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PUTEAL 100.00%
The Latin term for a circular stone inclosure, consisting of a dwarf wall, surrounding either (1) the mouth of a well, or (2) a spot struck by lightning. Italian superstition demanded that every flash of lightning which struck and was buried in the earth should have, as it were, a grave and a propitiatory offering, as in the case of a human being. According to the place where the flash fell, this offering was made, either by the State or by private individuals, in the earlier times according to the directions of the pontifces, at a later date after consultation with the Etruscan haruspices. The earth which was touched by the divine fire was carefully collected [Lucan i 606], and inclosed in a coffin constructed out of four side-pieces and without any bottom (this was the burying of the lightning). Then round the coffin a shaft, consisting of four walls and open at the top, was built up to the surface of the ground. A place which had thus been consecrated by the offering which the haruspices made of a sheep two years old (bidens) was specially called a bidental, and was not allowed to be desecrated. According to the pontifical rite introduced by Numa, the propitiatory offering consisted of onions, hair, and sardels. If a human being had been struck by lightning, his body was not burnt, but buried on the spot [Pliny, N. H. ii 145]. Such a spot was called a bidental, and a propitiatory offering was made on his behalf [Festus, p. 27 ; Nonius, pp. 53, 26]. [The puteal, with bay wreaths, lyres, and a pair of pincers, may be seen on coins of the gens Scribonia (see cut). The ancient puteal in the Forum, near the Arcus Fabianus, was repaired by Scribonius Libo, whence it was called the Puteal Libonis or Puteal Scribonianum. In its neighbourhood he erected a tribunal for the praetor, which led to its becoming the resort of litigants, money-lenders, etc. (Hor., Sat. ii 6,35, Ep. i 19, 8; Cic., Pro Sestio 18).]
 
BIDENTAL 100.00%

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A consecrated spot where lightning had passed into the ground. (See PUTEAL.)
 
PRODIGIUM 25.94%

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The Latin term for an unnatural or, at any rate, unusual and inexplicable phenomenon, which was always treated as requiring expiation (procuratio). This was only done on behalf of the State, if the phenomenon had been observed on ground belonging to the State. The Senate, acting on the advice of the pontiffs, ordained either particular sacrifices, to specified deities, or a nine days' sacrifice, or a public intercession, and left the execution of the ordinance to the consuls. If a prodigium caused so much alarm that the usual means of expiation seemed insufficient, the Senate had recourse to the Sibylline books, or the Etruscan haruspices. (See HARUSPEX) For the prodigium of a thunderbolt, See PUTEAL.
 
HARUSPEX 16.29%

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An Etruscan soothsayer, whose function it was to interpret the divine will from the entrails of sacrificial victims, to propitiate the anger of the gods as indicated by lightning or other marvels, and to interpret their significance according to Etruscan formulae. This art had long been practised in Etruria, and was referred to a divine origin. In the course of the republican era it found a home in the private and public life of the Romans, winning, its way as the native priesthoods, entrusted with similar functions, lost in repute. From the time of the kings to the end of the republic, haruspices were expressly summoned from Etruria by decrees of the senate on the occurrence of prodigies which were not provided for in the Pontifical and Sibylline books. Their business was to interpret the signs, to ascertain what deity demanded an expiation, and to indicate the nature of the necessary offering. It then lay with the priests of the Roman people to carry out their instructions. Their knowledge of the signs given by lightning was only applied in republican Rome for the purpose of averting the omen portended by the flash. (See PUTEAL.) But under the Empire it was also used for consulting the lightning, either keeping it off, or rawing, it down. From about the time of the Punic Wars, haruspices began to settle in Rome, and were employed both by private individuals and state officials to ascertain the divine will by examination of the liver, gall, heart, lungs, and caul of sacrificial victims. They were especially consulted by generals when going to war. Their science was generally held in high esteem, but the class of haruspices who took pay for their services did not enjoy so good a reputation. Claudius seems to have been the first emperor who instituted a regular collegium of Roman haruspices, consisting of sixty members of equestrian rank, and presided over by a haruspex maximus, for the regular service of the State. This collegium continued to exist till the beginning of the 5th century A.D.
 
JUPITER 8.36%

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In the Italian mythology, the highest god in heaven, corresponding to the Greek Zeus (q.v.), with whom he was identical, not only in his nature, but also in his name. For Jupiter is compounded of Iovis (an older form is Diovis) and pater; Zeus stands for Dieus (Indian Diaus- "the bright heaven"). As in course of time the Italian god became identified with the Greek, he was regarded as a son of Saturn and of Ops, the deities deemed to correspond to the Greek Uranus and Rhea respectively. From Jupiter comes all that appears in the heavens. As Lucetius (from lux, "light") he is the bringer of light, the cause of the dawn of day, as well as of the full moon at night. Just as the calends (1st) of each month are sacred to Juno, so the ides (13th or 15th), which are full-moon days, are sacred to Jupiter. On these his special priest, the flamen dialis, offers him the Idulia, a sacrifice of a white lamb. While he watches over fair weather, he also controls all other weather; as Fulgurator and Fulminator ("flasher of lightning") and as Tonans or Tonitrualis ("thunderer") he brings down those fearful storms which were familiar to Rome; as Pluvius he sends a fertilizing rain. Any place, or thing, struck by lightning was supposed to be sacred to Jupiter as having been taken possession of by him, and thus it needed a particular dedication. (See PUTEAL.) As the god of rain, there was instituted in his honour at Rome a festival of supplication, called aquoelicium. In this the pontifices brought into Rome from the temple of Mars outside the Porta Capena a cylindrical stone called the lapis manalis (rain-stone), while the matrons followed the procession with bare feet, as did also the magistrates, unaccompanied by their insignia. In the same character he was appealed to by the country-folk, before sowing time and in the spring and autumn, when a sacrificial feast was offered to him. He and Juno were worshipped before the commencement of the harvest, even before any sacrifice to Ceres. Throughout all Latium, the feast of the Vinalia (q.v.) was celebrated in his honour as the giver of wine; and at the commencement of the vintage season he was offered a lamb by the flamen Dialis. He was honoured in all Italy, after Mars, as the decider of battles and giver of victory; this was specially the case at Rome, where, as early as the days of Romulus, shrines were founded to him as Stator ("he who stays flight ") and Feretrius (to whom the spoils taken by a Roman general in the field from a hostile general were offered. See SPOLIA). He watches over justice and truth, and is therefore the most ancient and most important god of oaths; he was specially called on by the fetiales (q.v.) as a witness at the ceremonies connected with treaties of peace. Not only the law of nations, but also the law of hospitality, is under his special protection, and while he causes his blessing to fall on the whole country, he is also the god of good fortune and blessing to the family. His gracious power does not confine itself to the present alone; by means of signs comprehensible to experts, he reveals the future (see AUSPICIA) and shows his approval or disapproval of a contemplated undertaking. He was worshipped of old on the Alban Hill, by the Latin people, as their ancestral god, under the name of Iuppiter Latiaris (or Latialis); at the formation of the Latin league he was honoured as the god of the league by a sacrificial feast, which they all held in common; even after its dissolution the sacrifice was continued under the superintendence of the consuls. (See FERIAe.) The chief seat of his worship in Rome was the Capitol, where he was honoured as the ideal head of the State, as the Increaser and Preserver of Roman might and power, under the name of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus ("Best and Greatest"). It was there that his earthenware image was enthroned, with the thunderbolt in its right hand. It stood in the centre of the temple begun by Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the kings, and finished and dedicated in the first year of the Republic. In the pediment of the temple was the quadriga, the attribute of the god of thunder, while the chambers to the left and right were dedicated to Juno and to Minerva respectively. Here the consuls, at their entry into office and their departure to war, made their solemn vows; hither came the triumphal procession of the victor, who was clad in the festal garb of the god, and who, before offering to Jupiter the customary thank-offering of white oxen, prayed to his image and placed in his lap the laurel-wreath of victory bound about the fasces. Hither poured in, to adorn the temple and to fill its treasures, countless multitudes of costly votive offerings from the State, from generals and private citizens, and from foreign kings and nations. When, after its existence for 400 years, the ancient temple was destroyed by fire in B.C. 83, it was rebuilt on its original plan but with increased magnificence (B.C. 78). The image of the god was a copy in gold and ivory of the Olympian Zeus (q.v.). The temple was burnt down again A.D. 70, and Vespasian had scarcely restored it when a fresh fire burnt it down A.D. 80, whereupon Domitian in A.D. 82 erected the temple which continued to stand as late as the 9th century. As was natural for the most exalted god of the Roman State, he had the most splendid festivals in his honour. Amongst the greatest of these were the ludi Romani, the ludi magni, and the ludi plebeii. (See GAMES.) Under the Empire the Capitoline Jupiter was recognised as the loftiest representative of the Roman name and State, whose vicegerent on earth was the emperor. As his worship gradually spread over the whole empire, he finally became the representative of the pagan world in general. He was often identified with the native gods of the provinces, including the sun-god of Heliopolis and Doliche in Syria, who, from the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., Was worshipped far and wide under the name of Iuppiter Heliopolitanus and Dolichenus. Antoninus built for the former the magnificent temple of Heliopolis, or Baalbec. He was similarly identified with various Celtic and German gods, especially those who were worshipped on Alpine mountain-tops as protectors of travellers. As an example of the latter we have Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Poeninus, whose seat was on the Great St. Bernard.
 
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