The History of Saturnalia, Part III: SaTURDnalia

Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.7:

“They attribute the grafting of sprigs and the cultivation of fruit and of all other productive plants to Saturn. The people of Cyrene, when they perform his sacred rites, are crowned with fresh fig and they send each other cakes, since they consider Saturn to have discovered honey and grain. The Romans even call him ‘Mr. Shit’ (Stercutus) because he first gave fecundity to the fields with manure. The time of his reign is said to have been the happiest, since there was no discrimination based on wealth, nor were people distinguished as either slave or free. This can be readily understood from the license which is permitted to slaves on the Saturnalia.”

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Huic deo insertiones surculorum pomorumque educationes et omnium huiuscemodi fertilium tribuunt disciplinas. Cyrenenses etiam, cum rem divinam ei faciunt, ficis recentibus coronantur placentasque mutuo missitant, mellis et fructuum repertorem Saturnum aestimantes. Hunc Romani etiam Stercutum vocant, quod primus stercore fecunditatem agris conparaverit. Regni eius tempora felicissima feruntur, cum propter rerum copiam tum quod nondum quisquam servitio vel libertate discriminabatur: quae res intellegi potest, quod Saturnalibus tota servis licentia permittitur.

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