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Sacellum

(117 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (“small sanctuary”). Diminutive form of the Latin sacrum. Distinct from it was the sacrarium, the storage room for the sacred gear ( sacra supellex), which did not necessarily have to be consecrated (Consecratio). Sacellum could describe public Roman cult sites consisting of an open altar with an enclosure (Trebatius in Gell. NA 7,12,5; cf. Fest. 422 L.), as well as private sanctuaries. It had the form of a chapel, with the divine image standing in a niche ( aedicula ) in front of which the offering was made (cf. Paul. Fest. 319 L.). In everyday speech, sacellum also referred…

Vitta

(118 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Part of the diadem-like binding worn by Roman priests and priestesses, or part of cultic adornment. Vittae are the woollen bands hanging on both sides behind the ears or the tassel-shaped ends or fringes. Vitta is often used as a synonym for the whole woollen binding, the infula (especially in poetry), but the relationship and difference (see above) between infulae and vittae are unambiguously clear [1. 1-3; 2. 292]. Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) Bibliography 1 U. Staffhorst, P. Ovidius Naso, Epistulae ex Ponto III 1-3, 1965 2 F. Bömer, O. Ovidius Naso, Metamo…

Tutulus

(129 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (originally 'cap'). Roman head adornment in the form of a rounded cone ( meta). Tutulus was known as the hairstyle of the mater familias and the flaminica, and had, therefore, a function similar to the one of the galerus or the pileus of the pontifices and the flamines [1]. The term t utulus refers also to a high hairstyle with red ribbons, obtained by piling up the gathered hair in a conical form on the top of the head (Fest. 484 L.). The tutulus was already known in Etruria in the 6th/5th cent. BC, as the common hairstyle of Etruscan women [2. 75]. Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) Bib…

Stips

(131 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Latin 'monetary contribution', 'donation', but also 'minted coin' (Fest. 379; 412). In the cult of the Latin West, a stips is a monetary offering for a deity that was - like food and drink sacrifices (Sacrifice) and offerings of votive gifts - either placed on an altar or thrown into a special 'offertory box' ( Thesaurus ; Varro, Ling. 5,182). A stips was 1) given for the benefit of the temple coffer; 2) submerged in water (e.g. Suet. Aug. 57); 3) buried (e.g. Tac. Ann. 4,53). Numerous inscriptions record this practice. Repairs in or of sanctuaries were financed ex stipe ('by d…

Pulvinar

(127 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Latin for 'cushion' or 'bed'. The cult image of a god was placed on a pulvinar during the foundation of a sanctuary and also later, on the anniversary of its foundation ( n atalis templi ); according to Serv. Georg. 3,533, the word pulvinar may also refer to the sanctuary itself. The pulvinar played a crucial role  in Roman cult in food offerings to statues or other symbols of the gods, festivals of praying and thanksgiving, and the lectisternium ( pulvinar suscipere: Liv. 5,52,6; cenae ad pulvinaria: Plin. HN 32,20). Pulvinar in a secular sense denotes the emperor's b…

Sistrum

(137 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (Greek σίστρον/ sístron). Egyptian musical instrument, a bronze rattle, used particularly in the cult of Isis. Two forms are known: 1) stirrup s.: grip or handle with a U-shaped frame; between the arms three moving cross-pieces, on which in an earlier period metal rings were threaded. 2) naos s.: in the form of a temple gate, i.e. between rectangular and slightly trapezoidal. Statue representing Isis with a s. cf. [1. 128, cat. no. 51]. With the spread of the Isis cult in the Greek and Roman worlds the s. also spread, including as a votive gift in Greek sanctuaries [2]. Siebert…

Troiae lusus

(366 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (the so-called 'Game of Troy'; also referred to as lusus puerorum equestris, Troicus lusus, Troiae decursio or simply Troia). An Ancient Italian battle game on horseback for boys and adolescents. Etymologically derived from Lat. amptruare or truare ('hopping while dancing', cf. [1] s. v. amtruo). The origin and development of the Troiae lusus (TL) is contested by scholars. The main source for the mythological origin is Verg. Aen. 5,548-603 in connection with the story of the founding of Rome, a version which is not tenable in view…

Verbena

(208 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (usually pl. verbenae, original meaning 'sacred branch'). Latin collective term for all fresh branches and herbs used in the Roman religion during ritual practices, the main feature being their evil-resisting and purifying effect. There is no evidence to identify V. with a particular herb; the sources mention different herbs: rosemary (Serv. Aen. 12,120), myrtle (Serv. ibidem; Plin. HN 15,119), laurel (Serv. ibd.) or olive (Serv. Ecl. 8,65); probably, the verbenaca was often meant (both Latin terms cannot be clearly separated). V…

Fictores

(118 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (‘moulders of sacrificial cakes’, bakers). They assisted the   pontifices ( fictores pontificum: CIL VI 1074; 10247) and the Vestals ( fictores virginum Vestalium: CIL VI 786; 2134; Varro, Ling. 7,44, Cic. Dom. 139), their office, according to Ennius (Ann. 115), dated back to Numa. The fictores baked the sacrificial cakes ( liba) ─ a task which they may have taken over from the Vestal virgins ─ and sometimes they were also present at the sacrifices themselves. Cf. strufertarii (Fest. 85 L.), who offered   strues and fertum. Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) Bibliography M. I…

Os resectum

(142 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] ('cut-off bone'). Object of a Roman ritual practised after the change from burial to cremation. According to the Roman ius pontificum, going back to Numa Pompilius, which in fact forbade cremation (Plut. Numa 22), a corpse was lawfully buried only when at least one complete body-part had been fully interred (Cic. Leg. 2,55; Varro Ling. 5,23; Paul. Fest. 135 L.). The idea behind this is that a burial is a return of the body to the earth. A finger would be separated from the body to be cremated, and in…

Strues

(121 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Roman sacrificial cake (Fest. 408), always mentioned in conjunction with fertum; these two kinds of sacred pastries are not identical, but in their context are hard to distinguish. Only Cato (Agr. 134 and 141) differentiates: strues for Ianus, fertum for Iuppiter. The Flamen Dialis had to have boxes with these two cakes constantly hanging on the bedposts (Gell. NA 10,15,14). Strues were used in sacrifice to expiate lightning-struck trees by means of  so-called strufertarii (Paul. Fest. 75; 377); as a preliminary sacrifice at animal sacrifices; at a lustratio pagi bet…

Infula

(236 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (Woollen) band with various uses. Together with garlands, the infulae are the most commonly used items of decoration in Roman worship: on sacrificial animals, sacred buildings, sometimes also altars (Fest. 100 L.). They are also used to decorate houses on the occasion of a wedding (Luc. 2,355; Plin. HN 29,30; Serv. Aen. 4,458). As a component of priestly vestments (head band [1]), the infula is a diadem-like band from the ends of which tassels ( vittae) hang down on both sides, sometimes of red and white threads, sometimes subdivided into individual segments ( astragalos

Victimarius

(270 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (older victumarius). 'Sacrificial servant' in the Roman state cult, according to social class a slave or freedman (for the area of the city of Rome cf. CIL VI 2201; 9087; 9088; 33781), derived from Lat. victima, 'sacrificial animal' (CIL XII 533). There is a distinction to be made between the victimarii and the popae (who stunned the animals by striking them with a hammer). The cultrarius [1. 2483] (= 'cutler': CIL X1 3984; [2. Nr. 137; 3. 79]) is not a sacrificial servant; this term has been attested only once in literature in its use as 'sacrificial servant' with the culter

Vitulatio

(112 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] The Vitulatio is described in the Roman calendar as the day of joy (Latin vitulari in ancient Roman poets means 'express joy') and bears a no longer clearly explicable relationship to a festival which had to do with military activities. It was celebrated on 6 July and not, as formerly assumed, on 8/9 July [1; 2. 572]. On that day there were celebrations in honour of the goddess Vitula (Macrob. Sat. 3,2,11-15), the personification of Joy and Victory (Personification), with sacrifices (to Jupiter?) and games. The Vitulatio is probably connected with the Poplifugia…

Lituus

(180 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] [1] Wooden or metal staff, symbol of office A wooden or metal staff ending in a crook or spiral, of Etruscan-Italic origin. Politically, it was originally a king's symbol of office (Serv. Aen. 7,187), later a symbol of imperial power and an emblem of the princeps. The lituus is more important as a cultic instrument and emblem of the augurs ( augures ), which they used for quartering the heavens, or templum, into regions. Mythologically, the lituus is connected with the founding of Rome because Romulus used it to determine the individual regions when found…

Immolatio

(950 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] is the Latin term for the event of sacrifice, the sacrificial act, in contrast to the sacrificial offering (fruit, bread, wine) or the sacrificial animal ( hostia). Sacrifice was one of the simplest ways to express oneself towards a deity in the private and state cult of Rome. The Latin expression immolatio describes this act; original meaning: sprinkling the sacrificial animal with salted sacrificial spelt ( immolare = sprinkle with sacrificial meal, mola salsa; cf. Fest. 124 L.; Fest. 97 L. s.v. immolare; Serv. Aen. 10,541). Immolatio therefore denotes the act of…

Piaculum

(367 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] From Latin piare = pium reddere, 'cleanse', 'expiate' (Plaut. Men. 517; Varro, Ling. 6,30), later also 'reconcile' (Plaut. Asin. 506; Verg. Aen. 6,379). Piaculum denotes on the one hand the action leading to violation of the pax deorum and requiring expiation (Plaut. Truc. 223; Varro, Ling. 629) and on the other hand the ritual act of expiation for such an offence or the sacrificial animal used for this purpose (Cato Agr. 139). Since correct observation of instructions, acts and rules was an essential part of the exercise of Roman cults, there was a g…

Tensa

(116 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Sacral vehicle for pageants or gods, which were used, in connexion with a complex ritual (e.g. Cic. Har. resp. 11,23), for transporting images and attributes ( exuviae) of gods in the pompa circensis at the ludi circenses ( Circus II.) (cf.  Juv. 10,33-46). The tensae formed the conclusion of the  procession into the circus (procedure in the time of Augustus in Dion. Hal.  Ant. Rom. 7,72,1-14). They were kept on the Capitolium in in a specially constructed temple ( aedes tensarum) near the Temple of Jupiter. Pictorial representations can be found primarily on…

Strena

(180 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Verdant branch(es), dates and figs, which in Rome were given as benedictions at the beginning of the year or arranged in front of the door of the house. A continuation of the Roman custom is the placing or exchanging of spring branches in front of the official residences of the rex sacrorum and the flamines , in front of the Curia and the Temple of Vesta (Ov. Fast. 3,137-143; Macrob. Sat. 1,12,6). In the Republican period strena signifies an omen for the new year ( omen novi anni), in the Imperial period strena means the gifts that were exchanged to celebrate a new year …

Turibulum

(72 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (from tus, 'incense', also thymiaterium). Roman portable metal apparatus on which grains of incense were burned in a Roman sacrifice. For pure incense or smoke sacrifices there was a small portable altar, called an acerra or an ara turicrema. Acerra also seems (Val. Max. 3,3,3) to have been used as a synonym for a turibulum. Sacrifice; Thymiaterion Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) Bibliography A. V. Siebert, Instrumenta sacra, 1999, 93-98; 256 f. (Lit.).

Fanum

(262 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (Etymology: *dhh1s-no-; but Oscan-Umbrian fēsnā < stressed form *dheh1s- [1]). Generic expression for the holy place ( locus sacer, Liv. 10,37,15) consecrated to the deity by the pontifices (Varro, Ling. 6,54; Fest. 78 L.;   pontifex ). Initially designating the location without regard for the form and function of the cult site contained within the sacred precincts (e.g. grove, spring, cave, temple, altar etc.). Later, fanum really comes to mean only the ancient sanctuary as opposed to the temple ( aedis) as an architectural entity. Attempts to differentiate fanum fr…

Tripudium

(75 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] In the auspicia ex tripudiis interpretations were made of the feeding behaviour of  hens (Cic. Div. 1,27; 1,77; 2,71-73). If feed fell to the ground when they were eating it was interpreted as a positive sign, if the birds hung back, cried out or turned away from the food as a negative one. Augures; Divination Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) Bibliography J. Linderski, The Augural Law, in: ANRW II 16.3, 1986, 2146-2312, esp. 2174.

Inauguratio

(234 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] In the actual sense ‘the beginning’, cf. also inaugurare: ‘employ auguries’, ‘question divinatory birds’; ‘consecrate’. In Roman religious law, inauguratio is the priestly inauguration into office that has been applied from historically tangible time only for the   flamines maiores ( Dialis: Gai. Inst. 1,130; 3,114; Liv. 27,8,4; 41,28,7; Martialis: Liv. 29,38,6; 45,15,10; Macrob. Sat. 3,13,11), the   rex sacrorum (Labeo at Gell. NA 15,27,1; Liv. 40,42,8) and the   augures (Liv. 27,36,5; 30,26,10; 33,44,3; Cic. Brut. 1; Suet. Calig…

Equus October

(262 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] ( October equus). A chariot race was held every year on the Ides of October on the  Campus Martius in Rome (Fest. 190 L.; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 97), and the right-hand horse of the victorious team (but cf. [2]) killed. The horse's head was (previously?) wrapped in bread ( panibus) or ─ if we follow the conjecture in [5] ─ with cloths ( pannibus). After the animal had been killed with spears, the inhabitants of the Roman quarters of Via Sacra and Subura fought for the head, which was then either carried to the  Regia (Via Sacra) or hung from the turris Mamilia (Subura), while the tail…

Licium

(351 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (literally ‘thread’, ‘string’, ‘ribbon’). In Roman cultic and magical use, the functions of the licium are twofold: it connects or binds, and it encircles or closes something or someone. In its connecting or binding function it is used primarily in love spells (cf. Verg. Ecl. 8,73ff.). The licium also serves to enclose the voting area at convocations of the people (Varro, Ling. 6,86-88, 93 and 95; Paul Fest. 100,11 L.). However, it is more common or more important in its encircling or closing function, in which it has an apotr…

Sellisternium

(137 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Comparable with the Roman banquet of the gods called the lectisternium. According to ancient table manners (men reclined on beds, women sat), at the sellisternium statuettes of the goddesses were placed on sellae (chairs, stools) and a meal was offered to them. Sellisternia are particularly transmitted as a component of the ludi saeculares (CIL VI 32323; 32329). Likewise they could be performed after ominous portents. Coins struck under Titus and Domitian refer to a sellisternium linked to a lectisternium on the occasion of an epidemic, a fire in Rome, as w…

Supplicatio

(311 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] ('Ceremony of supplication'or 'propitiation' or 'thanksgiving'). In Roman religion, supplicatio denoted in the wider sense an offering of wine and incense ( ture ac vino supplicare), and in the narrower sense a ceremony of the commonwealth arranged by the authorities. Such supplicationes were recommended in emergencies by the quindecimviri sacris faciundis upon consulting the Sibyllini libri , and by the pontifices or the haruspices , and were approved by the Senate. There was a distinction between supplicationes of supplication and expiation on the one ha…

Tubilustrium

(126 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Roman civic festival of the 'cleaning of the trumpets' ( tubi or tubae), which was celebrated on 23 March and 23 May. The March date was considered as feriae (holiday) for Mars (InscrIt 13,2,104; 123), the May date as feriae for Volcanus (InscrIt 13,2, 57 and 187). The doubling of the tubilustrium in May is still unclear (but see [1. 219-221]). During these days, the trumpets were cleaned in the Atrium Sutorium and then used for cultic activities ( sacra: Varro, Ling. 6,14; cf. InscrIt 13,2, 123; Fest. 480 et passim) -- according to modern interpretation for summoning…

Suovetaurilia

(272 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] also Suovitaurilia. The combination, traditional in Roman religion, of three sacrificial animals - pig ( sus), sheep ( ovis) and bull ( taurus) - that were led, as part of ritual purification (Lustratio), round a place (e.g. a piece of land: Cato Agr. 141; [1. 103-125]) or group of people to be lustrated, and subsequently sacrificed. A distinction was made between suovetaurilia lactentia or minora (piglet, lamb and calf: Cato Agr. 141) and adult suovetaurilia maiora (e.g. boar, ram, bull: Varro Rust. 2,1,10; cf. Plin. HN 8,206). The suovetaurilia seem originally to …

Lectisternium

(460 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (Etym.: Lat. lectum sternere, ‘to prepare a couch’). To serve the gods, food for the gods: a very old form of sacrifice in which a meal was laid out on a table for the god who was lying on a feasting couch in the temple (cf. Iovis epulum ). This practice was based on the idea that the gods received their share at every meal, suggesting their actual presence. The term lectisternium is only used in a sacred context. First and foremost, the lectisternium was a part of the Graecus ritus, thus a widely common form of sacrifice in Greek worship. In Rome, on the other hand, i…

Transvectio equitum

(365 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] Parade of the iuventus of Roman equites on 15 July. Its route led from the Temple of Mars to the Porta Capena, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and up to the Temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus on the  Capitolium (sources: Liv. 9,46,15; Vir. ill. 32,2). There are mythical/cultic and constitutional versions of the origins of this institution, whose beginnings can be traced to the 4th cent. BC. The first is connected with the help given by the Dioscuri in the battle between the Romans and …

Litatio

(188 words)

Author(s): Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover)
[German version] (‘fortunate sacrifice’). From the Latin litare (based on Greek λιτή/ litḗ, ‘entreaty’) = ‘to sacrifice under favourable auspices’ (intransitive) in contrast to sacrificare (‘to sacrifice’). The distinction between the two verbs litare and sacrificare disappeared in the Augustan period, as they were used synonymously. Litatio was a technical term of Roman pontifical law (cf. Serv. Aen. 2,119) for the favourable course and completion of an act of sacrifice, by which the desired influence upon the deity ( pax deorum, ‘grace of the gods’) was ensured. The party…

Hasta

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin) | Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) | Salomone Gaggero, Eleonora (Genoa) | Barceló, Pedro (Potsdam) | Et al.
[German version] [1] Hasta, hastati In the Roman army of the middle Republic, the hasta served primarily as a thrust lance for close combat although it could also be thrown; it had a wooden shaft and an iron point. The hasta was adapted to the fighting style of the  phalanx, but it remained in use when, in the 4th cent. BC, the Romans adopted a more flexible set-up in maniples (  manipulus ). According to Livy (Liv. 8,8,5-13), whose account, however, is not without its problems, in 340 BC the Roman army consisted of three battle rows, the hastati, the principes and the triarii. The triarii were a…
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