This was the ceremony in which the baby was purified and named. The child would also be presented with a bulla, a locket containing charms to ward off evil, only removed once the child had ‘grown up’ – for a boy, on the day he received his toga virilis (a symbol of citizenship received on reaching adulthood), and on the wedding day for a girl. See a picture of a replica bulla here.
Plutarch, a Greek historian of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, describes a great battle at Coracesium between Pompey and the Cilician pirates. This was the ultimate battle in Pompey’s campaign against the pirates, in which Plutarch states that the Roman fleet scored a victory despite being vastly outnumbered. After the battle, the remaining pirates were besieged inside the town of Coracesium before finally surrendering.
The bacchanalians were the wild, drunken followers of Bacchus (Greek Dionysus), god of wine, grapes and merriment. Satyrs were the male companions of Bacchus, men with horse tails, long beards, pointed ears and little snub noses. In Roman art satyrs are sometimes conflated with fauns or with aspects of the god Pan, displaying goat’s legs and hoofs and sometimes ram’s horns. They represent the more animalistic aspects of human desire and behaviour.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt centres on a modern bacchanalian ritual.
Lucius Sergius Catilina (108-62 BC) was a Roman politician from one of the oldest patrician families in Rome. He served a distinguished military career and supported Sulla in the civil war of 84-81 BC. He was later accused of the crime of sleeping with the vestal virgin Fabia, Terentia’s sister, but Catulus testified in his favour and he was acquitted. At this point he is trying to work his way up the political career ladder, and will soon come up against Cicero for the position of consul. Catilina will later become an extremely important character in the life of Cicero. Click here for more information on Catilina, but be aware that this page will include some very big plot spoilers for the events of Imperium and its sequels.