41-60 of 321 Results  for:

  • Roman Myth and Religion x
Clear all

Article

Charles Stewart and John North

Currently ‘belief’ has at least three different meanings in the context of religion: (1) an inner psychological state of pious commitment; (2) the acceptance of received ideas; and (3) the doctrines held by others, contrasted with ‘our’ knowledge. Granted this polysemy, the use of the term ‘belief’ in the study of other societies has often introduced confusion. Furthermore, a particular western history beginning with the rise of Christianity (see below) has fundamentally shaped contemporary understandings of ‘belief’, rendering it inapplicable to pre-Christian antiquity. This history includes the advent of Protestant sects emphasizing the individualistic interiority of faith, and the Enlightenment propagation of a scientific rationality that displaced belief in God amongst a significant portion of the population. Belief has today become, implicitly, if not always explicitly, an affirmation of religious conviction in the face of surrounding scepticism. The peculiarity of modern belief is this propositional and assertive quality.The embrace of the gods throughout Greek and Roman antiquity was, by contrast, dispositional—a fact of socialization only infrequently subjected to sceptical reflection. Belief in the gods was normally a matter of unchallenged acceptance, not of debate: the jurisdiction of the Olympian gods is so pervasively assumed in *Homer's Iliad that even the Trojans perform rituals for the Olympians and enjoy their protection.

Article

Bellona  

Herbert Jennings Rose and John North

Bellona (older form Duellona), Roman goddess of war. She had no flamen (see flamines) and no festival in the calendar, unlike the major ancient deities; she acquired her temple as late as the 290s bce (Livy 10. 19. 17); but the presence of her name in the ancient formula of *devotio (Livy 8. 9. 6) suggests that she was nevertheless an archaic Roman goddess, whether or not belonging to the circle of Mars. Her temple was built in the Campus Martius, outside the pomerium, and was a frequent meeting-place of the senate when dealing with generals returning from war. In front of it was the area used by the *fetiales in declarations of war. Bellona was successively identified with Nerio, the cult-partner of *Mars; with Enyo, the Greek war-goddess; and with Mā, the Mother Goddess of *Cappadocia.

Article

J. Linderski

When lightning struck, the Etruscan and Roman ritual prescribed that the bolt be buried (often inscribed fulgur conditum), and the place enclosed (Luc. 1. 606–8; 8. 864). The ancients derived the name from the sacrificial victim (bidens, ‘having two teeth’), but it may be a rendering of the Etruscan word for the bolt.

Article

Bona Dea (the Good Goddess—this is her title, not name, which is uncertain), an Italian goddess, worshipped especially in Rome and Latium. In Rome, she had an annual nocturnal ceremony held at the house of a chief magistrate, from which men were rigorously excluded (see clodius pulcher, publius); it was led by the women of the magistrate's family with the help of the *Vestal virgins (Cic. Har. res. 37; Plut. Caes. 9). It was a state ritual, performed in secret, for the welfare of the Roman people (pro salute populi Romani). Some detail is recorded: the room was decorated with vine-branches and other plants; wine was brought in contained in a covered jar, but it was called milk and the jar a honey-pot. The epigraphic record presents a picture quite distinct from this secret aristocratic rite: there is no sign of secrecy; the worshippers are often slaves or freed persons; men are not infrequent dedicants. The inscriptions are quite widespread within Italy, but rare outside. The Romans evidently had their own version of the cult; it is not clear whether theirs was the original one.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Bonus Eventus, personified god of the good outcome of agricultural labour (Varro Rust. 1. 1. 6), and, by extension, other human activity. A porticus near the baths of *Agrippa at Rome dedicated to him was probably associated with a temple (Amm. Marc. 29. 6. 19): inscriptions suggest that the cult was popular.

Article

J. Linderski

Texts produced by religions of classical antiquity fall into three broad categories: (1) Texts emanating from or inspired by a divinity. Some of them reached the status of sacred books, and formed a notionally immutable foundation of a creed, such as the books of the Judaean and Christian canon; here also belong, albeit to a lesser extent, because they were never definitely codified, various scripts of mystery cults: *Dionysiaca, *Hermetica, *Isiaca, *Orphica, also texts of *Mithraism, of Judaean and Christian sects, of *Gnostics and *Manichaeans. All these texts (also Christian books until the victory of the Church) existed at the religious margins of Greek and Roman society. Gods also communicated through *oracles, *dreams, the words of *prophets, and a variety of signs (*divination, *portents), but these messages mostly referred to particular situations, and thus only rarely could acquire a general ethical or theological dimension. (2) Official (and dominant) religions of classical antiquity (with the partial exception of Etruscan religion) were not based on divine proclamations encased in sacred books. They were empirical creeds: their knowledge of the Divine was not revealed, but was acquired through experience. Their main preoccupation was not theology but ritual: how to ascertain the gods’ will and gain their favour. Hence the importance of detailed prescriptions and regulations concerning divination, *sacrifices, *festivals, and *calendar, and of records of past performances and of divine communications.

Article

Cacus  

C. Robert Phillips

For the Augustans (Verg. Aen. 8. 190–279; Livy 1. 7. 3–15, with Ogilvie's notes; Prop. 4. 9; Ov. Fast. 1. 543–86, with Bömer's notes, 5. 643–52) a savage fire-breathing monster whose thieving terrified the locals on the *Palatine (*Aventine according to Virgil; but the Scalae Caci on the Palatine imply otherwise: P. Pensabene, LTUR 4.239–40, ‘Scalae Caci’); he stole some of Geryon's cattle from *Heracles/Hercules, who killed him. This Hellenized version relied on Heracles traditions (cf. Hdt. 4. 8) and a false etymology from the Greek kakos (evil: Servius on Aen. 8. 190), and provided an aetiology for the cult of Hercules at the Ara Maxima (Ogilvie on Livy 5. 13. 6). Originally a sister Caca (Lactant.Div. Inst. 1. 20. 36, Serv.; J. Aronen, LTUR 1.205, ‘Caca, Sacellum’) makes him a bisexual deity, possibly *chthonian, connected with fire (Serv.). Dubious connection with Caeculus, founder of *Praeneste, of whom a miracle involving fire is related (Servius on Aen.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Caelestis, ‘heavenly’, the epithet of *Juno at Carthage, successor to, and inheritor of many aspects of, the Carthaginian Tinnit (Tanit). The cult, with an oracle, was important in Roman *Carthage, where it became an emblem of the province of Africa, and is found later at Rome and in other centres. Caelestis was closely linked with Baal, interpreted in Latin as *Saturnus, and had points of contact with many other cults including the Magna Mater.

Article

Jörg Rüpke

The Roman calendar developed from a group of Italian luni-solar calendars into a purely solar calendar at the end of the 4th century bce in the context of a political and juridical codification. The resulting graphic form of the fasti was unique in its documentation of all the days of the year. At Rome, it served as a frame for religious and historical data. The complex form of intercalation was reduced by C. Iulius Caesar to a single day, fixing new length of months and establishing a stable relationship with astronomic phenomena. In this shape, and stripped from its urban contents to a technical and emperor-related instrument, it served as a universal point of reference, into which all local calendars made themselves translatable. Despite its many religious associations, it thus survived into Christian Late Antiquity and into today’s widespread “Gregorian calendar.”A calendar is a form of organising time, above all of dividing the year into subunits of months and weeks, and of classifying days. The Romans had no corresponding concept; describing such a form of time-reckoning as well as social coordination, they would have used the term .

Article

Camenae  

Nicholas Purcell

Goddesses of a spring (from which the *Vestals drew their daily water), meadow, and grove below the *Caelian hill just outside the porta Capena at Rome. They included *Egeria, and were linked traditionally with the inspiration of King *Numa and in turn were identified with the *Muses (at least from the time of Livius Andronicus (Liv.

Article

Camilla  

Arthur Stanley Pease

A legendary Volscian maiden, whose father Metabus, in flight fastened her to a javelin, dedicated her to *Diana, and threw her across the Amisenus river. After life as a huntress she joined the forces of *Turnus (1), engaged in battle, and was killed by the Etruscan *Arruns. Virgil alone (Aen.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and Simon Price

Camillus, fem. camilla, the ancient name for acolytes in Roman cult; the normal term was pueri et puellae ingenui patrimi matrimique. They might be the children of the officiant, but must, as the phrase states, be below the age of puberty, be free-born, and have both parents alive.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Caprotina, title of *Juno, from Nonae Caprotinae (‘Nones of the Wild *Fig’) on 7 July, to whom freedwomen and female slaves sacrificed, then fighting a mock battle with fig-tree sticks (Varro, Ling. 6. 18; Macrob. Sat. 1. 11. 36 ff.). These activities do not appear in extant calendars. The connection of fig and Juno implies an original fertility ritual (cf. Plut. Rom.

Article

Capys  

Stephen J. Harrison

Capys, (1) father of *Anchises (Il. 20. 239); (2) companion of Aeneas and founder of *Capua (Aen. 10. 145); (3) king of *Alba Longa (Livy 1. 3. 8).

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Caristia (cara cognatio), Roman family festival on 22 February. Ovid (Fast. 2. 617–38) makes it a reunion of surviving family members after the *Parentalia's rites to the departed (February 13–21), and the presence of the ancestral spirits (*Lares: Fast. 2. 631–4) supports that. Valerius Maximus (2. 1. 8) adds that no outsiders were admitted and family quarrels were settled. It appears under the date in the calendars of Filocalus and Polemius Silvius, under February in the Menologia rustica.

Article

John Scheid

Hymn sung during the sacrifice to *Dea Dia by the *fratres arvales (arval brethren). Although only recorded in an inscriptional copy of ce 218 (A. Gordon, Album of Dated Latin Inscriptions (1958), 44 no. 276) and marred by errors of transcription, this hymn is of great interest, because it dates from the 4th cent. bce at the latest (Lases for Lares). Norden believed that it revealed the influence of Greek poetry. In spite of the problems that it poses, the hymn is understandable. It is addressed to the *Lares, Semones (see semo sancus dius fidius), and *Mars. The first two groups of deities are invoked three times one after the other, Mars three times thrice. The carmen culminates in a quintuple cry of triumph (triumpe). In the context of the sacrifice to Dea Dia, these divinities are requested to guarantee the integrity of the land and the harvest, so that Dea Dia can exercise her office there.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Carmentis or Carmenta (the latter Greek and seldom Latin, as Hyg. Fab. 277. 2), meaning ‘full of *carmen (divine incantation)’; see A. Ernout and A. Meillet, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine2 (1959), s.v. ‘carmen’; A. Walde and J. B. Hoffmann, Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (1938–54), s.v. ‘carmen’; Ogilvie, Comm. Livy 1–5 1. 7. 8, and, for other etymologies, Ov. Fast. 1. 619–20, Plut. Quaest. Rom. 56. Connected with *childbirth (cf. the two Carmentes, Prorsa and Postverta, in reference to the child's position in the womb: Varro, Antiquitates Romanae Divinae frs. 103–4 Cardauns, with his comments), prophecy (Serv. on Aen. 8. 51), or both (fasti Praenestini, 11 January), although the prohibition on leather (Ov. Fast. 1. 629; cf. Varro, Ling. 7. 84) implies childbirth. Mythologically a prophetess, mother of *Evander paralleling *Themis of the Greek tradition (Serv. on Aen. 8. 336), she (Hyg. Fab.

Article

John Wight Duff and Simon Price

Carmina triumphalia, songs sung, in accordance with ancient custom, by soldiers at a *triumph, either in praise of their victorious general or in a satiric ribaldry supposed to avert the evil eye from him.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Castor and Pollux, the temple of the *Dioscuri (aedes Castorum or even Castoris) at Rome, in the Forum, beside the Fountain of Juturna, was attributed (see especially Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 6. 13. 1–2) to the deities’ miraculous intervention in the early 5th cent. bce in the battle of Lake *Regillus in response to the vow of the dictator A. Postumius (they brought the news of the victory to Rome in person). Recent excavation has shown that the first temple is indeed of about this date, and that it was little smaller than the rebuildings of L. *Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus (117) and Tiberius (dedicated 6 ce), lavish though the last was. This was accordingly one of the first monumental structures in the vicinity of the Forum, and long the most imposing—testimony to the importance of the cavalry in the early Roman state: the function of the Dioscuri in other Latin towns, as attested by inscriptions (e.g. ILLRP 1271), and the link with the equestrian order (see equites) and its annual parade, the transvectio of 15 July, which survived into the imperial period, leave little doubt that that was the principal association of the original cult.

Article

Ceres  

Herbert Jennings Rose and John Scheid

An ancient Italo-Roman goddess of growth (her name derives from † ker- ‘growth’), commonly identified in antiquity with *Demeter. Her name (*OscanKerri-, see the ‘Curse of Vibia’, Conway, Ital. Dial. 130, 1) suggests that of Cerus (‘in carmine Saliari Cerus manus intellegitur creator bonus’, Festus (Paul) Gloss. Lat., 248–9), but in cult she is found associated not with him but with *Tellus. This is shown by the juxtaposition of their festivals (*Fordicidia, to Tellus, 15 April; Cerialia, 19 April) and the fact that the feriae sementiuae (‘sowing festivals’) are celebrated in January in honour of both (Ov. Fast. 1. 657 ff., on which see Bayet, Croyances et rites (1971), 177 ff.). The occurrence of the Cerialia on the calendars and the existence of a flamen Cerialis testify to the antiquity of Ceres’ cult at Rome, but her whole early history is extremely obscure, particularly her relations, if any, with non-Italian (Greek) deities; see, for some ingenious conjectures, F.