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(16-17 March and 14-15 May)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Argei were archaic celebrations in ancient Rome that took place on March 16-17 and May 14-15. Already during the reign of Octavian Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE), the rituals associated with this event were mysterious and incomprehensible.

In May, a procession of pontifics, vestals and praetors followed a route consisting of 27 stops (sacella or sacraria), where on each of them those taking part in the procession received mannequins (effigies or simulacra) made of cane and straw. After visiting each station, the procession went to Pons Sublicius – the oldest bridge in Rome – from where all the puppets were thrown into the Tiber.

The celebrations of argea continued until the late Roman Empire, despite the fact that the context of the holiday was not well known. This proves how the Romans were attached to tradition and connected with religion.

According to the Ovid, this ritual was a form of sacrifice in honor of Saturn or the god of the Tiber River – Tiberinus.

  • Gradel Ittai, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion, 2002
  • Jaczynowska Maria, Religie świata rzymskiego, Warszawa 1987
  • Smith William, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London 1875
  • Zieliński Tadeusz, Religia Rzeczypospolitej Rzymskiej

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