This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Dies natalis – birthday in ancient Rome

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman birthday
Roman birthday

Dies natalis (“birth day”) was in the Roman world the day of birth or the anniversary of the construction or event. Ancient Romans celebrated their birthday every year, in contrast to the Greeks who celebrated their birth on the same day each month of the so-called libation – drinking the most often mixed with water wine.

The custom dies natalis derived from the Roman custom of remembering the deaths of close relatives (anniversarium), taken over by Christians to whom they gave a different meaning and character.

Roman dies natalis was related to the cult of Genius or Juno (women). Usually important politicians paid attention to their birthdays and properly arranged public events to overlap. For example, Pompey the Great has been waiting seven months to return from her campaign in the East and be able to triumph on his birthday. In ancient Rome, the time of birth was also the moment of remembering the deceased.

Dies natalis also referred to the creation of the temple or its thorough renovation. At that time, this day was considered the “birth” of the deity and celebrated accordingly. Rome’s birthday was in turn celebrated on April 21, in the so-called Parilia – festival in honor of Pales – the goddess of shepherds and their herds.

The birthday of the emperors naturally had a public ceremony. Very often the day of emperor’s birth was associated with dies natalis of temple of some deity. And so the day of September 23 was the birth date of Augustus, which also became the birthday of the Temple of Apollo on Field of Mars. Birthdays were called natalicium.

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

Your financial help is needed, in order to maintain and develop the website. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server. I believe that I can count on a wide support that will allow me to devote myself more to my work and passion, to maximize the improvement of the website and to present history of ancient Romans in an interesting form.


News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with news and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Roman bookstore

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.

Check out bookstore

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: