Dice

Holiday Activities of Senex Caecilius

The Saturnalia includes the Sigillaria and the Divalia and is quickly followed by the Brumalia and the New Year. The whole period is a time for feasting, merrymaking, and gift-giving. The celebration of the Saturnalia includes the selection of a princeps Saturnalicius, a mock king who presides over the festivities in each household. His command is law! A variety of activities involves children and adults alike. It is the one time during the year when public gambling is allowed, so go for the Venus throw! Perhaps you would like to test your spatial reasoning with some Saturnalian tangrams. Or, test your visual acuity with a game of "I Spy!" Would a game of Concentration hold your attention?

Here are a few additional activities and attractions that you might enjoy.

Saturnalia Cards
Saturnalia Poems
Senile Games
Princeps Pranks
Advent Calendars
Saturnalia Gifts

Did you ever wonder how December came to be named the "tenth" month when it's the last of twelve? Visit The Year in Double-Dactyls to find the answer to that one and to read other verses about facts related to the holiday season: the Saturnalia, the Divalia, the Brumalia, Apophoreta, and Santa Claus, among others.

Here are a few more sites about fun and games in ancient Rome. Time has taken its toll on most of the items that were once found on-line. These are the only ones that are extant in 2017.

  • An article by Wladyslaw Jan Kowalski on Roman board games provides descriptions and rules for a dozen or more.
  • An article by the same author on Roman ball games provides information about half a dozen of them.
  • The description of a Roman pilleus, otherwise known as a Phrygian cap, is accompanied by a pattern for making one.


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