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FORDICI´DIA

FORDICI´DIA the second of the two festivals of the Curiae (the first being the FORNACALIA), held on the 15th of April. Cows in calf (fordae, hordae boves, Varro, Ovid, Festus) were sacrificed under the direction of the Pontiffs and Vestals, some in the Capitol, others in the thirty curies (apparently one for each), others again outside the walls of Rome. The unborn calves were extracted and burnt separately by the senior Vestal (Virgo Vestalis maxima), and these ashes, together with the blood of the October horse, were used six days later for purposes of lustration at the PARILIA (Ov. Fast. 4.629-640, cf. 733 ff.).

The Fordicidia was one of a series of spring festivals, all celebrated at the opening season of the year on behalf of the fertility of the crops and the increase of cattle. Other forms of the word are Fordicalia (J. Lydus, de Mensib. 4.49), Hordicalia (Varr. R. R. 2.5.6), Hordicidia (Fest. Epit. p. 102 M.); but all the Calendars, and Varro, L. L. 6.15, have Fordicidia. Of the two forms of the adjective, forda or horda bos, forda is the older (cf. fasena = harena) and better attested (Ovid; Varro, L. L.). (Marquardt, Staatsverw. 3.192 ; cf. pp. 273 n., 331, 350.)

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