Robigus, Robigo, Robigine

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Robigus is the Roman god of stem rust, in whose honor sacrifices were made so that the fields would not be affected by the disease.

Robigus was perceived as masculine by the earliest authors (Varro, Verrius Flaccus and his epitomizer Festus) who speak of a god Robigus, while in the imperial age it was perceived as a goddess, as authors such as Ovid and Columella and the Christians Tertullian, Lactantius and Augustine speak of a goddess Robigo (“Robigine”). The change probably occurred to match the gender of the deity with that of the common name robigo, which in Latin is feminine and indicates rust.

His festival, called Robigalia, took place on April 25, at the time when the ears of grain begin to form.

Featured image: Section of the Fasti Praenestini, calendar of Verrius Flaccus. VIN stands for Vinalia, a wine festival, and ROB for Robigalia, a festival to ward off crop disease.

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