The Septimontium was a pre-urban festival celebrated in ancient Rome by montani, residents of seven (sept-) communities associated with hills or peaks (montes): Oppius, Palatium, Velia, Fagutal, Cermalus, Caelius, and Cispius. The Septimontium was celebrated in September, or, according to later calendars, on 11 December. It was not a public festival in the sense of feriae populi, according to Varro, who sees it as an urban analog to the rural Paganalia.
The etymology from septem ("seven") has been doubted; the festival may instead take its name from saept-, "divided," in the sense of "partitioned off, palisaded." The montes include two divisions of the Palatine Hill and three of the Esquiline Hill, among the traditional "seven hills of Rome".
Plutarch's notice of this festival is obscure, and confuses the nature of the Septimontium as represented by inscriptions and Festus with the proverbial seven hills of Rome. At this time, he notes, Romans refrained from operating horse-drawn vehicles.
- Varro, De lingua latina 6.24.
- Robert E.A. Palmer, The Archaic Community of the Romans (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 122–123.
- Kurt A. Raaflaub, "Between Myth and History: Rome's Rise from Village to Empire (the Eighth Century to 264)," in A Companion to the Roman Republic (Blackwell, 2010), p. 136.
- Timothy Venning, A Chronology of the Roman Empire (Continuum, 2011), p. 27.
- Plutarch, Roman Questions 69.
- L.A. Holland, "Septimontium or saeptimontium?" TAPA 84 (1953) 16–34.
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