Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ante Diem XVII Kalendas November

Modern Date : October 16th

Ante Diem XVII Kalendas November
Seventeenth Day to the Kalends of November

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

"Male secum agit aeger, medicum qui heredem facit."
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 626)

It goes badly for the sick man who makes the doctor the beneficiary of his will.

October was the eighth month of the old Roman calendar and was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The name October comes from Octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month).

Festival of Pandrosos
In ancient Greece this day was celebrated as the Festival of Pandrosos. Pandrosus ("the all-dewy one"), also spelled Pandrosos, is a daughter of Cecrops.

According to Apollodorus, Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena but was unsuccessful. His semen fell on the ground, impregnating Gaia, who gave birth to Erichthonius, the future king of Athens. Gaia didn't want the infant, so she gave it to Athena. Athena in turn gave the baby in a small box to three sisters, Herse, Pandrosus, and Aglaulus, warning them to never open it. Aglaulus and Herse opened the box despite these instructions, went insane at the sight, and threw themselves off the Acropolis.

An alternative version of the same story is that, while Athena was away from Athens, bringing a mountain from Pallena to use in the Acropolis, the sisters, minus Pandrosus again, opened the box. A crow witnessed the opening and flew away to tell Athena, who fell into a rage and dropped the mountain (now Mt. Lykabettos). As in the first version, Herse and Aglaulus went insane and threw themselves off a cliff to their deaths. Pandrosus and Hermes later had a son, Ceryx.

Oscar Wilde
Today is the birthday of Oscar Wilde.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin to unconventional parents - his mother Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1820-96), was a poet and journalist. His father was Sir William Wilde, an Irish antiquarian, gifted writer, and specialist in diseases of the eye and ear. Wilde studied at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (1864-71), Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74) and Magdalen College, Oxford (1874-78).

In 1878 Wilde received his B.A. and in the same year he moved to London. His lifestyle and humorous wit soon made him the spokesman for Aestheticism, the late 19th century movement in England that advocated art for art's sake. He worked as art reviewer (1881), lectured in the United States and Canada (1882), and lived in Paris (1883). Between the years 1883 and 1884 he lectured in Britain. From the mid-1880s he was a regular contributor for Pall Mall Gazette and Dramatic View. In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd (died 1898), and to support his family Wilde edited in 1887-89 Woman's World. In 1888 he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales, fairy-stories written for his two sons. Wilde's marriage ended in 1893. He had met an few years earlier Lord Alfred Douglas, an athlete and a poet, who became both the love of the author's life and his downfall.

Wilde made his reputation in the theatre world between the years 1892 and 1895 with a series of highly popular plays. Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) dealt with a blackmailing divorcée driven to self-sacrifice by maternal love. In A Woman of No Importance (1893) an illegitimate son is torn between his father and mother. An Ideal Husband (1895) dealt with blackmail, political corruption and public and private honor. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was about two fashionable young gentlemen and their eventually successful courtship. Before his theatrical success Wilde produced several essays. His two major literary-theoretical works were the dialogues "The Decay of Lying" (1889) and "The Critic as Artist" (1890).

Although married and the father of two children, Wilde's personal life was open to rumors. His years of triumph ended dramatically, when his intimate association with Alfred Douglas led to his trial on charges of homosexuality (then illegal in Britain). He was sentenced to two years hard labor for the crime of sodomy. Wilde was first in Wandsworth prison, London, and then in Reading Gaol. During this time he wrote De Profundis (1905), a dramatic monologue and autobiography, which was addressed to Alfred Douglas.

After his release in 1897 Wilde in Berneval, near Dieppe. He wrote "The Ballad of Reading Gaol", revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel at the age of 46.

The Ides of October

Modern Date : October 15th

Idus October
The Ides of October

This day is for special religious observance.

This day was called the Ides of Hercules, according to Prudentius. This day was also sacred to Jupiter and bridged the festivals of the Meditranalia and the Armilustrium. Sacrifices made today at the temples would lead to feasting in the streets to which the public and the poor were all invited. The celebrations would consist of games, music, dance and much drinking of wine. Horse races were held today in special honor of Jupiter, and in the two-horse chariot race on the Campus Martius the right side horse of the winning chariot was sacrificed to Mars. In a curious ceremony, a mock fight was staged over the head of the horse by the people on the Palatine (on the Subura) and those on the Esquiline (on the Sacra Via), with the winner hanging it on their respective tower.

Virgil, Rome's greatest poet, was born this day in 70 BCE.

Marcus Antoninus was renamed Germanicus, in honor of his triumph, this day in 172 AD.

October was the eighth month of the old Roman calendar and was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The name October comes from Octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month).

Makahiki, the Hawaiian New Year Festival, commemorating the emergence from Po (Chaos) of Papa the Earth Mother and Wakea the Sky Father, whose union produced the Akua, the Gods and Goddesses of Hawaii. In ancient Hawaii, roughly one third of the year was set aside as the “makahiki”. During this four-month season, which began in the month of Ikuwa (roughly late October to early November), warfare was forbidden. It was a time of playing games, celebrating the harvest, paying tribute to the chiefs, and honoring the god Lono. It was a time for storytelling, competitions, feasting, and dancing. Makahiki begins after the constellation of Pleiades appears in the fall.

St. Teresa of Avila
In the Roman Catholic Calendar, feast of the stigmata bearer and mystic St. Teresa of Avila. Her spectacular career of self-denial began when she was only seven, and ran away from her home hoping to be martyred by the Moors, who were no longer in Spain, having been forced either to convert or leave the country in 1492 by the same Ferdinand and Isabella who backed Columbus. In her early thirties, having become a Carmelite nun, she had a vision of the place she would occupy in hell if she did not overcome the weaknesses that held her back from complete and perfect devotion. She is often portrayed, at the moment when her heart was pierced by a shaft of divine love.