"Fetus munitus". Plinio, Virgilio e il significato augurale delle nuces a Roma

Francesca Mencacci


Why were nuts thrown at the Roman wedding ceremony? Among the several explanations offered by Roman antiquarian scholars of the meaning of this ritual gesture, the one proposed by Pliny the Elder was that it represented some kind of fertility omen, connected with the particular morphology of these fruits, which could evoke the success of pregnancy. Through a close study of the place assigned to nuces in the Roman cultural encyclopedia - from botanical and agricultural lore to lexical classification, from religious ritual to popular sayings - this paper tries to test the validity of this ancient interpretation.

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