ANNA PERENNA, an old Roman deity of the circle or “ring”
of the year, as the name (per annum) clearly indicates. Her
festival fell on the full moon of the first month (March 15), and
was held at the grove of the goddess at the first milestone on the
Via Flaminia. It was much frequented by the cityplebs, and
Ovid describes vividly the revelry and licentiousness of the
occasion (Fasti. iii. 523 foll.). From Macrobius we learn (Sat. i. 12.
6) that sacrifice was made to her “ut annare perannareque commode
liccat,” i.e. that the circle of the year may be completed
happily. This is all we know for certain about the goddess and
her cult; but the name naturally suggested myth-making, and
Anna became a figure in stories which may be read in Ovid (l.c.)
and in Silius Italicus (8.50 foll.). The coarse myth told by Ovid,
in which Anna plays a trick on Mars when in love with Minerva,
is probably an old Italian folk-tale, poetically applied to the
persons of these deities when they became partially anthropomorphized
under Greek influence.
(W. W. F.*)
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