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What is Poplifugia: a Roman Festival

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Poplifugia or Populifugia was a Roman festival celebrated on July 5th. Translated from Latin, the name of the festival is: “the day of the people’s flight”.


Poplifugia was a mysterious and obscure Roman festival celebrated on July 5th, which involved a unique ritual of fleeing from the city.

This festival is believed to have originated in the early Roman Republic and was dedicated to the god Jupiter. Its name, “Poplifugia,” translates to “flight of the people.”

During Poplifugia, Roman citizens would leave the city in haste, carrying their belongings and engaging in a mock escape.


It appears that the ancient Romans did not even know the meaning behind this festival, but there were several theories.

It seems someone attacked Rome and the people fled to safety, but a few days later, Rome rallied and subdued their enemies. Who the attacker was, is lost to history. Varro believed it to have been the Gauls, Macrobius the Tuscans and Plutarch says the Latins, although Plutarch also suggests that this festival actually commemorates the death of Romulus rather than any military action and the flight of the people was their rush out of Rome to get to the place where he disappeared to make sacrifices.

The event, whatever it was, is linked to Nonae Caprotinae.

The festival itself involved people being chased out of the /regia (King’s home) and the sacrifice of a bull and the reading of its entrails.

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About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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