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TELLUS 100.00%

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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.
 
FORDICIDIA OR HORDLELDIA 100.00%

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A festival celebrated in Rome in honour of Tellus, goddess of the earth, on 15th April. (See TELLUS.)
 
SEMENTIVAE FERLAAE 70.25%
A festival of seedtime, celebrated in honour of Tellus (q.v.).
 
PAGANALIA 58.14%

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In Italy, a movable festival of the old village communities (see PAGUS), celebrated after the winter-sowing in January, on two days separated by an interval of a week. On this occasion a pregnant sow was sacrificed to Tellus or to Ceres, who at a later period was worshipped together with Tellus.
 
PALES 13.39%

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The Italian goddess of shepherds. Her festival, the Palilia or Parilia, held on April 21st, was properly a herdsmen's festival to promote the fruitfulness of the flocks and to purify the sacred groves and fountains from all unintentional injury or pollution caused by the herds. It was deemed the anniversary of the founding of Rome, the former abode of shepherds. Accordingly it was celebrated at Rome, as in the villages, by the whole of the inhabitants, with the ancient rites of a shepherds' festival. It was customary to purify house, steading, and sheep with sulphur, and, as a special means of expiation, to offer incense, together with a mixture of the blood of the October horse (see MARS), the ashes of the unborn calf which was burned at the feast of Tellus, and bean-straw which was obtained from the Vestals. When these solemn purifications were over, the cheerful part of the festival began. Bonfires were made of straw and hay; the shepherds leaped across them thrice; cakes of millet were also offered to the goddess; and the festival was concluded by a feast in the open air. After the 2nd century of our era the festival was combined with that of Dea Roma, and was celebrated as her birthday with festal processions and Circensian games, which continued till the 5th century.
 
VESTALS 8.70%
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.
 
SAECULARES LUDI 8.41%
The "Secular Games" arose from some gentile sacrifices of the Valerian family, which were offered to the gods beneath the earth at the Terentum (or Tarentum), a spot in the Campus Martius where a volcanic fire smouldered. The first celebration of the Ludi Terentini of which there is actual evidence took place 249 B.C., by the direction of the Sibylline books, in honour of Dis and Proserpine. Owing to the vow then made, to repeat them at the beginning of every saeculum, or period of one hundred years, they were called the "Secular Games." Like all cults prescribed by the Sibylline books, they are of non-Roman origin, being, in fact, borrowed from the Etruscans, who at the conclusion of a mean period of 100 years, reckoned according to the longest human life in a generation, used to present an expiatory offering on behalf of the new generation to the gods beneath the earth. The games seem to have been next held, not in 149, but in 146; the one following was omitted on account of the Civil Wars, and the games were not held again until the time of Augustus, in 17 B.C. [It was for this occasion that Horace wrote his Carmen Saeculare.] The date was fixed by a reckoning different from that hitherto followed, by taking 110 years as the normal standard of the saeculum. In later times sometimes the new reckoning was adopted, sometimes the old; as early as Claudius we have a return to the old, and in 47 A.D. that emperor celebrated with secular games the 800th year of Rome. Similarly the years 900 and 1000 of the city were celebrated. The ritual order of the games, which Augustus only altered by the introduction of Apollo, Diana, and Latona among the deities worshipped, was as follows: At the beginning of the season of harvest, heralds invited the people to the festival, which none had ever seen, nor would see again; and the commission of fifteen, which was charged with the due celebration of all festivals enjoined by the Sibylline books, distributed the means of expiation, consisting of torches, sulphur, and pitch, to all free persons on the Capitol and in the Palatine temple of Apollo. At the same time in the temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, in that of the Palatine Apollo, and in that of Diana on the Aventine, wheat, barley, and beans were handed to the people for an offering of firstfruits. At the feast proper, which lasted three days and three nights, the emperor upon the first night sacrificed to the Parcae three rams, which were completely burnt up, upon three altars at the Terentum. This was accompanied by the burning of torches and the chanting of a hymn. At the same place, and on the same or the following day, a black hog and a young pig were offered to Tellus, and dark-coloured victims to Dis and Proserpine. On the first day white bulls were sacrificed to Jupiter, and a white cow to Juno on the Capitol, after which scenic games were held in honour of Apollo. On the second day the matrons prayed to Juno on the Capitol; on the third, a sacrifice of white oxen took place in the Palatine temple of Apollo, while twenty-seven boys and the same number of maidens sang the carmen saeculare in Greek and in Latin.
 
SACRIFICES 3.46%

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among the ancients, formed the chief part of every religious act. According to the kind of sacrifice offered, they were divided into (a) bloodless offerings and (b) blood offerings. (a) The former consisted in firstfruits, viands, and cakes of various shape and make, which were some of them burned and some of them laid on the altars and sacrificial tables (See figs. 1 and 2) and removed after a time, libations of wine, milk, water with honey or milk, and frankincense, for which in early times native products (wood and the berries of cedars, junipers, and bay trees, etc.) were used. Asiatic spices, such as incense and myrrh, scarcely came into use before the seventh century in Greece or until towards the end of the Republic at Rome. (b) For blood-offerings cattle, goats, sheep, and swine were used by preference. Other animals were only employed in special cults. Thus horses were offered in certain Greek regions to Poseidon and Helios, and at Rome on the occasion of the October feast to Mars; dogs to Hecate and Robigus, asses to Priapus, cocks to Asclepius, and geese to Isis. Sheep and cattle, it appears, could be offered to any gods among the Greeks. As regards swine and goats, the regulations varied according to the different regions. Swine were sacrificed especially to Demeter and Dionysus, goats to the last named divinity and to Apollo and Aromis as well as Aphrodite, while they were excluded from the service of Athene, and it was only at Sparta that they were presented to Hera. At Epidaurus they might not be sacrificed to Asclepius, though elsewhere this was done without scruple. [Part of the spoils of the chase-such as the antlers or fell of the stag, or the head and feet of the boar or the bear--was offered to Artemis Agrotera (See fig. 3).] As regards the sex and colour of the victims, the Romans agreed in general with the Greeks in following the rule of sacrificing male creatures to gods, female to goddesses, and those of dark hue to the infernal powers. At Rome, however, there were special regulations respecting the victims appropriate to the different divinities. Thus the appropriate offering for Jupiter was a young steer of a white colour, or at least with a white spot on its forehead; for Mars, in the case of expiatory sacrifices, two bucks or a steer; the latter also for Neptune and Apollo; for Vulcan, a red calf and a boar; for Liber and Mercury, a he-goat; for Juno, Minerva, and Diana, a heifer; for Juno, as Lucina, an ewe lamb or (as also for Ceres and the Bona Dea) a sow; for Tellus, a pregnant, and for Proserpine a barren, heifer; and so on. The regulations as regards the condition of the victims were not the same everywhere in Greece. Still in general with them, as invariably with the Romans, the rule held good, that only beasts which were without blemish, and had not yet been used for labour, should be employed. Similarly, there were definite rules, which were, however, not the same everywhere, concerning the age of the victims. Thus, by Athenian law, lambs could not be offered at all before their first shearing, and sheep only when they had borne lambs. The Romans distinguished victims by their ages as lactantes, sucklings, and maiores, full grown. The sacrifice of sucklings was subject to certain limitations: young pigs had to be five days old, lambs seven, and calves thirty. Animals were reckoned maiores if they were bidentes; i.e. if their upper and lower rows of teeth were complete. There were exact requirements for all cases as regards their sex and condition, and to transgress these was an offence that demanded expiation. If the victims could not be obtained as the regulations required, the pontifical law allowed their place to be taken by a representation in wax or dough, or by a different animal in substitution for the sort required. In many cults different creatures were combined for sacrifice: e.g. a bull, a sheep, and a pig (Cp. SUOVETAURILIA), or a pig, a buck, and a ram, and the like. In State sacrifices, victims were sometimes sacrificed in great numbers; e.g. at the Athenian festival in commemoration of the victory at Marathon, 500 goats were slain. (Cp. HECATOMBE.) Human sacrifices as a means of expiation were not unknown to the earliest Greek and Roman worship, and continued in certain cases (e.g. at the feast of the Lyman Zeus and of Jupiter Latiaris) until the imperial period; however, where they continued to exist, criminals who were in any case doomed to death were selected, and in many places opportunity was further given them for escape. In general, it was considered that purity in soul and body was an indispensable requirement for a sacrifice that was to be acceptable to a divinity. Accordingly the offerer washed at least his hands and feet, and appeared in clean (for the most part, white) robes. One who had incurred blood-guiltiness could not offer sacrifice at all; he who had polluted himself by touching anything unclean, particularly a corpse, needed special purification by fumigation. Precautions were also taken to insure the withdrawal of all persons who might be otherwise unpleasing to the divinity; from many sacrifices women were excluded, from others men, from many slaves and freedmen. At Rome, in early times, all plebeians were excluded by the patricians. The victims were generally decked out with ribbons and wreaths, and sometimes the cattle had their horns gilded. If the creature voluntarily followed to the altar or even bowed its head, this was considered as a favourable sign; it was an unfavourable sign if it offered resistance or tried to escape. In that case, with the Romans, the object of the sacrifice was deemed to be frustrated. Among the Greeks those who took part in the sacrifice wore wreaths; a firebrand from the altar was dipped in water, and with the water thus consecrated they sprinkled themselves and the altar. They then strewed the head of the victim with baked barley-grains, and cast some hairs cut from its head into the sacrificial fire. After those present had been called upon to observe a devout silence, and avoid everything that might mar the solemnity of the occasion, the gods were invited, amidst the sound of flutes or hymns sung to the lyre and dancing, to accept the sacrifice propitiously. The hands of the worshippers were raised, or extended, or pointed downwards, according as the prayer was made to a god of heaven, of the sea, or of the lower world respectively. The victim was then felled to the ground with a mace or a hatchet, and its throat cut with the sacrificial knife. During this operation the animal's head was held up, if the sacrifice belonged to the upper gods, and bowed down if it belonged to those of the lower world or the dead. The blood caught from it was, in the former case, poured round the altar, in the latter, into a ditch. In the case just mentioned the sacrifice was entirely burned (and this was also the rule with animals which were not edible), and the ashes were poured into the ditch. In sacrifices to the gods of the upper world, only certain portions were burned to the gods, such as thigh-bones or chine-bones out off the victim, some of the entrails, or some pieces of flesh with a layer of fat, rolled round the whole, together with libations of wine and oil, frankincense, and sacrificial cakes. The remainder, after removing the god's portion, as it was called, for the priests engaged in the sacrifice, was either roasted at once for the sacrificial banquet and so consumed, or taken home. Festal sacrifices at the public expense were often combined with a public meal. Sacrifice was made to the gods of the upper air in the morning; to those of the lower world in the evening. Among the Romans, as among the Greeks, reverent silence prevailed during the sacrificial operations; in case a careless word should become an evil omen, and to prevent any disturbance by external surroundings, a flute-player played and the offerer of the sacrifice himself veiled his head during the rite. The prayer, formulated by the pontifices, and unintelligible to the priests themselves from its archaic language, was repeated by the votary after the priest, who read it from a written form, as any deviation from the exact words made the whole sacrifice of no avail. As a rule, the worshipper turned his face to the east, or, if the ceremony took place before the temple, to the image of the divinity, grasping the altar with his hands; and, when the prayer was ended, laid his hands on his lips, and turned himself from left to right (in many cults from right to left), or, again, walked round the altar and then seated himself. Then the victim, selected as being without blemish, was consecrated, the priest sprinkling salted grains of dried and pounded spelt (mola salsa) and pouring wine from a cup upon its head, and also in certain sacrifices cutting some of the hairs off its head, and finally making a stroke with his knife along the back of the creature, from its head to its tail. Cattle were killed with the mace, calves with the hammer, small animals with the knife, by the priest's attendants appointed for the purpose, to whom also the dissection of the victims was assigned. If the inspectors of sacrifice (see HARUSPEX) declared that the entrails (exta), cut out with the knife, were not normal, this was a sign that the offering was not pleasing to the divinity; and if it was a male animal which had been previously slaughtered, a female was now killed. If the entrails again proved unfavourable, the sacrifice was regarded as of no avail. On the other hand, in the case of prodigies, sacrifices were offered until favourable signs appeared. In other sin-offerings there was no inspection of entrails. Sin-offerings were either entirely burned or given to the priests. Otherwise the flesh was eaten by the offerers, and only the entrails, which were roasted on spits, or boiled, were offered up, together with particular portions of the meat, in the proper way, and placed in a dish upon the altar, after being sprinkled with mola salsa and wine. The slaughter of the victim took place in the morning, whilst the extawere offered at evening, the intervening time being taken up by the process of preparation.
 
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