“The Lost XVII”: a missing Roman legion was recreated in sculpture along a Scottish cycling route

Founded by the roman emperor Augustus around the year 41 B.C., Legion XVII (Seventeenth Legion) of the Imperial Roman Army disappeared in the year 9 A.D. after being sent to deal with troubling tribes in Germanica. But, what happened to them has always been a bit of a mystery. According to an urban legend, they went onto Scotland after Germanica and disappeared around the area of Dunbartonshire. This myth has now become cemented in history thanks to popular fiction such as “The Eagle of the Ninth” and films like “Centurion…

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22nd February: the Roman Festival of Caristia.

The Caristia, also called Cara Cognatio, was one of several days in February that Ancient Romans honored family or ancestors. It followed the Parentalia, nine days of remembrance which began on February 13 and concluded with the Feralia on February 21. If for the Parentalia families visited the tombs of their ancestors and shared cake and wine both in the form of offerings and as a meal among themselves, the Feralia was a more somber occasion, a public festival of sacrifices and offerings to the Manes, the spirits of the…

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Februalia: a time of purification

The ancient Romans had a festival for nearly everything and, if you were a god, you got your own holiday. February was dedicated to Februus, for whom the month is named, and it was the time in which Rome was purified by making offerings and sacrifices to the gods of the dead. The Februalia (January 30–February 2) was a month-long period of sacrifice and atonement, involving offerings to the gods, prayer, and sacrifices. In short, If you were a wealthy Roman who didn’t have to go out and work, you…

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January 11: Iuturnalia in honor of Juturna, goddess of the springs

The 11th January is the day in honor of Juturna, born as a nymph of the sources and later became a true goddess of the springs, ponds and streams. On this day the Vestals drew water from her sacred spring which they would then use in lustration rituals. In honor of the nymph, wreaths of flowers were thrown into the springs and fountains, whose waters were considered sacred. According to Plutarch and Gellius, her name derived from the verb “iuvare” (to benefit), because pure waters are beneficial for human beings.…

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January 9 | The Agonalia or Festival to Janus

An Agonalia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome several times a year, in honor of various divinities. Its institution, like that of other religious rites and ceremonies, was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the semi-legendary second king of Rome. Ancient calendars indicate that it was celebrated regularly on January 9, May 21, and December 11. Some thought the Romans had a god named not by chance “Agonius”, who might then have been the god of the Colline part of the city. January 9 was the Agonalia or…

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