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IANUARIUS (sacred to Ianus)

Dies comitialis (C):Citizens may vote on political or criminal matters.
Dies fastus (F): Legal action is permitted.
Dies nefastus (N): No legal action or public voting may occur.
Nefastus publicus (NP) : Public religious festivals are celebrated. No legal action or public voting may occur.
Endotercisus (EN): Dies fastus in the morning and dies comitialis in the afternoon.
day of
Fixed Feasts Observance
1 A Kalendis

Anno Novo



2 B   F
3 C   C
4 D   C
5 E Nonis

Vicae Potae

6 F   F
7 G   C
8 H   C
9 A Agonalia NP
10 B   C
11 C Carmentalia


12 D   C
13 E Idibus NP
14 F   EN
15 G Carmentalia NP
16 H Concordiae C
17 A   C
18 B   C
19 C   C
20 D   C
21 E   C
22 F   C
23 G   C
24 H   C
25 A   C
26 B   C
27 C Castori, Polluci ad Forum C
28 D   C
29 E   C
30 F Arae Pacis C
31 G   C




Kalendis Ianuaris

Kalendis Ianuaris (January 1): 

Today a Pontifex Minor calls the people to the Curia Calabra. The Pontifex Minor and the Rex Sacrorum offer a sacrifice to Iuno where Ianus is also invoked. Then, the Pontifex Minor invokes Iuno Covella on the fifth day of the month:
"Die Quinti te kalo Iuno Covella"
The Regina Sacrorum also sacrifices to Iuno at the Regia. [back to calendar]


Anno Novo

This is the New Year day. Ianus, who is bifrons (with two faces looking at opposing directions) looks back at the past year and looks ahead at the arriving new year. When Ovidius asks Ianus why the year does not start in Spring (as it did in remote times), Ianus answers that "midwinter is the beginning of the new Sun and the end of the old one. Phoebus and the year take their start from the same point" (Ovidius, Fasti, I.149 seq.). This day is a day of vows and gifts, when one should only say words of good augury.
After a procession through the city to the Capitol, each Consul inaugurates his magistracy sacrificing to Iuppiter, Iuno, Minerva and Salus pro salute rei publicae et senatus (for the health of the Republic and the Senate) white heifers nourished on the Faliscan plains which have never known the yoke, for these heifers had been promised one year before by the previous Consules during the regular public vows (Vota Publica). These regular vows are then renewed for this year (during the Empire the regular vows were made on January 3) with the promise of a new sacrifice to Iuppiter, Iuno, Minerva and Salus pro salute rei publicae et senatus on the next January 1. The people throws coins during the vows to bring good luck.
The Rex Sacrorum sacrifices to Ianus. [back to calendar]



Kalendis Ianuaris (January 1): Aniversary (dies natalis) of the dedication of the temple of Vediovis in the island of the Tiber. Vediovis is a sort of chtonic Iuppiter whose porpiciation is important to start well the new year (Aulus Gellus, Attic Nights, 5.12.9). [back to calendar]



Kalendis Ianuaris (January 1): Aniversary (dies natalis) of the dedication of the temple of Aesculapius in the island of the Tiber. Aesculapius is a God of health whose propitiation is important to start well the new year. [back to calendar]



Nonis Ianuaris (January 5): The Rex Sacrorum publishes an edict announcing the fixed feats of the month (feriae statae sollemnes). [back to calendar]


Vicae Potae

Nonis Ianuaris (January 5): Aniversary (dies natalis) of the shrine of Vica Pota on the Velia, near the family house of the Valerii in early times. Vica Pota is an old Roman goddess, whose name is thought to be derived from vincere (to conquer) and potiri (to get possession of); she is therefore identified with Victoria, who later overshadowed the older deity. [back to calendar]




a.d. V Idus Ianuarias (January 9): In the Agonalia of Ianuarius, Ianus must be appeased.  The Rex Sacrorum sacrifices a ram to Ianus at the Regia.
The Agonalia is also celebrated on March 17th (Agonium Marciale), May 21st, December 1th. These are sacred to Mars (or Liber Pater?), Vediovis, and Sol Indiges, respectively. [back to calendar]



a.d. III Idus Ianuarias et a.d. XVIII Kalendas Februarias (January 11 and 15): The Carmentalia is a two day festival in honour of Carmentis, a Goddess of childbirth and Prophecy. Into her shrine, it is unlawful to bear leather, for it reminds death and the slaughter of animals (Ovidius, "Fasti", 1.628ss). The prayers offered to her invoke the mysterious Carmentes (Goddesses Porrima and Postverta) who preside the birth. Porrima presides the birth when the baby's head comes first. Postversa presides the birth when the feet of the baby come first (Aulus Gellus, "Attic Nights", 16.16.4). Some interpret those Goddesses as presiding destiny, one presiding over the past and the other over the future, being thus associated with Ianus to whom the month of Ianuarius is sacred (Ovidius, "Fasti", 1.65; Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.7.20).
Today, the Flamen Carmentalis, assisted by the Pontifices, offers sacrifice at the shrine of Carmenta, which stays next to the Porta Carmentalis near
the Capitol. The two days of the Carmentalia are separated by an impair number of days (the second day is on January 15), which is specially pleasing to the Gods. [back to calendar]



a.d. III Idus Ianuarias (January 11): Festival of Iuturna, Goddess of fountains and prophetic waters. Arnobius says that she is the spouse of Fontus (Arnobius, "Adversus Nationes", 3.29). Today, those charged with the adduction of waters celebrate the aniversary of her temple, at the place where the Aqua Virgo (Virgin Water) aqueduct stands at the Campus Martius (the Aqua Virgo was built by Agrippa in 19 BC). [back to calendar]



The Idus of every month are sacred to Iuppiter. An white ewe is sacrificed to Iuppiter by the Flamen Dialis. [back to calendar]



a.d. XVII Kalendas Februarias (January 16): Aniversary (dies natalis) of the re-dedication of the Temple of Concordia, which stands below the Capitoline Hill, near the Tabularium. This temple was rebuilt by Tiberius in 7 AD out of the spoils of defeated Germany, and it was re-dedicated on 10 AD.
According to the tradition the original temple was dedicated in fulfillment of a vow made by Furius Camillus in 367 BCE, upon the end of the revolt that opposed plebeians and patricians. Nevertheless, it is not certain whether this temple was ever built. Probably the temple rebuilt by Tiberius was the one that the Senate ordered L. Opimius to build in 121 BCE after the death of Caius Gracchus. Whatever the truth, the dies natalis of the older temple was almost certainly July 22.
[back to calendar]


Castori, Polluci ad Forum

a.d. VI Kalendas Februarias (January 27): Aniversary (dies natalis) of the dedication of the temple of Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri) at the Forum, which took place in 484 BCE. This temple was vowed after they have helped to secure Rome's victory over the army of the expelled King Tarquinius Superbus at Lake Regillus. The twins were seen watering their horses , still covered in sweat, by a man to whom they announced that the Romans had won the battle before even the Romans at the scene were convinced that they had won. [back to calendar]

Arae Pacis

a.d. III Kalendas Februarias (January 30): Sacrifice of the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) erected by Emperor Augustus. [back to calendar]




The Compitalia or celebration of the Lares Compitales (Lares of the crossroads) is an agricultural festival that takes place at the crossroads between the farms of the countryside sorrounding Rome. It takes place on a single day fixed by the Praetor Urbanus, between December 17 (Saturnalia) and January 5th (more usually on January 3rd, 4th or 5th). The shrines of the Lares Compitales are erected at crossroads ('compita'), where the paths of three or four farms. The shrines are open in all 4 directions to allow the passage of the Lares of each farm. A broken plowshare is hung up at the shrine (to signify the end of the agricultural year?), as well as a wooden doll for every free person of the household and a woolen ball for every slave. At the edge of each property, an altar is set up for sacrifice, which is followed by a period of feasting.
Emperor Octavius Augustus changed the character of the festival. After dividing Rome in 265 'vici' (districts), he ordered the erection of shrines in all crossroads between them, associating the Lares Compitales to the Genius Augusti (this is the origin of the Lares Augusti). The celebration took place in all the three days. The magistri vicorum (chiefs of district) presided the ceremony, organising the games and sport competitions. In this way, the private agricultural celebration of the Compitalia was turned into a public urban festival.  [back to calendar]


Sementivae / Paganalia

Festival of Sowing celebrated in the end of Ianuarius. The festival is announced by the Curio Maximus. Cakes are offered on the hearths of the households. Tellus and Ceres are propitiated by the sacrifice of a pregnant sow in addition to traditional wheat cakes. People pray to them for the protection of the seeds against the birds, the ants, cold , rust, bad weather and ryegrass.


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