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Article

C. Robert Phillips

Roman festival falling on 24 February (Ov. Fast. 2. 685 ff., Plut. Quaest. Rom. 63 with Rose's notes) associated with the expulsion of the kings (reges). Of unclear origins: its calendar note Q(uando) R(ex) C(omitiavit) F(as) (when the king sacrificed in the comitium) was misunderstood as Q(uod) R(ex) C(omitio) F(ugerit) (that the king fled the comitium: Festus Gloss.

Article

Proinsias Mac Cana and Greg Woolf

Traditionally referred to the non-Christian traditions of a people whose history was traced back to the late bronze age across an area that extended from the Atlantic to the middle Danube. It is now much less clear that the speakers of what are today termed Celtic languages shared common cultural traditions, or that they can be equated to the users of any particular archaeological culture. The ethnographic usage of classical writers to describe northern barbarians was very inconsistent. As a result most archaeologists prefer to write of iron‐age rituals, leaving the question of ethnic affiliation open, and most historians of religion are now reluctant to combine evidence from different periods and places to create accounts of a monolithic Celtic religion. The main sources of evidence concerned include the archaeology of sanctuaries and of ritual activity (iron age and early Roman); Latin epigraphy and provincial iconography (both mostly from the Roman period); and the testimony of classical authors (mostly referring to pre-conquest societies).

Article

Jacques Heurgon and J. Linderski

Etruscan religion, unlike Greek and Roman, was a revealed religion. The revelation was ascribed to the semi-divine seer *Tages, and to the *nymph Vegoia (Begoe, Etr. Vecui(a)). Their teaching, with later accretions, formed a code of religious practices, Etrusca disciplina. It included libri haruspicini, fulgurales, and rituales (Cic. Div. 1. 72; 2. 49). See Haruspices.The haruspical books dealt with inspecting the entrails (exta) of victims, especially the liver. A bronze model of a sheep's liver found near Piacenza (*Placentia) has its convex side divided into 40 sections (16 border, 24 inner), inscribed with the names of some 28 deities. The liver reflected the heavens. Its sections corresponded to the abodes of the gods in the sky (esp. the 16 border sections to the 16 regions of the celestial templum; Plin. HN 2. 143–4; Mart. Capella, 1. 41–61, whose description of the dwelling-places of the gods shows striking parallels with the regions of the liver), and thus the haruspex distinguishing the favourable and inimical part of the liver (pars familiaris and hostilis) and paying attention to the slightest irregularities was able to establish which gods were angry, which favourable or neutral, and what the future held.

Article

J. Linderski

In a strict sense this concept refers to the religions of various tribes using the Italic group of Indo-European languages—Umbrians, Sabello-Oscans (Sabines, Samnites, and a number of others such as Vestini, Marrucini, Paeligni, Marsi, Frentani, Campani, Lucani), and Latins (see italy, languages of). In a broader sense it may also include the cults of the Veneti in the north-east, and those of the speakers of *Messapic (cognate with the Illyrian) in the south-east (*Apulia); excluded are the religions of the Etruscans, Greeks, Ligurians, and Celts. The cults of the Indo-European settlers were first amalgamated with the autochthonous Mediterranean elements, and later exposed to Etruscan and (from the 8th cent.) Greek influences.Roman and Italic religion belonged to the same cultural universe; hence after the Roman conquest, and the gradual extinction of the Italic languages and their replacement by Latin, the Italic cults were relatively easily assimilated to the Roman cult. Roman authors provide precious information, especially *Varro (cf.

Article

Corinne Bonnet

The Phoenician and Punic religion was a polytheistic system, characterized by local specificities and some common features. It is attested in the whole Mediterranean basin throughout the first millennium bce, with significant evolutions since the Archaic period, due to frequent contacts with many different cultures, such as Greece, Egypt, Etruria, etc. Each kingdom or city-state (Arwad, Beirut, Byblos, Sidon, Sarepta, Tyre, to mention the most important) shapes its own pantheon, which becomes a crucial expression of micro-identities. However, many gods are shared and present both in Phoenicia and in the Mediterranean diaspora, where they undergo transformations and integrate multicultural environments. The absence of Phoenician and Punic literature is a huge obstacle to a precise understanding of the religious dynamics. Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Assyrian, and Egyptian sources fortunately provide a consistent body of evidence on gods, rituals, myths, or narratives, but they need to be accurately deciphered. The Phoenician and Punic religion appears as particularly open to foreign influences and borrowings; it often employs composite images between anthropomorphism and aniconism. As in many other religions, sacrifices represent the core of the ritual system, a “middle ground,” where gods and men interact.

Article

Simon Price

The historiography of Roman religion might be said to begin with *Varro'sHuman and Divine Antiquities (47 bce), of which the second half, 16 books on Divine Antiquities, codified for the first time Roman religious institutions: priests, temples, festivals, rites, and gods. This work, which may have had the unsettling effect of enabling people to see how imperfectly the existing system corresponded to the ‘ideal’ of the past, was extremely influential on traditionalists, and provided ammunition for Christians such as *Augustine in the City of God. Nineteenth-cent. scholarship on Roman religion, in attempting a diachronic history down to the age of Varro, assumed an ideal phase, in which religion was perfectly attuned to the agricultural year, from which republican religion was a sorry decline: politics increasingly obtruded on religion, and scepticism was rife. This decline model, which still underlies the two standard handbooks of Wissowa and Latte, has become increasingly unpopular. In its place scholars now recognize the dynamic changes of republican religion, including its position in public life, and also the continuing significance of public religion in the imperial age.

Article

Latin religio was likened by the ancients to relegere, ‘to go over again in thought’ (Cic. Nat. D. 2. 72) or to religare, ‘to bind’ (Lucr. 1. 931; Livy 5. 23. 10), and designates religious scrupulosity as well as the sense of bonds between gods and humans. Knowledge of these bonds incites men and women to be scrupulous in their relations with gods, notably by respecting their dignity and moral obligations towards them: the term religio is thus defined as ‘justice rendered to the gods’, iustitia erga deos, and is parallel to *pietas, the justice rendered to parents (Cic. Part. or.78). But pius, pietas, which correspond fairly closely to Greek eusebes and eusebeia, apply equally to the religious domain: Virgil's Aeneas is pius because he observes right relations to all things human and divine. Generally religio has a good meaning, but religiosus designates frequently an exaggerated scrupulosity towards the gods and approaches superstitiosus in sense (see superstitio).

Article

The genealogy of cognitive anthropology includes, among others, N. Chomsky's argument that cultural input underdetermines mental output; C. Lévi-Strauss’ analysis of ethnographic data in terms of fundamental structures of the mind; S. Guthrie's programmatic proposal for a cognitive anthropology of religion; and H. Whitehouse's cognitive anthropology of a Papua New Guinean village. Since ethnographic, like historical and archaeological, evidence represents products of human minds, the empirically testable theories proposed by cognitive scientists, who seek to map traits common to the mental functions of Homo sapiens, promise insights that may help historians connect the dots of their fragmentary, incomplete, even contradictory, data—material and textual—with greater confidence than has previously been the case. Insights from cognitive anthropology into the dynamics of the Roman ritual system provide an instructive example.Official Roman religion was characterized by its frequent repetition of rituals, the conduct of which was supervised by a hierarchy of religio-political authorities: domestically by the paterfamilias, socially by the magister of the collegia, and at the state level by public priests.

Article

Mary Beard

Rex nemorensis, the ‘king of the grove’, i.e. *Diana's grove at Nemi near *Aricia, in Latium. This priest was unique among religious officials of the Roman world, in being an escaped slave who acquired office by killing his predecessor, after issuing a challenge by plucking a branch from a particular tree in the grove. See Strabo 5. 3. 12, 239; Suet. Calig.

Article

J. Linderski

On the expulsion of the kings from Rome (see rex; tarquinius superbus, l.) their sacral functions were partially assumed by a priest called rex sacrorum ‘the king for sacred rites’ (and his wife, the regina, ‘queen’). He sacrificed on the Kalends; on the Nones he announced the days of festivals, feriae (Varro, Ling. 6. 13, 28; Macrob. Sat. 1. 15. 9–12, 19); and he celebrated the rite of *Regifugium. A *patrician, born of ‘confarreate’ marriage (Gaius 1. 112; see manus); Festus, (Gloss. Lat.299) may imply that he once ranked first among the pontiffs, but in the later Republic he was subordinate to the *pontifex maximus. He served for life, and was not allowed to hold magistracies (Livy 2. 2; 40. 42. 9; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 4. 74. 4). See rex.

Article

Robigus  

C. Robert Phillips

Robigus, Roman spirit of wheat rust. His festival (Robigalia) was on 25 April (Ov. Fast. 4. 901 ff. with Bömer's notes), at the fifth milestone of the via Claudia; the flamen Quirinalis (see flamines; quirinus) offered a red dog and a sheep, praying to avert the rust. The red dog of the July moveable festival *augurium canarium implies a connection: Ov.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

Mythical founders of Rome. In its normal form (Livy 1. 3. 10 ff.; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1. 76. 1 ff.; Plut. Rom. 3 ff.; more in Bremmer in Roman Myth and Mythography (1987), 25 ff., which article is an excellent summary of the whole matter, with relevant literature) the story runs thus. Numitor, king of *Alba Longa, had a younger brother Amulius who deposed him. To prevent the rise of avengers he made Numitor's daughter, (h)ea Silvia, a Vestal virgin (see *Vesta). But she was violated by *Mars himself, and bore twins. Amulius, who had imprisoned her, ordered the infants to be thrown into the Tiber. The river was in flood, and the receptacle in which they had been placed drifted ashore near the Ficus Ruminalis. There a she-wolf (Plut. Rom. 4 adds a woodpecker, both being sacred to Mars; see *Picus) tended and suckled them, until they were found by *Faustulus the royal herdsman.

Article

Rosalia  

C. Robert Phillips

The Romans doted on roses and regularly used them on festal occasions, at banquets both official (arval brothers: ILS 5039) and private (e.g. Mart. 9. 93. 5); cf. Frazer on Ov. Fast. 2. 539 and Bömer on 2. 538. Thus rose festivals were common, but were never fixed and public except locally. Best-known were commemorations of the dead, also called dies rosationis, when presumably family members met at the grave and decked it with roses. Violets were also used, hence uiolatio, dies uiolares or uiolae; cf. F. Cumont, Lux Perpetua (1949), 45, Hoey, below, nn. 33, 49, and A. de-Marchi, Il Culto privato di Roma antica (1896), 201–2. Rose festivals appear in various documents, none earlier than Domitian (CIL 10. 444), and extending as late as Filocalus (23 May: ‘Macellus rosas sumat’) and a Campanian calendar of ce 387 (Inscr. Ital. 13. 2. 282–3), on dates from early May to mid-July, precisely when various rose species would bloom or re-bloom. These festivals did not develop from the cult of the dead; rather, these honours were a particular case of inviting them to a feast or other entertainment at which the survivors were also present, or simply a development of the custom of decking graves with flowers, cf. Nilsson, below, 313–14. Rose festivals occurred in Romanized contexts throughout the empire: BCH 1900, 299–323 and the Rosaliae signorum in the calendar of a Roman cohort at *Dura-Europus (pridie kal.

Article

Mason Hammond and Simon Price

The offering of divine honours to humans was not indigenous to Italy. The Romans had long sacrificed to the ghosts of the dead (*manes) and conceived of a semi-independent spirit (*genius) attached to living people. But the myth of a deified founder, *Romulus, may have been invented only in or after the 4th cent. bce, under Greek influence, and developed in the new political circumstances of the late Republic. From the time of M. *Claudius Marcellus(1)'s conquest of *Syracuse in 212 bce, Roman officials received divine honours in Greek cities; a notable instance is the ‘liberator’ of Greece, T. *Quinctius Flamininus (c.191 bce), whose cult survived into the imperial period. At Rome such honours are met only from the late 2nd cent. bce, and then exceptionally, e.g. those offered privately to C. *Marius(1) (101 bce) and popularly to the demagogue *Marius Gratidianus (86 bce).

Article

Rumina  

C. Robert Phillips

An obscure Roman goddess whose significance depends on her name's etymology. Wissowa, RK 242, following Varro, Rust. 2. 11. 5, connects her with ruma (breast) and hence suckling. This is appropriate for her shrine and sacred fig-tree (ficus Ruminalis) near the Lupercal (see lupercalia), where milk, not wine, was offered; cf. Ogilvie on Livy 1. 4. 5. Latte, RR 111, following G. Herbig, Phill. Wochenschr.1916, 1440 ff., accepts an *Etruscan connection, thus relating her to Roma, the city's deity. Probably the several traditions arose independently of each other. The connection with figs is of provably high antiquity (C. R. Phillips, New Pauly, 10. 1160, ‘Rumina’), from which point future discussions should begin.

Article

John Scheid

Roman sacrificial practices were not functionally different from Greek, although there are no sources for them earlier than the 2nd cent. bce, and the modalités of Roman sacrifice were complex, since several rites existed (Roman, Greek, and Etruscan). In any case, as in the Greek world, sacrifice was a central act of religion. The expression rem divinam facere, ‘to make a thing sacred’, often abridged to facere (‘to sacrifice’), and the etymology of the words designating sacrificial activity, sacrificare, sacrificium (sacrum facere, ‘to perform a religious ceremony’), show the importance of these acts and signal that sacrifice was an act of transfer of ownership. On its own or part of larger celebrations, the typical sacrifice embraced four phases: the praefatio, the immolatio, the slaughtering, and the banquet.1. After the purification (see lustration) of the participants and of the victims (always domestic animals) chosen in accordance with the divinity's function and the context, a procession led them to the *altar of the divinity.

Article

Susan Bilynskyj Dunning

In Roman conceptions of time, the saeculum became the longest fixed interval, calculated as a period of 100 or 110 years (as opposed to, e.g., a lustrum of only five years; cf. “census”). The term originally indicated a “generation” or “lifetime,” but greater significance developed through its association with the Ludi Saeculares (Secular Games), which were performed to celebrate the advent of a new saeculum in Rome. Through the Secular Games, the emperor advertised his role in establishing his dynasty and ushering in an age of peace; emperors who wished to capitalize on this expression of authority made official references to the saeculum in coinage and inscriptions if they were unable to hold the Games during their reigns, thus creating a close link between the saeculum, imperial families, and political control. In Late Antiquity, the Christianization of the empire led to other usages. Because of its association with political power, the saeculum came to signify “the present age of the world,” in contrast with an eternal, heavenly realm; it could also be applied to a new, Christian era.

Article

Cyril Bailey and John North

Salii (from salire ‘to dance’), an ancient ritual sodalitas (see sodales) found in many towns of central Italy, usually in association with the war-god. Outside Rome, they are heard of at *Lavinium, *Tusculum, *Aricia, *Anagnia, and especially at *Tibur where they were attached to *Hercules (Serv., on Aen. 8. 285). Their attachment at Rome was to *Mars, though it is a possibility that one of the two companies of twelve (Palatini and Collini) belonged originally to *Quirinus. Salii had to be of *patrician birth and to have both father and mother living. They wore the dress of an archaic Italian foot-soldier: tunica picta (painted tunic), with breastplate covered by the short military cloak (trabea), and the *apex (a conical felt cap; see Dion. Hal. 2. 70). They also wore a sword and, on the left arm, carried one of the ancilia; the original ancile fell from heaven as a gift from *Jupiter to Numa *Pompilius (Ov.

Article

Salus  

J. Linderski

Salus, a deified ‘virtue’, the safety and welfare of the state (akin to, and perhaps influenced by, the Greek *Soteria), with a temple on the Quirinal vowed in the Samnite War in 311 and dedicated in 302 bce (Livy 10. 1. 9). Her feast (natalis, ‘birthday’) was on 5 August (Cic.Att. 42. 4; Sest. 131; and the calendars). There may have existed an earlier cult of Salus (Varro, Ling. 5. 52); her association with Semonia (related to the Semunes of the archaic *Carmen arvale) suggests Salus as protectress of the sowing (Macrob.Sat. 1. 16. 8; Festus, Gloss. Lat. 406; ILS 3090; on some imperial coins she holds corn-ears). From the 2nd cent. bce she became identified with the Greek *Hygieia, ‘Health’. Salus Augusta or Augusti, the ‘Health’ and ‘Saving Power’ of the emperor, frequently appears on inscriptions and coins (enthroned, holding sceptre and dish, often feeding the snake). Public and private vows for the salus of the emperor (often associated with the Salus Publica, esp.

Article

Sarapis  

Richard Gordon

Sarapis (in Latin, Serapis), the Hellenized (Greek) form of Egypt. wsi᾿r ḥp, *Osiris-*Apis (Osorapis, Oser-), the hypostasis of Osiris and of Apis-bulls entombed at Saqqara (Plut. De Is. et Os. 29, 362cd). The cult was performed in the temple complex rebuilt by Nectanebo I and II (380–343 bce) above the ‘great chambers’, later called the *Memphis Serapeum. This rebuilding was probably in recognition of the crowds of pilgrims, including many foreigners, who sought healing by incubation, oracles, and *dream-interpretation. Recent excavation has shown that officials, priests, and poor alike were buried around the Serapeum way. The cult's importance was immediately grasped by the Macedonian occupiers left by *Alexander (3) the Great (JEg. Arch.1974, 239). *Ptolemy (1) I made an extra loan of 50 talents for the burial of the Apis-bull (Diod. Sic. 1. 84. 8) and rebuilt the temple dromos.