Date(s) - 24/08/2020
The mundus was a vaulted ritual pit, divided into two parts and with a cover (possibly called lapis manalis) which was removed three times each year, on 24 August, 5 October and 8 November. With the lifting of the lid, which was regarded as the Gate of Hell the spirits (manes) of the underworld emerged and could roam the streets of the city. The day is ‘holy’ (religiosus): no public business could be transacted,
no battle fought, no army levied, no ships set sail, no marriage take place etc.
It is suggested that the mundus was first a pit to store seed-corn at harvest and that later Etruscan ideas of the subterranean underworld were attached to this pit. Tradition says that Romulus, when founding the city, is said to have put first-fruits into a pit in the Comitium, together with soil from the land from which each of his followers came. This may also reflect the origin of the mundus.