Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Romae Dies Natalis

Yesterday I managed to attend the celebrations at Circo Massimo for the 2767th Natale di Roma, the anniversary of the foundation of Rome.

The celebrations started with a wonderful parade composed of 42 associations of historical reenacting from 9 countries (this year Russia took part in it for the first time) through Via dei Fori Imperiali to rest a wreath in front of the statue of Augustus, a special dedication to the bimillenary of his death.
Unfortunately I couldn't see that 'cause I was busy working >_> but I gathered a fulfilling collection of videoclips through the internet to show you:

The Romaia was istitutionalized in 1922 during Fascism as a national holiday, as a reminder of the past glories of the Roman Empire, just to be abolished in 1945 with the fall of the dictature.
This traditional celebration, reported and described by both Varro and Ovid, was originally a series of propitiatory rites exclusive of farming and pastoral worlds, once known as Palile, dedicated to the goddess Pales, protector of herds and woods.

The first Emperor to celebrate the "Christmas of Rome" was Emperor Claudius in 47 a.C., once the date of the foundation of Rome was definitely set on April 21, 753 b.C.
Seeing the propagandistic potential of the celebrations, many other emperors took their time to publicize their glory through the recalling of the lives of Romulus and his brother Remus: Antoninus Pius celebrated it on 147 and 148, and Philip the Arab had the luck to celebrate the first Millenium of Rome, relished with the Ludi Saeculares (three days and three nights of performances and games held every 100 years) for the occasion-- but as you can imagine the one who brought back the Romalia in all its powerful glory was Augustus.

With the barbaric invasions, Rome lost much of its tradition and the celebrations met a stop.
To see a retrieval, at least of the philological side, we had to wait for Humanism and the Accademia Romana, with its passion for Classic history and research.
The Romaia will be celebrated again after 1870 during the Risorgimento, as a mean to celebrate the Unity of Italy through the history which every region had in common, which was the tradion of Rome, but to have what looked like what we saw yesterday, we'll have to wait 'til 1902, where a parade and the celebration of the Palile was held by the Circolo Artistico on Palatine Hill.

In modern times these celebrations were revived thanks to the passion of the Gruppo Storico Romano and its supporters and "comrades" around Europe, that animated the center of Rome with pigheaded devotion.

You can see some beautiful pictures of the parade on this website.

The celebrations at Circo Massimo followed this schedule: first, we had some musical entertainment thanks to the percussion band Akuna Matata, that animated the even while the historical groups were having lunch and a pause after the parade.
Then it was the time of the Pomerium rite featuring the story of Romulus and Remus, followed by the tribute of Mecenate to the Roman roots of Europe.

Then it was the time of dancers, a group of girls from Rovigo, and the ancient rite of the Sacred Snake, a celebration dedicated to Juno, animated by the group of Lanuvium.

After this, the suggestive rites of the Paliale, celebrated by stunning reenactors of Vestals.
You can see the whole rite on this video.

After the rites, it was time for some fighting.
the "dances" were opened by the Georgian group of Shavparosnebi, the "Black Shields".
You can see a video about their performance, with dances, music and fights on this website.

You can find a video featuring the various fights of the gladiators on this website, and the video of the final fight, featuring an historical event, when two roman legions fought against each other, on YouTube.

And now here are various random pictures that I managed to take between a pause, an event and a pitiful escape from the heat:

Well, for this year, it's all.
Hopefully next year I'll manage to attend the event the whole day-- And to get a "Press Pass" so that I could take some decent pictures too, instead of stealing them from random websites without credits because I'm a sore loser...

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