God of the Month: Terminus

On February 23, the Terminalia is held to honor Terminus, the God of Boundaries. People festoon boundary stones with garlands and leave cakes for the God. A “beating of the Bounds” is done to reaffirm the common boundaries. Praises are sung to Terminus for keeping the boundaries intact. (I walk the walls of my condo.)

In Rome, this ancient God shares his shrine with Jupiter. To erect a new temple for Jupiter, the Romans decided to move the shrines from Capitoline Hill. All the Gods except for Terminus agreed to leave. The Romans built Jupiter’s temple around his shrine, with a special opening for Him on the roof of the temple.

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“Holy Terminus, You define people and cities and nations within their boundaries.  All land would be in dispute without You. You seek no offices or anyone’s favour; no amount of gold can corrupt Your judgement. In good faith You preserve the legitimate claims to rural lands.” Ovid, “Fasti” II,658-62.

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