lesbiassparrow: (Default)
[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
This is how the Romans said 'everything will be okay.'

The story goes that once the Romans were being attacked by invading Gauls, who had come close enough to threaten Rome itself. To propitiate the gods they held a massive public sacrifice in the Forum; as part of the ritual there was a flute player and an old man who danced to the tune. Suddenly in rushes someone and says 'the Gauls are at the walls!' Immediately everyone rushes out to grab their weapons and defend the city - but when they get to the walls there are no Gauls. Everyone then proceeds to trudge back to the sacrifice. However, if you make an error in a Roman ritual or have to stop it for some reason, you have to begin again right from the start. Doesn't matter if you're right at the end - you have to go right back to the beginning or else the ritual won't work. Of course, everyone now is moaning because they have to sit there and listen to everything all over again and the whole ritual will have to be repeated (and it's a long one this time, because they really, really need to propitiate the gods). No one is happy about this because it could take hours. Suddenly, though, somone cries out 'the old man is dancing!' The flute player and the old guy had kept going all through the disturbance, which meant the ritual hadn't been interrupted and they could just pick up where they left off.

Hence the saying. This information has been brought to you courtesy of Jupiter Stator, the Jupiter who stops people running away in battles.

ETA: Next up will be an exciting list of all the various Venuses and what each one will do if you sacrifice to her. Including the Venus of prostitutes and the Venus you pray to when you are having issues with your husband. Each one is both Venus and a separate Venus at the same time, which is impressive.
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lesbiassparrow

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