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p387 Decennalia

Unsigned article on p387 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

DECENNA′LIA or DECEN′NIA, a festival celebrated with games every ten years by the Roman emperors. This festival owed its origin to the fact that Augustus refused the supreme power when offered to him for his life, and would only consent to accept it for ten years, and when these expired, for another period of ten years, and so on to the end of his life. The memory of this comedy, as Gibbon has happily called it, was preserved to the last ages of the empire by the festival of the Decennalia, which was solemnised by subsequent emperors every tenth year of their reign, although they had received the imperium for life, and not for the limited period of ten years (Dion Cass. LIII.16, LIV.12, LVIII.24, LXXVI.1; Trebell. Poll. Salonin. 3, Gallien. 7).


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