Faunus

FAUNALIA RUSTICA

The Faunalia Rustica (December 5) honored Faunus in his manifestation as protective deity of agriculture and of shepherds. (His shade was consulted as a god of prophecy under the name of Fatuus, with oracles in the sacred grove of Tibur and on the Aventine Hill in Rome.) The annual festival was held in the country districts and not in Rome, so it is not registered in the calendars. However, it must have played a significant part in the lives of many Romans, especially in the early days.

In rural areas, individual farmers offered a libation of wine and sacrificed a young goat on the ancient altar made of sod. Horace recounts the peaceful holiday in one of his pastoral poems (Odes, III.18.) The farmers relaxed and danced joyfully in the fields where they had labored so long and hard.

At Rome, there was a temple to Faunus on the Caelian Hill and another on Tiber Island, where the public ritual for the festival of Faunus (February 13) was conducted. However, the attempt to introduce the rural cult of Faunus into urban life was not very successful. Faunus remained chiefly a wild spirit of the countryside.


Consult these resources for more information about Faunus and his worship.


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