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Ludi Megalenses at Illinois Wesleyan University

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Published on Jan 15, 2014

This video shows some highlights of a reenactment of the Ludi Megalenses, performed by students in the Illinois Wesleyan courses "Greek and Roman Comedy" taught by Professor Nancy Sultan and "Blood Rites and Mystery Cults," taught by Professor Amy Coles in May 2013. We held the procession of the Magna Mater as it might have occurred in 191 BCE, the year the temple of the Magna Mater was dedicated in Rome. The Phrygian worshippers included the eunuch priests (Galli) who carry the statue of the goddess, a satyr who mocks the procession, a dancer, armed soldiers, priestesses, and musicians; the Roman citizens, who did not participate in the more orgiastic worship of the goddess, march solemnly behind to their own, more stately music. The groups processed to the "temple" (university chapel), where a priestess delivers a speech describing the traditional sacrifice of a heifer; the Galli collect alms; two Latin students then read a poem by Catullus that describes the self-castration of Attis, the "first priest of the Magna Mater." After prayers, the goddess was processed to her banquet and fed moretum, her sacred food. All then enjoyed a banquet. Later that afternoon, we performed a staged reading (ludus scaenicus) of Plautus' Pseudolus, the comedy that was produced in 191 BCE at the dedication of the Temple of the Magna Mater in Rome.

Watch the entire staged reading of Pseudolus: http://youtu.be/kwJClb7MUWg

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