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Article

Pomona  

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

Italo-Roman goddess of poma, i.e. fruits, especially such as grow on trees (apples etc. ). Her *flamen was lowest in rank of all (minimus, Festus Gloss. Lat. 272–3), corresponding apparently to the small importance of her province. She had a sacred place, pomonal, 20 km. (12 mi.) out of Rome on the via Ostiensis (Festus Gloss.

Article

Andrew Drummond

Numa Pompilius, legendary second king of Rome (traditionally 715–673 bce), from whom the Aemilii, Calpurnii, Marcii, Pinarii, and Pomponii later claimed descent. Reputedly a Sabine (see sabini) from Cures, our sources schematically attribute to him much of the basic framework of Roman public religion through his institution of cults, rituals, priesthoods, and calendar reforms (so Ennius, Ann. 113–19 Skutsch). Already in Ennius he claimed to have received instruction from *Egeria and (an originally distinct?) Greek or Grecizing tradition, going back at least to 181 bce (when alleged ‘books of Numa’ were discovered and destroyed), made him a pupil of *Pythagoras. Rationalistic historians reinterpreted Egeria as a political fiction and the discarding of the Pythagoras story on chronological grounds enables *Cicero (Rep. 2. 28 f.) and *Livy (1. 18. 2 ff.) to stress Numa's native credentials. Accounts of Numa's reforms (including, e.g., the encouragement of settled agriculture) are equally unhistorical and are elaborated according to individual taste: Livy (1. 18 ff.), for example, discards stories of divine instruction and miraculous encounters with deities (*Valerius Antias fr.

Article

John North

Pontifex/pontifices, one of the four major colleges of the Roman priesthood. The college of pontifices was a more complicated structure than the other three, containing as full members the *rex sacrorum (the republican priest who took over the king's religious functions) and the three major *flamines as well as the pontifices proper; the Vestals (see vesta) and the minor flamines together with the pontifical scribe were also part of and under the authority of the college. The pontifices themselves were originally three in number, all *patricians; new members were co-opted by the old ones. In an archaic priestly order preserved by Festus (299 L), the rex and the flamines take precedence over the pontifex, but this may reflect the situation of the regal period, not that of the early republic.The college's duties were wide-ranging: they had general oversight of the state cult—sacrifices (see sacrifice, roman), games (see ludi), festivals and other rituals; they advised magistrates and private individuals on the sacred law and kept books which recorded their rules and decisions; they had special areas of concern in relation to families and clans (gentes; see gens)—the control of adoptions, burial law, the inheritance of religious duties (sacra familiaria); some argue that their legal role originally extended far more widely into the civil law.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

An obscure Roman festival on 5 July. Its name resembles that of the equally puzzling *Regifugium. The ancients explained it as the flight of the people at the death of *Romulus (Dion. Hal.Ant. Rom. 2. 56. 5, Plut.Rom. 29) or the ritual routs of Latin armies celebrated by offerings to Vitula on July 8 (Macrob.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

God worshipped in the *Tiber harbour at Rome (festival, the Portunalia, 17 August; a flamen is attested). Originally linked with ‘ways in’ in the wider sense, his cult came to concern *harbours in general, and at Rome was associated, probably from the 6th cent. bce, with the Corinthian sea-faring cults of Palaemon (see isthmia; melicertes) and Leucothea (see ino-leucothea).

Article

Corinne Ondine Pache

That a human being might become possessed by a supernatural power was a fairly common ancient belief. The effect might be a sudden change in behavior, the altered state of consciousness associated with Dionysiac ritual, or a prophetic frenzy as in the case of a divinely inspired trance (see Delphic oracle). Plato (Phaedr. 244a ff., esp. 265a-c) distinguishes between prophetic (mantikê, inspired by Apollo), mystical (telestikê, inspired by Dionysus), poetic (inspired by the Muses), and erotic (inspired by Aphrodite and Eros) possession. Sources also differentiate between unprompted possession and possession sought through ritual, as in the case of the Pythia at Delphi who became ἔνθεος (“inspired” or “filled with a god”) and whose body became a medium for the god’s voice.Words such as θεόληπτος, θεοφόρητος, or κάτοχος (expressing the notion “possessed by (a) god”), carried an ambivalent meaning. On the one hand, they referred to terrifying pathological experiences, such as epileptic strokes or various types of insanity. On the other hand, possession involved direct contact with a god and thus could effect a kind of sacralization. Socrates mentions the possibility of becoming “seized by the nymphs” (νυμφόληπτος) while conversing in a sanctuary dedicated to nymphs (Phaedr.

Article

Edward Togo Salmon and T. W. Potter

Praeneste (mod. Palestrina), with interesting polygonal walls, occupied a cool, lofty spur of the *Apennines 37 km. (23 mi.) east-south-east of Rome. Traditionally founded in the mythical period (Verg. Aen. 7. 678), the oldest finds belong to the recent bronze age. Immensely rich burials of *Etruscan type and 7th-cent. date show it to be the pre-eminent city in this region at that time. It first appears in history in the 5th cent. bce as a powerful Latin city (see latini) whose strategic site facing the Alban Hills was inevitably attacked by *Aequi. In the 4th cent. it frequently fought Rome and, after participating in the Latin War, was deprived of territory and became a civitas foederata which still possessed ius exilii 200 years later (Polyb. 6. 14) and apparently preferred its own to Roman citizenship (Livy 23. 19 f.; see citizenship, roman). After 90 bce Praeneste became a Roman municipium devoted to C.

Article

prayer  

H. S. Versnel

Prayer was the most common form of expression in ancient religion. It could be formal or informal and was often accompanied by other acts of worship, e.g. *sacrifice or vow (the Greek word euchē meant both prayer and vow). The earliest instance of an independent formal prayer, namely the prayer of the priest Chryses to *Apollo in Il. 1. 37 ff., presents a complete set of the fixed constitutive elements of ancient prayer. These are: (1) invocation. The god is addressed with his (cult) nam (s), patronymic, habitual residence, functions, and qualities. This part serves both to identify and to glorify the god. (2) The argument (in older literature called pars epica), consisting of considerations that might persuade a god to help, e.g. a reminder of the praying person's acts of piety, or a reference to the god's earlier benefactions or his natural inclination to help people. This part often expanded into a eulogy with narrative aspects, especially in *hymns.

Article

John North

Cities in the Graeco-Roman world always had men and women, often of high rank, specially chosen for the service of the gods and goddesses. They might be serving for life or for a fixed term; they might be holding a hereditary position, or be publicly elected or selected by some other method, or the office might (at least in the Greek world) be put up for sale. The offices always carried honour, but often too, especially in later periods, the expectation of high expenditure by the holders. (See euergetism.) The duties varied a great deal, from quite humble service to high authority and power.

Greek and Latin have several terms referring to these positions—hiereis and sacerdotes are only the most common; in English, ‘priest’ is used as a generic term for all of them, but implies a potentially misleading unity of conception and an analogy with the roles of priesthood in later religions. Pagan priests did not form a separate group or caste and seldom devoted their whole lives to religious activity; characteristically, they performed their religious duties on special occasions or when required and otherwise continued with the same range of social or political activities as other members of their social groups. Above all, there was no religious community, separate from the civic community, with its own personnel or power-structure. Nor did priests monopolize religious action or communication with the gods and goddesses: fathers of families, leaders of social groups, officials of the city, all had the power of religious action, with priests as advisers or helpers. So far as the city itself was concerned, it might well be the city authorities who took the religious decisions and the magistrates (elected officials), not the priests, who took religious actions on the city's behalf.

Article

Jacob Latham

A procession (πομπή/pompa), at a basic level, is the ritualized escort of someone or something from one place to another by some group before some audience—an ordinary walk transformed by means of performance traditions and customary rules into a more or less spectacular pageant, whose significance derives, in part, from a variable calculus of honoree, cortege, itinerary, audience, and performance. The honoree(s), triumphant generals, the deceased, images of the gods, sacrificial animals, etc., were accompanied by a processional cortege, typically a specific social group (like the worshippers of Isis in a particular city) or a collection of groups imagined as a civic cross-section. The procession then traversed an itinerary, creating a symbolically charged pathway that transformed urban space into significant place. Processions may be produced with varying degrees of theatricality, while the same procession could vary from one performance to the next. Despite such variation, a shared set of production techniques and values, a kind of processional koine, spanned the Mediterranean. Processions were thus constrained by custom and open to innovation—and audiences could be attentive to both. In the end, ritualized walking (one way of understanding a procession) impacted both the urban imaginary, creating community, and urban practices, marking spatial significance.

Article

David Potter

Prophecies, texts purporting to be the work of inspired sages, had an important role in Graeco-Roman thought. Collections of prophecies, which are attested as early as the 6th cent. bce (Hdt. 7. 6), might be attributed to a divine or semi-divine character such as *Orpheus, *Bacis, or a *Sibyl; they could be presented as accounts of moments where an individual was seized by a prophetic fit, or collections of significant oracles that either emanated, or were claimed to have emanated, from major oracular shrines. The priests of *Delphi are said to have assembled such a collection for *Croesus in the 6th cent. (Hdt. 1. 91), *Porphyry assembled a collection of such texts in the 3rd cent. ce to offer explanations of cult practices, and Christians took over portions of these collections to illustrate intimations of Christian truth in pagan texts.The purveyors of such texts, usually called chresmologoi in Greek and by a number of different titles in Latin (including vates, prophetes, and hariolus), ordinarily did not claim inspiration for themselves, and it is impossible to know what role they played in the actual composition of such works.

Article

John Scheid

Providentia, learned term for prudentia, ‘foresight’, the capacity to distinguish good from bad, which became, under the influence of the pronoia (‘forethought’) of *Stoicism, a virtue of statesmen. Providentia Augusti became the object of cult at the beginning of the Principate. It expressed the wise forethought of *Augustus in regulating the succession in ce 4, before being extended to other fields of imperial forethought. The altar of AugustanProvidentia was sited in the *Campus Martius near the *Ara Pacis Augustae. Its anniversary fell on June 26, date of the *adoption by Augustus of the future emperor *Tiberius. The date of the altar's construction is unknown. It was already in existence by ce 20, since it is mentioned in the senatus consultum about Cn. *Calpurnius Piso (2). The Providentia Augusti was invoked on the discovery of conspiracies and was a frequent theme in imperial coinage. From the time of *Hadrian, Providentia deorum, protectress of the imperial family and the empire, was invoked alongside Providentia Augusti.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Pudicitia, the personification at Rome of women's *chastity and modesty, interestingly identified originally as specific to patrician women until the cult of Pudicitia Patricia in the *forum Boarium was challenged (296 bce) by one Virginia, a patrician lady married to a plebeian consul (Livy 10. 23. 6–10), who established a cult of Pudicitia Plebeia in part of her home. The cult was also exclusive of all but women who had married only once. *Livy laments the decline in moral standards of participants in the cult by his time.

Article

J. Linderski

Pulvinar, a cushioned couch on which images (or representations, struppi, bundles of herbs, Festus, Gloss. Lat. 56, 408, 437) of gods were placed at a *lectisternium, either inside (Livy 21. 62. 5) or in front of a temple or *altar (also loosely used to denote a podium or temple, Ps.-Acro, Hor. Carm.

Article

puteal  

Glenys Davies

Puteal, the circular stone surround of a well-head, but also the stone coping marking a place that was sacred. Thus the puteal Libonis or Scribonianum in the forum Romanum was a monument shaped like a well-head marking the spot where lightning had struck: the form of the monument is known from its representation on coins, but only the tufa foundations were excavated in 1950.

Article

Stephen J. Harrison

Pyramus and Thisbe are the hero and heroine of a love story mainly known from Ovid, Met., 4. 55–165. They were next-door neighbours in Babylon, and, as their parents would not let them marry, they talked with each other through a crack in the party wall between the houses. Finally, they arranged to meet at Ninus’s tomb. There Thisbe was frightened by a lion coming from its kill; she dropped her cloak as she ran and the lion mauled it. Pyramus, finding the bloodstained cloak and supposing Thisbe dead, killed himself; she returned, found his body, and followed his example. Their blood stained a mulberry tree, whose fruit has ever since been black when ripe, in sign of mourning for them. The story is likely to be derived to some degree from Hellenistic sources, according to which the two lovers may have been transformed into a river and a stream, and can be linked with the eastern Mediterranean and the river Pyramus in Cilicia. Ovid’s narrative, told by the daughters of Minyas who show stereotypically ‘feminine’ romantic interests in Roman terms, may draw on a lost Greek novelistic source, as well as taking elements from the plots of new comedy (young neighbours in love). Ovid’s narrative is highly popular in art, especially in Pompeian wall paintings; it is notably picked up by Shakespeare in the 1590s, in comic form as the subject of the parodic play of the rude mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in tragic form in its adaptation in the suicides of the protagonists in Romeo and Juliet.

Article

Quindecimviri sacris faciundis, one of the four major colleges (see collegium) of the Roman priesthood (see priests). The size of the college increased gradually, starting at two (duoviri), reaching ten (decemviri) in 367 bce, fifteen, and finally sixteen (though the name remained quindecimviri) in the late republic. Like the other colleges, they lost the right to select their own members through the lex Domitia of 104 bce, but continued to be recruited by popular election from the noblest families. Their main functions throughout their history were to guard the Sibylline books (Greek oracles, dating supposedly from the reign of King Tarquin (*Tarquinius Superbus), and consisting for the most part of ritual texts, not prophetic utterances; see sibyl); to consult the books when asked to do so by the senate, particularly in response to prodigies (see portents) or other disasters; and to provide the appropriate religious remedies derived from them.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Roman festival on 19 March which opened the army's new campaign season. Later connected with Minerva: Ov.Fast. 3. 809 ff. with Bömer's notes.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

Quirinus, a god claimed as Sabine in origin by the ancients (e.g. Ov.Fast. 2. 475 ff.). Except that his functions resembled those of *Mars and that he had sacred arms (FestusGloss. Lat.321), we know little of him; he regularly forms a third with *Jupiter and Mars (e.g. Livy 8. 9. 6); his *flamen is the lowest of the three flamines maiores and the third *spolia opima belong to him (Servius on Aen. 6. 859). His flamen's activities are known only in the service of other deities (Gell. 7. 77. 7; Ov. Fast. 4. 910; Tert.De spect.5). His festival is on 17 Feb.; his cult-partner is Hora (Gell. 13. 23. 2), of whom nothing is known. He may first have appeared as a local deity of a community on the *Quirinal, but the most plausible etymology is still that of Kretschmer (Glotta1920, 147 ff.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

When *Hannibal, attempting to raise the siege of *Capua in 211 bce, made a demonstration against Rome, a shrine was erected at Rome to the unknown power which made him go back again, under the name of Rediculus, from redere, ‘to turn back’ (Festus 354. 25; 355. 6 Lindsay). It stood outside the porta Capena, and the deity may have been surnamed Tutanus (Varro, Sat.