World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Parentalia

 

Parentalia

In ancient Rome, the Parentalia (Latin pronunciation: ) or dies parentales (Latin pronunciation: , "ancestral days") was a nine-day festival held in honor of family ancestors, beginning February 13.[1]

Although the Parentalia was a holiday on the Roman religious calendar, its observances were mainly domestic and familial.[2] The importance of the family to the Roman state, however, was expressed by public ceremonies on the opening day, the Ides of February, when a Vestal conducted a rite for the collective di parentes of Rome at the tomb of Tarpeia.[3]

Ovid describes sacred offerings (sacrificia) of flower-garlands, wheat, salt, wine-soaked bread and violets to the "shades of the dead" (Manes or Di manes) at family tombs, which were located outside Rome's sacred boundary (pomerium). These observances were meant to strengthen the mutual obligations and protective ties between the living and the dead, and were a lawful duty of the paterfamilias (head of the family).[4] Parentalia concluded February 21 in the midnight rites of Feralia, when the paterfamilias addressed the malevolent, destructive aspects of his Manes.

Feralia was a placation and exorcism: Ovid thought it a more rustic, primitive and ancient affair than the Parentalia itself. It appears to have functioned as a cleansing ritual for Caristia on the following day, when the family held an informal banquet to celebrate the amity between themselves and their benevolent ancestral dead (Lares).[5] The emphasis on collective cult for the Manes and early di parentes implies their afterlife as vague and lacking individuation. In later cult they are vested with personal qualities, and in Imperial cult, they acquire divine numen and become divi, divine entities.[6]

From Parentalia to Caristia all temples were closed, marriages were forbidden, and "magistrates appeared without their insignia," an indication that no official business was conducted. William Warde Fowler describes the Parentalia as "practically a yearly renewal of the rite of burial".[7]

Individuals might also commemorated on their birthday (dies natalis). Some would be commemorated throughout the year on marked days of the month, such as the Kalends, Nones or Ides, when lamps might be lit at the tomb.[8] The Lemuria on May 9, 11, and 13 was aimed at appeasing "kinless and hungry" spirits of the dead.[9]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 50; Stefan Weinstock, Divus Julius (Oxford, 1971), pp. 291-6.
  2. ^ Beard et al., Religions of Rome, p. 50.
  3. ^ William Warde Fowler, The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic (London, 1908), p. 306 (1899 Internet Archive edition available.
  4. ^ Ovid, Fasti, 2.537-539. Ibid 2.534 for manes; W. Warde Fowler, The Roman festivals of the period of the Republic, p. 306, cites Festus' di manes as a placatory euphemism: some Manes were to be feared.
  5. ^ Ovid, Fasti, 2.677. Fowler, Roman Festivals, p. 309, has ritualistically clothed statues of the Lares at this "sacred meal."
  6. ^ Duncan Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West: Studies in the Ruler Cult of the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol 1, 1991, 1, 51.
  7. ^ Fowler, Roman Festivals, p. 308.
  8. ^ J.M.C. Toynbee, Death and Burial in the Roman World (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971, 1996), pp.61–64.
  9. ^ Toynbee, "Death and Burial in the Roman World, p. 64.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.