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 Floralia

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Rowan



Posts : 24
Join date : 2011-04-21

PostSubject: Floralia   Tue 03 May 2011, 10:46

"You start in April and cross to the time of May
One has you as it leaves, one as it comes
Since the edges of these months are yours and defer
To you, either of them suits your praises.
The Circus continues and the theatre's lauded palm,
Let this song, too, join the Circus spectacle."
Ovid, Fasti (V.185-190)





In 238 BC, at the direction of an oracle in the Sibylline books, a temple was built to honor Flora, an ancient goddess of flowers and blossoming plants. It was dedicated on April 28 and the Floralia instituted to solicit her protection (Pliny, Natural History, XVIII.286, cf. Velleius Paterculus, I.14.8, who says 241/240 BC). Sometime later, the festival was discontinued, only to be revived in 173 BC, when the blossoms again that year suffered from winds, hail, and rain (Ovid, Fasti, V.329ff). It was celebrated annually with games (ludi Florales) from April 28 until May 3. These farces and mimes, which received official recognition, were known for their licentiousness. The prostitutes of Rome, who regarded the day as their own, performed naked in the theater and, suggests Juvenal (Satire VI), fought in the gladiatorial arena. In the Circus Maximus, deer and hares, symbols of fertility, were let loose in honor of the goddess as protector of gardens and fields (but not of woods and wild animals) and, instead of the customary white, colorful garments were worn during the festivities, some of which were celebrated at night (Ovid, Fasti, IV.946, V.189-190, 331ff.). Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, another symbol of fertility) also were thrown to the people in the Circus (Persius, Satires, V.177ff).



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