Gods of the Month: Fornax and Quirinus

ndwinterwheatBetween the 5th and the 17th of February, Romans hold the Fornacalia and on the 17th, the Quirinalia. The Fornacalia was begun by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, who wanted the spelt that was used for offerings to the Gods to be in a pure state. Traditional offerings include spelt cakes. Modern Roman Polytheists will still spelt cakes for offerings.

Ancient Rome was divided into Curiae (wards). Each Curia had a communal altar, oven, and feasting hall. People would go and parch their spelt at the communal ovens. Afterwards, they would make offerings to Juno Curis (Goddess of the Curiae) and Fornax, the Goddess of Ovens.

For those who delayed until the 17th to do their civic duty were called “Fools.” This was the day of the Quirinalia, the “Feast of Fools,” which was a festival to honor Quirinus, an Ancient God of Rome. These two festivals were to remind Romans of their history as shepherds since the parching of grain marked the transition to becoming farmers.

Fornax, the Roman Goddess of Bakers and Ovens, is invoked to prevent baking goods from burning. She is also invoked to preserve grain through the winter. When I bake, I always ask for Her Help.

Ovid in his Fasti, writes,

“The oven was made a Goddess, Fornax: the farmers

Pleased with Her, prayed she’d regulate that grain’s heat.”

An old Roman Deity, Quirinus was first worshipped by the Sabines, who lived on the Quirinalis (One of the Seven Hills). Originally a God of War, Quirinus became the God of Eternal Vigilance. With Mars and Jupiter, Quirinus comprised the original Capitoline Triad, who oversaw early Rome. Later Romans claimed that Quirinus was the deified Romulus, who had been taken up in a cloud.

“Romulus, O Romulus, may You eternally live in Heaven amongst the Children of the Gods.” Ennius: Annales I.121

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