In ancient Rome, this was the date of the Parilia and was the accepted date for celebrating the birthday of Rome in 753 B.C.
Ovid describes the Parilia in his Fasti. After Ovid's persona invokes the relevant god, Pales, he describes the carrying of ashes of calves and bean stalks, jumping over bonfires, and the water sprinkling involved in a purification rite. Ovid connects the Parilia with the birth of Rome by suggesting, among other options, that the fire of the Parilia is like the fire burning Troy that Aeneas escaped.
Do you know how to wish someone a happy birthday in Latin? If so, please post your version on Saying Happy Birthday in Latin. If you don't know, this Latin happy birthday page provides a variety of suggestions.
"They crowded in the Circus or race-course, where nuts and other trifles were thrown among them; and, besides the horse-races, it was the practice to set foxes loose in the Circus with lighted torches tied to their tails ... [symbolic] it is thought, of the red blight or rust that burns up the corn."
When Valentinian died, Gratian ruled in the west and his uncle Valens ruled in the east. Gratian had been fighting the Alamanni while Valens was dealing with the Goths at Adrianople. Gratian was scheduled to come to Valens' assistance, but arrived too late to prevent the disaster, whether because he was actually too late or Valens had jumped the gun in order to take the credit for what he wrongly assumed would be victory.
The disaster at Adrianople is one of the major turning points in the fortunes of Imperial Rome and a possible date for Rome's fall.
Read more about Gratian.
© Trustees of the British Museum, produced by Natalia Bauer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme
It was also the time of the festival in honor of the grain goddess Ceres, who was associated with the earth goddess Tellus, known as the Cerealia. The Cerealia was one of the sets of ludi Romani 'Roman Games.
This Day in Modern History: Ancient historian Jane Ellen Harrison died in 1928.
On this day -April 12: In Rome, on this day (or starting tomorrow) a yearly festival in honor of Demeter/Ceres was held with games in the Circus Maximus. In his Fasti Ovid reminds the reader that it's thanks to the grain goddess Ceres that we don't have to live on acorns. Her offerings include grain, incense and pig.
Read more about Cerealia.
Statue of Septimius Severus at the British Museum. Height: 198.000 cm. Roman, about AD 193-200 Found at Alexandria, Egypt.
CC Flickr User cubby_t_bear
Read more about: Septimius Severus - the first of the soldier emperors.
The tondo of the Severans shows Septimius Severus, his wife, Julia Domna, and their two sons, Geta and Caracalla. The face of the younger brother has been obliterated, presumably after Caracalla's fratricide and damnatio memoriae.
In 217, Caracalla himself died violently.
Also on this day in modern history, classicist E.R. Dodds, author of The Greeks and the Irrational (see Shame Culture) died.
Severan Dynasty Tondo photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
CC Flickr User Marshall Astor
Carthage was an obstacle to Italy's control of the Mediterranean and Hannibal's troops were defeating the Romans in battle and terrorizing the countryside. The Romans learned from Hannibal and adapted his techniques. Eventually they defeated him militarily, but before that, they tried a religious technique. They consulted the Sibylline Books, which contained prophecies to guide the Romans. One prophecy concerned a certain Phrygian goddess whose cult in Rome included the April Megalesia.
Lely's Venus. A 1st or 2nd Century AD Roman copy of a Greek original.
CC Alun Salt at Flickr.com
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