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Roman Religion

(3,922 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
1. Definition 1.1. Distinctions In their classic epoch the Romans clearly distinguished their religion—the cultus deorum (cult of the gods), religiones (pl. religions), but also religio (sing.)—from other parts of their culture. Thus they maintained the difference between sacer and profanus (Sacred and Profane), ius divinum and ius humanum (divine and human law), and dies fasti, dies comitiales, and dies nefasti (days for business, for public assemblies, and for neither). The Romans structured religion from different angles: 1. legally, by nature, place, and time, as w…

Theologia

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[English Version] I. Wort und Begriff 1.Der Erstbeleg. Das Wort ϑεολογ-/theolog- (mit Ableitungen) erscheint spät und zunächst selten in der Gesch. der griech. Sprache. Das früheste Zeugnis kommt aus spätklassischer Zeit und belegt das Nomen ϑεολογι´α/theología. Plato kritisiert die Erziehung der Kinder mit fiktiven, lügnerischen, unmoralischen Mythen. Er nennt Homer, Hesiod und die anderen Dichter, die Theogonien, Theomachien, Gigantenkämpfe erzählen. Die Philosophen müssen Richtlinien (»Typen«, Rahmen, Grundzüge) bzgl. dessen…

Vergil

(638 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[English Version] Vergil, Publius Vergilius (später auch Virgilius) Maro (15.10.70 v.Chr. bei Mantua – 21.9.19 in Brundisium, begraben in Neapel). Leben und Werk: V., gelehrter Dichter aus bescheidenen Verhältnissen, kränklich, von Asinius Pollio, Maecenas, und Augustus gefördert, Freund des Horaz (carm. 1,3). – Das Buch der Eclogae (vf. 39–37) enthält zehn bukolische (»lyrische«) Gedichte von klassischer Vollkommenheit in Sprache, Komposition, Thematik und Metrik. Gegen die akute Bedrohung im Untergang der röm. R…

Ritualbücher

(557 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[English Version] (libri rituales). I. R. sind Sammlungen von verschrifteten Ritualen (Ritus/Ritual), von präskriptiven und deskriptiven Texten zum Gebrauch für den Kult, ggf. während des Kultaktes. Sie schreiben vor, »mit welchen Schlachttieren, an welchen Tagen, bei welchen Tempeln Heiliges gemacht werden soll, und woher für diese Aufwendungen Geld angefordert werden könnte« (Liv. I 19, 5; Opfer: II., 3.). Die R. belehren über das Verhältnis von Handlung und Wort im antiken Kult und sind ein Indiz…

Varro

(623 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[English Version] Varro, Marcus Terentius (116–27 v.Chr.). Leben und Werk: Röm. Beamter (Praetor 68), wahrscheinlich Quindecimvir (Cichorius), weit gereister Polyhistor und Poet, konservativer Republikaner, Anhänger der (alten) Akademie, vf. mehr als 70 Werke über alle Gebiete der röm. Kultur in mehr als 500 Bänden. Das gewaltige Oeuvre umfaßt philol. und literarhist. Arbeiten (Theaterwesen, Gesch. der Buchstaben u.a.), hist., antiquarische (Zeitrechnung), überdies die artes liberales, juristische (Verw…

Ritual Books (libri rituales)

(647 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. Ritual books are collections of rituals in written form (Rite and ritual), of prescriptive and descriptive texts for use in cult/worship, sometimes during the cultic act. They prescribe “with what animal sacrifices, on which days, in which temples a holy thing is to be made, and whence money might be requested for these expenses” (Livy I 19, 5; Sacrifice : II, 3). The ritual books provide instruction on the relation between action and word in ancient cult and worship, and are a…

Capitol

(598 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] In the narrow sense, Capitol (Lat. caput, “head”) refers to the part of the mons Capitolinus which faces the Tiber; in a broader sense it refers to the whole hill including the arx (“fortress”), which was at one time connected to the Quirinal, and the hollow, known as the Asylum, between the two hilltops. Additionally, the Capitol is the name of the principal temple in Rome and its colonies, the aedes Capitolina of Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, and for any symbolic place which demonstrates the Roman relationship between religion and power in…

Caesar, Gaius Julius

(717 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] The word “Caesar” has three senses: (a) a branch of the Julian clan ( gens Julia), which traced its genealogy through Aeneas back to Aphrodite; (b) a title (cf. Mark 12:13–17; Acts 25:11) and the office of supreme ruler (cf. OHG keisar, Russian Tsar); (c) the personification of a modern conception of antique greatness, drive, and genius, which can be interpreted as the antithesis of Christian humility, passivity, and “foolishness” (F. Nietzsche: “Caesar figure,” “Jesus figure”; Gundolf). The best-known representative of the gens Julia is C. Julius Caesar (100–44 bce).…

Tacitus, Publius Cornelius

(671 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] (c. 55 – after 116 ce). Life and works. Tacitus was praetor (88) and quindecimvir (?), suffect consul (97), and proconsul of the province of Asia (112/113). The biography of his father-in-law Gnaeus Julius Agricola (d. 93) combines the laudatio funebris (Dead, Cult of the: III) with an ethnography of Britain. The ethnography of the free, i.e. non-Roman (or not yet Roman) Germania (written around 100) draws a typecast and idealizing picture of an unspoiled primitive people and dangerous neighbor. His Dialogus de oratoribus (written around 105) discusses the relat…

Linear and Cyclical

(663 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. Metaphor and Stereotype – II. History of Ancient Religion and Ideas I. Metaphor and Stereotype The image of the straight line and the circle is used to describe experiences and conceptions of time and history (History/Concepts of History) in a simple and graphic manner, though not necessarily clearly and correctly. In a “pre-philosophical” system of classification and valuation, thought patterns, artistic styles, and even entire cultures are labeled as linear or cyclical. The history of huma…

Paradoxography

(418 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] (a post-classical coinage) is a genre of classical texts that recount wonders (Gk ϑαύματα/ tháumata; Lat. mirabilia) from the realm of nature and from history – extraordinary phenomena that are incredible and contrary to all expectations (Paradox). Paradoxography is a subdivision of natural history ( naturalis historia) and historiography. Its materials are considered empirical and historical; though unusual and hidden on the fringes of the known world, they are not myths from antiquity. In the Parallela minora of Pseudo-Plutarch, for example, “paradoxica…

Rohde, Erwin

(197 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] (Oct 9, 1845, Hamburg – Jan 11, 1898, Heidelberg), taught classical philology in Kiel, Jena, Tübingen (1878–1886), Leipzig, and Heidelberg (prorector 1894/1895). Starting from novels and romance poetics of the modern period, Rohde, an antimodernist of refined sensitivity, researched the history of the novel in antiquity. Psyche (1890–1894, 9/101925; ET: Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality among the Greeks, 1925), his major contribution to the history of religion, offers a comprehensive presentation of the “development” of…

Decay/Decline

(820 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. General – II. Greek Views – III. Roman Views I. General Decay/decline (cf. decadence, degeneration; inclinatio; Ger. Verfall) refers to a process of gradual deterioration that ends in sudden catastrophe (Gk καταστροφή), destruction, disintegration, slow dissolution, or ruin (Gk φϑορά/ phthorá), unless it is averted by reform or renaissance. Decay/decline is the corresponding antonym of progress, an – often …

Progress

(963 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. The Term The word progress, ultimately from Lat. pro-gressus (cf. progressio, processus, profectus) and its Greek prototypes (προκοπή/ prokopḗ, προαγωγ ή/ proagōgḗ, προέρχεσϑαι/ proérchesthai); all have the basic meaning “move forward,” with the figurative sense of “change for the better (through human agency)” (like Ger. Fortschritt). In their figurative sense, these words are very rare in the ¶ Bible (Phil 1:12; 1:25). In the Middle Ages, the lexical field played only a modest role (Zorn, 341). Besides the “image of the road” (Bec…

Orient and Occident

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. The Cliché – II. The Classical Paradigms I. The Cliché 1. The words Orient and Occident (“the rising/setting sun”; Lat. ortus/occasus, Gk ἀνατολή/ anatolē/ δύσις/ dýsis) denote either (a) an East (cf. Matt 2:1: “Magi from the East”; also Anatolia/Turkey) or West (cf. the Hesperides), always relative, or (b) a geographical fiction, a construct of “mythic geography,” an ideological stereotype. The administrative language of the Roman Empire was clearer. After the reorganization of the Empire by Diocletian, the praefectus praetorio per Orientem (there was no an…

Theologia

(1,653 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. The Term 1. Earliest occurrence. The word ϑεολογ-/ theolog- (and its derivatives) appeared late in the history of the Greek language and was initially rare. The earliest witness dates from the late classical period, where we find the noun ϑεολογία/ theología. Plato criticized using fictional, mendacious, and immoral myths in the education of children. He names Homer, Hesiod, and the other poets who describe theogonies, theomachies, and battles between giants. Philosophers must specify guidelines (“types,” frames, feat…

Varro, Marcus Terentius

(677 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] (116–27 bce). Life and work: Varro was a Roman official (praetor in 68), probably a quindecimvir (Cichorius), and a widely traveled polyhistor and poet. He was a conservative republican, an adherent of the (old) Academy, and the author of more than 70 works on all facets of Roman culture, in more than 500 volumes. His enormous oeuvre comprises works on philology and literary history (the theater, history of the alphabet, etc.), history, and antiquarian topics (calendar), further the artes libera…

Virgil

(711 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] (Publius Vergilius [later Virgilius] Maro; Oct 15, 70 bce, near Mantua – Sep 21, 19 ce, in Brundisium [Brindisi]; buried in Naples). Virgil was born in humble circumstances. The erudite but sickly poet, a friend of Horace ( Carm. 1.3), was patronized by Asinius Pollio, Maecenas, and Augustus. Virgil’s Eclogae (written between 39 and 37) are 10 bucolic (“lyric”) poems of classical perfection in language, composition, subject matter, and metrics. Faced with an acute threat in the fall of the Roman republic, shepherds, mythical figures, and real figures with much ¶ love an…

Classics/Classical

(612 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] 1. In the language of Roman administrative law, the Latin word classicus denotes citizens assigned on the tax rolls to the highest of the five classes (Cato, cited by Gellius, VI 13). Reinforcing the principles of an “agonal culture” (Agon), the principle and terminology of the Roman class system were extended early on to linguistic and intellectual achievements. Plautus (2nd cent. bce) calls the everyday vernacular proletarius sermo ( Mil. glor. 752). 2. In Rome c. 140 ce, the rhetorician and tutor of princes Marcus Cornelius Fronto (c. 110-after 1…

Antiquity

(3,085 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Antiquity as Epoch – III. Religion and Antique Culture I. Concept 1. English – Latin – French. a. The English word “antiquity”, like the German word Antike, borrowed from the French antique, denotes an epoch and a norm. “Classical” antiquity is the culture of the “ancient” Greeks and Romans; predecessors (Mycenaeans, Phoenicians, Lydians), neighbors (Celts, Thracians, Etruscans), and …
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