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Mos maiorum

(621 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] (‘Custom of the fathers’, sometimes also mos patrius: Cic. Rep. 5,1; Cic. Cato 37; vetus mos: Cic. Rep. 5,1; Tac. Ann. 14,42,2; mos antiquus: Varro Sat. Men. fr. 303; Tac. Dial. 28,2; interpretational paraphrase e.g. Liv. 27,11,10: mos traditus a patribus) is the core concept of Roman traditionalism. As little in Rome was regulated by positive law, in all areas of life people in many respects followed custom ( mos; sometimes connected with disciplina, e.g. Cic. Flacc. 15; with consuetudo, e.g. Gell. 15,11,2; with institutum, Cic. Mur. 1; Cic. Dom. 56) and traditi…

Consolatio as a literary genre

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] A. General  Mourning and consolation are basic elements of the human condition. Should anyone encounter misfortune from the death of a friend or family member, banishment, loss of health, of property or of freedom, then friends and relations try to alleviate sorrow or improve morale by offering comfort and encouragement. Therefore, consolatory scenes and motives occur already in older Greek poetry (e.g. Hom. Il. 5,381─402; Archil. fr. 13 W.; Eur. Alc. 416─419). What is specifically meant by consolatio as a literary genre, though, are writings of a philosop…

Scriba

(604 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
In Rome, scribae (plural) were professional literates with higher qualifications; they were thus not simple copiers ( librarii) but secretaries and accountants, in the early period even authors (Fest. p. 446). Scribae worked in both private and public spheres. [German version] I. Scribae in private households Slaves who assisted their masters in writing tasks were generally called (servi) librarii (Plin. HN 7,91; ILS 7398; 7401) or amanuenses (Suet. Nero 44,1; ILS 7395). The expression s. librarius is only rarely attested (CIL VI 8881). Secretaries entrusted with more …

Pollinctor

(201 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] (originally also pollictor: Plaut. Poen. 63; Varro Sat. Men. 222,2) is what in the classical Roman period a slave (Dig. 14,3,5,8) or free employee of an undertaker ( L ibitinarii ) was called; he prepared corpses for the wake and burial (Non. 157,21: “pollinctores sunt qui mortuos curant”; similarly, but with erroneous etymology: Fulg. p. 112 Helm) by washing them (Serv. Aen. 9,485), embalming them with substances that prevented decay (esp. salt, cedar oil, myrrh: [1. 484, esp. note 7]), and…

Perideipnon

(205 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] (περίδειπνον; perídeipnon) was the name given in Greece (until the 4th cent. BC at the latest: Dem. Or. 18,288; Men. Aspis 233 Sandbach; Men. Fr. 309) to the funeral banquet which was probably originally celebrated at the graveside (wrongly dismissed in [1. 175]), but from as early as the Archaic Period had usually taken place in the home of the next-of-kin of the deceased (Dem. Or. 18,288). As at other banquets, the garland (Wreath, garland) (Cic. Leg. 2,63) was worn at the perideipnon, which took place immediately after the burial ( ekphorá ) (cf. e…

Proconsul

(527 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
(originally pro consule, 'instead of the consul(es) ': attested in inscriptions from ILS 5945, i.e. 135 BC, on; in literature, e.g., Cic. Phil. 10,26; Liv. 8,23,12; for linguistic use cf. [1]; Greek ἀνθύπατος/ anthýpatos) was a state official in Rome who in the sphere of his office outside the city exercised full consular authority ( imperium ), but was not authorized to consult the auspicia (see  augures ) (Cic. Div. 2,76). [German version] I. Republican Period When there were insufficient magistrates with imperium, the Senate and the people extended imperium beyond the regular per…

Funus publicum

(317 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
(in the Imperial period also called funus censorium, Tac. Ann. 4,15,2 and passim) refers to a  burial whose costs and organization was covered by the state or the community, to honour the deceased. [German version] 1. Rome In early times, foreign delegates (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 43) as well as royalty imprisoned by Rome ( Syphax;  Perseus, cf. Val. Max. 5,1,1) were buried publice (‘at public expense’). The funus publicum (FP) which became typical of prominent citizens probably did not emerge until the late Republic (certain documentation exists for L.  Sulla…

Laudatio Turiae

(306 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] is the term (since [1]) given to the extensive remains (CIL VI 1527; VI 37053; AE 1951, 2) of a municipal Roman epitaph from the Augustan period (at the latest 9 BC: [2. 42]); it presents the text of the funerary oration for a woman of the Roman upper class who - because of similarities to Val. Max. 6,7,2 - was hypothetically identified with Turia, the wife of Q. Lucretius Vespillo (cos. in 19 BC). The eulogizer, who masters at least the basics of rhetoric [2. 124; 3], praises (c…

Prothesis

(231 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] (πρόθεσις/ próthesis, first [1. 22B], 6th century BC; first in literature Pl. Leg. 947b 3; 959e 5). Term for the laying out of a corpse, which was an indispensable part of every burial in Greece from the earliest times. The dead person was laid on a klínē , usually covered by a pall (φᾶρος/ phâros), and was lamented and mourned both by family members and unrelated mourners. Prothesis scenes are described in the Homeric epics (esp. Hom. Il. 18,352-355; 24,719-776). Ritual gestures of grief are often depicted, particularly on Attic pottery (cf. [6…

Conclamatio

(176 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] An old element in Roman mortuary customs: when the eyes of the deceased were closed the attending relatives repeatedly called his name (Serv. Aen. 6,218; Luc. 2,23; Sen. Dial. 9,11,7; with the same meaning Ov. Tr. 3,3,43 clamor supremus ; Ps.-Quint. Decl. mai. 8,10 conclamata suprema). Since this word also describes the ordinary death lament (e.g., Tac. Ann. 3,2,2; Oratio imperatoris Hadriani in CIL 14, 3579, 19; Sen. Ep. 52,13 and passim), a lot of evidence cannot be clearly attributed. This custom, which was obviously no longer understood in the hi…

Tanusius Geminus

(126 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] (the cognomen only in Suet. Iul. 9,2). Roman historian of the Late Republic of whose life nothing is known. It is also unclear whether his work, which (because of Plut. Caesar 22,3) was not finished until after 55 BC and contained accounts hostile to Caesar (especially fr. 1 P. = HRR 2, p. 50: on the 'conspiracy' of 66 BC), was an account of contemporary events only [1. 327] or whether it was organised as an annalistic comprehensive history (as in [2. 265]; annales in Sen. Ep. 93,11). According to Seneca, the work was voluminous and 'ponderous' ( ponderosi); he may have been…

Libitinarii

(196 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] was the name the Romans gave to undertakers because of their seat in the sacred grove of Libitina ( qui libitinam faciunt, ILS 6085,94). On behalf of the affected families (or the state: Sen. Dial. 9,11,10), they organized the burials and supplied the necessary implements as well as the personnel (partly slaves: Ulp. Dig. 14,3,5,8), e.g. pollinctores , bearers, musicians (cf. Petron. Sat. 78,6), specialists for burning the corpses ( ustores). The funeral practices in the Roman cities of Italy were apparently similarly organized (ILS 6726 attests a bu…

Laudatio funebris

(1,002 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] A. General According to Roman linguistic usage, laudatio funebris (LF; Quint. Inst. 3,7,2; Gell. NA 13,20,17; mostly just laudatio: Cic. Mil. 33; Liv. 27,27,13; Tac. Ann. 13,3,1; explanatory laudatio pro rostris: Tac. Ann. 3,76,2 et passim) means the eulogy for the deceased, held in connection with the burial ( funus). At upper class funerals, the funeral procession stopped (probably from the end of the 4th cent. BC) at the forum, where a son or other close relative gave the speech from the rostrum ( pro rostris: Sen. Dial. 6,15,3; Tac. Ann. 3,5,1 et passim), which along …

Ancestors

(85 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] As ancestors one identifies with a slightly antiquated expression, admittedly obligatory in particular word combinations (ancestor cult; ancestor portraits), the ancestors ( maiores), insomuch as these receive cultic honours within the family ( Parentalia;  Dead, cult of the, mostly until the second or third generation) and in aristocratic houses otherwise honouring memory ( Imagines). The term is unsuitable for the ancestors of a whole people, whose behaviour and institutions the descendants often used as models (  mos maiorum ). See also   maiores. Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)

Nenia

(330 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] A. Lament In addition to other kinds of song (magic songs: Hor. Epod. 17,29; Ov. Ars am. 2,102; childrens' verses: Hor. Epist. 1,1,63; general songs: Hor. Carm. 3,28,16), in Rome nenia is a technical term for a dirge sung to the flute in praise of a dead person in their funeral procession (Fest. 154/5 L.; Quint. Inst. 8,2,8; cf. Cic. Leg. 2,62). The origin and derivation of the presumably onomatopoeic (cf.   [1. 386]) word has not been explained: a Greek origin (owing to Cic. Leg. 2,62) is accepted by  [2], rejected by [3. 221]. According to Varro (De vita populi Romani …

Lygdamis

(293 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
(Λύγδαμις; Lýgdamis). [German version] [1] Tyrant of Naxos, 6th cent. BC Aristocrat from Naxos, assisted Peisistratus after the second exile (

Volumnia

(194 words)

Author(s): Müller, Christian (Bochum) | Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] [1] Wife of Marcius Coriolanus According to a much-related story about Marcius Coriolanus (in which V. plays only a subordinate role, however), when he and a Volsci army are outside Rome, the pleas of his wife V. and his mother Veturia cause him to refrain from attacking his home city (the story in e.g. Liv. 2,39,1-2,40,11; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 8,40-54; Val. Max. 5,2,1; 5,4,1; Plut. Coriolanus 33,1-36,6, but there, it is not his wife but his mother who bears the name V.). Müller, Christian (Bochum) [German version] [2] Pantomime actres…

Vennonius

(183 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne) | Fündling, Jörg (Bonn)
[German version] [1] Roman historian, 2nd cent. BC Roman historian of the late 2nd cent. BC (in Cic. Leg. 1,6 ordered after C. Fannius [I 1]); nothing is known of him as a person. His presumably annalistic work (Annalists) began with stories of the founding of Rome and the period of the kings (Origo gentis Romanae 20,1; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 4,15,1), but its scope and end point are unknown. Cicero felt the need of it in 46 BC in his literary work in Tusculum (Cic. Att. 12,3,1). Fr. in HRR I2 142 and [1]. Kierd…

Cato

(1,353 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
Roman cognomen perhaps of Etruscan origin [1. 310, 315, 418], in conjunction with catus (‘astute’, ‘crafty’ [2; 3. 250]. In Republican times widespread in the families of the Hostilii and Valerii, prominent among the Porcii, according to whose model C. is used now and again as a synonym for a conservative Roman; quite rarely also as gentilicium [1. 303].  Porcius Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [German version] [1] Porcius C., M. Cato the Elder, 234-149 BC (234-149 BC), ‘Cato the Elder’, ‘Censorius’, energetic politician and founder of Roman prose literature, is the b…

Senatus consultum

(910 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne) | Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] [1] A formal resolution of the Roman Senate (SC; sometimes senatus sententia: ILS 18; 35a; 8208; informally also senatus decretum, e.g. Cic. Mil. 87; Cic. Sest. 32, or in archaic form senati decretum: Sall. Cat. 30,3 and passim). The formal resolution by which the Roman Senate pronounced advice or instructions at the request ( consulere) of magistrates; while not binding legally, it was in practice: in the Imperial Period, to some extent it even acquired force of law (Gai. Inst. 1,4; Pompon. Dig. 1,2,12; cf. [3. 432]). An SC that was…
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