Roman Calendar
by: M. Moravius Horatius Piscinus


There is a heavenly power and You do exist, O great Jupiter; not in vain did we consecrate this seat to You, Father of Gods and Mankind (Livy 8.6.5).


1 KALENDS F: Ludi in Circo Isia inventio Osiris: the Passion of Isis in searching for the dismembered parts of Osiris. Vetches, kidney beans and arugula should be sown after the setting of Lyre. It is generally recommended that this should be done under a New Moon (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.74).

2 IV Non Nov F: Dies Ater Isia inventio Osiris. Rather than seek apparent prosperity that fortune may bring, seek to govern the mind well (Livy 42.62.11). Birth of Plato, 428 BCE.

3 III Non Nov C: Hilaria Isiac harvest festival. O Isis, who dwells in Paraetonium and the genial fields of Canopus, in Memphis and palm-rich Pharos, and where the broad Nile swiftly disgorges into the salty sea through seven mouths, may Osiris always love your pious rites, may the serpent ever glide slowly nearby to bless Your altar gifts, and the horned Apis ever walk beside You in procession. (Ovid Amores II 13.7-14). Clodius attacks the houses of Marcus Cicero and his brother Quintus on the Palatine, 56 BCE.

4 Pridie Nonas C: Ludi Plebii, celebrated with chariot races in honor of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, first established in 220 BCE. Martyrdom of the Pagans: Theodosius orders all pagans put to death, 451 CE.

5 Nones F: NONAE O Iuppiter, who do cherish and nurture the human race, through whom we live and draw the breath of being, in whom rest the hopes and lives of all humankind, I beg you to grant that this day may prosper that which I have in hand (Plautus Poenulus 1187-89).

6 VIII Idus Nov F: Dies Ater. Ludi Plebii People of the countryside are of the opinion that arugula should not be sown after the departure of the stork (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.74).

7 VII Idus Nov C: Ludi Plebii Priapus, a large cup of milk and this libum bread is all you can expect each year, guardian of a pauper’s garden (Virgil Eclogues 7.33-34).

8 VI Idus Nov C: Mania: Mundus Patet, the opening of Ceresmundus. Cicero’s condemnation of Cataline before the Senate, 63 BCE. Birth of Nerva, 30 CE. Theodosius bans sacrifices and lararium rites, 392 CE.

9 V Idus Nov C: Ludi Plebii Apotheosis of Dea Helena (wife of Julian the Blessed).

10 IV Idus Nov C: Ludi Plebii Diana Guardian of hills and forest groves, Virgin, whom young mothers thrice invoke at childbirth, listen and deliver them from death (Horace Carmina 3.22.1-3).

11 III Idus Nov C: Ludi Plebii Clodius attacks Cicero on Via Sacra, who takes refuge in the house of Tettius Damio, 56 BCE. Ascension of Licinius, 308 CE. If this night the Vergiliae (Pleiades) set with cloudy weather, it forebodes a rainy winter (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.60).

12 Pridie Idus Nov C: Ludi Plebii Opportunities lost can never be regained (Cato in Pliny N. H. 18.8). Clodius attacks house of Milo, 56 BCE.

13 IDIBUS NP: Ludi Plebii Jupiter. Fortuna Primigenia. Feronia in Campus Martius. Pietas in Forum Holitotius, 181 BCE.

14 XVIII Kal Dec F: Dies Ater. Ludi Plebii: Equorum Probatio, the parade of Equestrians.

15 XVII Kal Dec C: Ludi Plebii As soon as the vintage is got in, gather olives at once …after the setting of the Vergilae[Pleiades on 11 Nov.] (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.74).

16 XVI Kal Dec C: Ludi Plebii Supplicatio to Vesta. Birth of Tiberius Caesar, 42 BCE.

17 XV Kal Dec C: Ludi Plebii Birth of Vespasian, 9 CE. Whatever can be done with the help of an ass, will cost the least money (Cato in Pliny N. H. 18.8).

18 XIV Kal Dec C: Festival of Ceres: In kind service have Earth and Ceres nurtured wheat, She who gave grain life, She who gave us room to grow (Ovid Fasti 1.673-74).

19 XIII Kal Dec C: Ops O eternal Creatrix of Gods and men, who brings into being rivers and forests and the seeds of life throughout the world… (Statius Thebaid 8.303-4).

20 XII Kal Dec C: He is a poor farmer who has to buy what his farm may supply him with (Pliny N. H. 18.8). Birth of Maximinus Daia, 270 CE. Ascension of Diocletian, 284 CE.

21 XI Kal Dec C: If the leaves [of elms for fodder] are gathered while the moon is on the wane, they will not decay; they ought not to be dry, however, when gathered (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.74).

22 X Kal Dec C: O Moon, you who know what grief is, pity one who grieves (Valerius Cato Lydia 42)

23 IX Kal Dec C: Juno Temper. Persecution of the Pagans: nocturnal rites banned, beginning with the sacrifices to Diana held on this night, 353 BCE.

24 VIII Kal Dec C: Egyptian Festival of Lights. You, most cruel of the (three) Brothers, to whom the Manes are given to serve, …open the way into the empty void of stern Proserpina (Statius Thebaid 4.474-6).

25 VII Kal Dec C: Proserpina O Proserpina, may Your clemency remain merciful on the souls You keep, and may You Dis Pater, Proserpina’s consort, not desire to be stern (Propertius 2.28c.1-2).

26 VI Kal Dec C: Vestis institor est: (Winter) peddles clothing (Pliny Nat. Hist. 18.60).

27 V Kal Dec C: O Cretheian Virgin, borne on graceful and gentle waves, unfold the way, Goddess, and show us what course to follow (Valerius Flaccus Argonautica 2.611-12).

28 IV Kal Dec C: Neptune, divine Lord of the Trident, on whose high seas we begin to cross, if my preparations are made justly, grant our fleet to sail safely (Silius Italicus Punica 15.159-60).

29 III Kal Dec C: Fili Saturni (Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto) Jupiter, who gives and takes away, grant me life; may You grant me the means, and I shall provide a balanced mind myself (Horace Epist. 1.18.11-12).

30 II Kal Dec C: Adonis Always act in such a way as to secure the love of your neighbors (Pliny N. H. 18.8).

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