Friday 17 July 2009

Day of Bad Omens & God of the Week

Friday might generally be considered a day of ill omen, but the official Day of Bad Omens is tomorrow, July 18, according to

This Roman festival takes place on July 18 every year to commemorate the Roman Empire's defeat in Allia in 390 BC that led to the sack of Rome by the Gauls.

However, what's bad for some is good for others and I suspect the Gauls might be celebrating the best possible omens. I have an image in my head - probably inspired by reading too many Asterix comics - of bearded Gaulish warriors clinking foaming flagons of booze and generally partying hard at the Romans' expense.

For the Romans, the following day, July 19, was another festival - The Lucaria - a feast in the woods to commemorate where the Romans, routed by the Gauls, had hidden themselves.

The conflict between the Gauls and Romans has inspired my God of the Week - Aius-Locutius - a voice which boomed out a prophecy of doom and gloom to Rome just before its defeat.

According to

"A certain soldier named Caedicius heard the voice issuing from a bush — although not a burning one.

"It was right on time to warn Rome that the Gauls were coming and the city unfortified. Caedicius ran off to tell the authorities but unfortunately no-one took any notice of his military intelligence — until it was too late. The Gauls sacked the city — and probably burnt the bush as well.

"Much later, a shrine was built to mark the spot. The voice was deified, but it never bothered with humans again and who can blame it?

"This is proof that the Romans gave a God to anything, even if they couldn't see it."
The picture shows Asterix The Gaul (Asterix (Orion Paperback)), which is available from Amazon

Asterix The Gaul (Asterix (Orion Paperback))

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