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Article

Numicus  

T. W. Potter

Numicus (or Numicius) (mod. Fosso di Pratica), the creek near *Lavinium in *Latium where *Aeneas allegedly perished. He was subsequently venerated in the sanctuary of *Sol Indiges at the mouth of the river, where he is supposed to have landed. Finds show that the sanctuary was in existence by the 5th cent. bce.

Article

Ops  

John Scheid

Ops, personified Abundance, seen by the Romans as very ancient (Varr., Ling. 5. 74), was honoured above all during the Opiconsiva of 25 August and the Opalia of 19 December, in conjunction with the god *Consus. Ops consiva was patron of the reserved (condere, Consus) portion of the harvest (ops). This important function earned her a shrine in the *Regia (Varr.Ling. 5. 74; Festus Gloss. Lat.302), a temple on the *Capitol (Livy 39. 22. 4, where she bears the epithet opifera, bearer of abundance), and, after her late association with a reinterpreted *Saturnus, an altar in company with Ceres, ‘at the forum’, on the Vicus iugarius (10 August ce 7, Inscr. Ital. 13. 2. 493), no doubt coinciding with a time of *famine (Dio Cass. 55. 31. 3).

Article

Richard Gordon

Although eastern influences, real or imagined, were by no means absent from Greek mythology and cult prior to *Alexander(3) the Great, the term ‘oriental religions’ typically designates the cults of a variety of divinities originating in Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent, which, spreading beyond their homeland, arrived in Italy and the W. Mediterranean between the late 3rd cent. bce and the 3rd cent. ce. Though the outlandish character of individual cults was noted in antiquity, the term corresponds to no ancient distinction.The history of the term may be roughly divided into three phases. From the Renaissance to c.1900, it was used casually to account for ‘decadence’, whether of Italo-Roman religion or paganism in general. For one strand of post-Renaissance Humanism, exemplified by Gibbon, it embraced Christianity. F. Cumont's Les Religions orientales dans le paganisme romain (1906), however, was the first attempt to give the notion explanatory power: he assimilated religious movements from Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, and Persia to one another as mystery religions concerned with a promise of after-life. As such, they prepared the way for Christianity. Cumont himself, by including *astrology and *magic, and by introducing Bacchic cult (see dionysus) into the 4th edition (1929), muddied the claim.

Article

Osiris  

Richard Gordon

Osiris (Egypt. wsἰr), the Egyptian god whose death and resurrection provided the model for the fate of each Pharaoh, and, from the Middle Kingdom, also of non-royal persons. The association with Pharaoh is most marked at Abydus in Upper Egypt. In the Pyramid Texts, he is killed by his brother *Set, but his body is prevented by *Isis and Nephthys from rotting, and restored to life. The myth gradually grew in complexity, esp. in the Late Period: Plut., De Is. et Os.12–19 (indispensable comm. and trans., by J. G. Griffiths, 1970). In iconography, Osiris, as ‘lord of the west’, appears as a mummy holding crook and ‘flail’, most commonly in the New Kingdom as judge with *Anubis at the ‘weighing of the heart’. The basis of the Hellenistic/Roman Osirian *mysteries however was probably the ‘festival of Choiak’, the celebration of Osiris' death and resurrection (cf. Apul. Met.

Article

Stephen Hinds

Born in 43 bce, Ovid first made his name at Rome as a playful and experimental love poet, in the Amores, the epistolary Heroides, and the didactic Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris; by about 2 ce, he was able to claim that “elegy owes as much to me as epic does to Virgil.” Concurrently with the epic Metamorphoses, he was at work (2–8 ce) on the elegiac Fasti, a poetical calendar of the Roman year, with one book devoted to each month; and he would spend his final decade further extending the range of elegy with the pleas and laments of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, sent to Rome from afar, along with the curse-poetry of the Ibis. When Ovid turned in his forties to epic, he did not attempt direct competition with the already classic Aeneid. The 15-book Metamorphoses recounted dozens of tales from classical and Near Eastern myth and legend, with no central hero, but with characters and settings changing every few pages; every episode was in some way a story of supernatural transformation, and the whole took the ostensibly chronological form of a history of the universe. As the epic neared completion in 8 ce, the poet was suddenly banished by the emperor Augustus to the Black Sea frontier, (a) for the perceived immorality of the almost decade-old Ars Amatoria, and (b) for a still-mysterious error or indiscretion.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Roman public festival (publica sacra: Festus, Gloss. Lat.350) of the pagi, (village communities; see pagus). Listed as one of the movable feasts (feriae conceptiuae) by Macrob. Sat. 1. 16. 6; anachronistically attributed to Servius *Tullius by Dion. Hal.Ant. Rom. 4. 15. 1–4. Sometimes linked with the January 24–6 Sementiuae (Ov. Fast. 1. 655–704 with Bömer's notes) but Varro (Ling. 6. 24, 26), while noting both festivals' agricultural basis, clearly differentiates the Paganalia as one ‘that the entire pagus might celebrate in the fields’ (ut haberent in agris omnis pagus). Wissowa connects it with the Compitalia of January 3–5 (Ges. Abhl.236–40; cf. RE 4. 793–4). Certainty on its date of celebration thus becomes impossible.

Article

Philip Rousseau

The Latin word paganus means literally “one who inhabits a *pagus”: see Festus, 247Lindsay, and *Servius's comment on *Virgil's phrase pagos et compita circum (G. 2. 382). By imperial times (e.g. Tac.Hist. 3. 24. 3, Plin.Ep. 10. 86b), the term was applied to one who stayed at home or lived a civilian life. Christian reference implied one who was not a miles Christi (hence fides pagana and paganus fidelis in Tert. De corona 11. 4 f. and numerous examples thereafter). Paganismus was first used in the 4th century by Marius Victorinus (Ep. ad Galatios 2. 4. 9) and *Augustine (Div. quaest. 83. 83). Traditional usage nevertheless persisted (Prudent.Cath. 11. 87, Macrob.Sat. 1. 16. 6).Both expressions, in the Christian era, may have been colloquial (see Cod. Theod. 16. 5. 46 of 409ce and AugustineEp.

Article

Palici  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Antony Spawforth

Palici (Παλικοί), *Sicel twin-gods of the small lake (Lago dei Palici) near Menaeum in the Sicilian interior, which sends up a considerable amount of natural gas. Allegedly a suspected person might go to the lake and swear he was innocent; if he lied, he lost his life by the power of the gods (the gases are in fact somewhat poisonous); if not, he returned safe and might claim damages from his accuser. Their legend was that a local *nymph, Thalia, being pregnant by *Zeus, begged to be swallowed up in the earth to escape Hera; this was granted to her, and when she bore twins they made their way up through the pools known as Delloi. Traces of the sanctuary described by Diod. Sic. (11. 89. 8) are extant.

Article

Stephen J. Harrison

Palinurus, in mythology, helmsman of *Aeneas (Dion. Hal. 1. 53. 2). In *Virgil's Aeneid he is overcome by the god Sleep (Somnus), falls overboard, is washed up on the shore of Italy, and there killed by local inhabitants; his loss is negotiated by *Venus as the price to *Neptunus of the Trojans' safe arrival in Italy (5.

Article

J. Linderski

Miraculous guardian statues were common in ancient cities, but none was more famous than the Trojan Palladium, a small wooden image of armed *Athena. It fell from the sky, and the safety of *Troy depended on its possession. *Odysseus and *Diomedes (2) carried it away, thus enabling the sack of Troy (variants of the story in Ov. Fast. 6. 419–60; Dion. Hal. 1. 68–9; Verg. and Serv.Aen. 2. 162–79; Sil.Pun. 13. 36–70). But in the canonical Roman tradition (dating perhaps to the late 4th cent.) it was *Aeneas who rescued the Palladium and brought it to *Lavinium, whence it ultimately reached Rome (Dion. Hal.). Ovid adduces both legends, but others tried to reconcile them: the image robbed by the Greeks was only a copy (Arctinus in Dion. Hal.), or: Diomedes came to Italy and returned the Palladium to Aeneas (Cassius Hemina, fr.

Article

Stephen J. Harrison

Panthous (ΠάνθουςΠάνθοος), Trojan elder in *Homer's Iliad (3. 146); his son *Polydamas is protected by *Apollo (Il. 15. 522), who may have rescued Panthous himself from Troy (Pind., Pae. 6.73 ff.). *Virgil makes Panthous priest of Apollo, killed at Troy's fall (Aen.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

Parentalia, Roman festival of ancestors on the dies parentales (13–21 Feb.), the last of which was a public ceremony (*Feralia), while the rest were days for private devotions to the family dead (di parentum, parentes). These were dies religiosi (see fasti) during which the magistrates did not wear the praetexta, temples were closed and no weddings celebrated, but not all were nefasti (*Lupercalia, 15th, Quirinalia, 17th, 18th–20th all comitiales).

Article

Parilia  

Mary Beard

Parilia, Roman festival of the god, or goddess (both genders are attested), Pales, held on 21 April. In early times the ritual seems to have concerned the welfare of the flocks and herds of the Roman community; *Ovid (Fasti 4. 721 ff.) describes the lighting of bonfires (through which the celebrants were supposed to jump) and the purification of the animals (with material made by the *Vestals from the ashes of the calf of the *Fordicidia and blood of the October Horse; see mars). By the late republic (Cicero, Div. 2. 98; Varro, Rust. 2. 1. 9) it was also identified as the ‘birthday’ of the city of Rome; and in the 2nd cent. ce it gained the alternative title ‘Romaia’ (Ath. 8. 361e–f).

Article

Pax  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Pax, the personification of (political) peace, cf. eirene. Scarcely heard of before Augustus, she comes (as Pax Augusta) to represent one of the principal factors which made the imperial government both strong and popular, the maintenance of quiet at home and abroad (cf. Tac.Ann. 1. 2. 1: Augustus ‘seduced everyone with the sweetness of peace’). The most famous, but not the only, monuments of the cult were the *Ara Pacis of Augustus and the Flavian Templum Pacis, dedicated ce 75.

Article

C. Robert Phillips

di Penates, Roman spirits connected with the inner part (penus, penitus, etc. ) of the house (Cic. Nat. 2. 67, Servius on Aen. 1. 378); the name only exists in the plural and as an adjective with Di (gods). They were worshipped in *Vesta's temple (Tac. Ann. 15. 41. 1) and also on the *Velia (Platner–Ashby p. 388). Roman legal scholars theorized about and expanded on the content of the penus (S. Treggiari, Roman Marriage (1991) 389 ff.) and it is tempting to parallel this with the expanding province of the Penates: officials sacrificed to them (Ogilvie on Livy 1. 14. 2, Servius on Aen. 2. 296) and they received offerings as Publici and of the imperial house (Latte, RR 89 ff.; Weinstock, see bibliog.). Moderns assert they were regularly conjoined with the *Lares, but the ancient evidence does not support this.

Article

Stephen Mitchell

Pessinus (mod. Balıhisar), was one of the most important cult centres of the goddess *Cybele in *Phrygia; the temple, built and adorned with marble porticos by the Attalids (see pergamum), was controlled by priests (galli, archigalli). In 204 bce the sacred stone of the goddess was taken to Rome (Livy 29. 10. 4); see philhellenism. The Galatians assumed control over the priesthood, and in imperial times Pessinus became the centre of the Tolistobogian tribe (see galatia). The cult of Cybele was maintained until ce 362, when the emperor *Julian visited the sanctuary and attempted to revive it. Excavations to date have yielded no trace of the main sanctuary, but have uncovered a temple of the imperial cult from the time of *Tiberius and the central street of the city, which ran along the valley of the river Gallus and served as a canal during periods of high rainfall, when flood water swept through the city from the slopes of nearby Mount Dindymus.

Article

phallus  

Richard Seaford

Phallus, an image of the penis, often as erect, to be found in various contexts, in particular (a) in certain rituals associated with fertility, notably Dionysiac *processions (see dionysus): see e.g. Ar. Ach.243 on the Attic rural Dionysia (see attic cults and myths), *Semos in Ath. 622b-c on groups of ‘ithyphallics’ and ‘phallus-bearers’, *Varro in Aug. Civ. 7. 21 ‘for the success of seeds’ at the Liberalia (see liber pater);(b) as a sacred object revealed in the Dionysiac *mysteries, as in the Villa of the Mysteries fresco at *Pompeii; *Iamblichus (2) (Myst. 1. 11) mentions it as a symbol of secret doctrine;(c) in the costume of comedy (see comedy (greek), old), *satyric drama, and various low theatrical genres; *Aristotle (Poet. 1449a11) says that comedy originated in phallic songs;(d) on permanent display, often as part of a statue such as those of *Priapus or the *herms identified with *Hermes;(e) as apotropaic: e.

Article

Picus  

C. Robert Phillips

Picus, king of pre-Roman *Latium, son of *Saturnus, and father of *Faunus (Verg.Aen. 7. 47–9, 171; cf. Festus 228, 288 Lindsay), later transformed into a woodpecker (picus) by a jealous *Circe (Aen. 7. 189–91, Ov.Met. 14. 308–415 with Bömer's notes) which afterwards appeared in a dream to Rhea Silvia (Ov. Fast. 3. 37; see romulus and remus) and brought food to the Twins (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 21). *Ovid's account utilized *Aemilius Macer's Ornithogonia (fr. 1 Morel with Courtney, FLP293) which relied on Boeus' (Boeo?) account (Hollis' introduction on Ov. Met. 8. 236–59; Courtney 294); thus Italic traditions were conflated with *Alexandrian. He was sometimes conflated with Picumnus, hence with the latter's brother Pilumnus. Antiquarian speculation abetted the confusion but did not begin it; the existence of an altar to Pitumnus (Picumnus) in the Macchia Grande complex of Veii, dateable post Roman conquest, shows an underlying factual basis (M.

Article

pietas  

William Chase Greene and John Scheid

Pietas is the typical Roman attitude of dutiful respect towards gods, fatherland, and parents and other kinsmen (Cic.Nat. D. 1. 116: ‘pietas is justice towards the gods’; Cic.Inv. Rhet. 2. 66: ‘religion is the term applied to the fear (metus) and worship (caerimonia) of the gods. Pietas warns us to keep our obligations to our country or parents or other kin’). Pietas, personified, received a temple in Rome (vowed 191 bce, dedicated 181; Livy 40. 34. 4; cf. Festus Gloss. Lat.316; it was destroyed in 44 bce. See E. M. Steinby, LTUR IV. 86). She is often represented in human form, sometimes attended by a stork, symbol of filial piety; during the empire, Pietas Augusta appears on coins and in inscriptions. Some Romans adopted as cognomen the term Pius; *Virgil's ‘Pius *Aeneas’ significantly expresses the Roman ideal in his religious attitude, in his patriotic mission, and in his relations with father, son, and comrades. The decision to construct an Ara Pietatis Augustae was taken in ce 43 (M.

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond, John North, and Andrew Lintott

Pomerium—explained in antiquity as meaning what comes after, or before, the wall—was the line demarcating an augurally constituted city. It was a religious boundary, the point beyond which the auspicia urbana (see auspicium) could not be taken (Varro, Ling. 5. 143), and was distinct both from the city-wall and the limit of actual habitation, although it might coincide with the former and was often understood as the strip inside or outside the wall (cf. Livy 1. 44; Plut.Rom. 11). Almost every aspect of the history of the pomerium of Rome is debatable. Our sources refer to an original Palatine pomerium, later extended by Servius *Tullius and then unchanged until *Sulla’s day (sources in Lugli, Fontes 2. 125 ff.); Tacitus (Ann. 12. 24), perhaps following the emperor *Claudius, describes a circuit round the *Palatine. Although this circuit has been thought to result from confusion with the circuit of the *Lupercalia, recent excavations on the north-east slope of the Palatine have revealed a series of ditches and walls from the regal period, which seem from their size to be more of symbolic value than a real system of defence and thus perhaps confirm the literary tradition.