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Ludi Apollinares

(6-13 July)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Ludi Apollinares
Author: Ulpiano Checa

Ludi Apollinares (“Apollo Games”) were Roman games (ludi) celebrated on July 6-13. The festival was first held in 212 BCE to celebrate Apollo – a deity of healing (especially during wars) – and lasted one day (July 13). The decision to worship Apollo was made after visions – Carmina Marciana – one of the clairvoyants (vates), a certain Marius who predicted defeat at Cannae. The Romans also consulted the Sibylline Books and confirmed the prophecy.

Over time, the holiday was extended until it reached 8 days: for two days there were theatre performances (including, among others, praetextae – a kind of Roman drama) for the next two days games in the circus, and on other days they had the place of the fair. Apollo was sacrificed during the festival, and the Romans wore wreaths.

According to Titus Livius, the games began to take place permanently thanks to a certain Gaius Calpurnius Piso (praetor from 211 BCE), who assigned them the day (dies status). There are also suggestions that he legally legitimized ludi Lucius Varus – a curule aedile from 208 BCE.


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