- J. Linderski
Ver sacrum, ‘the sacred spring’, a ritual practised in Italy, particularly by the Sabellic (*Oscan) tribes; see sabelli. In times of distress all produce of the spring (or the whole year) was consecrated to a deity, primarily *Mars. The animals were sacrificed; the humans, when of age, were sent away. This controlled over-population; led by a god or totemic animal the sacrani (the ‘devoted’) founded new communities: so originated the Picentes (from picus, ‘woodpecker’; see picenum), Samnites (see samnium), *Mamertines (Men of Mars). In Rome the only recorded ver sacrum was vowed (to *Jupiter) in 217 bce; human offspring were not included (Strabo, 5. 4. 12; Dion. Hal.Ant. Rom. 1. 16; Festus, Gloss. Lat.276, 414, 467; Livy, 22. 10; 33. 44; 34. 44).
- Roman Myth and Religion