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Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

Luna, Roman moon-goddess. *Varro (Ling. 5. 74) names her among a number of deities introduced by Titus *Tatius and therefore of Sabine origin (see sabini). The latter statement may be doubted, but the existence of an early cult of Luna remains likely, though Wissowa (RK315) objects that no trace of it is to be found. This may be mere accident; in historical times she certainly had a cult with a temple on the *Aventine, first mentioned in 182 bce (anniversary on 31 March), but founded between 292 and 219 (Ziolkowski, Temples, 99 f.), and another on the *Palatine, which was illuminated all night long (Varro, Ling. 5. 68; Wissowa, RK 316; cf. C. Koch, Gestirnverehrung im alten Italien (1933), 27; Latte, RR 232; S. Lunais, Recherches sur la lune 1 (1979)).

Article

J. Linderski

A Roman *festival (15 February), conducted by the association (sodalitas, Cic. Cael. 26; see sodales) of Luperci (cf. lupus, ‘wolf’). It included unusual rites (Ov. Fast. 2. 19–36, 267–452; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1. 32. 3–5 and 80. 1; Plut. Ant. 12, Rom. 21, Iul.61): goats and a dog were sacrificed at the Lupercal (a cave at the foot of the *Palatine where a she-wolf reared *Romulus and Remus); the blood was smeared with a knife on the foreheads of two youths (who were obliged to laugh), and wiped with wool dipped in milk; then the Luperci, naked except for girdles from the skin of sacrificial goats, ran (probably) round the Palatine (Varro, Ling. 6. 13, 34) striking bystanders, especially women, with goat-skin thongs (a favourite scene in the iconography of Roman months (R. Amedick, MDAI(R) 1990, 197 ff.)). The Festival combined elements of purification, *lustration and fertility; there have been many interpretations.

Article

J. Linderski

Lustration (lustratio), is the performance (lustrare) of lustrum (lustrum facere), a ceremony of *purification and of averting evil. The main ritual ingredient was a circular procession (circumambulatio, circumagere, often repeated three times); hence a derived meaning of lustrare, ‘to move around something’. The instruments of purification, such as torches and sacrificial animals (in particular the *suovetaurilia), were carried or led (by attendants specially selected on account of their propitious names, bona nomina, Cic. Div. 1. 102) round the perso (s) or the place to be purified, often to the accompaniment of music, chant, and dance. See sacrifice, roman. The victims were sacrificed at the end of the ceremony, and their entrails, exta, inspected (Tib. 2. 1. 25–6). We hear of lustratio of fields (*Cato (Censorius), Agr. 141: fundi, terrae, agri; Verg. G. 1. 338 ff.; Tib. 2. 1), of the village or pagus (conducted by the magistri pagorum, see F.

Article

magic  

H. S. Versnel

Antiquity does not provide clear-cut definitions of what was understood by magic and there is a variety of terms referring to its different aspects. The Greek terms that lie at the roots of the modern term ‘magic’, μάγος, μαγεία, were ambivalent. Originally they referred to the strange but powerful rites of the Persian magi (see magus) and their overtones were not necessarily negative (Pl.Alc. 1. 122: ‘the magian lore of *Zoroaster’). Soon, however, magos was associated with the doubtful practices of the Greek γόης (‘sorcerer’) and hence attracted the negative connotations of quack, fraud, and mercenary (e.g. Soph. OT 386 f.). Through *Aristotle, *Theophrastus, and Hellenistic authors this negative sense also affected the Latin terms magus, magia, magicus. However, in late antiquity, especially in the Greek Magical Papyri, the term μάγος regained an authoritative meaning, somewhat like wizard, and was also embraced by philosophers and theurgists (see theurgy).

Article

Richard Gordon

Roman religion has conventionally been understood as a civic or “polis” religion in which the population performed the same rituals, attended the same festivals, and believed in the same divinities, an image conveyed by the extant Roman historians (including the Greek Polybius) and the antiquarian tradition. This convention has successfully obscured the fact that the range of religious activities in the City, to say nothing of the surrounding areas of central Italy, was in reality always far wider. More neutrally, we may view the religious field at Rome as a site of constant, if intermittent, conflict over effective means of relating to the other world and the legitimate use of religious knowledge, conflict that parallels in a different key the disputes over proper religious observance that took place within the ruling elite itself and its various priestly colleges. If the larger category of dismissal was superstition, the narrower and still more negative one was magical practice. There were however several sub-classes here, of which witchcraft and sorcery were but two. Over the thousand years of knowable Roman history, which saw a single city extend its political and extractive reach to a maximum of 4.4 megametres and then decline, the understanding of magic as malign (i.e., witchcraft/sorcery) altered in often dramatic ways, beginning with anxieties typical of agrarian communities, and culminating in Late Antiquity in charges of lese-majesty at court and routinized attempts at revenge by rival rhetors, to which we can add the deployment of allegations of magic by Christian hardliners in attacking paganism and heretics. A significant process in this history was the gradual appropriation over the last hundred and fifty years of the Republic of a term (magia) and its associated stereotypes from the Hellenistic Greek world, which together provided a medium, widely exploited in a variety of literary genres, for re-figuring the social disruptions that attended the violent self-destruction of the aristocratic régime and remained thereafter a powerful imaginative resource for constructing a variety of boundaries around a moral centre, claimed to be steady but in fact altering very considerably under shifting political, social, and religious conditions.

Article

J. Linderski

We have to distinguish between (a) magistri, the presidents of various associations (see clubs), religious, funerary, and professional (collegia) or territorial (vici, pagi), and (b) the boards of magistri (collegia magistrorum) who acted as supervisors of shrines (curatores fanorum), such as the magistri attested in *Capua, *Delos, and *Minturnae (mod. Minturno) in the last century of the republic. The cult of Lares compitales was in the late republic and under Augustus supervised by the magistri of vici. Also the state priesthoods of *quindecimviri, *fratres arvales, *Salii, Luperci (see Lupercalia) (and *haruspices) possessed as administrative officers the (normally) annually elected magistri. They also performed sacrifices, often assisted by *flamines.

Article

David Potter

Mandulis, Hellenized (i.e. Greek) form of the name of the god Merul or Melul, whose cult was centered at Talmis in *Nubia. The name is unknown in pharaonic Egypt, and his shrine at Talmis was built under the Ptolemies (see Ptolemy (1)) with further work done under *Augustus and *Vespasian.

Article

manes  

C. Robert Phillips

Roman spirits of the dead; probably a euphemism from old Latin manus (‘good’): P. Kretschmer, Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprache (1896), 197 n. 4, Latte, RR 99 n. 3. The singular did not exist: Pompeius in Gramm.Lat. 5. 195. 38 ff. (1) Originally, the dead were undifferentiated, with a collectivity expressed as di manes; Cicero (Leg. 2. 9. 22) quotes the ancient ordinance deorum manium iura sacra sunto (‘let there be holy laws of the dead’). Graves had the formulaic dedication dis manibus sacrum; they were collectively worshipped at three festivals (*Feralia, *Parentalia, *Lemuria), individually on the dead person's birthday (RAC 9. 220, 223). From this come two derivatives: (a) the poets used manes topographically for ‘realm of the dead’: Ov. Fast. 2. 609; Verg. G. 1. 243, Aen. 3. 565, 11. 181). (b) Manes represents all Underworld gods: Verg.

Article

Marcius  

David Potter

The alleged author of prophetic verses (see prophecies) circulating at Rome in the 3rd cent. bce. In 213, verses attributed to him predicting the disaster at *Cannae were circulated at Rome, as were verses to the effect that Rome would only be rid of the foreign enemy if it founded games in honour of Apollo. A subsequent consultation of the Sibylline books (see Sibyl) confirmed this prediction, leading to the foundation of the Ludi Apollinares (Livy 25. 12. 4–12; Macrob.Sat. 1. 17. 25; see ludi).Subsequent ancient scholarship produced several tales about Marcius (and more than one Marcius). According to *Livy, he (singular) was simply ‘a famous prophet’ (25. 12. 3). *Cicero mentions the brothers Marcius, ‘famous prophets’, in two places, and says that ‘Marcius’ wrote in verse (Div. 1. 89, 115, 2. 113); the elder *Pliny(1) says that Marcius was the most famous Roman to write in verse (HN 7.

Article

Gordon Willis Williams

The favourite season was June. Usually on the previous day the bride put away her toga praetexta: she had come of age. Her dress and appearance were ritually prescribed: her hair was arranged in six locks (sex crines), with woollen fillets (vittae), her dress was a straight white woven tunic (tunica recta) fastened at the waist with a “knot of Hercules,” her veil was a great flame-coloured headscarf (flammeum). and her shoes were of the same colour. Friends and clients of both families gathered in the bride's father's house. the bridegroom arrived, words of consent were spoken, and the matron of honour (pronuba) performed the ceremony of linking bride's and bridegroom's right hands (dextrarum iunctio). This was followed by a *sacrifice (generally of a pig), and (in imperial times) the marriage contract (involving dowry) was signed. Then the guests raised the cry of Feliciter! (“Good luck!”).

Article

Mars  

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

Mars (Mavors, Mamars, Oscan Mamers, Etr. Maris; reduplicated Marmar), next to *Jupiter the chief Italian god. Months were named after him at Rome (Martius, mod. Eng. March), *Alba Longa, Falerii (see Faliscans), *Aricia, *Tusculum, *Lavinium, and among the *Hernici, Aequiculi, Paelignians (see Paeligni), and Sabines (see Sabini) (Ov.Fast. 3. 89–95, presumably from *Verrius Flaccus). At Rome his festivals came in March and October, with the exception of the first *Equirria (27 February). They were the feriae Marti on 1 March (old New Year's Day), second Equirria (14 March), agonium Martiale (17 March), *Quinquatrus (19 March; afterwards extended to five days and supposed to be a festival of *Minerva), and *Tubilustrium (23 March). All these may be reasonably explained, so far as their ritual is known, as preparations for the campaigning season, with performance of rites to benefit the horses (Equirria), trumpets (Tubilustrium), and other necessaries for the conduct of war. On 1, 9, and 23 March also, the *Salii, an ancient priesthood belonging to Jupiter, Mars, and *Quirinus (Serv.

Article

Fanny Dolansky

March 1 was the date of the Matronalia festival, which ancient sources generally refer to as either the Kalends of March or the Women’s Kalends. Juno Lucina, goddess of light and childbirth, and Mars, in his more pacific aspects, were the primary recipients of the rites. At Juno Lucina’s temple on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, and presumably at cult sites in other locales, matronae (married freeborn women) offered flowers and prayers to the goddess. The domestic components of the festival involved husbands’ prayers, either for the preservation of their wives or their marriages; a gift exchange; and the feasting of household slaves by their mistresses (dominae). Primarily because of these latter two elements, the Matronalia was regarded by some ancient sources as the female equivalent of the Saturnalia festival, which was observed in December. The Matronalia had a long-recorded history in Italy, and there is evidence that it was celebrated in some provincial locations, including at Carthage and Burdigala (modern Bordeaux).

Article

John Scheid

Matuta Mater, goddess of the dawn (Lucr. 5. 656; Prisc. Inst. 2. 53, ed. M. Hertz (Keil, Gramm. Lat. 3. 76, ll. 18 ff.)) sometimes assimilated to *Leucothea, had an ancient temple in the *forum Boarium, beside that of *Fortuna. During her festival, the Matralia of 11 June (Ov.Fast. 6. 475), matrons made a *cake, expelled a slave from the temple, and recommended to the goddess the children of their sisters over their own. The meaning of the rituals and of the goddess's name has prompted a difference of views between G. Dumézil and H. J. Rose. Dumézil sees Matuta as a goddess of the dawn and has proposed an interpretation of the known elements of the Matralia based on comparison with Vedic mythology. Rose wanted to recognize a goddess of growth. Other interpretations base themselves on the assimilation to Leucothea (see Ino-Leucothea).

Article

David Potter

Sacred meals, either as part of a religious festival or functioning as religious festivals. The notion that a divinity is a participant in the meal with mortals distinguishes these meals from those in which acts of devotion are part of the standard ritual of dining because the act of devotion is the occasion for the meal.The notion that a divinity could share in a meal with mortals was common to many cultures in the ancient Mediterranean and near east (we are insufficiently informed about the cult practices of Celtic, Germanic, and indigenous African peoples to say anything about their beliefs in this regard). In some cases (banquets with the god *Sarapis, for instance), invitations would be issued in the name of the divinity, e.g. ‘Sarapis invites you to dine at his temple’; in other cases the invitation would be issued by a priest (Youtie 1948; Montserrat 1992 (see bibliog. below)). *Homer may illustrate the ideology of these events when he specifically says that the gods could be seen eating with the Phaeacians (Od.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Roman festival on 11 October, from mederi (‘be healed’), that is to say, by tasting old and new *wine (Varro, Ling. 6. 21; Festus Gloss. Lat. 250). The *Vinalia Priora (23 April) appropriately involved new wine; Meditrinalia probably ‘healed’ by mixing new wine with old.

Article

Mefitis  

T. W. Potter

Mefitis, Italic goddess, protectress of fields and flocks and provider of water, associated with sulphurous vapours (Verg. Aen. 7. 84). Her sanctuaries were widespread in Italy, from *Cremona in the north (Tac.Hist. 3. 33) to the *Esquiline in Rome (Varro, Ling. 5. 49), and to Rossano di Vaglio (in Lucanian territory; see Lucania) and Amsanctus (in the region of the Hirpini Samnites; see Samnium) in the south.

Article

Men  

Richard Gordon

Men (Μήνalso Μείς), one of the most important gods of west Anatolia (see Anatolian deities). Etymology uncertain, but the name must derive from a native language. From its home territory of Mysia Abbaitis and west *Phrygia, the cult spread south and east to *Pisidia and *Lycaonia, and down the *Hermus valley. The earliest iconography was formed in *Attica, where a few dedications by *metics (4th–3rd cent. bce) survive. Almost all the other evidence is Anatolian, from the Principate (no significant literary evidence). The c.370 surviving inscriptions suggest a high god (Τύραννος, Οὐράνιος, Μέγας) invoked to obtain healing, safety, and prosperity, confirmed by the iconography of Men riding a horse, or carrying spear or sceptre. His most characteristic sign is the crescent moon, either alone or behind his shoulders; as moon-god, Men was linked with the Underworld, agricultural fertility, and the protection of tombs. The cult was highly local: Men almost always bears a native local epithet, and sometimes the name of the local cult-founder too. Different aspects of the god seem to be stressed in each area. There were several large temple-estates with tied villages (Strabo 12. 3. 31; 8. 14, 20).

Article

Mens  

Nicholas Purcell

Personified Roman deity of good counsel (gnōmē or euboulia in Greek), whose temple on the Capitoline (see Capitol) was vowed after the disaster at *Trasimene (217 bce) and dedicated in 215. It was restored by M. *Aemilius Scaurus(1) at a time (after 115 bce) when senatorial euboulia was in need of some advertisement (Plut.

Article

John Scheid

Mercurius (Mercury), patron god of circulation, known as well in Campania (at *Capua and in the *Falernus ager, Vetter nos. 136, 264) and Etruria (the *Etruscan deity Turms). According to ancient tradition, in 495 bce Mercury received an official temple on the SW slope of the *Aventine, its anniversary falling on 15 May (FestusGloss. Lat. 267). He was foreign in origin in the view of some scholars (Latte, RR 162), but others see him as an Italic and Roman deity (Dumézil, ARR 439 f.; Radke, Götter, 214 ff.). On any view his cult was old, and it had close links with shopkeepers and transporters of goods, notably grain; also, at the *lectisternium of 399 bce he was associated with *Neptunus, and, at that of 217 bce, with *Ceres. But his function was not simply the protection of businessmen (see negotiatores) or ‘the divine power inherent in merx [merchandise]’ (Combet-Farnoux).

Article

H. S. Versnel

A type of tale focusing on a miraculous transformation into a new shape. Tales of transformations of a divine or human being into an animal, plant, or inanimate object were very popular throughout antiquity. Already attested in Homer, they were given a literary form later. Collections of these tales are known to have existed from the Hellenistic period onwards. *Nicander of Colophon (2nd cent. bce) wrote Ἑτεροιούμενα, *Parthenius of Nicaea (1st cent. bce) Μεταμορφώσεις. These and similar collections are now lost except for a book of excerpts by *Antoninus Liberalis. They provided the model and material for Ovid's Metamorphoses, recording some 250 transformations from the creation of the world to the reign of Augustus. After Ovid the most famous literary metamorphosis is that in *Apuleius' Metamorphoses (2nd cent. ce), relating the transformation of Lucius into an ass and his final, miraculous, restoration to human shape by the goddess Isis. Outside the realm of fiction, magicians (and gods) were generally believed to be able to change their own shapes and those of others.