History for the Rest of Us

Mercuralia – Festival of Mercury

Mercuralia – Festival of Mercury

May 14, 2013

Mercuralia was a Roman celebration that was also known as the ‘Festival of Mercury’. Mercury, was a Roman messenger god whose attributes were mainly borrowed from the Greek god Hermes although there are myths regarding Mercury that are distinctly Roman. He was a god of trade, thieves, and travel. The name is closely related to merx, mercari, and...

Consualia and the Sabine Women

Consualia and the Sabine Women

Dec 15, 2012

The Consualia Festival was held twice a year, on August 21st and December 15th. CONSUALIA [was] a festival, with games, celebrated by the Romans…in honour of Consus, the god of secret deliberations, or…of Neptunus Equestris. Plutarch…say[s] that Neptunus Equestris and Consus were only different names for one and the same deity. It was...

Faunalia or Faunalia Rustica

Faunalia or Faunalia Rustica

Dec 6, 2012

On February 13 and December 5, festivals were held in Rome to honor Faunus. According to legend, Faunus was one of the first kings of Latium and the grandson of Saturnus. He succeeded his father King Picus (who was turned into a woodpecker by Circe after spurning her love), and was succeeded by his son Latinus. He reigned before Aeneas and his Trojans, and even...

Portunalia – Festival Honoring Portunus

Portunalia – Festival Honoring Portunus

Aug 17, 2012

Portunus, an ancient Roman god, was the god of keys, gates or doors (porta), and livestock. He protected grain warehouses and barns. Eventually he also became associated with ports, and harbors (portus – gateway to the sea) as well. Specifically, Portunus protected the portus Tiberinus, a river harbor within Rome, and the wharves at Ostia. The portus...

Neptunalia

Neptunalia

Jul 23, 2012

July 23 was the beginning of a two-day festival in Rome honoring Neptune. Neptune was the Roman god of the seas and of all waters, having the characteristics of the Greek god Poseidon. The Romans sought, during Italy’s hot and dry summer, the assurance that they would have adequate rainfall for their crops and protection over their irrigation systems....

Matralia – In Honor of Mater Matuta

Matralia – In Honor of Mater Matuta

Jun 11, 2012

The Matralia was celebrated on the 11th of June in honor of Mater Matuta. Mater Matuta was the goddess of growth, childbirth, motherhood, and the raising of children. Mothers were honored on this day by their husbands and children. Sacred Rites at the Temple of Mater Matuta Roman matrons would bring their nieces and nephews with them to the temple of Mater...