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On this page: Feralia – Ferculum – Ferentarii – Feretrum – Feriae



liion that it was first adopted at Rome in the time of Sulla ; "but whether it became the legal rate by fiuy special enactment, or from general consent, does not appear. Some writers have inferred (Heinecc. iii. 15) that it was first legalised by the edicts of the city praetors, an inference drawn from the general resemblance between -the praetorian and proconsular edicts, coupled with the fact that some proconsular edicts are extant, by which the cente­sima is fixed as the legal rate in proconsular pro­vinces. (In edicto tralaticio centesimas me obser-vaturum liabui, Cic. ad Att. v. 21.) Whether this supposition is true or not, it is admitted that the centesima or 12 per cent, was the legal rate towards the close of the republic, and also under the em­perors. Justinian reduced it to G per cent. (Heinec. iii. 16.)

In cases of fenus nauticum, however, or bottomry, as the risk was the money-lender's, he might de­mand any interest he liked while the vessel on which the money was lent was at sea; but after she reached harbour, and while she was there, no more than the usual rate of 12 per cent, on the centesima could be demanded.

Justinian made it the legal rate for fenus nauti-ctlm under all circumstances. (Heinec. 1. c.) [R.W.J

FERALIA. [funus.]

FERCULUM (from /er-o), is applied to any kind of tray or platform used for carrying anything. Thus it is used to signify the tray or frame on which several dishes were brought in at once at dinner (Petron. 35 ; Plin. If. N. xxviii. 2) ; and hence fercula came to mean the number of courses at dinner, and even the dishes themselves. (Suet. Aug. 74 ; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. i. 637;'Juv. i. 93, xi. 64 ; Hor. Sat. ii. 6. 104 ; Mart. iii. 50, ix. 82, xi. 31.)

The ferculum was also used for carrying the images of the gods in the procession of the circus (Suet. Jul, 76) [Cmcus, p. 287, a], the ashes of the dead in a funeral (Suet. Gal. 15), and the spoils in a triumph (Suet. Jul. 37 ; Liv. i. 10) ; in all which cases it appears to have been carried on the shoulders or in the hands of men. The most illus­trious captives were sometimes placed on a fer­culum in a triumph, in order that they might be better seen. (Senec. Here. Oet. 109.)

FERENTARII. [exercitus, p. 502, b.]

FERETRUM. [funus.]

FERIAE, holidays, were, generally speaking, days, or seasons during which free-born. Romans suspended their political transactions and their law-suits, and during which slaves enjoyed a cessa­tion from labour. (Cic. de Leg. ii. 8. 12, de Div. i. 45.) All feriae were thus dies nefasti. The feriae included all days consecrated to any deity ; consequently all days on which public festivals were celebrated were feriae or dies feriati. But some of them, such as the feria vindemialis, and the feriae aestivae, seem to have had no direct con­nection with the worship of the gods. The nun-dinae, however, during the time of the kings and the early period of the republic, were feriae only for the populus, and days of business for the ple­beians, until,-by the Hortensian law, they became fasti or days of business for both orders. (Macrob. Sat. i. 16; compare Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome., vol. ii. p. 213, &c. ; Walter, GescMchte d. Rom. Reckts, p. 190.)

All feriae were divided into two classes, feriae pubticae and/mac privatae. The latter were only


observed by single families or individuals, in com-Hiemoration of some particular event which had been of importance to them or their ancestors. As family feriae, are mentioned the feriae Claudiae, Aemiliae^ Juliae, Corneliae, &c., and we must sup­pose that all the great Roman families had their particular feriae, as they had their private sacra. Among the family-holidays we may also mention the feriae denicales, i. e. the day on which a family, after having lost one of its members by death, underwent a purification. (Fest. s. v. ; Cic. de Leg. ii. 22 ; Columell. ii. 22.) Individuals kept feriae on their birthdays, and other occasions which marked any memorable event of their lives. During the time of the empire the birthday of an emperor sometimes assumed the character of a public holiday, and was celebrated by the whole nation with games and sacrifices. Thus the birthday of Augustus, called Augustalia, was celebrated with great splen­dour even in the time of Dion Cassius (liv. 34, Ivi. 46). The day on which Augustus had re­turned from his wars was likewise for a long time made a holiday of. (Tacit. Annal. i. 15, with the note of Lipsius ; Dion Cass. liv. 10.) The dies natalicii of the cities of Rome and Constantinople were at a still later period likewise reckoned among the feriae. (Cod. 3. tit. 12. s. 6.)

All feriae puhlicae, i. e. those which were ob­served by the whole nation, were divided into feriae stativae, feriae conceptivae., and. feriae impera-tivae. Feriae stativae or statae were those which were held regularly, and on certain days marked in the calendar. (Fest. s. v. ; Macrob. 1. c.) To these belonged some of the great festivals, such as the Agonalia, Carmentalia, Lupercalia, &c. Feriae conceptivae orconceptae were held every year, but not on certain or fixed days, the time being every year appointed by the magistrates or priests (quot-annis a magistratibus vel sctcerdotibus concipiuntur, Macrob. /. e. ; Varro, de Ling. Lat. vi. 25, &c.; Fest. s. v.\ Among these we may mention the feriae Latinae, feriae Sementivae, Paganalia. and Compitalia. feriae imperativae are those which were held on certain emergencies at the command of the consuls, praetors, or of a dictator. The books of Livy record many feriae imperativae, which were chiefly held in order to avert the dangers which some extraordinary prodigy seemed to fore­bode, but also after great victories. (Liv. i. 31, iii. 5, vii. 28, xxxv. 40, xlii. 3 ; Polyb. xxi. 1.) They frequently lasted for several days, the number of which depended upon the importance of the event which was the cause of their celebration. But whenever a rain of stones was believed to have happened, the anger of the gods was appeased by a sacrum noremdiale* or feriae per novum dies. This number of days had been fixed at the time when this prodigy had first been observed. (Liv. i. 31.) Respecting the legitimate forms in which the feriae conceptivae and imperativae were an­nounced and appointed, see Brisson. de form. p. 107, &c.

The manner in which all public feriae were kept bears great analogy to our Sunday. The people generally visited the temples of the gods, and offered up their prayers and sacrifices. The most serious and solemn seem to have been the feriae imperativae, but all the others were generally at­tended by rejoicings and feasting. All kinds of business, especially law-suits, were suspended dur­ing the public feriae, as they were considered to

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