2017-08-13

VERTUMNALIA – Roman festival in honor of Vertumnus and Diana, on the Aventine Hill. In Roman mythology, Vertumnus is the god of seasons, change and plant growth, as well as gardens and fruit trees.

He could change form, at will; using this power, according to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he tricked Pomona into talking to him by disguising himself as an old woman and gaining entry to her orchard, then using a narrative warning of the dangers of rejecting a suitor (the embedded tale of Iphis and Anaxarete) to seduce her. The Ides of August was also sacred to Jupiter and known as the feriae Jovi, or Festival of Jove, and to Diana, the goddess of the moon, and called the Festival of Diana.

Diana was sometimes viewed as Jupiter’s female equivalent (not his wife, who was Juno). On this day, Diana’s temple on the Aventine Hill was consecrated; today cow horns (symbols of Hercules), were hung in the front of the temple.