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p744 Matronaliaa

Unsigned article on p744 of

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

MATRONALIA, also called MATRONALES FERIAE, a festival celebrated by the Roman matrons on the 1st of March in honour of Juno Lucina. From the many reasons which Ovid gives why the festival was kept on this day, it is evident that there was no certain tradition on the subject; but the prevailing opinion seems to have been that it was instituted in memory of the peace between the Romans and the Sabines, which was brought about by means of the Sabine women. At this festival wives used to receive presents from their husbands, and at a later time girls from their lovers; mistresses also were accustomed to feast their female slaves. Hence we find the festival called by Martial the Saturnalia of women (Ov. Fast. III.229, &c.; Plaut. Mil. III.1.97; Tibull. III.1; Hor. Carm. III.8; Mart. V.84.11; Suet. Vesp. 19; Tertull. Idol. 14; cf. Hartung, Die Religion der Römer, vol. II p65).


Thayer's Note:

a The Matronalia (see also Plut. Rom. 21) should not be confused with the Matralia.


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