Ludi Apollinares (6 – 13 July)
The Ludi Apollinares were games organized in Rome in 212 BC, which , at first, were not meant to become a traditional part of their religious calendar. But four years later in 208 BC, the Romans passed a law, according to which they became a celebration held annually in Rome between the 6th and 13th July.
The ludi took place in the Circus Maximus: they were not only games, but rather a festival of chariot races, plays and sacrifices in honour of the Greek god Apollo.
According to one theory it was a plague in 208 BC that encouraged the Senate to make them permanent to honour Apollo, a god of healing.
Another theory states that the Romans instituted the ludi to follow the advice received through an oracle in order to secure victory against the armies of Hannibal.
But they can also be seen as one of the many an examples of how the Roman establishment integrated foreign religious practices. in the context of their state religion.
A legend s narrates that during the first celebration, the Romans were suddenly invaded by the enemy, and obliged to start fighting. A cloud of darts and arrows fell upon their enemies, and the Romans soon returned victorious to their sports.