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(23 July)

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Neptune on the Roman mosaic
Neptune on the Roman mosaic

Neptunalia, according to some ancient sources, the ancient Romans celebrated1 on July 23 because of the then-hot summer. It was a two-day celebration in honor of Neptune, god of the seas. For unspecified reasons not much has been preserved about them, but there is talk of some games and building huts/tents under which the people celebrated. The reason for such little mention is probably that both Neptune and the seas played a relatively small role in the life of the Romans.

Neptunalia belonged to the so-called dies comitiales, at a time when citizens could vote on civil and military matters. This holiday was called Nept. ludi et feriae, or Nept. ludi, which implies that the games were related to their celebration (ludi). Apparently, people celebrating Neptune built houses of branches and leaves (according to Festus, called umbrae), in which people drank, eaten and entertained themselves.

  1. Varro, De lingua Latina VI.19
  • Jaczynowska Maria, Religie świata rzymskiego, Warszawa 1987
  • Smith William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
  • Zieliński Tadeusz, Religia Rzeczypospolitej Rzymskiej

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