Today I have mostly been researching Roman Feast Days that might have given Caligula an excuse to organise a party or three, and watching MTV Classic – easily the best of all the MTV channels, it turns out. 90s hour is particularly fun.
Some of the festivals include:
January 15th – Festival of the Ass
This was not a tribute to bootylicious Roman ladies, but a commemoration of the time the goddess Vesta was saved by a donkey. Oh come on, you remember that story! She was the daughter of Saturn the fertility god? Known for her chastity? In lieu of rohypnol a shady character by the name of Priapus decided to try and do the nasties with her whilst she was asleep? But a donkey brayed and woke her up so she escaped? Surely everyone knows this….
February 15th – Lupercalia
Celebration of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus & Remus. A load of priests got together in a cave, sacrificed a goat, and anointed the Lupercii – young blokes – with the blood. Then some other priests wiped the blood away, using milk, like the wolf would have done I suppose. The boys then skinned the goat and ripped the hide into strips which they tied around their waists. Oh, did I mention they were topless? Well they were. Then they then got pissed and ran around Rome whacking everyone they met with these goatskin thongs. As in the aforementioned strips of hide, not the pants favoured by Sisqo. Young women who got in the way were thought to be blessed, especially in terms of fertility and procreation. Go them.
June 11th – Matralia
To celebrate the goddess Mater Matuta, her statue was decorated with garlands by single women or women who had been married once. They also cooked her cakes in clay pots. Those are the best kind of cakes, don’t you think? One female slave was allowed into temple on this day, and as part of the festivities she’d be ritually slapped on the head and then chased out of the building. BANTER.
Compared to his peers, you have to wonder whether Caligula was actually as eccentric as they say…