Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Fugalia, or Regifugium

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
This was a Roman festival for men, not gods, symbolizing the end of the old year, as the old Roman New Year began on March 1 (equating to the modern Mardi Gras or Carnival). The Latin name 'Regifugium' means 'running for office'. On this day, kings of ancient Rome literally ran for office, fleeing on foot from the Forum.

The custom came down from an ancient annual rite in which the monarch was pursued by an eager band of would-be sovereigns. If he was overtaken by any of them, the king faced certain dethronement, and possible execution. Sounds a little like Sydney's annual City to Surf race, only harsher ...

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