a festival in honour of the god
Terminus, who presided over boundaries (Dionys.
A. R. 2.74
; Plut. Num. 16
15). His statue was merely a stone or post stuck
in the ground to distinguish between properties. The boundary-stone at its
first setting up was consecrated with peculiar ceremonies. A trench being
dug, a victim was sacrificed: the blood was poured into the trench while the
ministrants were veiled (which speaks for the antiquity of the rite and its
character; cf. SACRIFICIUM
p. 586 a
): the body of the victim, along with corn, fruits,
incense, honey and wine, was cast into the trench and the whole consumed by
blazing pine-brands: the boundary-stone was set upon the bed of ashes (Sic.
Flacc. p. 141, 8). On the festival the owners of adjacent property crowned
the statue with garlands and raised a rude altar, on which they offered up
some corn, honeycombs, and wine, and sacrificed a lamb (Hor.
2.59) or a sucking-pig. They concluded with singing the
praises of the god (Ovid, Ov. Fast. 2.639
&c.). The public festival in [p. 2.794]
this god (perhaps, as Huschke thinks, in earlier times marking the
conclusion of the Roman year) was celebrated at the sixth milestone on the
road towards Laurentum (Id.
because this was originally the extent of the Roman territory in that
direction (Marquardt, Staatsverw.
The festival of the Terminalia was celebrated a. d.
vii. Kal. Mart.,
or the 23rd of February on the day before
the Regifugium. When Cicero in a letter to Atticus (6.1) says, “Accepi
tuas litteras a. d. v. Terminalia” (i. e. Feb. 19), he uses this
mode of defining a date, according to Mommsen, because being then in Cilicia
he had no official notice of the intercalation which was due that year. But
Huschke thinks that this was then the regular mode of expressing that date
in ordinary (not intercalated) years. He cites an Inscr. from Capua, 14th
Feb. A.U.C. 659, “Pagus Herculaneus scivit
a. d. x. Terminalia” (Orelli, 3793). As to the method of
intercalation, and the connexion of the date Feb. 23rd with the conclusion
of the old Roman year, see CALENDARIUM
Vol. I. pp. 341 b,
and compare Mommsen, Chronologie,
p. 38; Huschke, Das