The Latin Festival
Some Roman festivals were movable, and set by criteria not known to us. The one about which we have the most information is the very ancient Latin festival (feriae Latinae), which in the third and early second centuries BC was usually celebrated shortly after the appointment of the consuls. At that time a consul could not depart to his province until the Latin Festival was celebrated. Occasionally, a second celebration would be ordered if some fault had been found with the first, typically several months later.
Livy gives several dates for Latin Festivals in the third and early second centuries BC. The Fasti Feriarum Latinarum (FFL), a set of inscriptions on Mons Albanus, originally gave a complete set of dates for this festival. Unfortunately the FFL are highly fragmentary with very few dates that are completely recoverable.
P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain, 84ff., investigated the dates for Imperial-age festivals given by the FFL. These showed no correlation with lunar dates, and in one case that the festival was celebrated exactly one Julian year from its previous occurrence (25 June AD 70 and 71). This shows that, at least in Imperial times, the Latin festival was not governed by any of the cycles known to us.
However, by this time there is also a good chance that the Latin festival was no longer following original practice. It may be than an investigation of known Republican dates could show a correlation with some aspect of the Republican calendar that has not as yet been detected. For anyone who wants to look at this issue, the following is the list of dates I have been able to compile. If you come up with any ideas, please email me:
Date of Latin Festival Source
ad IV Id Ian AUC 305 FFL (1)
ad III Non Feb AUC 305 FFL (1)
Kal Mai AUC 305 FFL (1)
Pr Kal Nov AUC 358 FFL
ad V Kal Mai AUC 542 Livy 25.12
ad III Non Mart AUC 577/8 Livy 41.16 (2)
ad III Id Sex AUC 578 Livy 41.16
Kal Iun AUC 583 Livy 42.35
Pr Id Apr AUC 586 Livy 44.19 (3)
Pr Kal Apr AUC 586 Livy 44.22 (3)
ad IV-Pr Id Nov AUC 586 Livy 45.3 (4)
ad IV Kal Iun AUC 793 FFL
ad VII Kal Iul AUC 794 FFL
ad VII Kal Iul AUC 823 FFL
ad VII Kal Iul AUC 824 FFL
ad III Id Aug AUC 851 FFL
ad IV Kal Iul AUC 852 FFL
Pr Id Iul AUC 859 FFL
Pr Id Aug AUC 860 FFL
ad X Kal Iul AUC 861 FFL
Notes on the dates:
(1) The sacrifice could be celebrated repeatedly if there was a flaw in an early celebration.
(2) Since the festival was normally one of the first consular responsibilities under the Republic, this date is almost certainly an error, probably for ad III Non Mai AUC 578.
(3) These two dates refer to the same sacrifice so at least one is clearly in error
(4) The festival was usually multiple days. When a single date is given, it is not clear where this stands in the overall festival, but is presumably the first day. This particular festival was a second celebration.
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