Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)


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Woodard, Roger D. [WorldCat Identities]

Author: Roger D. Illustrations: 1 line drawing, 6 tables Series: Traditions. Classics See all Subjects. Close Preview x. Manichaeism Michel Tardieu. Homer's Text and Language Gregory Nagy. University of Illinois. Attrectare had a positive meaning only in reference to the actions of the sacerdotes populi Romani "priests of the Roman people".

An augur Latin plural augures was an official and priest who solicited and interpreted the will of the gods regarding a proposed action. The augur ritually defined a templum , or sacred space, declared the purpose of his consultation, offered sacrifice, and observed the signs that were sent in return, particularly the actions and flight of birds. If the augur received unfavourable signs, he could suspend, postpone or cancel the undertaking obnuntiatio.

Under the Republic , this right was extended to other magistrates. After BC, plebeians could become augurs. The solicitation of formal auspices required the marking out of ritual space auguraculum from within which the augurs observed the templum , including the construction of an augural tent or hut tabernaculum. There were three such sites in Rome: on the citadel arx , on the Quirinal Hill , and on the Palatine Hill. Festus said that originally the auguraculum was in fact the arx.

It faced east, situating the north on the augur's left or lucky side. This augural tent was the center of religious and legal proceedings within the camp. Augurium plural auguria is an abstract noun that pertains to the augur. It seems to mean variously: the "sacral investiture" of the augur; [27] the ritual acts and actions of the augurs; [28] augural law ius augurale ; [29] and recorded signs whose meaning had already been established.

The distinction between augurium and auspicium is often unclear. Auspicia is the observation of birds as signs of divine will, a practice held to have been established by Romulus , first king of Rome , while the institution of augury was attributed to his successor Numa. Ancient sources record three auguria : the augurium salutis in which every year the gods were asked whether it was fas permissible, right to ask for the safety of the Roman people August 5 ; the augurium canarium , a dog sacrifice to promote the maturation of grain crops, held in the presence of the pontiffs as well as the augurs; [37] and the vernisera auguria mentioned by Festus , which should have been a springtime propitiary rite held at the time of the harvest auguria messalia.

Indo-European Sacred Space : Vedic and Roman Cult

The auspex , plural auspices , is a diviner who reads omens from the observed flight of birds avi- , from avis , "bird", with -spex , "observer", from spicere. See auspicia following and auspice. Auspices are taken by an augur. Originally they were the prerogative of the patricians , [38] but the college of augurs was opened to plebeians in BC.

According to Festus , there were five kinds of auspicia to which augurs paid heed: ex caelo , celestial signs such as thunder and lightning; ex avibus , signs offered by birds; ex tripudiis , signs produced by the actions of certain sacred chickens ; ex quadrupedibus , signs from the behavior of four-legged animals; and ex diris , threatening portents. The taking of the auspices required ritual silence silentium. Watching for auspices was called spectio or servare de caelo. The appearance of expected signs resulted in nuntiatio , or if they were unfavourable obnuntiatio.

If unfavourable auspices were observed, the business at hand was stopped by the official observer, who declared alio die "on another day". The practice of observing bird omens was common to many ancient peoples predating and contemporaneous with Rome, including the Greeks, [ citation needed ] Celts, [43] and Germans. Auspicia impetrativa were signs that were solicited under highly regulated ritual conditions see spectio and servare de caelo within the templum. The right of observing the "greater auspices" was conferred on a Roman magistrate holding imperium , perhaps by a Lex curiata de imperio , although scholars are not agreed on the finer points of law.

Signs that occurred without deliberately being sought through formal augural procedure were auspicia oblativa. These unsolicited signs were regarded as sent by a deity or deities to express either approval or disapproval for a particular undertaking.

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The prodigy prodigium was one form of unfavourable oblativa. Private and domestic religion was linked to divine signs as state religion was. It was customary in patrician families to take the auspices for any matter of consequence such as marriages, travel, and important business.


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Among his other duties, the Pontifex Maximus advised privati as well as the official priests about prodigies and their forestalling. In pontifical usage, the verb averruncare , "to avert," denotes a ritual action aimed at averting a misfortune intimated by an omen. Bad omens portentaque prodigiaque mala are to be burnt, using trees that are in the tutelage of underworld or "averting" gods see arbores infelices above.

A " just war " was a war considered justifiable by the principles of fetial law ius fetiale. As a formal matter, the war had to be declared according to the procedures of the ius fetiale. On substantive grounds, a war required a "just cause," which might include rerum repetitio , retaliation against another people for pillaging, or a breach of or unilateral recession from a treaty; or necessity, as in the case of repelling an invasion.

The English word "ceremony" derives from the Latin caerimonia or caeremonia , a word of obscure etymology first found in literature and inscriptions from the time of Cicero mid-1st century BC , but thought to be of much greater antiquity.

Its meaning varied over time. Cicero used caerimonia at least 40 times, in three or four different senses: "inviolability" or "sanctity", a usage also of Tacitus ; "punctilious veneration", in company with cura carefulness, concern ; more commonly in the plural caerimoniae , to mean "ritual prescriptions" or "ritual acts.

Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)

Hendrik Wagenvoort maintained that caerimoniae were originally the secret ritual instructions laid down by Numa , which are described as statae et sollemnes , "established and solemn. Later, caerimoniae might refer also to other rituals, including foreign cults. The historian Valerius Maximus makes clear that the caerimoniae require those performing them to attain a particular mental-spiritual state animus , "intention" , and emphasizes the importance of caerimoniae in the dedication and first sentence of his work.

In Valerius's version of the Gallic siege of Rome , the Vestals and the Flamen Quirinalis rescue Rome's sacred objects sacra by taking them to Caere ; thus preserved, the rites take their name from the place.

An Etruscan origin has sometimes been proposed. Wagenvoort thought that caerimonia derived from caerus , "dark" in the sense of "hidden", hence meaning "darknesses, secrets. In his Etymologiae , Isidore of Seville says that the Greek equivalent is orgia , but derives the word from carendo , "lacking", and says that some think caerimoniae should be used of Jewish observances , specifically the dietary law that requires abstaining from or "lacking" certain foods.

The calatores were assistants who carried out day-to-day business on behalf of the senior priests of the state such as the flamines maiores.

Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult

A calator was a public slave. At the traditional public rituals of ancient Rome, officiants prayed, sacrificed, offered libations , and practiced augury capite velato , [70] "with the head covered" by a fold of the toga drawn up from the back. This covering of the head is a distinctive feature of Roman rite in contrast with Etruscan practice [71] or ritus graecus , "Greek rite.

It has been argued that the Roman expression of piety capite velato influenced Paul 's prohibition against Christians praying with covered heads: "Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. In classical Latin, carmen usually means "song, poem, ode. In essence "a verbal utterance sung for ritualistic purposes", the carmen is characterized by formulaic expression, redundancy, and rhythm. The Carmen Saeculare of Horace , though self-consciously literary in technique, was also a hymn, performed by a chorus at the Saecular Games of 17 BC and expressing the Apollonian ideology of Augustus.

A carmen malum or maleficum is a potentially harmful magic spell. A fragment of the Twelve Tables reading si malum carmen incantassit "if anyone should chant an evil spell" shows that it was a concern of the law to suppress malevolent magic. Castus is an adjective meaning morally pure or guiltless English "chaste" , hence pious or ritually pure in a religious sense. Castitas is the abstract noun. Ritual error is a pollutant; it vitiates the performance and risks the gods' anger.

Castus and castitas are attributes of the sacerdos priest , [81] but substances and objects can also be ritually castus. A priest or officiant wearing it wore his toga bound around the waist in a way that left both hands free to perform ritual tasks, as the wearing of the toga usually did not. It was also part of Etruscan priestly dress.

Clavum figere "to nail in, to fasten or fix the nail" was an expression that referred to the fixing or "sealing" of fate. According to Livy , every year in the temple of Nortia , the Etruscan counterpart of Fortuna , a nail was driven in to mark the time. In Rome, the senior magistrate [89] on the Ides of September drove a nail called the clavus annalis "year-nail" [90] into the wall of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. The ceremony occurred on the dies natalis "birthday" or anniversary of dedication of the temple, when a banquet for Jupiter Epulum Jovis was also held.

The nail-driving ceremony, however, took place in a templum devoted to Minerva , on the right side of the aedes of Jupiter, because the concept of "number" was invented by Minerva and the ritual predated the common use of written letters. The importance of this ritual is lost in obscurity, but in the early Republic it is associated with the appointment of a dictator clavi figendi causa , " dictator for the purpose of driving the nail," [92] one of whom was appointed for the years , , , and BC.

It may be that in addition to an annual ritual, there was a "fixing" during times of pestilence or civil discord that served as a piaculum. It was recalled that a plague had once been broken when a dictator drove a ritual nail, and the senate appointed one for that purpose. Henceforth a censor fixed the nail at the end of his term. A collegium "joined by law" , plural collegia , was any association with a legal personality.

The priestly colleges oversaw religious traditions, and until BC only patricians were eligible for membership. When plebeians began to be admitted, the size of the colleges was expanded.

Nordic Boats and Indo-European Chariots

By the Late Republic , three collegia wielded greater authority than the others, with a fourth coming to prominence during the reign of Augustus. The four great religious corporations quattuor amplissima collegia were:. Augustus was a member of all four collegia , but limited membership for any other senator to one. In Roman society, a collegium might also be a trade guild or neighborhood association; see Collegium ancient Rome. The comitia calata "calate assemblies" were non-voting assemblies comitia called for religious purposes.

The verb calare , originally meaning "to call," was a technical term of pontifical usage, found also in calendae Calends and calator.

According to Aulus Gellius , [98] these comitia were held in the presence of the college of pontiffs in order to inaugurate the rex the king in the Regal Period or the rex sacrorum in the Republic [99] or the flamines.

Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions) Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)
Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult (Traditions)

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