Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ante Diem III Nonas August

Modern Date : August 3rd

Ante Diem III Nonas August
Third Day to the Nones of August

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

On this day in 178 AD, the emperor Marcus Aurelius left Rome to fight the barbarians on the Danube. He would never return.

On this day in 178 AD Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus set out for war against the Germans.

An eclipse occurred this day in 431 BCE. Cicero writes, "For when the sun was suddenly obscured and darkness reigned, and the Athenians were overwhelmed with the greatest terror. Pericles, who was then supreme among his countrymen in influence, eloquence, and wisdom, is said to have communicated to his fellow-citizens the information he had received from Anaxagoras, whose pupil he had been -- that this phenomenon occurs at fixed periods and by inevitable law, whenever the moon passes entirely beneath the orb of the sun.

August was originally called Sextilis, or the sixth month (after March). It was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar, the most revered of the Roman emperors.

Festival of Artemis
In Greece, this day was the Festival of Artemis, the goddess the Romans called Diana. Diana was the goddess of the moon and was often called Diana Lucifera, Diana the Bringer of Light. The Greeks knew her as Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, and daughter of Zeus and Leto. She was born under Mount Cynthus in Delos and hence was also called Cynthia and Delia. She was the goddess of hunting, carried a bow and quiver like her brother, and was especially fond of music and dance. Diana was never conquered by love, and submitted to no man, hence she was the goddess of a "chaste" moon and, except for her family, tolerated only female companions. Her priestesses were all chaste.

Greeks look at the weather on the third day of August to predict the weather for the next three months. If it's nice, it will be nice for the next three months.

Aomori Nebuta
The harvest season in Japan begins today with a ritual called Aomori Nebuta. Huge wire and bamboo effigies painted with intense facial expressions are paraded through the streets to drive away sleep. Farmers need to be wide-awake to labor hard at the harvest.