1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anna Perenna

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ANNA PERENNA, an old Roman deity of the circle or “ring” of the year, as the name (per annum) clearly indicates. Her festival fell on the full moon of the first month (March 15), and was held at the grove of the goddess at the first milestone on the Via Flaminia. It was much frequented by the city plebs, and Ovid describes vividly the revelry and licentiousness of the occasion (Fasti, iii. 523 foll.). From Macrobius we learn (Sat. i. 12. 6) that sacrifice was made to her “ut annare perannareque commode liceat,” i.e. that the circle of the year may be completed happily. This is all we know for certain about the goddess and her cult; but the name naturally suggested myth-making, and Anna became a figure in stories which may be read in Ovid (l.c.) and in Silius Italicus (8.50 foll.). The coarse myth told by Ovid, in which Anna plays a trick on Mars when in love with Minerva, is probably an old Italian folk-tale, poetically applied to the persons of these deities when they became partially anthropomorphized under Greek influence.  (W. W. F.*)