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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Juvenalia

Around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. The Juvenalia were scenic games instituted by Nero in A.D. 59, in commemoration of his shaving his beard for the first time, thus intimating that he had passed from youth into manhood. He was then 22 years old.


These games were not celebrated in the circus, but in a private theatre erected in a pleasure-ground (nemus), and consisted of every kind of theatrical performance, Greek and Roman plays, mimetic pieces, and the like. The most distinguished persons in the state, old and young, male and female, were expected to take part in them. The emperor set the example by appearing in person on the stage; and Dion Cassius mentions a distinguished Roman matron, upwards of eighty years of age, who danced in the games.

The Juvenalia continued to be celebrated by subsequent emperors, but not on the same occasion. The name was given to those games which were exhibited by the emperors on the 1st of January in each year. They no longer consisted of scenic representations, but of chariot races and combats of wild beasts.

Source: Wikipedia

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