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PONTIFEX 100.00%
A member of the highest priestly college in Rome, to which belonged the superintendence over all sacred observances, whether performed by the State or by private persons. The meaning of the name is uncertain; the interpretation which follows most obviously from the form of the word, that of "bridge-builder," referred in particular to the sacred bridge on piles (pons sublicius) over the Tiber, is open to many objections. 1 The foundation of the college is ascribed to Numa; at first it probably consisted of six patrician members, with the addition of the king, whose place, after the abolition of the Monarchy, was transferred to the pontifex maximus (high-pontiff); from 300 B.C. it was composed of nine members (4 patrician and 6 plebeian), from the time of Sulla of fifteen (7 patrician and 8 plebeian); Caesar added another member; and the emperors also raised the number at their pleasure. The office was for life, us was also that of the president. While, in the time of the Monarchy, the pontiffs were probably named by the king, under the Republic the college for a long time filled up its own numbers by co-optation, and also appointed the high-pontiff from among its members. From somewhere about 250 B.C. the election of the latter took place in the comitia of the tribes under the presidency of a pontiff, and, from 103 B.C., the other members were also elected in the comitia out of a fixed number of candidates presented by the college. Under the Empire a preliminary election was held by the Senate, and merely confirmed by the comitia. Besides the pontiffs proper, there were also included in the college the rex sacrorum, the three higher flamens and the three pontifices minores, who assisted the pontiffs in transactions relating to sacrifices and in their official business, besides sharing in the deliberations and the banquets of the whole college: these ranked according to length of service. In the earlier time an advanced age, with freedom from secular offices, was necessary for eligibility to the pontificate; the high-pontiff, among other restrictions, was not allowed to leave Italy, was obliged to have a wife without reproach, and might not enter upon a second marriage or see a dead body, much less touch one. As regards his position, he was, as spiritual successor of the king, the sole holder and exerciser of the pontifical power; and his official dwelling was in the king's house, the regia of Numa adjoining the Forum, the seat of the oldest State worship. The college existed by his side only as a deliberative and executive body of personal assistants. He appointed to the most important priestly offices of the State, those of flamen, of vestal, and of rex sacrorum; he made public the authoritative decisions of the college. In matters which came within the limits of his official action, he had the right of taking: auspices, of holding assemblies of the people, and of publishing edicts. He also exercised a certain jurisdiction over the persons subject to his high-priestly power, especially the flamens and Vestals, over whom his authority was that of an actual father. Owing to the great importance of the office, the emperors from the time of Augustus undertook it themselves, and retained it, even in Christian times, until the year 382. As regards the functions of the college, besides performing a number of special sacrifices in the service of the household gods, they exercised (as already mentioned) a superintendence over the whole domain of the religious services recognised by the State, public and private. In all doubts which arose concerning the religious obligations of the State towards the gods, or concerning the form of any religious offices which were to be undertaken, their opinion was asked by the Senate and by the other secular bodies, who were obliged unhesitatingly to follow it. In the various religious transactions, expiatory offerings, vows, dedications, consecrations, solemn appropriations, undertaken on behalf of the State, their assistance was invited by the official bodies, in order that they might provide for the correct performance, especially by dictating the prayers. The knowledge of the various rites was handed down by the libri pontificii, which were preserved in the official dwelling of the high-pontiff and kept secret. These included the forms of prayer, the rules of ritual for the performance of ceremonial observances, the acta pontificum, i.e. the records relating to the official actions of the college, and the commentarii pontificum, i.e. the collection of opinions delivered, to which they were as a rule obliged to have recourse when giving new ones. An important and indeed universal influence was exercised by the pontiffs, not only on religious, but also on civic life, by means of the regulation of the calendar, which was assigned to them as possessing technical knowledge of the subject; and by means of their superintendence over the observance of the holidays. Owing to the character of the Roman reckoning of the year, it was necessary from time to time to intercalate certain days, with a view to bringing the calendar into agreement with the actual seasons to which the festivals were originally attached; and special technical knowledge was needed, in order to be sure on what day the festivals fell. This technical knowledge was kept secret by the pontiffs as being a means of power. It was for the month actually current that they gave information to the people as to the distribution of the days, the festivals falling within the month, and the lawful and unlawful days (fasti and nefasti, q.v. for civil and legal transactions. In 304 B.C. the calendar of the months was made public by Gnaeus Flavius; but the pontiffs still retained the right of regulating the year by intercalations, and thereby the power of furthering or hindering the aims of parties and individuals by arbitrary insertion of intercalary months. This they kept until the final regulation of the year introduced by Caesar as high-pontiff in 46 B.C. Closely connected with the superintendence of the calendar was the keeping of the lists of the yearly magistrates, especially of the consuls, since it was by their names that the years were dated, as well as the keeping of the yearly chronicle. (See ANNALS.) As experts in the law of ritual, the pontiffs had the superintendence over many transactions of private life, so far as ceremonial questions were connected with them, such as the conclusion of marriages, adoption by means of arrogation, and burial. Even upon the civil law they had originally great influence, inasmuch as they alone were in traditional possession of the solemn legal formuloe, known as the legis actiones, which were necessary for every legal transaction, including lawsuits. They even gave legal opinions, which obtained recognition in the courts as customary law, by the side of the written law, and grew into a second authoritative source of Roman law. Until the establishment of the praetorship (866 <smalCaps>B.C.), a member of the college was appointed every year to impart information to private persons concerning the legal forms connected with the formulating of plaints and other legal business. The legis actiones were made public for the first time by the above-mentioned Flavius at the same time as the calendar. (See JURISPRUDENCE.)
ANNALS 72.66%
Year-books. From early times a record of all important events at Rome had been kept in chronological order by the high priest (pontifex maximus) for the time, who every year exhibited in his official residence a whited board (album), on which, after the names of the magistrates for the year, occurrences of all kinds-war, dearth, pestilence, prodigies-were set down briefly according to their dates. These annales pontificum or annales maximi (supposed to be so called after the pontifex maximus), though destroyed at the burning of Rome by the Gauls, B.C. 389, were restored as far as possible, and continued till B.C. 130. Collected afterwards in eighty books, they were at once utilized and superseded by the so-called ANNALISTS (q.v.).
the "king of sacrifice." The name given by the Romans to a priest who, after the abolition of the royal power, had to perform certain religious rites connected with the name of king. He resembles the archon basileus of the Athenian constitution. He was always a patrician, was elected for life by the pontifex maximus with the assistance of the whole pontifical college (of which he became a member), and was inaugurated by the augurs. Although he was externally of high rank and, like the pontifex maximus, had an official residence in the Regia, the royal castle of Numa, and took the chair at the feasts and other festivities of the pontifices, yet in his religious authority he ranked below the pontifex maximus, and was not allowed to hold any public office, or even to address the people in public. His wife (like the wives of the flamens) participated in the priesthood. Our information as to the details of the office is imperfect. Before the knowledge of the calendar became public property, it was the duty of the rex sacrorum to summon the people to the Capitol on the calends and nones of each month, and to announce the festivals for the month. On the calends he and the regina sacrificed, and at the same time invoked Janus. Of the other sacrifices known to us we may mention the regifugium on Feb. 24th, when the rex sacrorum sacrificed at the comitium, and then fled in haste. This has been erroneously explained as a commemoration of the fight of Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Roman kings; but it is much more probably one of the customs handed down from the time of the kings themselves, and perhaps connected with the purificatory sacrifice from which the month of February derived its name. At the end of the Republic the office, owing to the political disability attaching to the holder, proved unattractive, and was sometimes left unfilled: but under Augustus it appears to have been restored to fresh dignity, and in imperial times it continued to exist, at any rate, as late as the 3rd century.
ALBUM 61.56%
The Latin word for a board chalked or painted white, on which matters of public interest were notified in black writing. In this way were published the yearly records of the pontifex (see ANNALES), the edicts of praetors (q.v.), the roll of senators, the lists of jurors, etc.
The Latin name for a solemn procession of the people, with the various orders of priesthood led by the pontifex three times round the boundaries of Rome. It was only resorted to at a time of great distress, and the animals destined to make atonement, viz. a hog, a ram, and a bull (the so called suovetaurilia, see AMBARVALIA), were sacrificed with special prayers outside the city.
VESTALS 49.40%
The priestesses of Vesta. At Rome their number was at first four, but had already been increased to six during the last years of the kings. Every girl possessing the necessary qualification was liable to be called on to undertake the duty, and no exemption was granted, except upon very strict conditions. The office was confined to girls of not less than six and not more than ten years of age, without personal blemish, of free, respectable families, whose parents were still alive and resident in Italy. The choice was made by lot out of a number of twenty, nominated by the pontifex. The virgin appointed to the priestly office immediately quitted her father's authority and entered that of the goddess. After her inauguration by the pontifex, she was taken into the atrium of Vesta, her future place of abode, was duly attired, and shorn of her hair. The time of service was by law thirty years, ten of which were set apart for learning, ten for performing and ten for teaching the duties. At the end of this time leave was granted to the Vestals to lay aside their priesthood, return into private life, and marry. They seldom took advantage of this permission. They were under the control of the pontifex, who, in the name of the goddess, exercised over them paternal authority. He administered corporal chastisement if they neglected their duties, more particularly if they allowed the sacred fire to go out; and, if any one of them violated her vow of chastity, he had her carried on a bier to the campus sceleratus (the field of transgression), near the Colline Gate, beaten with rods and immured alive. Her seducer was scourged to death. No man was allowed to enter their apartments. Their service consisted in maintaining and keeping pure the eternal fire in the temple of Vesta, watching the sacred shrines, performing the sacrifices, offering the daily and, when necessary, the special prayers for the welfare of the nation, and taking part in the feasts of Vesta, Tellus, and Bona Dea. They were dressed entirely in white, with a coronet-shaped head-band (infula), and ornamented with ribands (vittoe) suspended from it, and at a sacrifice covered with a white veil [called the suffibulum. This was a sort of hood made of a piece of white woollen cloth with a purple border, rectangular in form. It was folded over the head and fastened in front below the throat by a fibula (Festus, p. 340, ed. (Muller, quoted in Middleton's Rome, i 320)]. The chief part in the sacrifices was taken by the eldest, the virgo vestalis maxima. The Vestal Virgins enjoyed various distinctions and privileges. When they went out, they were accompanied by a lictor, to whom even the consul gave place; at public games they had a place of honour; they were under a guardian, and were free to dispose of their property; they gave evidence without the customary oath; they were, on account of their incorruptible character, entrusted with important wills and public treaties; death was the penalty for injuring their person; those whom they escorted were thereby protected from any assault. To meet them by chance saved the criminal who was being led away to punishment; and to them, as to men of distinguished merit, was assigned the honour of burial in the Forum.
The consecration of a public sanctury. The pontifices had to draw up the deed of foundation. When they had signified that they deemed the act permissible, and the consent of the people (in later times of the emperor) had been obtained, the rite was performed in the presence of the whole collegium pontificum. The Pontifex Maximus, whose head was veiled, and with him the representative of the people, took hold of the doorpost with one hand, the former dictating, and the latter repeating after him, the formula of dedication. The people was represented usually by one of the two consuls, or a person, or a commission (generally of two persons) elected by the people on the recommendation of the senate. One of the persons forming the commission was generally the man who had vowed the dedication. The day on which the shrine was dedicated was regarded as the day of its foundation, and was inscribed in the calendar as a festival.
DEVOTIO 36.38%
A religious ceremony, by virtue of which a general, whose army was in distress, offered up as an atonement to the gods below, and a means of averting their wrath, the army, city, and land of the enemy; or some soldier in the Roman army; or even himself, as was the case with the Decli. The general, standing on a spear and with veiled head, repeated a solemn formula dictated to him by the Pontifex. If the city and land of the enemy were offered, the gods were solemnly invited to burn the land or city (See EVOCATIO). The fate of the devoted person was left in the hands of the gods. If he survived, an image at least seven feet high was buried in the ground and a bloody sacrifice offered over it; he was meanwhile hold incapable in future of performing any other religious rite, either on his own behalf or on that of the state.
An ancient Italian goddess of prophecy, who protected women in child-birth. In Rome she had a priest attached to her, the flamen Carmentalis, and a shrine near the gate under the Capitol, named after her the porta Carmentalis. On this spot the Roman matrons celebrated in her honour the festival of the Carmentalia, the flamen and pontifex assisting. Two Carmentes, called Porrima or Antevorta, and Postvorta, were worshipped as her sisters and attendants. These names were sometimes explained with reference to childbirth, sometimes as indicating the power of the goddess of fate to look into the fast and future. In the legend of the foundation of Rome Carmenta appears as the prophetic mother, or wife, of the Arcadian stranger Evander.
VOTA 29.61%
Religious vows were extraordinarily common among the Romans both in public and private life. Public vows (vota publica) were sometimes extraordinary, sometimes ordinary. As regards the former, a religious vow was uttered in times of need, in the name of the State, to the effect that, if the gods averted the danger, and caused the prosperity of the State to remain unimpaired for the next five or ten years, a special thank-offering would be paid them, consisting of presents of cattle, large sacrifices, banquets (lectisternia), a tithe of the booty, a temple, games, etc. In older times a ver sacrum (q.v.) was also promised. These vows were drawn up in writing under the direction of the pontifices, recited by the pontifex maximus, and privately rehearsed after him by a consul or praetor. The pontifex then put away the document in the presence of witnesses, for purposes of reference when the, vow was executed. Ordinary vows for the good of the State were offered on the Capitol by the higher officials on entering office (the consuls on January 1st) and on leaving for their province. This was called the votorum nuncupatio. After 30 B.C. a special votum was offered up for the, welfare of the emperor and his family, on January 3rd. Down to the 7th century A.D., both in Rome and throughout the Empire, this day, which was itself called votum, was kept as a holiday by all bodies both civil and religious. Under the Empire vows were regularly made for longer periods of time (five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, vota quinquennalia, decennalia, quindecennalia, vicennalia). Besides these there were extraordinary vota for the return and safety of the emperor, the accouchement of the empress, the birthday and accession day of the emperor, and the like: Private vows (vota privata) were made on the most varied occasions. They might be solemnly offered in a temple, or made suddenly in times of momentary peril. In the former case a sealed writing containing the vow was fastened to the knees of the god's image, and then taken by the priest of the temple into his keeping, to be opened at the proper time. In the latter case, if the prayer was fulfilled, the vow had to be most scrupulously executed. The offering was generally accompanied by a votive tablet, which was placed on the walls of the temple, and contained an inscription or a relief or a picture relating to the vow. Thus ship-wrecked mariners offered painted representations of the wreck in the temples of Neptune or Isis [Horace, Odes i 5, 13-16; Persius, i 90].
TELLUS 25.29%
The Italian deity of mother-earth, often called tellus mater. She was invoked during earthquakes (her temple in Rome having been dedicated in 268 B.C. in consequence of an earthquake in the time of war). She was also invoked in solemn oaths as the common grave of all things, together with the Manes and with Jupiter, the god of heaven. Like the Greek Demeter, she was also the goddess of marriage, but was most revered in conjunction with Ceres as goddess of fruitfulness. Thus in her honour were held the festival of the sowing (ferioe sementivoe), celebrated in January at the end of the winter seed time, fixed by the pontifex to be held on two consecutive market days. The paganalia were celebrated at the same time in the country, when a pregnant sow was sacrificed to Tellus and Ceres. Besides these, there was the feast of fordicidia or hordicidia, at which cows in calf (fordoe) were sacrificed to her. This was held on the 15th of April to insure plenty during the year, and was celebrated under the management of the pontifices and the Vestal Virgins, partly on the Capitol in the thirty curioe, and partly outside the town. The ashes of the unborn calves were kept by the Vestal Virgins till the feast of the Parilia (see PALES), when they were used for the purpose of purification. Besides the female deity, a god Tellumo was also worshipped.
At Rome there were two kinds of adoption, both requiring the adopter to be a male and childless: Arrogatio and Adoption proper. The former could only take place where the person to be adopted was independent (sui juris), and his adopter had no prospect of male offspring; at the instance of the pontifex, and after full proof of admissibility, it had to be sanctioned by the comitia curiata. Adoption proper applied to those still under paternal rule (patria potestas), the father selling his son by formal muncipatio (q.v.) to the adopter, who then, the paternal power being thus abolished, claimed the son before the court as his own, and the father allowed him to be adjudged to him. By either transaction the person adopted passed completely over into the family and rank of the adopter, and naturally took his name in full, but with the addition of a second cognomen formed from his own former nomen gentile by the suffix -anus, e.g. Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (son of Lucius Aemilius Paullus). Women too could be adopted, but not arrogated; neither could they adopt. At the latter end of the Republic we find a testamentary Adoption in existence, which at first likewise produced a change of name, but not of status.
The Latin term for an official collection of forms of prayer belonging to the libri pontificii (see PONTIFEX). In them were set forth the various powers of each god who was to be summoned to aid in particular cases; and none of these divinities could be passed over, if the prayer was to receive a favourable answer. Only those portions of the collection were made public which bore direct reference to private life; prayers at marriages, at births, for a blessing on the children at different times of life, and for the beginning of all kinds of work, especially agriculture. (The names of the gods of earliest childhood were as follows: Potina and Educa, who taught the child when weaned to eat and drink; Cuba, who protected the child when taken out of the cradle and put to bed; Ossipaga, who strengthened the bones; Carna, who strengthened the flesh; Levana, who helped it to rise from the ground; Statanus, Statilinus, or dea Statina, who taught it to stand; Abeona and Adeona, who supported its first walking; Fabulinus, Farinus, who assisted it to talk.) All collective occupations, all parts of the house, all different spots had their particular gods, who were invoked in these forms of prayer. Often the various names only indicate the different characteristics of a single divinity; e.g. Maia was invoked under the names of Bona, Fauna, Ops, and Fatua. In course of time the different attributes came to be regarded as separate divinities. [The names of the above divinities are quoted from Varro, Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum, by Tertullian, Ad Nat. ii 11, 15 (and De Anima 37, 39); and by Augustine, De Civitate Dei, iv 11, 21 (and iv 8, 10; vi 9, vii 23).]
CAESAR 16.97%
Julius Caesar was born in 102 or 100 B.C., and was assassinated on March 15th, B.C. 44. He was famous no less as an orator and writer than as a general and statesman. Endowed with extraordinary natural gifts, he received a careful education under the superintendence of his mother Aurelia. In B.C. 77 he came forward as the public accuser of Dolabella, and entered the lists against the most celebrated advocates of the day, Cotta and Hortensius. From that time his fame was established as that of an advocate of the first rank. The faculties of which he bad given evidence he cultivated to their highest point under the tuition of the rhetorician Molo in Rhodes, and attained such success, that his contemporaries regarded him as an orator second only to Cicero. Indeed, Cicero himself fully recognizes his genius, awarding especial praise to the elegance and purity of his Latin. Caesar, however, left but few speeches in a finished state, and these have not come down to us. A number of writings give evidence of the many-sidedness of his genius and literary activity, but these are also lost. There were poems, which never attained much reputation, including, besides boyish effusions, some verses on his journey to Spain in B.C. 46. A treatise on Latin accidence, dedicated to Cicero, and entitled De Analogia, was written during his march across the Alps to his army in Gaul. The Anticatones, composed in his Spanish camp before the battle of Munda in B.C. 45, was a reply to Cicero's panegyric on Cato of Utica. A treatise on astronomy, De Astris, had probably some connection with the reform of the calendar introduced by him, as Pontifex Maximus, in B.C. 45. His two great works have, however, survived. These are his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 58-52 B.C., in seven books, and his Commentarii de Bello Civili, 49-48 B.C., in three books. The former was written down rapidly, at the end of 52 and begining of 51, in his winter quarters before Bibracte. The latter was probably composed in Spain after the conquest of the Pompeians in 45. The history of the Gallic War was completed after Caesar's death by Aulus Hirtius. This writer added an eighth book, which included the last rising of the Gauls in 51, and the events of the year 50 which preceded the Civil War. The book, as we now have it, is unfinished. There are three other anonymous books which continue the history of the Civil War. The Bellum Alexandrinum (War in Alexandria) is perhaps from the hand of Hirtius. The Bellum Africum (War in Africa) is written in a pompous and affected style [and has recently been assigned, but without sufficient reason, to Asinius Polliol. The Bellum Hispanum (Spanish War), is to be attributed to two different authors. Its style is rough, and shows that the writer was not an educated man.
FLAMEN 13.48%
The special priest of a special deity among the Romans. There were 15 Flamines; three higher ones (Flamines maiores) of patrician rank: these were the flamen Dialis (of Jupiter), Martialis (of Mars), and Quirinalis (of Quirinus). The remaining 12 were flamines minores, plebeians, and attached to less important deities, as Vulcanus, Flora, Pomona, and Carmenta. Their office was for life, and they could only be deprived of it in certain events. The emblem of their dignity was a white conical hat (apex), made out of the hide of a sacrificed animal, and having an olive branch and woollen thread at the top. This the flamines were obliged to wear always out of doors, indeed the Flamen Dialis had originally to wear it indoors as well. They were exempted from all the duties of civic life, and excluded at the same time from all participation in politics. In course of time, it is true, they were allowed to hold urban offices, but even then they were forbidden to go out of Italy. The Flamen Dialis was originally not allowed to spend a night away from home: in later times, under the Empire, the Pontifex could allow him to sleep out for two nights in the year. Indeed, the Flamen Dialis, whose superior position among the flamens conferred upon him certain privileges, as the toga proetexta, the sella curulis, a seat in the senate, and the services of a lictor, was in proportion obliged to submit to more restrictions than the rest. He, his wife, their children, and his house on the Palatine were dedicated to this god. He must be born of a marriage celebrated by confarreatio, and live himself in indissoluble marriage. (See MARRIAGE.) If his wife died, he resigned his office. In the performance of his sacred functions he was assisted by his children as camilli. (See CAMILLUS.) Every day was for him a holy day, so that he never appeared without the insignia of his office, the conical hat, the thick woollen toga proetexta woven by his wife, the sacrificial knife, and a rod to keep the people away from him. He was preceded by his lictor, and by heralds, who called on the people to stop their work, as the flamen was not permitted to look upon any labour. He was not allowed to cast eyes on an armed host, to mount, or even to touch, a horse, to touch a corpse, or grave, or a goat, or a dog, or raw meat or anything unclean. He must not have near him, or behold, anything in the shape of a chain. Consequently there must be no knots, but only clasps, on his raiment; the ring on his finger was broken, and any one who came into his house with chains must instantly be loosened. If he were guilty of any carelessness in the sacrifices, or if his hat fell off his head, he had to resign. His wife; the flaminica, was priestess of Juno. She had, in like manner, to appear always in her insignia of office, a long woollen robe, with her hair woven with a purple fillet, and arranged in pyramidal form, her head covered with a veil and a kerchief, and carrying a sacrificial knife. On certain days she was forbidden to comb her hair. The chief business of the flamens consisted in daily sacrifices: on certain special occasions they acted with the Pontifices and the Vestal Virgins. The three superior flamens offered a sacrifice to Fides Publica on the Capitol on the 1st October, driving there in a two-horse chariot. During the imperial period flamines of the deified emperors were added to the others.
VESTA 12.93%
The Italian, particularly the Latin, goddess of the hearth and of its fire, corresponding in her name, as well as in her nature, to the Greek HESTIA(q.v.) Like Vesta, besides her special cult on the hearth of every home, she was also worshipped by the State. This worship was introduced by Numa from Lavinium, whither Aeneas had brought the Penates and the sacred fire from Troy. Hence it was that Roman consuls and dictators, on taking up and laying down their office sacrificed in the temple of Vesta at Lavinium. It was customary in Italy as in Greece for the colonies to kindle the fire of their own Vesta at the hearth of the mother city. The ancient round temple of Vesta, which served as the central point of the city, was built by Numa. In its neighbourhood was the so called atrium of Vesta, the abode of the virgin priestesses of the goddess, the Vestals (excavated in 1883-4; Middleton's Remains of Ancient Rome, i 307-329]. Here the goddess was worshipped not in the form of a statue, but under the symbol of the eternal fire, which it was the chief duty of the Vestals to keep alight. On every 1st March it was renewed. If it went out of itself, a great national disaster was held to have occurred, and the guilty Vestal was scourged by the pontifex. The fire could only be rekindled by a burning glass, or by the primitive method of friction by boring a piece of wood from a fruit tree. Corresponding to the lares and penates of the domestic hearth, there were, according to later usage, the penates of the State in the temple of Vesta; and similarly, on the temple-hearth, a sacrifice was offered daily, consisting of the plainest form of food in a simple vessel of clay. The daily purifications could only be made with flowing water, which the Vestals carried in pitchers upon their heads from the fountain of Egeria, or of the Muses. By day every one had the right of admission to all the temple, save only that part in which the palladium and other mystic relics were kept, where the Vestals alone had the right to enter. It was only by night that men were excluded. As goddess of the sacred fire of the hearth in every house, and for the city in general, Vesta was also the goddess of every sacrificial fire. Hence she was worshipped with Janus at every religion service, Janus being invoked at the opening, Vesta at the close. Her own festival, the Vestalia, was kept on July 9th. The matrons of the town walked barefooted in procession to her temple, to implore tba blessing of the goddess for their households, and to offer sacrifice to her in rude dishes, in remembrance of the time when the hearth served generally for the baking of bread. The millers and bakers also kept holiday. The mills were crowned, and the asses employed in them had garlands and loaves suspended about their necks. The worship of Vesta survived to the last days of paganism, and was abolished by Gratian in 382 A.D. Although there was no image of the goddess in the actual temples, her statues were not uncommon at Rome in later times. Like the Greek Hestia, she was represented sometimes as standing, sometimes as sitting, completely clothed and veiled, with chalice torch, sceptre, and palladium. For cut, see HESTIA.
PRIESTS 12.09%
Roman. At Rome, the State religion was under the management of a number of priesthoods, which, by the order of the State, performed the regularly prescribed sacred rites or those specially decreed by the State on their recommendation. In the time of the kings the superintendence of the entire ritual belonged to the kings, among whom Numa, as the founder of an organized worship of the gods, holds a prominent place. The most important priesthoods which originated in the time of the kings were the Flamines, the Augures, the Vestales, the Salii, the Fetiales, the Pontifices, the Luperci, the Fratres Arvales, and the Curiones. Besides these, in course of time there arose the Rex Sacrorum to offer certain sacrifices originally offered by the king, the custodians of the Sibylline oracles, the Epulones to discharge a part of the pontifical duties, the priests of the new cults gradually introduced, and lastly the priests of the deified emperors, e.g. the Sodales Augustales. A number of State cults were handed over to individual clans (gentes) and associations. (See SODALITAS.) After the establishment of the Republic, a distinguished position was attained by the college of the pontifices, who, like the king in earlier times, superintended the entire ritual. They were the technical advisers of the Senate on any new questions that arose in regard to it. Next to them in importance were the augurs and the custodians of the Sibylline oracles. These priesthoods, together with that of the epulones, were styled the four great colleges (quattuor summa collegia), and an equal honour was afterwards given to that of the sodales Augustales. The appointment of the priests, for whom the same qualifications were required as among the Greeks, proceeded in various ways, by nomination, co-optation, and election. They entered on office by inauguration, an act in which the chief pontiff, acting through the augurs, inquired of the god concerned whether the new priest was acceptable to him. His reception into the college was accompanied by a banquet given by the new priest, which became proverbial for its luxury. When officially engaged all State priests (apart from their peculiar insignia ) wore the proetexta, the purple-edged robe of Roman magistrates. They also enjoyed the distinction of a seat of honour at festivals and games, and exemption from military service, from the duties of citizens, and from taxation. The great priesthoods were posts of honour, and, like the political offices, were without remuneration. On the other hand, some priests and riestesses (e.g. the Vestal Virgins and the augurs), besides the use of the sacred or public lands belonging to their temples, received a regular annual salary. The cost of the establishment was defrayed from several sources. The priests had under their management a fund which was maintained from landed property and current receipts (including fees for admission to the temple and for the offering of the sacrifice). They also had a claim to certain parts of the victim, and other perquisites; besides this, they all, especially the curiones (see CURIA), and those associations to which State cults were entrusted, received the necessary money from the public chest. The cost of repairing the temples and of all sacrifices and festivals especially ordered by the State was defrayed from the same source. Similarly the State provided the priests either with public slaves or with free and salaried servants, to wait upon them. (For a particular kind of priests' assistants, See CAMILLI.) All State temples did not have particular priests assigned them; temples without priests of their own were under the superintendence of a sacristan (oedituus); and it was usually only once in the year that sacrifice was offered at the great festival of such temples by a State priest specially appointed for the purpose. No priest could be called to account by any civil magistrate except the censor. The pontifex maximus had the power of punishing the other priests. The position of a priest of a cult not recognised by the State, but merely tolerated, was naturally different. With regard to their maintenance, they were themselves, like the sanctuaries they superintended, supported by the contributions of the votaries of their own cult.
The name given in antiquity to inspired prophetesses of some deity, in particular Apollo. They were usually regarded as young maidens dwelling in lonely caves or by inspiring springs, who were possessed with a spirit of divination, and gave forth prophetic utterances while under the influence of enthusiastic frenzy. They were described sometimes as priestesses of Apollo, sometimes as his favourite wives or daughters. We have no certain information as to their number, names, country, or date. Though Plato [Phoedrus, 294 B] knew of only one, others mention two, three, four [the Erythroean, the Samian, the Egyptian, and the Sardian], and even ten or twelve: [the Babylonian, the Libyan, the (elder and younger) Delphian, the Cimmerian, the (elder and younger) Erythroean, the Samian, the Cumoean, the Hellespontine, the Phrygian, and the Tiburtine]. In the earliest times they are mentioned as dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Trojan Ida in Asia Minor, later at Erythrae in Ionia, in Samos, at Delphi, and at Cumae in Italy. The most famous was the Erythraean Sibyl, Herophile, who is usually considered identical with the Cumaean, as she is represented as journeying by manifold wanderings from her home to Cumae. Here she is said to have lived for many generations in the crypts beneath the temple of Apollo, where she had even prophesied to Aeneas. In later times the designation of Sibyl was also given to the prophetic Nymph Albanca near Tibur [Lactantius, i 6 Section § 12]. The Sibylline books, so often met with in Roman history, had their origin in a collection of oracular utterances in Greek hexameters, composed in the time of Solon and Cyrus at Gergis on Mount Ida, and ascribed to the Hellespontic Sibyl, buried in the temple of Apollo at Gergis. This collection was brought by way of Erythrae to Cumaean, and finally, in the time of the last king, to Rome. According to the legend, the Cumaean Sibyl offered to Tarquinius Superbus nine books of prophecy; and as the king declined to purchase them owing to the exorbitant ice she demanded, burnt all but three of them, which the king purchased for the original price, and had them preserved in a vault beneath the Capitoline temple of Jupiter. When they were destroyed in the burning of the Capitol in 83 B.C., the Senate sent envoys to make a collection of similar oracular sayings distributed over various places, in particular Ilium, Erythae, and Samos. This new collection was deposited in the restored temple, together with similar sayings of native origin; e.g. those of the Sibyl at Tibur, of the brothers Marcius, and others. From the Capitol they were transferred by Augustus as pontifex, in 12 B.C., to the temple of Apollo on the Palatine, after they had been examined and copied; here they remained until about 405 A.D. They are said to have been burnt by Stilicho. The use of these oracles was from the outset reserved for the State, and they were not consulted for the foretelling of future events, but on the occasion of remarkable calamities, such as pestilence, earthquake, and as a means of expiating portents. It was only the rites of expiation prescribed by the Sibylline books that were communicated to the public, and not the oracles themselves. As these books recognised the gods worshipped, and the rites observed, in the neighbourhood of Troy, they were the principal cause of the introduction of a series of foreign deities and religious rites into the Roman State worship, of the amalgamation of national deities with the corresponding deities of Greece, and a general modification of the Roman religion after the Greek type. Tarquinius is said to have entrusted the care of the books to a special college of two men of patrician ramk. After 367 B.C. their number was increased to ten, half patrician and half plebeians; and in the 1st century B.C., probably in the time of Sulla, five more were added. These officials were entitled respectively duumviri, decemviri, and quindecimviri sacris faciundis. They were usually ex-consuls or ex-praetors. They held office for life, and were exempt from all other public duties. They bad the responsibility of keeping the books in safety and secrecy, of consulting them at the order of the Senate, of interpreting the utterances they found therein, and of causing the measures thus enjoined to be carried out; in particular, they had the superintendence of the worship of Apollo, the Magna Mater, and Ceres, which had been introduced by the Sibylline books. These Sibylline books have no connexion with a collection of Sibylline Oracles in twelve books, written in Greek hexameters, which have come down to us. The latter contain a medley of pretended prophecies by various authors and of very various dates, from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. to the 6th Century A.D. They were composed partly by Alexandrine Jews, partly by Christians, in the interests of their respective religions; and in part they refer to events of the later Empire.
FASTI 11.14%
Properly speaking, the court-days, on which the praetor was allowed to give his judgments in the solemn formula Do Dico Addico, and generally to act in his judicial capacity. The name was further applied to the days on which it was lawful to summon the assembly and the senate (dies comitiales). For these days might be used as court days in case the assembly did not meet: while on dies fasti proper no meeting of the comitia could take place. The opposite of dies fasti were the dies nefasti, or days on which on account of purifications, holidays, ferioe, and on other religious grounds, the courts could not sit, nor the comitia assemble. (See FERIAe.) The dies religiosi were also counted as nefasti. (See RELIGIOSI DIES.) Besides the 38-45 dies fasti proper, the 188-194 dies comitiales, the 48-50 dies nefasti, and 53-59 dies religiosi, there were 8 dies intercisi, which were nefasti in the morning and evening because of certain sacrifices which took place then, but fasti for the remaining hours. There were also 3 dies fissi (split days), which were nefasti until the conclusion of a particular proceeding; eg. the removal of the sweepings from the temple of Vesta on June 15th, but fasti afterwards. The division of days into fasti and profesti, or holidays and workdays, only affected private life, though many dies nefasti, as ferioe, would be identical with dies fasti. The list of the dies fasti was of immense importance as affecting legal proceedings, and indeed all public life. For a long time it was in the hands of the pontifices, and was thus only accessible to the patricians; but at last, 304 B.C., Gnaeens Flavius published it and made it generally accessible. This list, called simply Fasti, was the origin of the Roman calendar, which bore the same name. In this calendar the days of the year are divided into weeks of eight days each, indicated by the letters A-H. Each day has marks indicating its number in the month, its legal significance (F=fastus, N=nefastus, C=comitialis, EN= intercisus). The festivals, sacrifices, and games occurring on it are also added, as well as notices of historical occurrences, the rising and setting of the stars, and other matters. No trace remains of any calendar previous to Caesar; but several calendars composed after Caesar's reform have been preserved. Ovid's Fasti is a poetical explanation of the Roman festivals of the first six months. We have also many fragments of calendars, painted or engraved on stone, belonging to Rome and other Italian cities; for it was common to put up calendars of this kind in public places, temples, and private houses. There are two complete calendars in existence, one an official list written by Furius Dionysius Philocalus in 354 A.D., the other a Christian version of the official calendar, made by Polemius Silvius in 448 A.D. The word Fasti was further applied to the annual lists of the triumphs, high officials, consuls, dictators, censors, and priests. These lists were originally, like the other fasti, made out by the pontifices. Some fragments of them have survived, among which may be mentioned the Fasti Capitolini, so called from the Roman Capitol, where they are now preserved. They were originally, in 36-30 B.C., engraved on the marble wall of the Regia, or official residence of the Pontifex Maximus, and afterwards continued first to 12 B.C., and afterwards to 13 A.D.
The Roman year was supposed to have consisted, under Romulus, of 10 months, four full ones of 31 days (March, May, July and October), and six "hollow" of 30 days (April, June, August, September, November, December). But, as a space of 304 days makes up neither a solar nor a lunar year, it is difficult to understand the so-called "year of Romulus." King Numa was usually supposed to have introduced the year of 12 months by adding January and February at the end; for the Roman year, it must be remembered, began originally with March. On this system every month except February had an odd number of days: March 31, April 29, May 31, June 29, Quintilis 31, Sextilis 29, September 29, October 31, November 29, December 29, January 29, February 28. Numa is also credited with the attempt to square this lunar year of 355 days with the solar year of 365; but how he did it is not certainly known. The Decemviri in 450 B.C. probably introduced the system of adjustment afterwards in use. According to this a cycle of four years was taken, in the second year of which an intercalary month (mensis mercedonius) of 23 days was inserted between the 24th and 25th of February, and in the fourth year a month of 22 days between the 23rd and 24th February. Thus the period of 4 years amounted to 1465 days. But this gave the year an average of 366 1/4 days, or one day too many, so that a special rectification was necessary from time to time. This was probably carried out by the omission of an intercalary month. It was the business of the Pontifices to keep the calendar in order by regular intercalation; but, partly from carelessness, partly from political motives, they made insertions and omissions so incorrectly as to bring the calendar into complete disorder, and destroy the correspondence between the months and the seasons. The mischief was finally remedied by Caesar, with the assistance of the mathematician Sosigenes. To bring the calendar into correspondence with the seasons, the year 46 B.C. was lengthened so as to consist of 15 months, or 415 days, and the calendar known as the Julian was introduced on the 1st January, 45 B.C. This calendar is founded simply on the solar year, which is well known to be a discovery of the Egyptians. Caeesar fixed this year to 365 1/4 days, which is correct within a few Minutes. After this the ordinary year consisted of 365 days, divided into 12 months, with the names still in use. Every fourth year had 366 days, a day being inserted at the end of February. The Julian calendar maintained its ground till 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII corrected the trifling error which still attached to it. The old names of the months were retained with two exceptions, that of Quintilis, which, in honour of Caesar, was called Iulius, and that of Sextilis, which in 8 B.C. Was called Augustus in honour of the emperor. The old divisionsof the lunar month were also retained for convenience of dating. These were the Kalendae, marking the first appearance of the new moon; the Nonoe, marking the first quarter ; the Idus, marking the full moon. Kalendae> means properly the day of summoning, from calare, to summon. The Pontifex was bound to observe the first phase, and to make his announcement to the Rex Sacrorum, who then summoned the people to the Capitol, in front of the Curia Calabra, so called from calare. Here he offered sacrifice, and announced that the first quarter would begin on the 5th or 7th day (inclusive) as the case might be. This day was called Nonae, as (according to Roman calculation) the 9th day before the full moon, and fell in March, May, July and October on the 7th, in the other months on the 5th. The appearance of the full moon was called Idus (probably connected with the Etruscan word iduare, to divide), because it divided the month in the middle. The days of the month were counted backwards, in the first half of the month from the Nones and Ides, in the last half from the Kalends of the following month. The Romans also had a week called internundinum, or the interval between two nundinae. It consisted of eight days, and, like our weeks, could be divided between two months or two years. (For further details see FASTI.) After the establishment of the Republic the Romans named their years after the consuls, a custom which was maintained down to the reign of Justinian (541 A.D.). After the time of Augustus it became the practice in literature to date events from the foundation of Rome, which took place according to Varro in 753, according to Cato in 751 B.C. The Day. The Greeks reckoned the civil day from sunset to sunset, the Romans (like ourselves) from midnight to midnight. The natural day was reckoned by both as lasting from sunrise to sunset. The divisions of the day were for a long time made on no common principle. It was for military purposes that the Romans first hit on such a principle, dividing the night during service into four equal watches (vigiliae). Corresponding to this we find another division (probably calculated immediately for the courts of justice) into mane (sunrise to 9 or 10), forenoon (ad meridiem), afternoon (de meridie) until 3 or 4, and evening (suprema) from thence till sunset. After the introduction of sun-dials and waterclocks the day and night were divided each into 12 hours; but the division was founded on the varying length of the day, so that each hour of the day was longer, and conversely each hour of the night shorter, in summer than in winter.
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