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Entering the world of adult Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman boy with a bull
Roman boy with a bull

The ritual of maturing a young Roman consisted of shaving a beard and removing his bulla, an amulet worn to protect him from evil spirits. The young man dedicated a bull to the house deities, Lares.

Then he founded a toga, the so-called toga virilis (“toga masculinity”), was registered as a citizen for census and began his military service. The whole ceremony took place during the Liberaliensis (17th of March), a festival in honor of the god Liber Pater, which embodied political and sexual freedom. Sometimes, however, the date was chosen individually.

The ancient Roman women, in turn, compared to the Greeks, did not have such rich rituals of transition into the adult world. The mature Roman woman sacrificed her doll to Artemis, the goddess of girlhood, or Aphrodite, when she was marring. During the rite of transition to the adult world, the girl worn recta tunica (“vertical tunic”), which she usually spooled herself.

Romans were obliged by Roman tradition to remain virgins until marriage. Men, on the other hand, were very often deliberately taken to the lupanary, so that they could lose their virtue with a trained concubine there.

  • Winniczuk Lidia, Ludzie, zwyczaje i obyczaje starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, PWN, Warszawa 1983

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