previous next


MATRONA´LIA also called MATRONA´LES FE´RIAE, a festival celebrated by the Roman matrons on the 1st of March, originally the beginning of the year, in honour of Juno Lucina. It represented the purity of old Roman life and the sanctity of the marriage tie: hence it is celebrated only by married women and maidens, and by a law of Numa, “pellex aram Junonis ne tangito” (Gel. 4.3). It commemorated the dedication of the temple to Juno Lucina on the Esquiline, B.C. 375, soon after the Gallic occupation (Plin. Nat. 16.236). It kept in memory, too, the first Roman marriages with the Sabine women and the peace which they brought about (Ov. Fast. 3.229). An offering was made in the houses of married people with prayers that the married life might prosper, in which the caelebs could have no part (Hor. Od. 3.8, 1). At this festival wives received presents from their husbands (Suet. Vesp. 19; cf. Plaut. Mil. Glor. 3.1, 97), and they gave a feast to female slaves, as their husbands did to male slaves on the Saturnalia (Macrob. 1.12, 7). Hence it is called the Saturnalia of women (Mart. 5.84), and femineae kalendae (Juv. 9, 53). Girls also received, at least in later times, presents from their lovers (Tib. 3.1, 1; Mart. l.c.), which is perhaps the reason why Martial (9.90, 13) speaks of the day as though it were sacred to Venus. (Compare Marquardt, Staatsver waltung, iii. p. 571; Preller, Röm. Myth. p. 244.)

[W.S] [G.E.M]

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.1
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.8
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 4.3
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.84
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.13
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.90
    • Ovid, Fasti, 3
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: