Venus de Milo

The month of April was thought to be particularly sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. The Veneralia (April 1) was the festival of Venus Verticordia, the goddess who changes the human heart. The worship of the goddess Fortuna Virilis was also part of this festival. (In general, the wealthier classes honored Venus and the less so honored Fortuna Virilis, but this was by no means a hard and fast rule.)

In Rome, women bathed in the public baths wearing wreaths of myrtle on their heads. They poured a libation and drank the potion that Venus drank on her wedding night: pounded poppy with milk and honey. The jewelry was removed from the statue of Fortuna Virilis and ritually washed, and then flowers and incense were offered to her. It was generally a day for women to seek divine help in their relations with men.

For more information about the Veneralia, refer to these sources.

  • A translation of Ovid's Fasti (Book IV, April 1: Kalends) begins on line 133 and provides a few more details about the celebration of the festival.
  • An entry in Wikipedia describes the origin of the Veneralia and explains the worship of the goddess Fortuna Virilis, which was also part of this festival.

  • Some of the preceding information comes from Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic, written by H. H. Scullard and published in 1981 by Cornell University Press (Ithaca, New York).

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