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p1198 Vinalia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p1198 of

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

VINA′LIA. There were two festivals of this name celebrated by the Romans: the Vinalia urbana or priora, and the Vinalia rustica or altera. The vinalia urbana were celebrated on the 23rd of April (IX. Calend. Mai.). This festival answered to the Greek πιθοιγία, as on this occasion the wine casks which had been filled the preceding autumn were opened for the first time, and the wine tasted (Plin. H. N. XVIII.69 s3). But before men actually tasted the new wine, a libation was offered to Jupiter (Festus, s.v. Vinalia), which was called calpar (Festus, s.v. Calpar).

The rustic vinalia, which fell on the 19th of August (XIV. Calend. Sept.) and was celebrated by the inhabitants of all Latium, would the day on which the vintage was opened. On this occasion the flamen dialis offered lambs to Jupiter, and while the flesh of the victims lay on the altar, he broke with his own hands a bunch of grapes from a vine, and by this act he, as it were, opened the vintage (vindemiam auspicari; Varro, de Ling. Lat. VI.20), and no must was allowed to be conveyed into the city until this solemnity was performed (Plin. H. N. XVIII.69 §4). This day was sacred to Jupiter, and Venus too appears to have had a share in it (Varro, l.c.; de Re Rust. I.1; Macrob. Sat. I.4; Ovid, Fast. IV.897, &c.). An account of the story which was believed to have given rise to the celebration of this festival is given by Festus, (s.v. Rustica vinalia) and Ovid (Fast. IV.863, &c.; compare Aurel. Vict. de Orig. Gent. Rom. 15).


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