Sancta Calendar: Kalends, Nones, and Ides

Di benedicaris vos.

Three important dates are part of the Sancta calendar: the Kalends, the Nones, and the Ides. However, they’re rarely used or remarked in official business, so many may be ignorant of their existence or their use. They do, however, play a use — both historically and spiritually.

The first Romans, dating to the times of the first King Romulus, used a lunar calendar wherein the three important days in a lunar month were important. The Kalends marked the start of the new moon — and the new month — and so the Kalends became the first day of the month. The Nones occurred on the day when the waxing moon reached its first quarter. The last day, the Ides, falls on the day of the full moon.
The Roman religion was closely related to the nature and environment of the world. Indeed all things were considered to have numina or spirits. Each day had specific rituals and each day had gods which that day was dedicated to. Remember, this was a monthly occasion so these rituals happened every month. In Sandus, we hope to some day reach this same dedication.

The Kalends was dedicated to Janus, god of beginnings, as He helped Juno “give birth” to this new month and the Rex Sacrorum would officiate a sacrifice to both gods on the Capitoline hill. After the sacrifice, the Regina Sacrorum — the wife of the Rex Sacrorum — would officiate a sacrifice at the Regia on the Forum, where the date of the Nones would be announced. The Lares of the household would be especially honoured on this day, too.
The Nones was not dedicated to a single deity; for some months, one deity is worshipped over the others. However, from the Arx, near the Capitoline, the dates of the subsequent festivals in the month, until the next Kalends, would be read out. The Lares were, once again, worshipped especially on this day.
The Ides has been made famous by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The Ides was dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. The Flamen Dialis, the high priest of Jupiter, officiated the sacrifice of a white sheep at his Capitoline temple. Finally, this would be the last day of the month that the Lares would be especially commemorated.

When the Romans converted their lunar calendar to a solar calendar during the Republic, and made further changes under Julius Caesar and the changes under Pope Gregory, the calendar we possess today is no longer matched up with the days of the Kalends, Nones, and Ides. Never the less, the ancient Romans continued to use these days for rituals and sacrifices in the Roman religion. Today, these days are still marked on Sandus’s official Sancta calendar, yet are not yet commemorated by the Collegio Sacerdae. Perhaps sometime during this summer, we will conduct the official rites for one month as an example for the national culture of Sandus, but no current practice has ever been done.

Nova Roma, another micronation such as Sandus, has completed rites for the Kalends, the Nones, and the Ides. Perhaps, if we are to indeed celebrate one month of these vital days, we will make our own rites to celebrate Sancta cultural aspects. For now, however, we will continue upon our route, though we leave with this poem by Ovid:

The worship of Juno claims our Italy’s Kalends,
While a larger white ewe-lamb falls to Jupiter on the Ides:
The Nones though lack a tutelary god. After all these days,
(Beware of any error!), the next day will be ill-omened.
The ill-omen derives from past events: since on those days
Rome suffered heavy losses in military defeat.
Let these words above be applied to the whole calendar,
So I’ll not be forced to break my thread of narrative.

Sacra Flameno


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