The History of Saturnalia, Part I


Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.7:

“It seems right to me to bring up the origin of the Saturnalia, which pertains not to the arcane nature of divinity, but as it is discussed mixed with fantastic tales or as it is revealed to the common people by natural philosophers. Indeed, the hidden accounts dripping from the font of undistilled truth cannot be narrated even in the sacred rites themselves. If anyone follows them, he must keep them hidden within the confines of his mind. So, our friend Horus may reconsider with me those things which may be known on this topic. Janus once obtained that region which is now called Italy as his kingdom along with Cameses, who equally possessed this land, so that the region is called Camesene, and the town called Janiculum (as Hyginus, following Protarchus Trallanius relates it). Afterward, the kingdom returned to Janus alone. He is thought to have…

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