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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

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

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…

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

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 represen…

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 (

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 …

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 his…

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 o…

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…

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 …

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…
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