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Thursday (dies Iovis) in the Later Roman Empire

Bultrighini, I; (2018) Thursday (dies Iovis) in the Later Roman Empire. Papers of the British School at Rome , 86 pp. 61-84. 10.1017/S0068246217000356. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper discusses two scanty but complex groups of sources which seem to suggest that Thursday (dies Iovis, that is, Jupiter’s Day in the Roman planetary seven-day week) was a day of rest in honour of Jupiter during the later imperial period: a number of ecclesiastical texts from late antique Gaul and Galicia, and three documentary papyri from Oxyrhynchus. The former imply that an unofficial observance of Jupiter’s Day, as opposed to the Christian Lord’s Day (Sunday), persisted among the populace despite Church opposition to such deviant behaviour. The latter hint at Thursday being a non-working day for official bureaux during the third and early fourth centuries, before the formalisation of Sunday as an official day of rest by Constantine in 321. The paper concludes with reflections on the idea that during the later imperial period –as the use of the planetary week became increasingly popular– Thursday became the most important and sacred day in the Roman seven-day week by reason of being the day dedicated to the chief god of the Roman pantheon and, at the same time, the day associated to the astrologically favourable planet that had been named after Jupiter. If Thursday was ever a day of rest recurring on a hebdomadal basis during the later Roman Empire, it was presumably the Judeo-Christian tradition of the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day that provided pagans with the notion of a weekly feast day.

Type: Article
Title: Thursday (dies Iovis) in the Later Roman Empire
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0068246217000356
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068246217000356
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Hebrew and Jewish Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542757
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