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[The word properly means an association or club, and was especially applied to the] religious brotherhoods among the Romans. By order of the State, they attended to the cult of some particular object of worship by jointly celebrating certain sacrifices and feasts, especially on the anniversary of the foundation of that cult. The members, called sodales, stood in a legally recognised position of mutual obligation, which did not allow any one of them to appear against another as a prosecutor in a criminal case, or to become patronus of the prosecutor of a sodalis, or to officiate as Judge upon a sodalis. Such a brotherhood were the Sodales Augustales, appointed A.D. 14 by the Senate for the cult of the deified Augustus, a college of 21, and afterwards of 28, members of senatorial rank, which also took upon itself the cult of Claudius after his deification, and bore, after that, the official title Sodales Augustales Claudiales. Besides these there were the Sodales Flaviales Titiales for the cult of Vespasian and Titus, the Hadrianales for that of Hadrian, Antoniniani for that of Antoninus Pius and of the successively deified emperors. (Cp. COLLEGIUM.) [The secular clubs, sodalitastes, or collegia sodalicia, were, in the later Republican age, much turned to account for political objects, and their organization used for purposes of bribery. See Cicero's speech Pro Plancio. It was very common for young Romans to belong to an ordinary sodalitas. Both Horace and Ovid were members of one.]
A religious association at Rome, formed for the maintenance of the worship paid to the deified Caesars. (See MUNICIPIUM and SODALITAS.)
The general term in Latin for an association. The word was applied in a different sense to express the mutual relation of such magistrates as were collegoe. Besides the collegia of the great priesthoods, and of the magistrates' attendants (see APPARITORES), there were numerous associations, which, although not united by any specifically religious objects, had a religious centre in the worship of some deity or other. Such were the numerous collegia of artisans (opificum or artificum), and the societies existing among the poor for providing funerals, which first appear under the Empire. The political clubs (collegia sodalicia ) were associated in the worship of the Lares Compitales , and were, indeed, properly speaking, collegia compitalicia , or " societies of the cross-ways." The religious societies were, in some instances, established by the State for the performance of certain public religious services (see SODALITAS), in other cases they were formed by private individuals, who made it their business to keep up the shrines of particular deities (often foreign deities) at their own expense.
SACRA 18.99%
The Latin term for all transactions relating to the worship of the gods, especially sacrifice and prayer. They are either sacra privata or publica. The former were undertaken on behalf of the individual by himself, on behalf of the family by the pater familias, or on behalf of the gens by the whole body of the gentiles. The centre of the domestic service of the gods is formed by the worship of the Penates and Lares. In particular cases recourse was also had to certain specified deities. Besides this, private sacra were attached to particular families; these passed to the heir with the succession and became a burden on him. Hence an inheritance without sacra (hereditas sine sacris) proverbially signified an unimpaired piece of good fortune [Plautus, Capt. 775, Trin. 483]. As the family had sacra, so also had the gens (q.v.), which had arisen out of the family by expansion. These were performed by a sacrificial priest (flamen) appointed from among the gentiles, the celebration taking place in his own house or in a special sacellum in the presence of the assembled gentiles. The sacra publica were undertaken pro populo collectively, (1) by the curioe, pagi, or vici, into which the community was divided, whence such sacrifices were called sacra popularia; or (2) by the individual gentes and societies (See SODALITAS), to which the superintendence of a particular cult had been committed by the State; or (3) by the magistrates and priests of the Roman State. The sacra of the gentes were with few exceptions performed in public, though the multitude present remained silent spectators; only in a few cases they took part in the procession to the place of worship or in the sacrificial feast.
PRIESTS 12.47%
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.
Type: Standard
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