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RIVAR (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0719-4994


LEJAVITZER, Amalia. Roman Saturnalia and its Character of Agricultural Feast. RIVAR (Santiago) [online]. 2021, vol.8, n.24, pp.237-246. ISSN 0719-4994.

This article studies the character of the agricultural cult of the Roman Saturnalia, and how this character was made invisible in a popular social role reversal festivity that was taken as an apologetic emblem of freedom, and as the pagan antecedent of Carnival. From the testimonies of Classic Latin writers, put into dialogue with modern authors such as Callois, Eliade, Bakhtin, among others, these Roman feasts are analyzed. It is found that the echoes of ancient propitiatory rituals are present, and are part of an agricultural cycle. It is concluded that Saturnalia shows two characteristic features of the feast: the opposition of Cosmos versus Chaos with the symbolic triumph of the dominant order, and the demarcation of time in an agricultural calendar made up of planting and harvesting seasons, that metaphorically allude to the life cycle of birth and death.

Palabras clave : Saturnalia; agricultural feast; roman civilization; ancient history; cultural studies.

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