III. 12. A<d> naturak discrimm1 civilia vocabula die<ru>m2 accesserunt. Dicam prius qui deorum causa, tum qui hominum sunt instituti. Dies Agonales per quos rex in Regia arietem immolat, dicti ab “agon,” eo quod interrogat <minister sacrificii “agone?”: nisi si a Graeca lingua, ubi ἄγων princeps, ab eo quod immolat>ur3 a principe civitatis et princeps gregis immolatur. Carmentalia nominantur quod sacra tum et feriae Carmentis.
13. Lupercalia dicta, quod in Lupercali Luperci sacra faciunt. Rex cum ferias menstruas Nonis Februariis edicit, hunc diem februatum appellat; februm Sabini purgamentum, et id in sacris nostris verbum non <ignotum: nam pellem capri, cuius de loro caeduntur puellae Lupercalibus, veteres februm vocabant>,1 et Lupercalia Februatio, ut in Antiquitatum libris demonstravi. Quirinalia a Quirino, quod
On the Latin Language, VI
III. 12. To the division made by nature there have been added the civic names for the days. First I shall give those which have been instituted for the sake of the gods, then those instituted for the sake of men. The dies Agonales ‘days of the Agonia,’aon which the high-priest sacrifices a ram in the Regia,b were named from agon for this reason, because the helper at the sacrifice asks “agone?” ‘Shall I do my work?’c: unless it is from the Greek, where ay ἄγων means princeps ‘leader,’ from the fact that the sacrificing is done by a leader of the state and the leader of the flock is sacrificed. The Carmentaliad are so named because at that time there are sacrifices and a festival of Carmentis.
13. The Lupercaliaa was so named because the Luperci make sacrifice in the Lupercal. When the High-priest announces the monthly festivals on the Nones of February, he calls the day of the Lupercalia februatus: for februm is the name which the Sabines give to a purification, and this word is not unknown in our sacrifices; for a goat hide, with a thong of which the young women are flogged at the Lupercalia, the ancients called a februs, and the Lupercalia was called also Februatio ‘Festival of Purification,’ as I have shown in the Books of the Antiquities. Quirinaliab ‘Festival of Quirinus,’ from Quirinus,c because it is a
- aThere were four Agonia in the year, celebrated on January 9, March 17, May 21, December 11, respectively to Janus, Mars, Vediovis, and an unknown god. The name Agonium came from agere ‘to do one’s work,’ through a noun ago‘performer,’ formed like praeco‘herald.’ Celebrated on March 15 by the priests of Mars called Luperci, beginning with the sacrifice of a buck in the Lupercal, the cave on the Palatine where traditionally the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus; after which the Luperci, naked except for breech-clouts made of the buck’s hide, ran around the Palatine, where the people had massed themselves, striking the women with thongs which also were cut from the hide of the slaughtered animal, a process supposed to ensure the fertility of those struck.
- bThe traditional palace of Numa, at the end of the Forum; used as the residence of the pontifex maximus, and for certain important religious ceremonies.
- cThat is, slay the sacrificial victim; the formulaic answer was, “Hoc age!”
- dCelebrated on January 11 and 15 in honour of Carmentis or Carmenta, an old Italic goddess of childbirth, with prophetic powers; one later legend made her the mother of Evander, whom she accompanied from Arcadia to Rome.