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Vesta

(753 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman goddess, at times identified with Hestia (Cic. Nat. D. 2,67; Cic. Leg. 2,29); evidence for a possible Sabine origin: Varro Ling. 5,74; [1. 168-170]. The fact that the Roman cult of V. is very old is indicated by her archaic round temple as well as her connection to the rex sacrorum or the archaic ritual of the expulsion of purgamina - what was described as stercus ('garbage') - from V.'s temple on 15 July ( Quando stercum delatum fas: Varro Ling. 6,32; InscrIt 13,2,335 f.; 471; Fest. 466; [2. 320 f.]). The round temple at the edge of the Forum Romanum…

Terminus

(490 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] The Romans like other ancient Mediterranean peoples determined the placement of their boundary stones as well as the guardianship of their boundaries (lat. termini, sing. terminus) by calling on divine assistance and legal ordinances [1]. The latter were attributed to King Numa  (Fest. 505 L.). They may even have been included in the inscriptions of Rome's Lapis niger (6th cent. BC; [2]) and played an important role in Roman property law ([3. pp.110-124]; cf. Ov. fast. 2,660; [4. pp.98-122]). The importan…

Rumina

(286 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] The Roman goddess R. traditionally appears in conjunction with a fig tree, the f icus Ruminalis, which provided food for the twins Romulus and Remus (Liv. 1,4,5). The goddess' sanctuary was said to be near to the tree. The ancient etymological connection between R. and ruma or rumis ('female breast'; Fest. 326, 332 f. L., Varro, Ling. 5,54), refers to the breast-like shape and milk-like juice of the nutritious fig [1. 112 f.]. For this reason, R. allegedly received sacrifices of milk (Varro, Rust. 2,11,5; Non. p. 167 f. M. = …

Picus

(240 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Mythical king of the ancient Italic Laurentes (Verg. Aen. 7,48; 171) or of the Aborigines (Fest. 228,32-34 L.), son of Saturnus (Verg. Aen. 7,48) or of  Stercutius (Serv. Aen. 10,76). In Verg. Aen. 7,45-49 P. is the father of Faunus and grandfather of Latinus [1] (differently Verg. Aen. 12,164; cf. [1]). P. appears to Rhea Silvia in a dream (Ov. Fast. 3,37) and feeds Romulus and Remus (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 21). P. is turned into a woodpecker (Latin picus) by Circe (Verg. Aen. 7,189-192). Vergil motivates this transformation by P.'s rejection of Circe's affect…

Mamurius Veturius

(404 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Blacksmith under king Numa Pompilius who produced eleven copies of a bronze shield that has dropped from the sky during an epidemic in order to protect the shield from theft. M. was rewarded by being mentioned in the Carmen Saliare; the priesthood of the Salii kept the shields and used them in their dances (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 2,71; Ov. Fast. 3,383-392; Plut. Numa 13; Min. Fel. 24,11; Paul Fest. 117,13 l.). M. is also believed to have created a bronze statue of the god Vertumnus …

Sea gods

(1,210 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] A. Overview The modern category of sea gods has no direct ancient equivalent. This does not automatically make it unusable, but it is inadequate as an attempt to classify and systematize religious organisations in order to understand ancient polytheistic systems (Polytheism). Moreover, scholars tend to concentrate on Greek deities, while possible Roman equivalents are viewed as secondary and derived from Greek gods; therefore they are frequently denied independent discussion. Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) [German version] B. Greek The mo…

Vinalia

(214 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Name of two Roman wine festivals, the V. Priora on 23 April (InscrIt 13,2,446 f.) and the V. Rustica on 19 August (InscrIt 13,2,497 f.). On the V. Priora people presumably made offerings to Jupiter (Iuppiter), the dedicatee of the festival, of new wine which went on sale at that time (Plin. HN 18,287; Ov. Fast. 4,863 f.; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 45). The propitiation of the weather on the V. Rustica was also addressed to Jupiter (Plin. HN. 18,284). A third Roman wine festival, the Medit…

Runcina

(150 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] The goddess of weeding (Lat. ( e-/ sub-) runcare) appears only in Varro, Antiquitates rerum divinarum fr. 176 Cardauns. Subruncinator is the masculine equivalent in the list of the twelve deities of agrarian fieldwork who were invoked during the sementivae feriae (Fabius [I 34] Pictor apud Serv. Georg. 1,21, 2nd cent. BC). The authenticity and age of both deities have been called into question (Sondergötter; Obarator), but can be defended with a glance at the importance of the agricultural life cycle for Roman society. The suffix formation of Subruncinator and the ve…

Roads, deities associated with

(222 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] In Greco-Roman polytheism, but few deities were associated exclusively with roads, travels and travel routes on land or at sea; in such situations, depending on the requirements of the traveller, various gods from the local or inter-regional pantheon [1 III] could be called upon for support ([1]; Hor. Carm. 1,5,13 f.). Already in Homer, Poseidon, Calypso and Leucothea (Sea gods) appear in connection with Odysseus' sea voyage, just as Athena with his overland travels (Hom. Od. 13,190 f.). Likewise already in Hom. Il. 24,334 f. Her…

Twelve (Olympian) gods

(600 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
(Δωδεκάθεοι/ Dōdekátheoi, Lat. Di Consentes). [German version] I. General Groups of TG are a topic that was already dealt with in Hellenistic literature; their composition has been subject of antiquarian speculation throughout the whole of Antiquity. Nevertheless, they did not represent a 'monotheistic dodecade'. Worshipping them as a set group of gods was, in compliance with the structural principles of ancient polytheism, not obligatory and the members of the group varied from one region to the other [1. 360 f.]. Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) …

Mutunus Tutunus

(438 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman phallic deity, whose name is also preserved as Mutinus Titinus [1. 425f.], and who was associated with the Greek Priapus (Varro Antiquitates rerum divinarum fr. 151a Cardauns). Pictorial representations of this deity do not exist. He is most probably not depicted on a denarius of Q. Titius Mutto (cf. RRC, p. 344-347). MT had a sanctuary in Rome in Veliis (Velia) where women offered sacrifices to him, clothed in the toga praetexta (Fest. 142,20-30; Paul. Fest. 143,10f. L.). A second sanctuary may be mentioned in the highly fra…

Mamers

(220 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] According to Festus (116,2; 150,34), the Oscan form of Mars. The appearance of M. in Oscan dedicatory inscriptions (Vetter 196; [1. no. 177, 179]: 3rd/2nd cents. BC) and the Oscan roots of the Mamertini, important since the 4th cent. BC, seemed to support Festus [2. 155, 167, 172]; this led to the marginalization of Varro's postulate of the Sabine origin of M. (Varro, Ling. 5,73). The so-called Lapis Satricanus (AE 1979, 136), found in Satricum 50 km south-east of Rome, a dedicatory inscription Mamartei (‘for Mamars), is proof of the existence of a Latinized form at c. 500 B…

Stata Mater

(164 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman goddess. The earliest literary evidence (Fest. 416 f. L. with [1. 2167]) mentions a statue of Stata Mater, which is said to have stood in the Forum Romanum until the early 1st cent. BC; the population of the city of Rome is supposed to have then carried the cult of the goddess into the vici ('city quarters'; Vicus ) (Fest. 416 f. L.; cf. [2]). Inscriptions from the Imperial period attest to dedications by the vicomagistri to Stata Mater alone (ILS 3307), in conjunction with the Lares Augusti (ILS 9250; Lares) or with Volcanus (ILS 3306). She was invoked to a…

Robigalia

(341 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman festival to avert mildew (Lat. robigo) on 25 April, at the 5th milestone on the via Claudia (Verrius Flaccus, InscrIt 13,2 p. 131; with differing topographies. Details: Ov. Fast. 4,901-942), with the sacrifice of a sheep and a dog by the flamen Quirinalis (Ov. Fast. 4,905-910; F lamines ) and (at least in the later period) ludi with equestrian competitions (Tert. De spectaculis 5). Apart from a goddess Robigo (InscrIt 13,2 p. 131; Ov. Fast. 4,907; 911), a god Robigus (the latter is better attested) has been passed down to us (Fest…

Pomona

(184 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] The Roman goddess of fruit, Lat. pomum (Fest. 144,12 f. L.; Varro Fr. 181, 189 Cardauns), whose sanctuary ( pomonal) was situated outside Rome on the via Ostiensis in the ager Solonius (Fest. 296,15-17 L.; [1. 144 f.]). The Roman calendars do not record any festival for P.; movable festival days ( feriae conceptiuae) are probable [2. 199]. P. had a flamen minimus ( flamines ; Fest. 144,13 f. L.; CIL III 12732); the description minimus probably does not refer to a hypothetical subordinate status of the goddess, but reflects differentiation within the fl…

Rosalia

(544 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] (also Rosaria). The Roman festival of the offering of roses to the dead. The Rosalia were a private parentatio (Parentalia), not a festival of public religion (they appear only in one late Roman calendar, which may not even refer to the traditional Rosalia: Philocalus, InscrIt 13,2 p. 247, for 23 May), but were sometimes celebrated in connection with the ruler cult (24-26 May: IPergamon no. 374). The connection between the Rosalia and the decoration of military standards with roses ( R. signorum) is unclear; ritual procedures involving the standards are record…

Mens

(255 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman personification of ‘prudence’, wrongly classified as ‘amorphous numen’ [1. 478]. The Sibyllini libri decreed the introduction of its cult in 217 BC (Liv. 22,9,8): its temple was pledged as the result of the Roman defeat at the hands of Hannibal at Lake Trasimenus by the Praetor T. Otacilius Crassus (Liv. 22,10,10; Ov. Fast. 6,241-248), and was dedicated on the Capitol, beside the temple of Venus Erycina, in 215 BC (Liv. 23,31,9). It was renewed by Aemilius [I 37] Scaurus ( cos. 115 BC: Cic. Nat. D. 2,61). The early Imperial Fasti record the 8th of June as natalis templi

Neptunus

(1,051 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] A. Origins and functions The name Neptunus may etymologically be derived from Sanskrit apām nápāt, ‘descendant of the waters’ [1; 2. 100-103]; N. was primarily a ‘land water god’ [3. 2515]. The Etruscan name Nethuns is linguistically related to N., but this god is probably the Etruscan version of an Italian N. whose function was expanded through Etruscan sea trade with the Greeks, linking up with the role of Greek Poseidon as the god of the sea, so that he became a maritime deity himself [4. 285f.]. Identified w…

Sementivae feriae

(232 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Roman movable holiday ( Feriae ) to promote the growth of the seed, which Ovid discusses in relation to 24-26 January (Ov. Fast. 1,657-704) with reference to the Fordicidia of 15 April [1. 142 f.]. The festival included sacrifices to Tellus and Ceres on two days separated by seven days (Lydus, Mens. 3,9); it was celebrated following the first spring sowing within 91 days of the vernal equinox (Varro, Rust. 1,34) and before the second spring sowing in late January or …

Pilumnus

(208 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
[German version] Brother of Picumnus and, as Stercutius, connected with manuring (Serv. Aen. 10,76). According to antiquarian speculation (Piso fragment 44 HRR; Varro in Non. 848 L.), P. (with Picumnus, q.v.) was among the dei coniugales or dei infantium. Varro groups P. with the goddesses Deverra and Intercidona (Varro, Antiquitates rerum divinarum fragment 111 Cardauns; [1]) as tutelary deities of the family household, guarding against Silvanus [2. 29-31], and derives his name from pilum, 'pestle', which also explains the association with bakers (Serv. Aen. 9,4; […
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