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MAMURIUS 100.00%
The mythical maker of the ancilia. (See ANCILE.)
 
ANCILE 100.00%
The small oval sacred shield, curved inwards on either side, which was said to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa. There being a prophecy that the stability of Rome was bound up with it, Numa had eleven others made exactly like it by a cunning workman, Mamurius Veturius, so that the right one should not be stolen. The care of these arms, which were sacred to Mars was entrusted to the Salii (q.v.), who had to carry them through the city once a year with peculiar ceremonies. At the conclusion of their songs Mamurius himself was invoked, and on March 14th they held a special feast, the Mamuralia, at which they sacrificed to him, beating on a hide with staves, probably to imitate a smith's hammering. It is likely that the name Mamurius conceals that of the god Mars (or Mamers) himself.
 
MARS 11.97%
With Jupiter the principal deity of the inhabitants of Italy, and therefore honoured with particular reverence by the Latins and Romans from the very earliest times, especially as the latter regarded him as the father of Romulus, the founder of Rome. He was held to be the son of Juno, who bore him in consequence of touching a wonderful spring-flower, and the husband of Nerio or Nerlene, a goddess of strength. Through the emphasising of one of his attributes he gradually came to be considered as, above all, the god of war; for originally he is at the same time one of the mightiest gods of nature, who accords fertility and protection to fields and herds. The first month of the old Roman year was dedicated to him as the fertilizing god of spring; in the very ancient chant of the Arval brothers (q.v.), at the May-day festival of the Dea Dia, the help and protection of Mars were demanded. In earlier times he was also invoked at the hallowing of the fields (See AMBARVALIA), that he might bless the family, the field and the cattle, and keep off sickness, bad weather, and all else that did harm. (Cp. ROBIGUS.) In later times the names of Ceres and Bacchus were substituted for his on this particular occasion. At the festival on 15th October (see below) a horse was sacrificed to him to insure the fair growth of the seed that had been sown. As god of war he had the special name Gradixus, the strider, from the rapid march in battle 1 (Cp. QUIRINUS), and his symbols were the ravenous wolf, the prophetic and warlike woodpecker, and the lance. When war broke out, the general solemnly invoked his aid, by smiting his holy lance and the holy shields (ancilia -see ANCILE) with the cry, Mars, awake! (Mars vigila!) Many sacrifices were also offered to him during the campaign and before battle; and in his name military honours were conferred. The Field of Mars (Campus Martius) was dedicated to him as the patron god of warlike exercises; contests with battle-steeds, called Equirria, were there held in his honour on the 27th February, 14th March, and 15th October. On the last-mentioned day the horse on the right of the victorious team was sacrificed on his altar in the Field of Mars; it was known as the horse of October (October equus), and its blood was collected and preserved in the temple of Vesta, and used at the Palilia for purposes of purification. The cult of Mars was entrusted to a special priest, the flamen Martialis (see FLAMEN), and the college of the Salii (q.v.), which worshipped him more particularly as god of war. His principal festival was in March, the month sacred to him. As early as the time of king Tullus Hostilius, Pavor and Pallor, Fear and Pallor, are said to have been worshipped as his companions in the fight, in sanctuaries of their own. Augustus caused him to be honoured in a new form, as Mars Ultor (avenger of Caesar), in the magnificent temple in the Forum Augusti, consecrated B.C. 2, where statues of him and of Venus, as the two divine ancestors of the Julian family, were set up. In later times he was identified completely with the Greek Ares (q.v.).
 
SALII 9.34%
An old Italian college of priests of Mars; said to have been introduced at Rome by Numa and doubled by Tullus Hostilius. The earlier college was called the Salii Palatini, and the later the Salii Agonales or Collini. The former derived their name from their curia on the Palatine Hill; the latter, from the Colline Gate, near which stood their sanctuary on the Quirinal. Both colleges consisted of twelve life-members of patrician family, and recruited their numbers from young men, whose parents were required to be still living; at their head was a magister, a praesul (leader in the dance), and a vates (leader in the song). The cult of the Palatine Salii had to do with Mars, that of the Colline with Quirnus; but the chief connexion of both was with the holy shields, ancilia. (See ANCILE with cut.) The chief business of the Salii fell in March, the beginning of the campaigning season. On March 1st they began a procession through the city, each of them dressed in an embroidered tunic, a bronze breastplate, and a peaked helmet, girt about with a sword, with one of the holy shields on the left arm, and in the right hand a staff, while trumpeters walked in front of them. At all the altars and temples they made a halt, and, under the conduct of the two leaders, danced the war-dance in three measures, from which they take their name of Salii or "dancers," accompanying it by singing certain lays, beating their shields meanwhile with the staves. Every day the procession came to an end at certain appointed stations, where the shields were kept over the night in special houses, and the Salii themselves partook of a meal proverbial for its magnificence [Horace, Odes i 37, 2]. Until March 24th the ancilia were in motion; within this time some special festivities, were also held, in which the Salii took part. On March 11th there was a chariot-race in honour of Mars (Equiria) and a sacrificial feast in honour of the supposed fabricator of the shields, Mamurius Veturius; on the 19th was the ceremony of the cleansing of the shields, and on the 23rd the cleansing of the holy trumpets (tubae) of the priests, called the tubilustrium. The days on which the ancilia were in motion were accounted solemn (religiosi), and on these days men avoided marching out to war, offering battle, and concluding a marriage. In October, the close of the campaigning season, the ancilia were once more brought out, in order to be cleansed in the Campus Martins. The lays of the Salii, called aoeamenta, were referred to Numa, and were written in the archaic Saturnian verse, and in such primitive language, that they were scarcely intelligible even to the priests themselves, and as early as the beginning of the 1st century B.C. were the object of learned interpretation. [Quintilian i 6 § 40. Two or three connected bits of these lays have come down to us (Allen's Remnants of Early Latin, p. 74). The most intelligible is the following, in a rude Saturnian measure: ¦ Cumé tonds, Leucésie, + prae tet tremónti, ¦ Quom tiibei cúnei + déxtumúm tondront; ¦ i.e. Cum tonas, Lucetie (thou god of light), prae te tremunt, cum tibi cunei (bolts of lightning) a dextra tonuerunt.] Besides Mars, other deities, such as Janus, Jupiter, and Minerva, were invoked in them; the invocation of Mamurius Veturius formed the close [Ovid, Fasti, iii 260 ff.]. After the time of Augustus the names of individual emperors were also inserted in the lays
 
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