Minerva

NOVEMBER

November was the ninth month of the year after March, which was the first one on the old Roman calendar. There were very few religious obligations during the month; the Plebeian Games (November 4-17) dominated most of it. These games in honor of Jupiter were held by the plebeian aediles  in the Circus Flaminius. A feast of Jupiter (epulum Jovis) on November 13 was the central point in the Plebeian Games and divided the theatrical performances (ludi scaenici) from the circus games (ludi circenses). On the same day, festivals of Feronia and Fortuna Primigenia were held. Feronia was likely an old Etruscan agricultural goddess, but she acquired a special association with freedman and the granting of freedom to slaves. Fortuna was the goddess of fortune, and the epithet Primigenia means "original" or "firstborn." She was associated with the relationship of parents and children and directed the fortune of a newborn child at the moment of birth.

Minerva was one of the great Roman divinities. Although she was honored on Minerva's Day (November 29), her major festival, the Quinquatrus, was held in March. She shared a temple on the Capitoline with Jupiter and Juno, but she also had one on the Aventine.

Here is some additional information about the various festivals in November.

  • An entry in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities  describes the myriad roles of the aediles  in Rome, including overseeing the public games.
  • An entry in Platner's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome  details the history and uses of the Circus Flaminius.
  • A short article explains Minervan leitmotifs, including her birth and her attributes of the owl and olive tree.
  • Another Roman calendar details the festival of Isis (November 1) and other events during the month of November.
  • A calendar for The Roman Month of November shows various festivals and other notable dates, like the festival of Feronia (November 13) and the birth of Tiberius (November 16).


    photo courtesy of VRoma

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