Capitoline Games

In Ancient Rome, the Capitoline Games (Latin: Ludi Capitolini) were annual games (ludi) instituted by Camillus, 387 BC, in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus, and in commemoration of the Capitol's not being taken by the Gauls that same year.[1] The games lasted sixteen days, starting on October 15th.

According to Plutarch, a part of the ceremony involved the public criers putting up the Etruscans for sale by auction. They also took an old man, tying a golden bulla (amulet) around his neck, such as were worn by children, and submitting him to public derision. Festus said that they dressed him in a praetexta, and hung a bull around his neck, not in the manner of a child, but because this was an ornament of the kings of Etruria.[1]

The original Capitoline games fell into disuse, but new ones were instituted by Domitian in 86, modeled after the Olympic Games in Greece. Every four years, in the early summer, contestants came from several nations to participate in various events. Rewards and crowns were bestowed on the poets and placed on their heads by the Emperor himself. The feast was not for poets alone, but also for champions, orators, historians, comedians, magicians, etc. These games became so celebrated, that the manner of accounting time by lustres (periods of five years) was changed, and they began to count by Capitoline games, as the Ancient Greeks did by Olympiads.[1]


  1. 1 2 3  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclop√¶dia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
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