Robigalia

Roman Festival

Origins and Reasons for Festival

Robigalia is celebrated to honor Robigo, the god of blight, red rust, or mildew, is celebrated on April 25, when the crops were most vulnerable to disease. The Roman people offer a dog as sacrifice along with a sheep, wine, and incense to please Robigo so he would not bring a plague or bad crop yieldings. The Roman citizens believed that each crop was represented by a color. For example the Romans would sacrifice a dog with red fur for the corn crops. It would start as a procession in Rome and end at a point outside the city. It was made an annual event by the year 598. The poet Ovid wrote his first hand account of the festival and is one of the only reasons historians have accurate times and dates of the festival. Historians have also found pieces of the Roman calendar that give detail about Robigalia. The sacrifice of the dog and sheep were done on the 5th mile stone along the Via Claudia while a celebration type event took place in a field or grove outside the city.

Events

The Romans held foot races for the young boys and teenagers at Robigalia to keep the children occupied. The crowds who gathered for the festival would sing songs of praise and dance to honor Robigus.

Arts

Statues of Robigus and poems written by Ovid and the agricultural writer Columella about the festival are ways in which Robigalia is represented through art. There have also been paintings made to represent the festival.