Decretum pontificum de diebus (Nova Roma)
This decretum is currently active.
Having concluded that the responsum pontificum de diebus worked satisfactorily for the Nova Roman senate and people and for the magistrates, since it was enacted a.d. X Kal. Quinct. C. Buteone Modiano et Minucia Strabone cos., thus having been tested for about a decade, and having observed that those magistrates, who did not lack the pious intention, could easily follow the instructions of the responsum, the collegium pontificum hereby decrees, using the same responsum as basis, the following rules on how all magistrates and public institutions of the Nova Roman Republic are obliged to act, and what they are permitted to do, according to the Mos Maiorum and to the Ius Sacrum, on the different types of days of the Roman calendar.
I. WORKDAYS AND HOLIDAYS
I.A. Dies PROFESTI
The dies profesti are the "working days", the days that belong to men for the administration of their private and public affairs. The dies profesti are either dies fasti(F), or dies comitiales (C).
I.B. Dies FESTI
A dies festus is a holiday in the modern sense of "weekend", or "a day off work", a festive day or festival that belongs to the gods, spent with sacrifices, repasts, games, and other solemnities. On such days profane activity is normally avoided. All dies festi are nefasti (N) ornefasti publici (NP).
I.C. Dies ENDOTERCISI vel INTERCISI (EN)
These are "cut asunder days", that prepare the dies feriatus of the following day. The dies endotercisi are common between gods and men, partly devoted to the worship of the gods, i.e. dies festi (holidays), partly to the transaction of ordinary business, i.e. dies profesti (working days) with certain restrictions. They are dies nefasti in the morning (horae I to IV) before and during the celebration of the sacrifices; but they become dies fasti at noon (horae V to VIII) and nefasti again in the evening (horae IX to XII) during and after the offering in the altars of the sacrifices performed in the morning.
I.D. Dies FERIATI
The dies feriati, the "days with celebration", or the feriae, are days on which specific public rituals and celebrations take place which are officially dedicated to specific gods or, these are usually the most solemn and sacred days when the greatest public festivals and ceremonies are celebrated, but they are not necessarily holidays (or work off days) and not necessarily festive days or festivals. They can be either dies festi or profesti or endotercisi. All feriae are dies nefasti publici (NP), except one or two. These include fixed holidays (feriae stativae), mobile holidays (feriae conceptivae) decreed by magistrates and irregular holidays (feriae imperativae) decreed by the Senate.
II. LEGAL AND RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF THE DAYS
II.A. Dies FASTI (F)
The dies fasti, or "allowed days", are dies profesti, normal working days in which the gods favour human activities, but not state affairs. On dies fasti:
- II.A.1. Tribunals may be open, or any form of trial procedures may be conducted, and the praetores are allowed fully to perform their duties. Petitio actionisand other documents of similar nature may be accepted.
- II.A.2. Contiones may be called and celebrated.
- II.A.3. The first and last days of a voting period of the Comitia may not be celebrated on a dies fastus, but the intervening days may fall on dies fasti. Citizens may express their will on dies fasti, but any vote conducted in a Comitia which had a voting period starting or ending on a dies fastus will not be binding for the magistrates, and shall not become a lex, but an advice.
- II.A.4. Markets may be open, business may be made, contracts may be signed. Private activities may take place normally.
- II.A.5. Marriages and private worship may be celebrated.
II.B. Dies COMITIALES (C)
These are identical to dies fasti, thus being normal working days, but they are reserved for the celebration of public assemblies. On dies comitiales:
- II.B.1. If no magistrate calls any of the Comitia on a dies comitialis, it shall be treated as a dies fastus.
- II.B.2. If a magistrate calls the Comitia, then a vote may take place. Only a voting period that starts and ends on a dies comitialis is legal and valid. The result of such a vote would only be binding for the magistrates.
II.C. Dies NEFASTI (N)
The dies nefasti, or "not allowed days", are either dies profesti (working days) or dies festi, that present some restrictions due to their religious character. On dies nefasti:
- II.C.1. Public worship has preference over private worship. It is not recommended to celebrate marriages.
- II.C.2. Tribunals may be open, or any form of trial procedures may be conducted, and petitiones actionis and other documents of similar nature may be accepted. However, the praetores, or any authority empowered so, are not allowed to pass a sentence (because the words do, dico, addico are forbidden on these days, which words, in Roman religious thinking, refer to "passing a sentence").
- II.C.3. Contiones may be called to inform the People, but no voting shall take place. If the presiding magistrate wants to conduct a voting after the Contio, he shall call for a new meeting of the Comitia on the appropriate days.
- II.C.4. Comitia may not be called to start or end on a dies nefastus. It should be avoided that intervening days between the first and last days of a voting period fall on dies nefasti, but, if the presiding magistrate chooses not to avoid dies nefasti among the intervening days, he is ordered to include a warning in the announcement in which he shall advise the citizens to refrain from voting on the dies nefasti, listing the exact dates of the days concerned.
- II.C.5. The Senate may meet, but affairs concerning cultus and religio should be dealt with before any civil affair in the Senate agenda.
- II.C.6. Private activities are not favoured. It is not recommended to begin a journey or to sign contracts, or to generally start a new activity. Should an action have begun on a previous day, however, it might be carried on normally. Markets may be open.
III. THE SPECIAL DAYS OF THE DIES FERIATI
III.A. Dies NEFASTI PUBLICI (NP)
There is a scholarly debate on the nature of these days, and what the abbreviation "NP" can exactly be interpreted (dies nefastus primo, nefastus priore, nefastus publicus etc.), but Nova Roma, for the time being, intents to use the interpretation (dies nefastus publicus) that worked in the previous decade. A dies nefastus publicus is a dies festus, a holiday for all citizens, and a dies feriatus, because they are reserved for public worship and dedicated to a given god. All the NP days are feriae publicae pro populo, and almost all feriae (except one) are NP.
- II.A.1. Dies nefasti publici have the same characteristics as a dies nefastus, but tribunals shall be closed (because magistrates have to attend public religious ceremonies).
- II.A.2. Acts of physical violence and beginning of lawsuits are nefas, quarrels should be avoided.
- II.A.3. Ordinary citizens should avoid any physical labour except what is urgently necessary and cannot be postponed. The Flamines and the Rex Sacrorum may not see anyone doing any physical labour, and may publicly chastise anyone they see doing physical labour.
III.B. Dies FASTI PUBLICI vel FASTI PURI (FP)
The meaning of this dies is not yet completely clear. Further research is necessary, and the pontifices will one day issue a new decretum concerning this particulardies fastus. For the time being, the pontifices orders to treat these days as if it were a dies nefastus publicus.
III.C. Quando Rex Comitiavit Fas (QRCF)
These are fixed days (dies fissi) in the calendar, and they are also dies feriati (religious workship takes place) but dies profesti (working days). They are a dies nefastus from dawn till the Rex Sacrorum appears in the Comitium and performs the purifying rites (which in Nova Roma shall be interpreted as dies nefastus until the Rex Sacrorum announces in the official public communication venue of Nova Roma that he has performed the rites). From then on it is a dies fastus and theComitia may be adjourned.
III.D. Quando Stercus Delatum Fas (QSTDF or QSDF)
These are fixed days (dies fissi) in the calendar, and they are also dies feriati (religious workship takes place) but dies profesti (working days). They are a dies nefastus from dawn till the Vestales finish cleaning the Temple and the House of Vesta and take the garbage out of the sacred grounds through the Porta Stercolaria. Garbage is then swept down the streets and thrown to the Tiber. (In Nova Roma this shall be interpreted as dies nefastus until the Vestales announce in the official public communication venue of Nova Roma that they have performed a substitute ceremony). From that moment onwards, it is a dies fastus.
IV. DAYS WITH SPECIAL PROHIBITIONS
IV.A. Dies RELIGIOSI
These are days dedicated to the worship of infernal deities and of the dead; worship to celestial deities should not take place, and temples of celestial deities should close their doors. All ceremonies are private and celebrated in domestic shrines by the pater familias.
IV.B. Dies ATRI
These days, so marked as dies atri, are also religiosi. These are "dark" days on which no sacrifices are properly made. On dies atri:
- IV.B.1. No sacrifices should be offered on public altars. All religious ceremonies are private but without sacrifices. Neither shall the temples celebrate public worship nor hold sacrifices on these days, neither public Augures nor magistrates may take auspicia on these days.
- IV.B.2. No one should invoke a God or Goddess by name while indoors, and no celestial God or Goddess should be invoked by name while outdoors. It is not fitting to offer sacrifice to the spirits of the dead on dies atri either, because in such ceremonies it is necessary to call upon Ianus and Iuppiter, whom it is not right to call upon on dies atri.
- IV.B.3. No Contio or Comitia may be called to start or end on dies atri. It should be avoided that intervening days between the first and last days of a voting period fall on dies atri, but, if the presiding magistrate, for some extremely urgent reason, chooses not to avoid dies atri among the intervening days, he is ordered to include a warning in the announcement in which he shall advise the citizens to refrain from voting on the dies atri, listing the exact dates of the days concerned.
- IV.B.4. Making journeys, starting new projects, or doing anything risky should be avoided.
- IV.B.5. The dies atri include two special subcategories:
- IV.B.5.a. Dies POSTRIDUANI: These are the days after all the Kalendae, Nonae and Idus of each month. They are, in general terms, dies fasti (F), but they are days of ill-omen for beginning private activities, business or journeys. Public worship is explicitly forbidden.
- IV.B.5.b. Dies VITIOSI: These are specific dates decreed by the Senate, and considered unlucky days. The only two fixed dies vitiosi are the dies ALIENSIS, on July the 18th, a. d. XVI Kalendas Sextiles, and August the 2nd, a. d. IV Nonas Sextiles. Additional dies vitiosi, should they be needed, may be declared by the Senate through passage of a senatus consultum.
V. SPECIAL DATES FOR MARRIAGES
Marriages should not to be performed during the periods of 13-21 February, 1-20 March, throughout the month of May, or during 5-15 June, nor were they to be performed on days when the mundus was opened (24 August, 5 October, and 8 November) and should be discouraged on those dates that are dies Postriduani, dies Vitiosi, or dies ater. These dates specifically refer to the rite of confarreatio as some are periods when the Flamen and Flaminca Dialis would not have been available to attend, as required, while others concern feriae for the Manes. Although not proscribed in regard to other forms of marriages, they were still considered ill-omened days on which to marry.
VI. INSTRUCTIONS ON CONVENING AND HOLDING SESSIONS OF PUBLIC BODIES
VI.A. As described above, all activities of the Comitia may be conducted on dies comitiales. Contiones of the Comitia may be started and closed on all types of days except on dies ater, voting periods of the Comitia may only start and close on dies comitiales, but intervening days can include all types of days. If intervening days include dies nefasti, dies nefasti publici or dies atri, the presiding magistrate must issue a warning as described in II.C.4. and in IV.B.3.
VI.B. Sessions of all other public bodies (various priestly Collegia, the Senate etc.) other than the Comitia are not required to follow the prohibitions of days except the prohibitions on dies atri, and except what is required from the Senate in section II.C.5.
VI.C. The Senate should be called to start their sessions preferably on Kalends, Nones or Ides, when it is possible.