origin of the santons of Provence in southern France, the small terra-cotta figures used in a creche at Christmas time.) Often a king was selected to rule over the merriment. He was a kind of "King of Misrule" and was traditionally the one who had found a nut in a cake during the feasting. Again we can associate this custom with Mardi Gras traditions.
Romans were fond of writing about this holiday: Martial in one of his epigrams alludes to this (XI, 6):
On the festal days of the old scythe-bearing god (Saturn),
we anoint ourselves with unguents, and the dice box rattles in our
hands, while every Roman wears the liberty cap.
All ranks devoted themselves to feasting and mirth, presents were exchanged among friends, cerei (wax tapers) being the common offering of the more humble to their superiors, and crowds thronged the streets shouting, "Io Saturnalia"! This was termed Saturnalia clamare.,while sacrifices were offered with uncovered head, from a conviction that no ill-omened sight would interrupt the rites of such happy day.
Suetonius in his life of the emperor Augustus says (Suetonius, Augustus p. 75):
At times he celebrated festival days with great expense, but at other times merely with mirth and sport. For example, during the Saturnalia, or on other occasions when it pleased him, he would distribute gifts, often clothing or gold and silver objects, but also at times coins of various issues, even old pieces current during the days of the kings, and other odd money. Again he would send queer things, such as sponges, rakes, scissors and the like under obscure and puzzling titles, symbolizing something else.
Many of the peculiar customs of the Romans at this season exhibited a remarkable Saturnalia, public gaming was allowed by the aediles, just as in the days of our ancestors even the most rigid were wont to countenance card playing on Christmas Eve.
Martial alludes to this when he says in one of his epigrams (XIV, 1):
On this occasion the emperor himself enjoys wearing the liberty cap, and the humblest Roman may shake the dice box, nor be afraid to look the aedile in the face.
The whole population at this time threw off the toga, wore a loose gown called the synthesis and walked about with the pileus onk their heads, which reminds us of the dominoes, peaked caps and other disguises worn by masques and mummers during the Carnival.
Martial makes mention of the Saturnalian robe when he says (XIV, 1):
Now is the time when both knights and senators put on the loose synthesis.
Saturn being an ancient national god of Latium, the origin of the Saturnalia is lost in the most remote antiquity. In one legend it was ascribed to Janus, who after the sudden disappearance of his guest and benefactor Saturn from the abodes of men, reared an altar to him as a deity in the forum and ordained annual sacrifices. In another legend as related by the antiquarian Varro, the origin was attributed to the wandering Pelasgi, upon;their first settlement in Italy. In this account Hercules, on ;his return from Spain, was said to have reformed the worship and abolished the practice of immolating human victims. A third tradition represented certain followers of Hercules, whom he had left behind on his return to Greece, as the authors of the Saturnalia.
More authentic records referred the erection of temples and altars and the first celebration of the festival to comparatively recent epochs, to the reign of the Sabine ruler Tatius or the Roman king Tullus Hostilius or the later Tarquinius Superbus, or even to the consuls of the years 498 to 497 BC Livy vouches for this latter account (11,21) and adds that these two magistrates erected the temple of Saturn in Rome. These conflicting statements may be easily reconciled by supposing that the appointed ceremonies were in these rude ages neglected from time to time, or corrupted and again at different periods revived, purified, extended and performed with great splendor and more regularity.
The celebrations of holidays was more definitely arranged by the state than are ours; there were certain things the Roman was expected to do on them, however otherwise he spent the rest of each day. But, though there was some sale of little earthenware images before the Saturnalia , holidays were not commercialized as with us. The mood of festivity was over all.
Composed by Martial to accompany a gift at Saturnalia :
Hoc tibi Thesei populatrix misit Hymetti
Pallados a silvis nobile nectar apis.
Opalia - 20-21 December
Ops, the wife of Saturn, was considered a protector of the earth and her bounty. This celebration is much like our Thanksgiving. Romans propitiated any gods that had connection with the earth often. It is hard to control citizens when there is famine.
Toys were given to children at this time following honoring Ops and earlier Saturn. Usually they were small figurines made of clay.
The Roman god Sol was native to Italy. Apollo was also honored as a god of the sun and moon, responsible for the rising and setting of each daily as he drove his chariot across the heavens. In later history the Persian god, Mithras and the Phoenician god Elegabal were also worshipped. An eclipse was an evil time. One worshipped the sun often so that it might always be there, providing the light and warm necessary for growing food.
There was a shrine to Sol on the Quirinal Hill. Sacrifices were performed on 8 August as a mid-summer event. In the winter, the nights grow longer until the winter solstice on 21 December. This celebration greets the return of the sun and the longer days.
The emperor Elegablus in A.D. 218 tried to oust Jupiter in favor of Sol Invictus as special deity for Rome - but without success. In A.D. 321 Emperor Constantine declared Dies Solis (Sunday) to be the Lord's Day and in place of deleting the pagan festival, chose to incorporate it into Christianity, proclaimed this day to be a celebration for the Son of God. This was rejected initially by Christians who did not want to incorporate pagan traditions into their worship. But the date did stick, even if evidence to the contrary dates Christ's birth in August not December.
Everyone did not adopt the tradition at the same time or speed. A.D. 440 the date was rather firmly held in all Christian communities. Many pagan symbols remain: the tree, candles, exchanging gifts etc.
Dies Natalis Christi - a.d. viii Kalendas Ianuarias
In America Dies Natalis Christi dies festus est. Olim parvus puer in terra habitavit. Is enim a Dea ad terram missus erat et sa morte multas homines mala liberavit. Nunc Americana diem Chrisa natalem per omnem terram celebrant. Ea dia multa vira et feminae et puera puellaeque dona ad amicas mittunt quod eas amant.
Parentas pueras et puellas fabulam de bona vira semper narrant qui Santa vocatur. Ille multa pulchra dona bonas pueras et puellas dat, sed nihil malas et pigras liberas dat. Vetus vir est atque longam et albam barbam habet. Magnum corpus habet et semper rubeam et albam vestem gerit. Santa traha vehitur quam octo cerva clara trahunt. Cervas per nivem agit quod Christa dies natalis hieme est. Plurima quidem libera nan Santae Clauda credunt. Multi autem alia libera tibialia (stockings) suspendunt et parentas in eas dona ponunt.
Liberi multi arboras in silvas sternunt et eas ad suas domas portant. Ibi eas erigunt. Multa ornamenta de arboribus pendent et nocte candelae clarae ibi lucent. Seape parentas in aut sub arboribus dona ponunt.
Die natali Chrisa, prima luce, immo saepe antea, libera lectas suas linquunt, quod sunt cupida dona vidare quae Santa Claus apportavit. Eum diem libera semper amant quod multa dona accipiunt quodque eo die omnes sunt laeta.
(John Dutra, University of Miami, Ohio)
II. Christmas Cards
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