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date: 06 December 2022

festivals, Romanfree

festivals, Romanfree

  • Herbert William Parke
  •  and Simon Price


  • Roman Myth and Religion

Roman festivals (Lat. feriae). The basic notion included not only the honouring of the gods, but also restrictions on public life: the courts were closed, some agricultural work was restricted, and in some cases holidays given to other workers. Festivals were of various kinds: some fixed by the regular calendar of the fasti (stativae) (see calendar, roman); movable festivals (conceptivae), such as the feriae sementivae dedicated to Tellus and Ceres, were held annually on days appointed by priests or magistrates; special festivals (imperativae) were ordered, again by magistrates or priests, because of a specific event, a prodigy, a disaster, or a victory. A major element in many public festivals was the accompanying games (see ludi). Besides public festivals, the period assigned to private ceremonial might be classed as feriae—e.g. birthdays or the ten days of mourning (denicales).


  • G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus d. Römer, 2nd edn. (1912), 432–449.
  • G. Dumézil, Archaic Roman Religion 559–65.
  • G. Dumézil, Fêtes romaines d'été et d'automne (1975).
  • T. Klauser, Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum 7 (1969), 747–66.
  • H. H. Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (1981).
  • J. Rüpke, Kalendar und Öffentlichkeit (1995), 487–522.