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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 (especially in poetry), but the relationship and difference (see above) between infulae and vittae are unambiguously clear [1. 1-3; 2. 292]. …

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 …

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 s…

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…

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

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

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, …

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 (

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.…

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,…

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…

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…

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…
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