Friday, February 10, 2006

Ante Diem IV Idus Februarias

Modern Date : February 10th

Ante Diem IV Idus Februarias
Fourth Day to the Ides of February

This is one of the dies nefasti a day on which no legal action or public voting could take place. The dies nefasti of February were days of religious ceremony honoring the dead and heralding the rebirth of the Spring and its associated fertility.

This was said to be the day, in 1468 BC, when Pharaoh Tuthmoses III of the 18th Dynasty set forth to Armageddon (Megiddo) to do battle with an alliance of over three hundred princes. With an estimated force of perhaps 30,000 men, this would have been the largest army ever assembled. The Egyptians probably had half that number. This was the largest battle that had ever been fought and so impressed were the Hebrews by the event that it became a metaphor in the Book of Revelation for the Apocalypse, or the final battle. After seizing power from Hatsheput ten days earlier, who was killed, the warlike Tuthmoses III assembled this army to put down the alliance of rebels and enemies, and in so doing took Egypt from a nation to an empire.

February is a month sacred to the gods Mars (as Quirinus, or Romulus) and Juno, the wife of Jupiter. It is also a month in which particular reverence was shown to the spirits of deceased ancestors. This was a month devoted to fertility, both of men and women, and of the land.

Nigerian New Year
The New Year in Argunga, Nigeria is celebrated with a festival to start the fishing season. The Kebbawa tribe travel to the Sokoto River carrying large dippers and nets. Everyone jumps into the river at once in the hope that the large splash will scare fish into their nets. The largest fish receives a prize, but the overall size of the catch is also an indication of the will of the gods in the coming season.