The Ides of March (March 15) are foreboding. At least they have been since 44 B.C. when the most famous assassination of all took place. Who can forget Julius Caesar? But who can remember Anna Perenna?
Anna Perenna is the Roman Goddess of health and hopes for longevity. She was both annual and perennial as her name implies. The name, Anna, signifies “to live through a year.” Perenna means to “last many years.” A description of Anna is not precise. In some legends she is described as old; yet in others she is described as young. She represents the opposite of the Julius Caesar tragedy. Her cultural festival brought forth the ancient Roman New Year. It dates back to the fourth century BC. It was a celebration to reign in spring, with health, hope, and happiness for the coming year.
We don’t know exactly what sacrifices were made to Anna Perenna. However, a fountain bearing her name was excavated in 1999 in Rome. The fountain’s cultural contents provides answers. Cultural objects for both magical and religious practices were discovered in the fountain. Also found were, anthropomorphic figurines. Such figurines may have been animals exhibiting human characteristics. There were also oil lamps, coins, and “voodoo dolls” found among the remains. Archaeologists did not describe the voodoo dolls found; but they may look similar to the image above. The original drawing is found at:
The archaeologists believe, “The presence of actual professional witches at the fountain, Piazza Euclide, is providing a new perspective on the relationship between man and religiosity in the Ancient world.”
It seems even more tragic that Caesar met his end on this particular day. For more details about Anna Perenna, and the legends accompanying her fame, refer to the following link: