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A lūstrum (, plural lūstra) was a term for a five-year period in
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
. It is distinct from the
homograph A homograph (from the el, ὁμός, ''homós'', "same" and γράφω, ''gráphō'', "write") is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with ...
''lustrum'' ( ): a haunt of wild beasts (and figuratively, a den of vice), plural ''lustra'' ( ).Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary (2005). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. vii, 109


History

The
lustratio ''Lustratio'' was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following period ...
n was originally a
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.mer ...

sacrifice
for
expiation Propitiation is the act of appeasing or making well-disposed a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a p ...
and purification offered by one of the
censors Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments, ...
in the name of the Roman people at the close of the taking of the
census A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In ...

census
. The sacrifice was often in the form of an animal sacrifice, known as a
suovetaurilia The ''suovetaurilia'' or ''suovitaurilia'' was one of the most sacred and traditional rites of Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#R ...

suovetaurilia
. These censuses were taken at five-year intervals, thus a ''lūstrum'' came to refer to the five-year inter-census period. ' (from ', grc, λούω) is a lustration or purification of the whole Roman people performed by one of the censors in the
Campus Martius The Campus Martius (Latin for the "Field of Mars", Italian language, Italian ''Campo Marzio'') was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome. The IV Rioni of Rome, rione of ...

Campus Martius
, after the taking of the census was over. As this purification took place only once in five years, the word ''lūstrum'' was also used to designate the time between two lustra. The first ''lūstrum'' was performed in 566 BC by King
Servius Servius is the name of: * Servius (praenomen) Servius () is a Latin ''praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a personal name chosen by the parents of a Roman child. It was first bestowed on the '' dies lustricus'' (day of lustration ...
, after he had completed his census, and afterwards it is said to have taken place regularly every five years after the census was over. In the earliest period of the republic, the business of the census and the solemnities of the ''lūstrum'' were performed by the consuls. The first censors were appointed in 443 BC, and from this year down to 294 BC there had, according to
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
(X.47), only been 26 pairs of censors, and only 21 lustra, or general purifications, although if all had been regular, there would have been 30 pairs of censors and 30 lustra. Sometimes the census was not held at all, or at least not by the censors. The census might take place without the ''lūstrum'', and indeed two cases of this kind are recorded, in 459 and 214 BC. In these cases, the ''lūstrum'' was not performed because of some great calamities that had befallen the republic. The time when the ''lūstrum'' took place has been calculated. Six ancient Romulian years, of 304 days each, were, with the difference of two days, equal to five solar years of 365 days each, with one leap year of 366 days; or the six ancient years made 1824 days, while the five solar years contained 1826 days. The ''lūstrum'', or the great year of the ancient Romans, was thus a cycle, at the end of which, the beginning of the ancient year nearly coincided with that of the solar year. As the coincidence, however, was not perfect, a month of 24 days was interposed in every eleventh ''lūstrum''. It is highly probable that the recurrence of such a cycle or great year was, from the earliest times, solemnized with sacrifices and purifications, and that King Servius did not introduce them, but merely connected them with his census, and thus set the example for subsequent ages, which however, as we have seen, was not observed with regularity. The last ''lūstrum'' was solemnized at Rome, in AD 74, in the reign of
Vespasian Vespasian (; la, Vespasianus ; 17 November AD 9 – 23/24 June 79) was a Roman emperor who reigned from 69 to 79 AD. The fourth and last emperor who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors, he founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire ...

Vespasian
.


See also

*
Lustratio ''Lustratio'' was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek and ancient Rome, ancient Roman purification ritual. It included a procession and in some circumstances the sacrifice of a pig (''sus''), a sheep, ram (''ovis''), and a bull (''taurus'') (suovetau ...
*
Decade A decade is a period of 10 years. The word is derived (via French and Latin) from the grc, δεκάς, dekas, which means ''a group of ten''. Decades may describe any ten-year period, such as those of a person's life, or refer to specific groupin ...
*
Century A century is a period of 100 years. Centuries are numbered names of numbers in English#Ordinal numbers, ordinally in English and many other languages. The word ''century'' comes from the Latin ''centum'', meaning ''one hundred''. ''Century'' is s ...

Century
*
Millennium A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums) is a period of one thousand year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, th ...

Millennium


References


External links


Livius.org Lustrum
{{Time measurement and standards Ancient Roman society Population Units of time Quinquennial events