Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Roman Way in October

I'm having mild withdrawal symptoms don't ya know? Haven't had an Ancient Roman Festival to feature for quite some time. Let me see what was goin' on during October in those long ago Roman days.

Ludi Augustales – October 3-12 Following his predecessors Sulla and Caesar, games were held in Augustus' honor starting in 11 BC. It became a ten-day event under Tiberius. Usually only the last day featured chariot racing.

Yeah, well, those horses and chariot wheels did tend to screw up the turf - not good for the athletes.

Black Day: Anniversary of Arausio – October 6 A day considered unlucky since it was the anniversary of the defeat to German tribes in 105 BC.

Those dang Germans !

Meditrinalia – October 11 To Jupiter, in his form as the wine-god, and Meditrina, goddess of healing and medicine. This was the first occasion on which Romans tasted the year's new vintage.

After quaffing all that new vintage stuff, no doubt Meditrina's skills of healing came in very handy! Ah-ha... we have a post about this, from 2011 (AD that is)- See HERE

Fontinalia – October 13 To Fons or Fontus, god of fountains, springs, and wells. Fountains and wellheads around the city of Rome were decorated with garlands.

And there are lots and lots, and lots of fountains in Rome - I saw many of 'em, but that was many decades ago (not nearly as many decades ago as this Festival though)!

Equus October – October 15 A race of two-horse chariots on the Campius Martius in honor of Mars. The right hand horse was sacrificed to the god with the tail being taken to the regia where its blood was left to drip on the hearth. The head was fought over between the residents of the Via Sacra (the rich and powerful) and the Subura (the poor). This festival and the next represented the usual close of the military season.


Armilustrium – October 19 To Mars. This marked the end of the military campaigning season. Soldiers' weapons were ritually purified and stored for the winter on the Aventine Hill. The assembled army was garlanded with flowers and reviewed in the Circus Maximus. Trumpets were played. There was a procession with torches and sacrificial animals.

Inhabitants of the USA carry on their version of this particular festival continually, by ritually saying "Thank you for your service" to any individual wearing military uniform, in any situation...whether said individual has ever done anything remotely like service to man or beast, or not. (Perhaps this should be my cue to run and hide!)

Ludi Victoriae Sullae – October 26 - November 1 Sometimes modern readers are puzzled about why Sulla's contemporaries complain so much about him. It should be realized that some of the things he did could be rather offensive to the traditional Roman. For example, after he won the battle of the Colline Gate in 82 BC to restore his control of Rome from the Marian faction, he chose the first anniversary to institute annual games in honor of the victory and by implication of course, himself. Now what had once only been done for gods, was being done on behalf of a mere man. This set a precedent for Caesar. Usually only the last day featured chariot racing.

"the Marian Faction"?
Any connection to "Marian...Madam Librarian
What can I say, my dear, to catch your ear...."?

Thought not!

Julius Caesar’s family was socially distinguished: its members were patrician, and claimed descent from Venus and Aeneas. Although not prominent in politics, they were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics – Caesar’s aunt was married to the popular leader Marius, and he himself married Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna (a follower of Marius). Cornelia died in 69 BC, after which Caesar married Sulla’s granddaughter Pompeia, in 67 BC.

Source HERE


mike said...

Those silly Romans! Here in the USA, we have countless least one for every day, it seems:

My locale is offering a jazz festival this weekend, which has a very large and prominent draw. Several simultaneous Octoberfests occurring now and all month. Realms' Con Convention (comics, costumes, horror, anime), Dove Hunting Festival, and much more...all happening right now. Several other big festivals in cities nearby, too.

I doubt the Romans saw the dollar potential in their events, but it's the name of the game nowadays. Always money to be made on these attractions, with fun had by all.

I see on the news that Sonny is having a hurricane-at-sea flooding festival this weekend. Sonny, hope all is OK...see high ground.

mike (again) said...

Sonny - Should have typed SEEK high ground!

Twilight - Should also mention that some cities have anti-gun-control festivals, with murderous shootings, particularly at their local schools and universities. A city in Oregon just had their celebration. They are held randomly across the nation all year.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I too hope that Sonny is in a safe place - if you're in a safe position and able to access internet and see this, Sonny - do, please, give us a quick word. :-)

You're right, mike about USA festivals - and I guess most countries follow similar patterns too. The only one in our town that I'm aware of today is "Bark in the Park" - a doggy festival. :-) But throughout the year in this area there are rattlesnake hunts, water melon festivals, gun fairs galore, cycle races in the worst of the heat with such titles as "Hotter Than Hell" and "The Dehydrator", lots of rodeos. Not much in the way of drinkin' festivals in these parts though.

Yes - the anti-gun control festivals here never end do they? Awful, awful....that more and more innocents must die due to a government in thrall to the NRA.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've been looking at 2 or 3 astrology message boards (a few do still exist) and people there are talking about the astrology of the Oregon mass shooter. You know, while I understand the reasons for astrology fans' interest in such happenings, it makes me feel a wee bit uncomfortable, so soon after the event - like ambulance chasing. To my mind it does astrology no good at all to see folk scrambling to find astrological reasons for things like this, cherry picking and reaching for all kinds of astro stuff. If you look far enough for anything in astrology there's a way to find it because there are so many alley ways and hidden closets within astrological lore. It becomes like a board game - something I've said on this blog many times before. But..maybe I'm being judgmental and need hands slapped.

mike (again) said...

I'm not disturbed by it, specially not the message boards where I anticipate that chatter. I'm sure that some astrologers will carry the issue on their blogs, too. The topic has to be recent to be on readers' minds to hold interest. Several astrologers come to mind that are well known for such, and they've covered these mass shootings before and other atrocities. In some respects, to me, it's no different than a news reporter covering the news, but from an astrological perspective. It's the world of mundane astrology, which holds a fascination for many, and offers a learning potential for the astro-student.

Re ambulance chasing...I find it disturbing when my neighbors and passerbys stop and gawk at the crisis at hand, usually when there's a car crash nearby, an ambulance arrives at a house, etc. It seems to be unattractive human behavior to me, but I must be alone in thinking this. The gawkers' rather morbid fascination with the crisis and emergency response, yet from a short distance of self-interest. Ditto for those that enjoy and actually pay money to witness acts of harrowing danger, where on the odd chance that someone will be mortally injured right in front of their eyes (and it does happen on occasion, much to their horror...LOL). Cirque du Soleil type of stuff.

mike (again) said...

I have to post this in at least two comment sections, as too many characters.

From Craigslist (Boston) Missed Connections section:

"I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972 - m4w (Old State House)"

"I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972, the same day I resolved to kill myself.

One week prior, at the behest of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I'd flown four B-52 sorties over Hanoi. I dropped forty-eight bombs. How many homes I destroyed, how many lives I ended, I'll never know. But in the eyes of my superiors, I had served my country honorably, and I was thusly discharged with such distinction.

And so on the morning of that New Year's Eve, I found myself in a barren studio apartment on Beacon and Hereford with a fifth of Tennessee rye and the pang of shame permeating the recesses of my soul. When the bottle was empty, I made for the door and vowed, upon returning, that I would retrieve the Smith & Wesson Model 15 from the closet and give myself the discharge I deserved.

I walked for hours. I looped around the Fenway before snaking back past Symphony Hall and up to Trinity Church. Then I roamed through the Common, scaled the hill with its golden dome, and meandered into that charming labyrinth divided by Hanover Street. By the time I reached the waterfront, a charcoal sky had opened and a drizzle became a shower. That shower soon gave way to a deluge. While the other pedestrians darted for awnings and lobbies, I trudged into the rain. I suppose I thought, or rather hoped, that it might wash away the patina of guilt that had coagulated around my heart. It didn't, of course, so I started back to the apartment.

And then I saw you.

You'd taken shelter under the balcony of the Old State House. You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous. Your brown hair was matted to the right side of your face, and a galaxy of freckles dusted your shoulders. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.

When I joined you under the balcony, you looked at me with your big green eyes, and I could tell that you'd been crying. I asked if you were okay. You said you'd been better. I asked if you'd like to have a cup of coffee. You said only if I would join you. Before I could smile, you snatched my hand and led me on a dash through Downtown Crossing and into Neisner's.

We sat at the counter of that five and dime and talked like old friends. We laughed as easily as we lamented, and you confessed over pecan pie that you were engaged to a man you didn't love, a banker from some line of Boston nobility. A Cabot, or maybe a Chaffee. Either way, his parents were hosting a soirée to ring in the New Year, hence the dress.

mike (again) said...

For my part, I shared more of myself than I could have imagined possible at that time. I didn't mention Vietnam, but I got the sense that you could see there was a war waging inside me. Still, your eyes offered no pity, and I loved you for it.

After an hour or so, I excused myself to use the restroom. I remember consulting my reflection in the mirror. Wondering if I should kiss you, if I should tell you what I'd done from the cockpit of that bomber a week before, if I should return to the Smith & Wesson that waited for me. I decided, ultimately, that I was unworthy of the resuscitation this stranger in the teal ball gown had given me, and to turn my back on such sweet serendipity would be the real disgrace.

On the way back to the counter, my heart thumped in my chest like an angry judge's gavel, and a future -- our future -- flickered in my mind. But when I reached the stools, you were gone. No phone number. No note. Nothing.

As strangely as our union had begun, so too had it ended. I was devastated. I went back to Neisner's every day for a year, but I never saw you again. Ironically, the torture of your abandonment seemed to swallow my self-loathing, and the prospect of suicide was suddenly less appealing than the prospect of discovering what had happened in that restaurant. The truth is I never really stopped wondering.

I'm an old man now, and only recently did I recount this story to someone for the first time, a friend from the VFW. He suggested I look for you on Facebook. I told him I didn't know anything about Facebook, and all I knew about you was your first name and that you had lived in Boston once. And even if by some miracle I happened upon your profile, I'm not sure I would recognize you. Time is cruel that way.

This same friend has a particularly sentimental daughter. She's the one who led me here to Craigslist and these Missed Connections. But as I cast this virtual coin into the wishing well of the cosmos, it occurs to me, after a million what-ifs and a lifetime of lost sleep, that our connection wasn't missed at all.

You see, in these intervening forty-two years I've lived a good life. I've loved a good woman. I've raised a good man. I've seen the world. And I've forgiven myself. And you were the source of all of it. You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can't possibly imagine my gratitude.

I have hard days, too. My wife passed four years ago. My son, the year after. I cry a lot. Sometimes from the loneliness, sometimes I don't know why. Sometimes I can still smell the smoke over Hanoi. And then, a few dozen times a year, I'll receive a gift. The sky will glower, and the clouds will hide the sun, and the rain will begin to fall. And I'll remember.

So wherever you've been, wherever you are, and wherever you're going, know this: you're with me still."

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I understand about the mundane astrology aspect - I'd just feel more comfortable with it if people waited a week or two before doing the astro research.
There is value to it, but there's also value in being respectful to the bereaved in such dreadful circumstances.
(My opinion only, of course.)


I've never visited Craigslist - must go take a peek there sometime. I enjoyed reading those extracts - thank you! It reads like a chapter from a novel! It even reminded me a little of the book I've just finished, "Replay" by Ken Grimwood. The lead character in the book finds himself having to live and re-live portions of his life over and over, he's always trying to "do the right thing" yet at times making things worse; meeting the same people in different circumstances.....Something about the style of writing in your extract is reminiscent of that novel's style.