Roman Calendar
by: M. Moravius Horatius Piscinus

DECEMBER

"Saturnus, let slip your fetters and come hither with December, tipsy on much wine, with Mirth laughing and with Humor insolent." (Statius, Silvae I.vi.4-6)

 

1 Kal Dec N:
KALENDS: Neptunus' temple restored by Augustus, 32 BCE. Salacia. Pietatis in the Circus Flaminium (after 101 BCE). Venus and Cupid. Emperor Constantius closes all temples, 354 CE.

2 IV Non Dec N: Dies Ater Whoso suffers a shipwreck a second time unjustly accuses
Neptune. (Publilius Syrus 251)

3 III Non Dec C
: Secret women’s rite of the Bona Dea, held pro populi in the house of a Consul or Praetor with the Vestal Virgins attending. The rite included a display of symbola and an offering of wine that is instead referred to as honeyed milk. It may have included a ritual beating out of the pontifex maximus dressed as a Vestal (see 25 August). Men were generally not allowed entry into the Temple of the Bona Dea, except for the pontifex maximus. In 63 BCE the rite was held in the house of then-Praetor Gaius Iulius Caesar, who was also pontifex maximus. But a scandal arose when Clodius Pulcher was discovered dressed as a Vestal (possibly standing in for Iulius Caesar). Feast of Faunus.

4 Prid. Non Dec C: Poverty needs little, greed needs it all. (Publilius Syrus)

5 Non Dec F:
NONAE: DIE QUINTI TE KALO, when the Regina Sacrorum would make a sacrifice to Juno Covella, and the Rex Sacrorum would announce the festivals of the month. Faunalia rustica; Pagani (country folk) offer a kid, wine, and garden flowers to Faunus, dancing then in triple time to bless their herds.

6 VIII Idus Dec. F: Dies Ater With
Saturn’s curved blade pursue and prune the forlorn vine and cut it into shape. (Virgil, Georg. II 407)

7 VII Idus Dec. C: Execution of Cicero, 43 BCE. He whom Fate cherishes becomes a fool. (Publilius Syrus) Arcadius declares paganism to be high treason and orders all pagan priests imprisoned, 396 CE.

8 VI Idus Dec. C:
Gaia. Tiburnus in Insula. Birth of Q. Horatius Flaccus (Horace), 65 BCE.

9 V Idus Dec. C:.
OPTALIA: Feast of Ops, goddess of Harvests. Mesonyctium: the Vigil of Attys.

10 IV Idus Dec C: Lux Mundi; Tribuni plebis magistratum ineunt, the day the people’s Tribunes took office during the Late Republic.

11 III Idus Dec NP: AGONALIA INDIGETI. Bruma, goddess of Winter. Septimontia sacrifice on the Palatine Hill made by the flamen Palatualis; carts drawn by beasts of burden were not allowed in the city on this day. Emperor Julian the Blessed declared religious tolerance and restoration of the culti deorum ex patria, 361 CE.

12 Pridie Idus Dec EN: Consus, the god of horses, on the Aventine (273 BCE?); celebrated by a parade of riders, their horses decked in flowers, and led by a Rex Equus.

13 NP:
IDIBUS: Sementivae: Sowing festival of Tellus in Carinis (268 BCE). Lectisternium of Ceres in Carinis and at the Temple of Tellus.

14 XIX Kal. Ian F: Dies Ater By several days will bad and wintry weather often precede the proper date to begin that season, what the Greeks call proceimazein or "to be an early winter". (Pliny, Nat. Hist. 18.57)

15 XVIII Kal. Ian NP:
CONSUALIA. Supplicatio to Fortuna Redux. Birth of Nero, 37 BCE.

16 XVII Kal Ian C: Come now, Antiquity, and compare our festival today to that held for primeval
Jove in a golden age, not liberally did the wine flow then, nor the harvest anticipate the tardy year. (Statius I.vi.39-42)

17 XVI Kal Ian NP:
SATURNALIA Feriae: Originally a single feastday for the dedication of a temple to Saturnus on the Capitoline Hill in 497 BCE, in 217 BCE the festival was reorganized and expanded. This day was celebrated by a public sacrifice at the temple of Saturnus, followed by a public feast, the convivium begun in 217 BCE. Revelers left the convivium shouting "Io Saturnalia!" Ausonian swains, a race from Troy derived, make merry with rough rhymes and boistrous mirth. (Virgil, Georg. II.385-6)

18 XV Kal Ian C:
.SATURNALIA Feriae Epona, goddess of horses. The second day of Saturnalia was observed by family sacrifices and feasting, with masters attending on slaves as a reminder of the Golden Age when all were equals. Pamper your dear soul with young roasted pork and wine, and your household enjoy a holiday from work. (Horace, Carmina 3.17.14-16)

19 XIV Kal Ian NP: SATURNALIA Feriae OPALIA. Iuventas at the Circus Maximus (191 BCE). The third and following days of Saturnalia were spent in visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts. Common gifts were red wax candles (cerei), paste images of the Gods (sigillaria), and stationary.

20 XIII Kal Ian C:
SATURNALIA Feriae Saturnus, Great King of ancient starry skies and earth primeval, under Your peaceful reign never was anyone’s tranquility disturbed by labor. (Martial 12.62.1) Death of Vitellius; Vespasian declared Emperor, 69 CE.

21 XII Kal Ian NP:
SATURNALIA Feriae DIVALIA of ANGERONA: Public sacrifice offered in Acculeian Curia to the goddess who protected Rome and whose name was kept secret. From the latter, She was known as Tacita, the one who keeps silent, and Macrobius gave a hint to Her identity by mention of Volupia.

22 XI Kal Ian C: SATURNALIA Feriae Lares Permarinus for seafaring spirits and those who died at sea, celebrated at the Porticus Minuciae (179 BCE). Feast of Isis. Birth of Inanna.

23 X Kal Ian NP:
SATURNALIA Feriae Feriae Iovi. Hercules. LARENTALIA when the flamen Quirinalis performed a parentatio to Acca Larentia and pontifices sacrificed to the Manes Serviles at the tomb of Acca on the Velabrum at the Nova Via outside the Porta Romanula. Diana in the Circus Flaminium (179). Iuno Regina in the Circus Flaminium (179 BCE). Tempestatibus at the Porta Capena (259 BCE).

24 IX Kal Ian C: Don’t carry fire logs into a forest. (Horace, Satires 1.10.34)

25 VIII Kal Ian C:
Agonalia Sol Invictus est. 274 CE, celebrated by 30 chariot races. Natalis Mithras. The winter solstice in the time of the Republic, this day came to be identified as the birth date of many solar deities.

26 VII Kal Ian C:
To take hold of a problem, rather than allow the opportunity to slip away, is how to solve a problem. (Livy 30.30.7) : SVR founds Collegium Graecum, 2001 CE.

27 VI Kal Ian C: The patient and brave man makes himself happy. (Publilius Syrus 464)

28 V Kal Ian C: A drop of water may hollow a stone.(Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto 4.10.5)

29 IV Kal Ian C:
Compitalia: A rustic celebration at the end of the farming season, it has no fixed date but falls between the end of Saturnalia and the Nones of January.

30 III Kal Ian C: The careful swain looks keenly forward to the coming year. (Virgil, Georg. II)

31 Pridie Kal Ian F: Just as fragile ice thaws, so will anger disappear over time. (Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1.374)

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