From NovaRoma
Jump to: navigation, search

 Home| Latíné | Deutsch | Español | Français | Italiano | Magyar | Português | Română | Русский | English

This page uses excessive passage(s) of source material.

Please help! Improve the quality of this page by replacing its passage(s) with original, properly sourced material suitable for this page.
This page has multiple statements needing verification.

Please help! Providing citations in accordance with our guidelines will improve the quality of our site.

Larentia, or Acca Larentia

  1. foster-mother to Romulus and Remus, wife of the shepherd Faustulus;
  2. prostitute given to the god Hercules in a game of dice. She later married a wealthy man named Tarrutius, and at the end of her life bequeathed her fortune to the Roman People.

1. "Now should I forget you, Larentia, nurse of such a nation, Nor, poor Faustulus, the help that you gave. I’ll honour you when I speak of the Larentalia, And the month approved of by the guardian spirits."[1]

"the babes were given to Faustulus, a shepherd, husband of Laurentia, to be exposed beside the river Tiber. These the shepherd's wife took and reared; for it happened that she had at that time borne a dead child." [2]

"But some say that the name of the children's nurse, by its ambiguity, deflected the story into the fabulous. For the Latins not only called she-wolves "lupae," but also women of loose character, and such a woman was the wife of Faustulus, the foster-father of the infants, Acca Larentia by name. Yet the Romans sacrifice also to her, and in the month of April the priest of Mars pours libations in her honour, and the festival is called Larentalia." [3]

2. "They pay honours also to another Larentia, for the following reason. The keeper of the temple of Hercules, being at a loss for something to do, as it seems, proposed to the god a game of dice, with the understanding that if he won it himself, he should get some valuable present from the god; but if he lost, he would furnish the god with a bounteous repast and a lovely woman to keep him company for the night. On these terms the dice were thrown, first for the god, then for himself, when it appeared that he had lost. Wishing to keep faith, and thinking it right to abide by the contract, he prepared a banquet for the god, and engaging Larentia, who was then in the bloom of her beauty, but not yet famous, he feasted her in the temple, where he had spread a couch, and after the supper locked her in, assured of course that the god would take possession of her. And verily it is said that the god did visit the woman, and bade her go early in the morning to the forum, salute the first man who met her, and make him her friend. She was met, accordingly, by one of the citizens who was well on in years and possessed of a considerable property, but childless, and unmarried all his life, by name Tarrutius. This man took Larentia to his bed and loved her well, and at his death left her heir to many and fair possessions, most of which she bequeathed to the people. And it is said that when she was now famous and regarded as the beloved of a god, she disappeared at the spot where the former Larentia also lies buried. This spot is now called Velabrum, because when the river overflowed, as it often did, they used to cross it at about this point in ferry-boats, to go to the forum, and their word for ferry is "velatura." But some say that it is so‑called because from that point on, the street leading to the Hippodrome6 from the forum is covered over with sails by the givers of a public spectacle, and the Roman word for sail is "velum." It is for these reasons that honours are paid to this second Larentia amongst the Romans." - op.cit. 4.1-5


The Larentalia was a Roman festival in honour of Acca Larentia, the wife of Faustulus and the nurse of Romulus and Remus. It was celebrated in December on the 10th before the Calends of January [4] [5] [6] . The sacrifice in this festival was performed in the Velabrum at the place which led into the Nova Via, which was outside of the old city not far from the porta Romanula. At this place Acca was said to have been buried [5] [7] . This festival appears not to have been confined to Acca Larentia, but to have been sacred to all the Lares[8] .


  1. Ovid, Fasti III Translated by A.S. Kline
  2. Cassius Dio, Roman History I.5
  3. Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Romulus" 4.3
  4. Festus, s.v.
  5. 5.1 5.2 Macrobius. Saturnalia I.10
  6. Ovid. Fasti, III.57
  7. Varro. De Lingua Latina, V.23-24
  8. Hartung, J.A. Die Religion der Römer, II.146.

Personal tools