Neptunalia ludos intramural 2766 (Nova Roma)

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About the Festival

The Neptunalia, on July 23, honored Neptune as the god of the seas and water. In the middle of ancient Italy's really hot and dry summer season, when rivers were low and water was most scarce, Romans sought Neptune's protection of irrigation waters and works. To do this, they went out to the fields and forests and built small huts called umbrae (shades) or tabernaculi (tabernacles) out of leafy Laurel (Bay) branches. Within the shade of these natural tents they would picnic outdoors, drinking spring water as well as wine to keep cool in these hot summer days. Richer folk might sacrifice a bull to Neptune. Camping overnight with fires for cooking (they shared the bull with the god) would be common, and the festival continued the next day. Honoring Neptune on this day would assure rainfall for the crops and forestall any drought. Neptunalia was also considered to be an auspicious day to start new irrigation works, which, despite the heat, were easier to construct in summer than during other wetter seasons -- slaves did the hot and heavy work anyway.

Neptune was the god of the sea (as Neptune Oceanus) and of all waters for Romans, but he was not among Rome's most revered and powerful gods. Little is known of his origin: when he was first introduced in Rome, he already had acquired all the characteristics of the Greek Poseidon. Despite the fact that his cult grew after his equation with Poseidon, Neptune was far less popular among Roman sailors than Poseidon was with Greek mariners.

The Neptunalia was originally mostly a private affair concerned with Neptune's protection of fresh agricultural water. It took on greater significance as a public observance after Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Augustus's military Chief of Staff and his Admiral, dedicated a temple and porticus to Neptune after his naval victories over Marc Antony at Azio and, shortly thereafter, at the decisive battle of Actium, in 31 BC. Agrippa's sanctuary was in the Campus Martius between his Pantheon and baths, and after it was dedicated in 25 BC, the porticus may have been the center for the public aspects of the Neptunalia. (Agrippa was apparently a great fan of Neptune, and coins honoring Agrippa routinely featured Neptune.) This Neptune complex was completely restructured by Hadrian when he also rebuilt the Pantheon, so it is difficult to discern the Agrippan design and functions of the structure.

Neptune was also held in high regard as Neptune Equestor, the god and patron of the extremely popular horse races and of horses. As early as 206 BC, one of his temples was located near the Circus Flaminius, one of the larger trace-tracks and the place where the equites, members of the equestrian class, mustered for their ceremonies outside the pomerium or ceremonial boundary of the city. The horse connection was obvious: Neptune Oceanus was often depicted surfing on a sea shell towed by "sea horses" (actually hippocampi, half horses and half fish -- in front to back order, of course: think of the alternative!) Part of the Neptune myth is that he gave the first horses to men.

The areas around the Circus Flaminius and the Pantheon sometimes flooded after spring rains in obvious manifestations of Neptune. A coin issued around 40 BC depicted the Circus Flaminius Neptune temple on a podium without an approaching staircase, and this has led to conjecture that the temple might only have been used during floods when it would be approached by boats.

Neptune usually carried the identifying trident and was accompanied by dolphins. Rome's most famous shell-surfing Neptune is not Ancient Roman at all. The twenty-foot-high marble statue was finished in 1761 by Pietro Bracci, under the direction of architect Nicola Salvi, as the centerpiece of the Trevi fountain. Fittingly, it marks the end of the Virgine aqueduct, which was originally extended to the Piazza di Trevi by that same Agrippa who built the Temple of Neptune not far away at the Pantheon.

The Neptunalia was a typical Mediterranean mid-summer festival, falling halfway between the summer solstice and the vernal equinox. Northern, and especially Celtic, midsummer usually fell on the summer solstice in mid June: the Keltic summer began on May 1. Both Mediterranean and Northern mid-summer festivals involved a return to nature, although in northern areas, where summer rain was more common, there did not appear to be any specific emphasis on celebration, prayer, and sacrifice to the water god. The Jewish "Feast of Tabernacles", Succot, although it has the building of "tabernacles" in common with the Neptunalia, is a festival that occurs at the time of the second or autumnal harvest. Orthodox Jewry says that the festival commemorates the temporary shelters that Jews lived in during the exodus from Egypt, but some secular Jewish scholars say they were simply the temporary shelters erected for overnight stays in the fields during harvest time. The likely fusion was that spending time in the fields in temporary shelters during the harvest also reminded the Jews of their time in the wilderness.


About This Event

In honor of the Neptunalia, the Factiones Albata and Veneta will be holding a gladitorial intramural competition. Entry for this event is limited to members entries of Albata and Veneta, as the other two Ludum are not yet reopened, but will be in the near future.

If you are a member of the other two factiones, Praesina (Greens) and Russata (Reds), you should prepare your virtual characters now in advance of and in preparation for the upcoming Ludi events in the near future.

Enroll Your Virtual Gladiators and Beasts

Have an entry or two for the Intramural Competition? The Ludus Albatus and Ludus Venetus are now open for patronage by all citizens of Nova Roma. We are two of the four official Nova Roma gladiator schools for virtual characters of the Ludi, operated by the racing Factiones Albata and Veneta.

By entering your gladiators and animals, we will track your standings in the games. You will also be eligible to start building your personal record for the coveted and prestigious Ludi Award Palms and Victory Banners.

Enroll your animals/gladiators in the Intramural Competition! You may enter one or two gladiators.

Entries must contain:

(a) Your Roman Name
(b) Your Entry's Name
(c) Type of Gladiator
  • RETIARIUS: His/Her weapon is the net, the trident and a dagger. His/Her defenses are a protection of arm (manica), that includes the shoulder.
  • HOPLOMACHUS: His/Her weapons are a lance and a dagger. His/Her defenses are a closed crest hull, circular small shield and metallic shin pads. His defenses are protection of right arm and he can take a pectoral plate.
  • MURMILLO: His/Her weapon is a short sword (gladius). His/Her defenses are a closed great crest hull, rectangular big shield (scutum), protection in right arm and shin pad in left leg.
  • THRAEX: His/Her weapon is a curved sword (sicca). His/Her defenses are a closed hull, the crest of the hull has the shape of faucet, a quadrangular small shield (parmula), long metallic shin pads up to the thigh and protection in right arm.
  • SECUTOR: His/Her weapon is a short sword (gladius). His/Her defenses are closed smooth hull, rectangular big shield (scutum), protection in right arm and legs. Normally fight only against retiarii.
  • DIMACHAERUS: His/Her weapons are two curved swords (siccae). His/Her defenses are protections in arms and legs.
(d) Description/History of Your Entry
(e) Type of Tactics (1=Offensive, 2=Yourself, 3=Defensive)
(f) Your Ludus (Ludus Albatus, Ludus Venetus).
  • LUDUS ALBATUS (The Whites)
  • LUDUS VENETUS (The Blues)


Send entries to: koalmyner at gmail dot com

Not a Factio member yet? Go to your Album Civium page, log in, and select your favorite Factio. Then, prepare you virtual character and submit for entry into the competition by sending your information to the email address listed below:

Suggestions on Creating Characters

The games are a great way to learn more about Roman history through character creation:

  • Pick an ancient Roman area (Gallia, Hispania, Thrace, Greece, Egypt, etc.)
  • Pick a region in that area.
  • Pick a tribe/town in that region.
  • Research a little bit about that tribe and it's environment, culture, friends and enemies, industries, etc.
  • Pick a name for your Gladiator, Chariot, Chariot Driver, and/or Wild Beast for Venationes that is reflective of all of this.
  • Create a description of your Ludi character from all of this.
  • When you have some spare time, do it several times again, creating several Gladiators, Chariots, Chariot Drivers, and/or Wild Beasts for Venationes. Remember, just like the real Ludi games, our NR characters get injured and even killed, then you need another one.
  • As these characters enter and complete, you can improve the descriptions of them, based on their results.
  • Keep all of your characters in a text file for easy reference.
  • Register your characters with Ludus by sending your character information to our Lanista, and we will maintain their career history wins and current points for the year.

Regulae ludorum (Ludi Rules)

To view the official rules for Munera Gladiatoria (Gladiator) and Venationes (Animal Hunts), Click Here.

This link also provided additional links to the Racing Companies (Factiones) and Gladiator Schools (Ludum) in the Header Bar.

Results of the Intramurals Competition

Pre-Games Coverage

Salvete omnes!

This is by M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Eternal City.

It’s the month of Iulius and we’re here in Rome to celebrate the Neptunalia, honoring Neptune as the god of the seas and water. Today’s midsummer festival takes place in the middle of a really hot and dry season. It is the time of the year when the rivers are low and water is most scarce here on the Italian Peninsula.

On the way into the city, we observed that the fields and forests near the Tiber were abundant with many newly-built small huts or “umbrae” (shades) and “tabernaculi” (tabernacles), built out of leafy Laurel branches. These huts have been built for today’s festival and are occupied by followers of the Cult of Neptune, who are picnicking outdoors, drinking spring water as well as wine to celebrate today’s anticipated festivities.

We stopped to interview several campers, who advised they were here to honor Neptune to assure rainfall for the crops and to forestall any drought. With bull being cooked over campfires by some of the richer cives, one follower advised that their camp would be sharing the bull with the god after the intramural events to be held today at the Flavian Amphitheatre, just down the via near the Temple of Neptune.

We are here at the Temple of Neptune, where the pontifices have just performed sacrificial rites to Neptune in honor of today’s festivities. We are in the midst of hundreds of Faction Albata and Veneta fan vexilla, carried by those die-hard fans in white and blue, who are now beginning to move in procession to the Flavian Amphitheatre, where the intramural competitions will be held shortly. We’ll check back in closer toward game time with our colleague, Titus Nautius Sura, who is at the Flavian Amphitheatre awaiting the start of the games ...

Official Coverage of the Games

Salvete omnes!

This is Titus Nautius Sura with a brief report from the Flavian Amphitheatre for the Munera Gladiatoria Intramural Series matches held earlier on this Neptunalia for 2766!

The sun shown brightly in a cloudless sky all afternoon. It was a fine summer day to honor Father Neptune. Before the first match at the amphitheater there was a short rite and offering for Neptune. The spectator turn out for the matches today was rather light but the fine weather gave the vendors a busy and profitable day.

The first match of the day was between Karthago, a Retiarius, owned by Publius Porcius Licinius from Ludus Veneta and Hannimal "The Animal", a Carthagenian Secutor, owned by Tiberius Vitellius Triarius from Ludus Albatus. From the beginning it was obvious Karthago had his opponent outclassed. He was quicker and more agile than Hannimal and his training proved to be superior. At four minutes nine seconds into the match, Karthago was able to snag Hannimal and keep him in his net long enough to land a strong thrust on his opponent but the secutor twisted at the last moment and nearly escaped. Nearly. Karthago's trident tore into Hannimal's right arm and he was unable to get free. Karthago was declared the winner while medics rushed to assist Hannimal and sent him off to the hospital. We received word about an hour ago from Ludus Albata that Hannimal was in fair condition following surgery. We wish him the best of luck with his recovery and look forward to seeing him compete in the near future.

The second match of the day pitted Phegeus the Thraecian, owned by Lucius Vitellius Triarius, against Sudrenus, a Murmillo owned by Marcus Pompeius Caninus. Both fighters represented Ludus Venetus. Physically very similar, these gladiatores also used very similar offensive fighting styles. Phegeus, a Thraex, spent most of the match lunging and maneuvering in a determined manner, perhaps with the intent to wear down his opponent. Sudrenus, the Murmillo, was light on his feet but firm and strong in his stance. The match almost ended just seconds after the mappa fell and the cry of "Pugnate!" was heard. Sudrenus moved very quickly and lunged toward Phegeus in an attempt to evade the bronze parmula and land at least one of his blades on Phegeus's upper back. But Phegeus managed to catch the right arm of Sudrenus, pushing him off-balance and deflecting the attack. The men then began a few minutes of sparring as Phegeus moved around looking for the right opportunity. Chants from the crowd in support of Phegeus could be heard. Then Phegeus spung with another quick attack but Sudrenus landed a solid blow on his opponent with his shield followed by a sweep of the blade. Phegeus went crashing to the sand and Sudrenus pinned Phegeus to the ground. Sudrenus stood over Phegeus with his sword ready to dispatch him. But the Fates spared both gladiatores from serious injury. Sudrenus was declared the victor and went on to fight in the final match.

In the third and final match for today's title, Karthago, a Retiarius owned by Publius Porcius Licinius, faced Sudrenus, a Murmillo owned by Marcus Pompeius Caninus. Both men represented Ludus Veneta. As soon as the mappa fell, the Murmillo began pressing the fight on the Retiarius. The two men were well matched. Karthago was clearly a few inches taller than Sudrenus but ultimately that difference in size was not the winning edge in a closely contested match that had Sudrenus chasing Karthago all over the arena for a little more than ten minutes. The strain of the fight began to show on both fighters but the match ended shortly after Karthago began an offensive series. Karthago cast his net at the 12 minute mark and Sudrenus was able to evade both the net and the trident and landed several solid blows on Karthago ultimately taking him down. The crowd erupted into cheers as the judge loudly and clearly pronounced: "Sudrenus victor, Karthago mittatur!"

Congratulations to Sudrenus, Marcus Pompeius Caninus and Ludus Venetus on their victory! Let us also congratulate all of those gladiatores who have competed in the munera!

Thank you for your support and patronage of this Munera Gladiatoria Intramural Series. On behalf of Veneta, Albata, the owners and the athletes, this is Titus Nautius Sura bidding you a good evening and good fortune!

Quarter-Finals Results

  • Karthago, a Retiarius, owned by Publius Porcius Licinius from Ludus venetus
  • Hannimal "The Animal", a Carthagenian Secutor, owned by Tiberius Vitellius Triarius from Ludus Albatus
  • Phegeus the Thraecian, a Thraex, owned by Lucius Vitellius Triarius from Ludus venetus
  • Sudrenus, a Murmillo owned by Marcus Pompeius Caninus from Ludus venetus

Semi-Finals Results

  • Karthago, a Retiarius, owned by Publius Porcius Licinius from Ludus venetus
  • Sudrenus, a Murmillo owned by Marcus Pompeius Caninus from Ludus venetus

Finals Results

  • Sudrenus, a Murmillo owned by Marcus Pompeius Caninus from Ludus venetus


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