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Romans, though you’re guiltless, you’ll still expiate
your fathers’ sins, till you’ve restored the temples,
and the tumbling shrines of all the gods,
and their images, soiled with black smoke.
~Horace, Odes, III, 6; A. S. Kline trans.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

November calendar

The first day of the month is the Kalends, sacred to Juno. The Nones falls on the 5th and the Ides, sacred to Jupiter, falls on the 13th. The 2nd, 6th and 14th are unlucky (ater).

The major event this month is the Ludi Plebeii, the Plebeian Games. Legend places the Ludi in the early history of Rome, but the earliest mention is of the games in 216 BCE. (Livy 23.30). The last games on record were held in 354 CE (Calendar of Philocalus). By 207 BCE, the Ludi were celebrated over several days, from 4-17 November (Fasti Maffeiani).

The Ludi Plebeii began with a great pompa, or procession, led by statues of the Capitoline Triad, proceeding to the Circus, where gods and humans joined to watch the races. Nine days of theatrical performances and four days of racing in the Circus lead up to the central focus of the Ludi, the Epulum Iovis, or feast of Jupiter, on the Ides.

The Jupiter, Juno and Minerva attended in the form of statues. Jupiter reclined on a  couch and Juno and Minerva sat in chairs (reclining to eat being thought undignified for women, even Goddesses) (Source: Valerius Maximus). Food was served, and priests (epulones) and citizens ate with the Gods.
Ideas for celebrating the Plebeian games:

  • Cook Roman food and have a Roman dinner. Set a place for Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. (Epulum Iovis)
  • Organize, participate in or attend sporting events. Dedicate your participation to Jupiter.
  • Organize, participate in or attend theatrical events. Dedicate your participation to Jupiter.

Remember that the Roman religion is based on the community and the family. Make these into events for your family, friends or neighbors. The season of the Plebeian Games is also a good time to make some Roman clothes. Have a tunic-making party and you'll be ready for Saturnalia next month! Tunic instructions are here, and also see the bottom of this page for links to more Roman WikiHow articles.

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