In short

In ancient Roman religion, Fordicidia was a fertility festival, held two days after the Ides of April (April 15), which concerned agriculture and animal husbandry. It involved the sacrifice of a pregnant cow to Tellus, the ancient Roman goddess of the Earth, near the feast of Ceres (Cerealia) on April 19.


Fordicidia, the fertility festival

, the month of April (Aprilis) was generally concerned with female or ambiguously gendered deities, opening with the Feast of Venus on the Kalends. Several other festivals linked to farm life took place in April: Parilia, shepherds' festival, on April 21; Robigalia on April 25, to protect crops from downy mildew; and Vinalia, one of the two wine festivals in the calendar, at the end of the month.

Among these, the Fordicidia and Robigalia are likely to have been of the greatest antiquity. William Warde Fowler, whose early 20th-century work on Roman festivals remains a standard reference, asserted that the Fordicidia was "without doubt one of the oldest sacrificial rites in Roman religion."

The Fordicidia was named after the Fordae cows; a forda cow is one that carries an unborn calf; as on that day several pregnant cows were sacrificed officially and publicly in the curies, the festival was called the Fordicidia de fordae caedendae, “the pregnant cows which had to be slaughtered”.

Les formes horda et Hordicalia sont également trouvées. Comme beaucoup d’autres aspects du droit romain et de la religion, l’institution de la Fordicidia a été attribuée à Numa Pompilius, le deuxième roi sabin de Rome. Le dieu rustique Faunus a instruit Numa dans un rêve qu’un sacrifice à Tellus atténuerait les dures conditions agricoles auxquelles Rome était aux prises, mais le message oraculaire nécessitait une interprétation: « Par la mort du bétail, roi, Tellus doit être apaisé: deux vaches, qui Qu’une seule génisse donne deux vies (animae) pour les rites. » Numa a résolu l’énigme en instituant le sacrifice d’une vache gestante.

As with other rituals in which public worship was mirrored by private worship, or vice versa, one sacrifice was performed in the name of the state, in this case at the Capitol, and one in each of the thirty curias, the divisions most oldest in the city. made by Romulus from the three original tribes. It was the first of two festivals involving the curiae, the other being the Fornacalia of February 17, which differed in that there was no state ritual corresponding to the local ceremonies and its movable date was fixed annually by the curio maximus.

In the state sacrifice for the Fordicidia, the unborn calf was torn from its mother's womb by the attendants of the Virgo Vestalis Maxima, or Vestal Maxima, and burned. Her ashes were preserved by the Vestal Virgins and used as one of the ingredients of the ritual substance suffimen, along with the dried blood of the horse from October of the previous year and the stalks from which the beans had been harvested. 

The suffimen was sprinkled on the bonfires of Parilia, the festival dedicated to the purification of shepherds and their sheep, and later also celebrated as the "birthday" of the city. The sacrifice at the Fordicidia and the preparation of the suffimen constituted the first public ceremony of the year in which the Vestal Virgins played an active role.

Social networks

celebrated the Fordicidia. To promote soil fertility, pregnant cows were sacrificed. This feast is part of the agrarian cycle celebrated in April, a month during which several other feasts relating to life take place. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #15April #rome #Fordicidia