A bit more from Festus’ lexicon

A few more extracts might be of interest.

MERCURIUS, so-called from merces.[1]  In fact they consider him as the god of all commerce.

MEDIALIS they call a black sacrificial victim which they immolate at mid-day.

MACELLUM.  This place is so-called from a certain Macellus, who carried out robberies in the City.  After he was condemned, the censors Aemilius and Fulvius ordered that his house be turned into a food market.

M. MANILIUS.  It is not allowed for anyone from a patrician family to bear this name, because of a Manilius who expelled the Gauls from the capitolium, but attempted to become king and was put to death.

MARCULUS, a diminutive from Marcus.

MATRONAE they call those women who have the legal right to wear the stola.

MAXIMUS PONTIFEX is so-called because he is the judge of matters relating to sacred things and religions, and prosecutor of violations by private citizens or magistrates.

MAXIMI ANNALES are so-called, not because of their length, but because the pontifex maximus writes them.

MULTA they say is a kind of penalty in Oscan.  M. Varro says that it is a penalty, but a financial one, which he discusses carefully in book 1 of his Epistolary Questions.

MAGNUS ANNUS (=Great Year).  The astronomers call the great year in which the seven wandering stars[2], each having finished its individual course, are gathered together again.

MAIORES FLAMINES are called those of patrician origin, minores those of plebian.

MARTIUS MENSIS.  The month of March was the beginning of the year both in Latium and after the foundation of Rome because its people were very warlike.  This is shown by the fact that the later months which end the year are named after numerals, the last being December.[3]

MALEDICTORES[4] is what the ancients called those whom we call maledicos.  Cato, when he was about to depart for Spain, said: “The maledictors must be got rid of.”

MAXIMA DIGNATIO.  The Flamen Dialis[5] held the highest rank among the fifteen flamines, and while the rest had their degrees of importance, the lowest grade was the Pomonalis, because Pomona presided over the least important things from the fields, tree-fruits.

There is much more of interest in this section, relating to the customs of the Roman Republic, and quoting many lost authors.

  1. [1] Merces = merchandise.
  2. [2] The planets.
  3. [3] December from decem, ten; this being the tenth month.
  4. [4] Evil-speakers, calumniators.
  5. [5] Priest of Jupiter.
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