First Sunday

When first I attended school in the 1950's one only had a choice between the decidedly Protestant public schools or the Catholic parochial schools. Neither were accommodating to non-Christians. I recall one time when a group of Catholic students transferred to public school and a teacher humiliated them for not knowing their school prayers as they were said by Protestants. Then there was a time when we found a boy tied to our tree in the front yard. The neighborhood boys had done it because he … [Read more...]

Casting Faith to the Winds

Discussion of the religio Romana today usually centers on matters of a superficial importance.  Topics of discussion concern poetic myths and philosophical speculations on the nature of the Gods, calendars of festival days, the priesthoods of ancient Rome, the little that is known about rites once performed for the Gods, and those few details of Roman practice that we might possibly recover today.  Roman authors were not writing for modern reconstructions, of course, so they did not have to e … [Read more...]

Lemuria, Day Two

Grant, O Gods, that the earth may lie soft and gently upon the shades of our ancestors, and may their urns be filled with a perpetual springtime blooming with the sweet scents of crocus.The second day of Lemuria is held five days before the Ides of May. As with other Roman festivals, the Lemuria is held on alternating days because odd-numbered days were considered fortunate. Perusius, quoted above (Satura 7.207-208), again expresses a Roman conception of the afterlife in an eternal Spring. … [Read more...]

Rosalia

On 10 May, and again on 31 May, the Roman legions at Duro Europa celebrated the Rosalia. This again connects the flowers of Spring with rituals for the dead, only this time the rituals were performed by military units for their fallen comrades rather than for family members. We learn of this celebration first with a military calendar from Syria. We do not know if the Rosalia was celebrated on the same dates by other legions throughout the Roman Empire, but we hear descriptions of the Rosalia in … [Read more...]

Lemuria

Spring seems to have finally arrived warm and sunny. Each year brings a new surprise and this year shall be remembered for the extraordinary brightness of color in the plumage of birds we have seen. The gold finches, scarlet finches, cardinals and red breasted grosbeaks are noticeably brighter than in years past.  The clear skies and bright colors of birds and flowers is how we often think of spring.It may therefore seem a little odd then that in the Religio Romana the month of May is devoted … [Read more...]

Hortus Cereris

My own plot of land is only about a third of a iugerum, but sufficient to meet my needs and produce more vegetables than I can use. A large portion of the gardens' produce are given to family, friends, and neighbors. Its true value for me lies in its being a place to practice my Roman values of frugality, moderation, and industry, as well as a place to practice the religious traditions of my family. In other words, my spiritual life revolves around my gardens. Central to these is a place I have … [Read more...]

Roman Values

When Rome was faced with a grave crisis it turned to the one man thought capable to lead them. Senators thus went to the home of Cincinnatus to offer him the position of magister populi (dictator). They found him in his field, plowing the land as a simple farmer, and when he had succeeded in his duties to Rome, he laid down the instruments of power and returned to his fields. Cincinnatus was a model of the "good citizen," exemplifing the idealized citizen-soldier even in the American Revolution. … [Read more...]


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