I concluded my 2014 posts musing about Victoria, and the year practically begins with a big victory-related day for the Roman provinces on January 3. According to the Feriale Duranum, authorities (in the Roman army) were meant to arrange sacrifices on that day to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Juno Regina, Minerva, Jupiter Victor, Mars Victor and Victoria (if I remember them all correctly!). I did an extended series of libations on this occasion (with attendant prayers). I also felt strongly the presence of Ancamna—who, depending on your perspective, is the Gaulish hypostasis of Victoria in the Treveran region or the great queenly goddess who takes on the guise of Victoria when it suits her. I find myself inclining towards the latter view.
(Happily, there does seem to be the whiff of victory in the air about Kobanî, where YPG forces bolstered by Peshmergas have retaken the commanding hill south of the city. In other news, the siege of sacred mount Shingal was also broken—though we must wait further for the city itself to be liberated. Not strictly related to Gaulish polytheism, but, as Meriadoc Brandybuck would say, “You’re part of this world! Aren’t you?”)
The Ides of January, which fall on the 13th, seem to be rather a big day in the Gallo-Roman calendar, if numbers of altar dedications on that date are anything to go by. Many of those inscriptions are in honour of Jupiter, as you would expect, but I noted with especial interest the dedication of an altar to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Silvanus and holy Diana, as well as the genius of the catabulum and the other gods, by a senior soldier of the Legio XXII Primigenia in Mainz (AE 1976, 502). There is no officially sanctioned public Silvanalia, so I’m glad to make use of days like these to offer cultus to Silvanus, as well as to the excellent Diana. (The catabulum, I find via various interwebs, is a stable, but specifically one for the horses used for the mail. I wonder if our soldier (T. Maximius Felix) had had occasion, like General Grant—of whom I’m currently reading a biography—to thank his stars for the smooth running of the communications system of the army.)