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20-06-2016

Roman Feast of Summanus

Despite The Name, We Don’t Know What His Bottom Was Like

As midsummer (as opposed to Midsomer, that quaint English county that has all those murders) is upon us, it’s probably time to get slightly pagan and celebrate a marginal Roman god whose feast day falls on June 20th: Summanus. One of the older Roman gods, Summanus was forever connected to nighttime lightning. And before you start asking about gods connected to daytime lightning, yes there was one, Jupiter, who in the Roman god celebrity standings was way, way more popular.

A sort of ancient equivalent of Adele compared to the Christopher Maloney that was Summanus. Every June 20th, small, round cakes called summanalia, made of flour, milk and honey, were offered to the deity so he didn’t start firing off nocturnal lightning willy-nilly in all directions. A couple of oxen were also sacrificed for good measure. Then, I presume, some sort of ancient barbecue would commence. However, for reasons unknown, his popularity as a god started to wane leading poet Ovid to write in 8 AD: “Summanus, whoever he is.” Ouch.