The Parentalia and Feralia: Appeasing the Ancestors

Tombs in Pompeii

The Romans held their dead in great respect. They were di manes, the ‘good’ dead, and honoured ancestors never to be forgotten. It was customary for living relatives to visit deceased family member’s graves on their birthday, to celebrate and remember. But twice a year, Roman society publicly honoured the dead. Romans celebrated the Lemuria […]

The Agonalia Ianuarias: Appeasing Janus

963px-RomaArcoGianoCostantino1

With one head looking backwards and the other to the front, dual-headed Janus guarded thresholds, beginnings and endings and acted as an intermediary between gods and mortals. These attributes made Janus the perfect god of the Roman new year. The first day of January was sacred to him. But so was the 9th of the […]