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On this page: Ludi Apollinares – Ludi Augustales – Ludi Capitolini – Ludi Circenses Romani – Ludi Compitalicii – Ludi Florales – Ludi Funebres



LUDI APOLLINARES were instituted at' Rome during the second Punic war, four years after the battle of Cannae (b.c. 212), at the command of an oracle contained in the books of the ancient seer Marcius (carmina Marciana, Liv. xxv. 12 ; Macrob. Sat. i. ] 7). It was stated by some of the ancient annalists that these ludi were instituted for the purpose of obtaining from Apollo the protection of human life during the hottest .season of summer ; but Livy and Macrobius adopt the account founded upon the most authentic document, the carmina Marciana themselves, that the Apollinarian games were instituted partly to obtain the aid of Apollo in expelling the Carthaginians from Italy, and partly to preserve,, through the favour of the god, the republic from all dangers. The oracle suggested that the games should be held every year under the superintendence of the praetor urbanus, and that ten men should perform the sacrifices accord­ ing to Greek rites. The senate complying with the advice of the oracle made two senatuscon- sulta ; one that, at the end of the games, the praetor should receive 12,0®0 asses to be expended on the solemnities and sacrifices, and another that the ten men should sacrifice to Apollo, according to Greek rites, a bull with gilt horns and two white goats also with gilt horns, and to Latona a heifer with gilt horns. The games themselves were held in the Circus Maximus, the spectators were adorned with chaplets, and each citizen gave a (Contribution towards defraying the expenses. (Festus, s. v. Apottinares.) The Roman matrons performed sup­ plications, the people took their meals in the pro- patulum with open doors, and the whole day— for the festival lasted only one day— was filled np with ceremonies and various other rites. At this first celebration of the ludi Apollinares no decree was made respecting the annual repetition sug­ gested by the oracle, so that in the first year they were simply ludi votivi or indictivi. The year after (e.g. 211) the senate, on the proposal of the praetor Calpurnius, decreed that they should be re­ peated,, and that in future they should be vowed afresh every year. (Liv. xxvi. 23.) The day on which they were held varied every year according to circumstances. A few years after, however (b. c. 208), when Rome and its vicinity were visited by a plague, the praetor urbanus, P. Licinius Varus, brought a bill before the people to ordain that the Apollinarian games should in future always be vowed and held on a certain day (dies status), viz. on the 6th of July, which day henceforward re­ mained a dies solennis. (Liv. xxvii. 23.) The games thus became votivi et stativi, and continued to be conducted by the praetor urbanus. (Cic. Phil. ii. 13.) But during the empire the day of these solemnities appears again to have been changed, for Julius Capitolinus (Maxim, et Balbin. c. 1) as­ signs them to the 26th of May. [L.S.]

LUDI AUGUSTALES. [augustales.]

LUDI CAPITOLINI were said to have been instituted by the senate, on the proposal of the dictator M. Furius Camillus, in the year b.c. 387, after the departure of the Gauls from Rome, as a token of gratitude towards Jupiter Capitolinus, who had saved the Capitol in the hour of danger. The decree of the senate at the same time intrusted the superintendence and management of the Capi- toline games to a college of priests to be chosen by the dictator from among those who resided on the Capitol and in the citadel (in arce), which can only


mean that they were to be patricians. (Liv. v. 50, 52.) These priests were called Capitolini. (Cic. ad Qiiint. Frat. ii. 5.) One of the amusements at the Capitoline games, a solemnity which was ob­served as late as the time of Plutarch, was that a herald offered the Sardiani for public sale, and that some old man was led about, who, in order to produce laughter, wore a toga praetexta, and a bulla puerilis which hung down from his neck. (Plut. Quae&t. Rom. p. 277 ', Fest. s. v. Sardi ve&ales, &c.) According to some of the ancients this ceremony was intended to ridicule the Veien-tines, who were subdued, after long wars with Rome, and numbers of whom were sold as slaves, while their king, represented by the old man with the bulla (such was said to have been the costume of the Etruscan kings), was led through the city as an object of ridicule.

The Veientines, it is further said, were desig­ nated by the name Sardiani or Sardi, because they were believed to have come from Lydia, the capital of which was Sardes. This specimen of ancient ety­ mology, however, is opposed by another interpretation of the origin of the ceremony given by Sinnius Capito. According to this author, the name Sardiani or Sardi had nothing to do with the Veientines, but referred to the inhabitants of Sardinia. When their island was subdued by the Romans in b. c. 238, no spoils were found, but a great number of Sardinians were brought to Rome and sold as slaves, and these proved to be slaves of the worst kind. (Fest. I. c.; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. lllustr. c. 57.) Hence arose the proverb, Sardi venales ; alms olio nequior (Cie. ad Fam. vii. 24), and hence also the ceremony at the Capitoline games. At what time or at what intervals these ludi were celebrated is not mentioned. During the time of the empire they seem to have fallen into oblivion, but they were restored by Domitian, and were henceforth celebrated every fifth year under the name of agones Capitolini. (See Jos. Scaliger, Auson. Lect. i. 10.) [L. S.]

LUDI CIRCENSES ROMANI or MAGNI,. were celebrated every year during several days, from the fourth to the twelfth of September, in honour of the three great divinities, Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva (Cic. c. Verr. v. 14), or according to others, in honour of Jupiter, Census, and Neptunus Equestris. They were superintended by the ciirule aediles. For further particulars see Cmcus, p. 286, &c. [L.S.]

LUDI COMPITALICII. [compitalia.]

LUDI FLORALES. [floralia.]

LUDI FUNEBRES were games celebrated at the funeral pyre of illustrious persons. Such games are mentioned in the very early legends of the history of Greece and Rome, and they continued with various modifications until the introduction of Christianity. It was at such a ludus funebris that in the year b. c. 264 gladiatorial fights were ex­ hibited at Rome for the first time, which hence­ forward remained the most essential part in all ludi funebres. [gladiatores, p. 574, a.] The duration of these games varied according to cir­ cumstances. They lasted sometimes for three and sometimes for four days, though it may be supposed that in the majority of cases they did not last more than one day. On one occasion 120 gladiators fought in the course of three days, and the whole forum was covered with triclinia and tents, in which the people feasted. (Liv. xxii. 30, xxxL

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