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PRIESTS 100.00%
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.
PRIESTS 100.00%
Greek. The ministers of a particular sanctuary, charged with the duty of attending to the serviv~of the god of the place. Their duty was to offer appropriate sacrifices and perform other holy offices at the appointed time and manner, and also to assist and instruct worshippers, as to the rites they were to observe. They had to slay the victim, to select the parts for offering, and to lay them on the altar, to utter the accompanying prayers, and the like. In sacred functions which were performed elsewhere (as by the father at the family altar, and by certain State officers, e.g. by the first three archons at Athens, by the kings at Sparta), their assistance was not required, although it was often invited. The general name hiereus represents the priest in his character of an offerer of sacrifice and a minister of sacred rites. In the different cults, however, the priests often took the most various names, and with reference to individual cults had peculiar functions. The priesthoods were filled partly by right of inheritance from within certain families (as some of them were in almost all Greek states; but especially at Athens); partly by election or by a kind of appointment combining election and lot. A general qualification was legitimate descent from citizens, an irreproachable character, and freedom from bodily defects. (The worship of Artemis at Ephesus required the priests to be eunuchs, but it is to be observed that this was not a Greek worship.) Many priesthoods were only filled by men, others by women only; in many temples there we priests and priestesses together; but upon the whole it was a rule, though not without exceptions, that the priests of gods were men, of goddesses, women. In regard to the necessary age, again, the regulations were very various; many priesthoods could only be filled by quite young persons. Virginity and celibacy were required for certain priesthoods, e.g. for those of the virgin goddesses Athene and Artemis. A rule existed in many places, that a woman more than once married was disqualified for the priesthood. At any rate, ritual prescribed chastity for a certain time before undertaking any priestly duty. Here and there, too, the priests were forbidden to taste certain kinds of food. The office was held for very various periods, one year, several years, a life-time. The priests generally wore long hair and white vestments; many of them were clothed in saffron-coloured robes, as (among others) the priests of Dionysus. The priestly ornaments included garlands from the leaves of various trees, always according to the character of the god, and wreaths or fillets of many kinds. The priestly staff is often mentioned. The priests often had an official residence within the temple inclosure. They derived their maintenance partly from the revenue of the temple property partly from their share of the sacrifices, the skins of the animals sacrificed, and other dues of the same kind, and sometimes from actual offertories. Among their privileges, besides their inviolability, were freedom from military service, and a seat of honour at assemblies of the people and at the theatre. In many places dates were reckoned from the time when the priest of the chief divinity entered on office,e.g., in Argos from the priestess of Hera's first year of ministry [Thucydides, ii 2 § 1]. Besides the priests there were many kinds of temple-servants, for the preservation of the sacred buildings, the administration of their revenues, and the performance of the various rites. (Cp. CERYX, HIERODULI, HIERDIOCEI, NEOCORI, PARASITE.)
The overseer of a temple that had no priest of its own (see PRIESTS); also a major-domo. (See SLAVES.)
The vagrant begging priests of Rhea (q.v.).
MEGARON 47.46%
In many Greek temples a space divided off and sometimes subterranean, which only the priest was allowed to enter. (See TEMPLE.)
The Latin name for the boys and girls who attended on the priests and priestesses during the performance of their religious functions. It was necessary that they should be born of free parents, and have both parents living. These attendants were especially attached to the Flamen Dialis, and his wife the Flaminica, and also to the Curiones. The priests generally brought up their own children, by preference, for this service, to teach them their duties, and secure them a succession to the priestly office.
ADYTON 36.77%
In many Greek temples, a space set apart, sometimes underground, and only entered by the priest, a holy of holies. (See TEMPLE.)
Denoted originally among the Greeks the priest's assistant, who (like the priest) received his support from the offerings made to the temple, in return for certain services. These services included collecting and keeping the supplies of corn due to the temple, helping at certain sacrifices, and preparing the banquets connected with certain festivals [Athenaeus, p. 234]. The assistants of civil officials, who (like the latter) were maintained at the expense of the State, were also called parasites in many places [ib. 235]. The word received quite another meaning in the middle and later Greek Comedy, where it means the hanger on, who lays himself out for playing the flatterer and buffoon, with a view to getting invited to dinner. The parasite was transferred as a standing character to the Roman imitations of Greek comedy.
RHEA 29.73%
Daughter of Uranus and Gaea, wife of her brother, the Titan Cronus, by whom she gave birth to the Olympian gods, Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, Demeter. For this reason she was generally called the Mother of the gods. One of her oldest places of worship was Crete, where in a cave, near the town of Lyctus or else on mounts Dirce or Ida, she was said to have given birth to Zeus, and to have hidden him from the wiles of Cronus. The task of watching and nursing the newborn child she had entrusted to her devoted servants the Curetes, earth-born demons, armed with weapons of bronze, who drowned the cry of the child by the noise which they made by beating their spears against their shields. The name of Curetes was accordingly given to the priests of the Cretan Rhea and of the Idaean Zeus, who executed noisy war-dances. at the festivals of those gods. In early times the Cretan Rhea was identified with the Asiatic Cyble or Cybebe," the Great Mother," a goddess of the powers of nature and the arts of cultivation, who was worshipped upon mountains in Mysia, Lydia, and Phrygia. In the former character she was a symbol of the procreative power of nature; in the latter, she originated the cultivation of the vine and agriculture, together with all other forms of social progress and civilization, which depend upon these. Thus she was regarded as the founder of towns and cities, and therefore it is that art represents her as crowned with a diadem of towers. The true home of this religion was the Phrygian Pessinus, on the river Sangarius, in the district afterwards known as Galatia, where the goddess was called Agdistis. [Strabo, p. 567] or Angdistis, from a holy rock named Agdus upon Mount Dindymus above the town. Upon this mountain, after which the goddess derived her name of Dindymene, stood her earliest sanctuary, as well as her oldest effigy (a stone that had fallen from heaven), and the grave of her beloved Attis (q.v.). Her priests, the emasculated Galli, here enjoyed almost royal honour. In Lydia she was worshipped, principally on Mount Tmolus, as the mother of Zeus and the foster-mother of Dionysus. There was also a temple of Cybele at Sardis. Her mythical train was formed by the Corybantes, answering to the Curetes of the Cretan Rhea; these were said to accompany her over the wooded hills, with lighted torches and with wild dances, amid the resounding music of flutes and horns and drums and cymbals. After these the priests of Cybele were also called Corybantes, and the festivals of the goddess were celebrated with similar orgies, in the frenzy of which the participators wounded each other or, like Attis, mutilated themselves. Besides these there were begging priests, called Metragyrtoe and Cybebi, who roamed from place to place, as inspired servants and prophets of the Great Mother. On the Hellespont and on the Propontis, Rhea-Cybele was likewise the chief goddess; in particular in the Troad, where she was worshipped upon Mount Ida as the Idoean Mother, and where the Idoean Dactyli (q.v.) formed her train. From Asia this religion advanced into Greece. After the Persian Wars it reached Athens, where in the Metroum, the temple of the Great Mother, which was used as a State record-office, there stood the ideal image of the goddess fashioned by Phidias [Pausanias, i 3 § 5]. The worship of Cybele did not, however, obtain public recognition here, any more than in the rest of Greece, on account of its orgiastic excesses and the offensive habits of its begging priests. It was cultivated only by particular associations and by the lower ranks of the people. In Rome the worship of the Great Mother (Magna Mater) was introduced for political reasons in 204 B.C., at the command of a Sibylline oracle, and for the purpose of driving Hannibal out of Italy. An embassy was sent to fetch the holy stone from Pessinus; a festival was founded in honour of the goddess, to be hold on April 4-9 (the Megalesia, from the Greek megale meter= magna mater): and in 217 a temple on the Palatine was dedicated to her. The service was performed by a Phrygian priest, a Phrygian priestess, and a number of Galli (emasculated priests of Cybele), who were allowed to pass in procession through the city in accordance with their native rites. Roman citizens were forbidden to participate in this service, though the praetor on the Palatine, and private persons among the patricians, celebrated the feast by entertaining one another, the now cult being attached to that of Maia or Ops. The worship of Cybele gained by degrees an ever-wider extension, so that under the early Empire a fresh festival was instituted, from March 15-27, with the observance of mourning, followed by the most extravagant joy. In this festival associations of women and men and the religious board of the Quindecimviri (q.v.) took part. In the first half of the 2nd century A.D. the Taurobolia and Criobolia were added. In these ceremonies the person concerned went through a form of baptism with the blood of bulls and rams killed in sacrifice, with the object of cleansing him from pollutions and bringing about a new birth. The oak and pine were sacred to Rhea-Cybele, (See ATTIS), as also the lion. She was supposed to traverse the mountains riding on a lion, or in a chariot drawn by lions. In art she was usually represented enthroned between lions, with the mural crown on her head and a small drum in her hand.
A Greek tragedian of Corcyra, in the first half of the 3rd century B.C.; he was priest of Dionysus in Alexandria, and, as such, stood at the head of the Dionysiac guild of actors in that city. He was one of the " Pleiad " (q.v.) of Alexandrian tragic poets. [His portrait is preserved in a relief in the Lateran Museum. See out under TRAGEDY (Greek).]
LAOCOON 23.63%
According to the post-Homeric story, a priest of Apollo. He had displeased that god by marrying against his wishes; and, when the Greeks had departed for a time from Troy, leaving the wooden horse behind them, be again offended, by serving as a priest on the occasion of the sacrifice offered to Poseidon. Accordingly, in the midst of the sacrificial feast, the god sent two serpents who strangled Laocoon and one of his sons. In Vergil's account [Aen. ii 230] Laocoon draws down upon himself the wrath of Athena, not only for warning the Trojans against the guile of the Greeks, but for piercing with a spear the flank of the horse dedicated to the goddess. Whilst he was sacrificing to Poseidon on the beach, Athena caused two snakes to emerge from the sea and strangle the father and both of his sons. This incident has been represented in the famous group of sculpture (see cut), the work of the Rhodian artists Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenodorus, which was found in 1506 amid the ruins of the house of the emperor Titus at Rome. It is now in the Belvedere court of the Vatican Museum. (Comp. SCULPTURE.)
The chief priest in the Eleusinian mysteries (see ELEUSINIA). He was always a member of the family of the Eumolpidae. It was his duty to exhibit to the initiated the sacred symbols of the mysteries, and at the same time probably to chant the liturgic hymns originally derived from his ancestor, the Thracian bard Eumolpus.
The mythical attendants of the Phrygian goddess Rhea Cybele, who were supposed to accompany the goddess with wild dances and intoxicating music, while she wandered by torchlight over the forest-clad mountains. The name was further given in Phrygia to the eunuch priests of the goddess. (See RHEA.)
An Athenian festival celebrated on the 12th of the month Scirophorion (June-July), called after it. It was in honour of Athene, who was worshipped under the name of Sciras near Sciron, a spot on the "holy way" leading from Athens to Eleusis. It had its name from the large white sunshade (sciron) beneath which the priestess of Athene (the patron goddess of the city), the priest of Erechtheus, and the priest of Helios went to Sciron to sacrifice. The sunshade was a symbol of heavenly protection against the rays of the sun, which began to burn more intensely during the month of the festival. This protection was invoked with special reason, for the dry limestone rock was thinly covered by a meagre surface of soil in the neighbourhood of Athens, and particularly near Sciron itself. In this, as in other festivals of invocation, there were also expiatory offerings; and hence they carried in he procession the hide of a ram that had been sacrificed to Zeus as the mild and gracious deity (meilichios).
The daughter of Chryses, priest of Apollo at Chryse. She was carried away by the Greeks at the conquest of her native city, and allotted to Agamemnon. Agamemnon having refused the father's proffered ransom, Apollo visited the Greek camp with pestilence until Agamemnon gave her back without payment. (See TROJAN WAR.)
MUSAEUS 19.04%
A mythical singer, seer, and priest, who occurs especially in Attic legends. He is said to have lived in pre-Homeric times, and to have been the son of Se1ene and Orpheus or Linus or Eumolpus. Numerous oracular sayings, hymns, and chants of dedication and purification were ascribed to him, which had been collected, and also interpolated, by Onomacritus, in the time of the Pisistratidae. His tomb was shown at Athens on the Museum Hill, south-west of the Acropolis [Pausanias i 25 § 8].
MIDAS 18.90%
An old Phrygian king, son of Gordias and Cybele, in whose honour he is said to have founded a temple and instituted priests at Pessinus. When the drunken Silenus had lost his way and strayed into Midas' rose-gardens, the king brought him back to Dionysus. (According to another legend the king made him drunk by mingling wine with the spring Midas, and so caught him, that he might prophesy to him.) Dionysus granted Midas the fulfillment of his wish, that all he touched might turn to gold. But his very food and drink were changed at his touch, so that he prayed the god to take away the fatal gift. At the god's command he bathed in the Pactolus, which ever after became rich in gold. In the musical contest between Marsyas (or Pan) and Apollo, he decided for the former; on which account the god gave him the ears of an ass. He concealed them beneath a high cap, so that only his barber knew about it. However, he could not keep the secret for any length of time, and at last shouted it into a hole that he had dug into the ground; reeds grew from this hole, and whispered the secret to all the world. While this legend makes Midas himself appear as one of the Sileni belonging to the train of Dionysus (the ass being one of their attributes), the other points to him as the favourite of the divinity, whose first priest he was deemed to be, and who showered riches upon him.
BEROSUS 18.55%
A Greek writer, born in Bithynia, and a priest of Belus. He lived as early as the time of Alexander the Great, and about B.C. 280 wrote a work, dedicated to king Antiochus Soter, on Babylonian history, in three books (Babylonica or Chaldaica). The work must have been of great value, as it was founded on ancient priestly chronicles preserved in the temple of Belus at Babylon. Its importance as an authority for the ancient history of Asia is fully attested by the fragments that remain, in spite Of their scanty number and disordered arrangement.
NEOCORI 18.32%
The Greek term for certain officials subordinate to the priests, on whom devolved the cleaning and keeping in repair of the temple to which they were attached. In important temples, especially in Asia, the office of a neocorus was considered a distinction by which even the greatest personages felt honoured. In the imperial period of Rome, whole cities, in which temples of the emperors existed, styled themselves their neocori. [Ephesus is described in Acts, xix 35 as the neocorus, or "temple-keeper," of Artemis.]
BUTES 17.62%
An Athenian hero, son of the Athenian Pandion and Zeuxippe. A tiller of the soil, and a neatherd, he was a priest of Athene the goddess of the stronghold, and of Poseidon Erechtheus, and thus ancestor of the priestly caste of the Butadae and Eteobutadae. He shared an altar in the Erechtheum with Poseidon and Hephaestus. The later story represented him as the son of Teleon and Zeuxippe, and as taking part in the expedition of the Argonauts.
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