Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/380

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332 The Etcropean Sky -God.

throngs of people.^ After the kings had been driven out there was a danger lest these crowds should demand a fresh king on one of the Nones,^ and consequently the Nundinae were severed from the Nonae? If the Nones were, as I suppose, a critical day for the king, we can understand not only the belief that all the Nones were birthdays of Servius Tullius, but also the tradition that Romulus vanished on the Nones, and perhaps even Augustus' superstitious avoidance of serious business on that day.^ In eight months of the year the Nones fell on the fifth day, according to Roman reckoning, from the Kalends ; and we have seen that even in July, when the Nones fell on the seventh, the fifth was the Poplifugia, a red-letter day for the king. Moreover, the day after the Kalends, Nones, or Ides was called a " black day," and it was not lawful on it to utter the name of Janus or Jupiter,^ while the fifth day before every such "black day" was also avoided as a day of evil omen.^ It is just possible that the importance thus attached to the fifth day corresponds to a halving of the nine-day period. If so, the singular republican system of interreges or temporary kings, each of whom reigned for five days and then appointed his successor, on one occasion^ as many as fourteen being so nomi- nated, — this system may have been a reversion to monarchy of the most jealously guarded kind.

Arthur Bernard Cook.

^Another account (Fest. s.v. "servorum dies" p. 262 Lind., Plut. qtiaesit. Kotn. 100) made Servius' birthday fall on the Ides of August, which was also known as the birthday of Diana (Warde Fowler Roman Festivals p. 198).

'^A point which favours my interpretation of the Nonae Caprotinae : supra p. 329 f.

^Macrob. Sat. i. 13. 18. *Suet. vit. Aug. 92.

^Macrob. Sat. i. 16. 25, Gell. 5. 17. i f.

«Macrob. ib. i. 16. 26, Gell. 5. 17. 3 ff. ^ Liv. 8. 23. 17.