Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ante Diem V Idus August

Modern Date : August 9th

Ante Diem V Idus August
The Festival of the Sun

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

This day is sacred to Sol Indiges, the solar deity. A public sacrifice was made by the priests on the Quirinal. The animals sacrificed by the temples were provided by the wealthy, or by temple donations, and afterwards they were used to provide free meals to the people attending the ceremonies, or to any poor or homeless people in the streets.

On this day in 48 BCE, Julius Caesar defeated Pompey's troops at Pharsalus, causing Pompey to flee to Egypt.

This was the day in 378 AD that the combined forces of the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths inflicted a crushing defeat on the Romans at Hadrianople, and killed the emperor Valens. The empire never recovered militarily and severe decline set in after this. The event had been entirely unnecessary -- the Visigoths had agreed to an alliance in exchange for land, after being forced out by the Huns, but corrupt Roman officials had so exploited and abused them that they became outraged.

On this day in 117 AD, Hadrian was adopted by the emperor Trajan.

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.

Ghanta Karna
The Ghanta Karna in late July or early August is a Nepalese festival celebrating the defeat of a demon guilty of such endless acts of slaughter and depravity that its mouth was filled with blood. In answer to the prayers of the suffering people, one Hindu god turned itself into a taunting frog who teased the demon into chasing it down a well. Villages stoned the trapped monster to death and burned the remains. Children wait at crossroads to collect money from passerby in order to raise funds to create effigies of the demon to be paraded through the town before being burned. A man of the untouchable caste takes on the persona of the demon and demands alms. Refusal to pay brings disease and bad luck. After the celebration, people go home quickly to avoid meeting the vengeful spirit of the dead demon.

Frost Nights begin
According to the Norwegians, this is the start of a series of frost nights, with August 12th, usually the worst.