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Fas

(296 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] is to be understood as ‘that which is divinely sanctioned’; its opposite is nefas. The adjective fastus is derived from it. Fas and nefas appear at first with verbs (e.g. fas est), later also as nouns in expressions such as contra fas. The derivation is disputed: 1. from * fēs-/ * fas<* dh(e)h1s- as festus, feriae, fanum; 2. from * <* bheh2 - as fari, fama, fabula, fatum [1]. The relationship between fari and the adj. fastus was already recognised by Varro (Ling. 6, 29-30; 53). According to [2] fari indicates the existence of the utterance removed from the speaker a…

Flamines

(977 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Roman priests who with the  pontifex, the  rex sacrorum and the  Vestals form the collegium pontificum and are part of the collegia maiora. They are responsible for the cult of individual deities (Cic. Leg. 2,20). Three flamines maiores perform the rites of the cult of the old state gods Jupiter ( flamen Dialis), Mars ( flamen Martialis) and Quirinus ( flamen Quirinalis); there are also twelve flamines minores (Volcanalis, Cerialis, Carmentalis, Portunalis, Volturnalis, Palatualis, Furrinalis, Floralis, Falacer, Pomonalis and two additional unkno…

Comaetho

(129 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
(Κομαιθώ; Komaìthṓ). [German version] [1] Lover of Amphitryon Daughter of  Pterelaus, the mythological king of Taphos. She helped  Amphitryon, with whom she has fallen in love, in his battle against the Teleboeans from Taphos. She was, however, killed by him after he had conquered the island (Apollod. 2,60). Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) [German version] [2] Priestess of Artemis Triklaria at the sanctuary of Laphria near Patrae Priestess of  Artemis Triklaria at the sanctuary of Laphria near Patrae. She and her lover  Melanippus have a sexual encounter in the…

Mater Matuta

(329 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Goddess of dawn, worshipped in Italy and Rome (Lucr. 5,655f.), whose name, in the form of an adjective, like Lat. maturus, ‘at the proper moment’, goes back, by way of the stem * mātū-, to * , ‘good’ [1]. Statuettes portraying the goddess with the sun's disc around her head and a child in her arms ( kourotrophos), and the temple dedicated to her in Satricum (now Le Ferriere) in Latium (with anatomical votive offerings: [5. Vol. 1-2]), go back to the seventh century BC [2; 3; 4]. Her temple near the Forum Boarium …

Numen

(590 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] (in the Roman religion ‘the expressed will of a deity’). The concept of numen has been particularly popular in academic religious scholarship since the end of the 19th cent. Interest with regard to the Roman religion was sparked by the proponents of pre-deism or dynamism (W.W. Fowler [1], J.G. Frazer [2], H.J. Rose [3], F. Pfister [4], H. Wagenvoort [5]) (doxography: [6. 36; 7. 355-357]). They claimed numen is similar to the concepts of mana, orenda, vakanda etc. of the so-called ‘primitive’ peoples (Polynesians, Melanesians) and signifies the impersona…

Liber, Liberalia

(560 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Liber Pater is an Italic-Roman god of nature, fertility, and wine. L. is attested archaeologically first on the inscriptions of the Praenestine cistae from the 4th cent. BC (CIL I 2, 563), then on a cippus from Pisaurium from the 3rd-2nd cents. BC (CIL I 2, 381). The historians report that L. was introduced from Greece into Rome in the year 496, when the Sibylline Books had recommended to transfer the triad of Demeter, Kore, and Iacchus - who correspond to the Roman deities Ceres,…

Latinus

(795 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) | Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster) | Montanari, Franco (Pisa)
[German version] [1] Mythical ancestor of the Latin people (Greek Λατῖνος; Latînos). Mythical eponymous ancestor of the Latini. According to the Greek version, L. and his brother Agrius are the sons of Odysseus and Circe and kings of the Tyrrheni on the Island of the Blessed (Hes. Theog. 1011ff.). Servius (Aen. 12,164), who refers to a no longer identifiable Greek author, takes up this origin of L., but identifies him as the founder of the city of Rome, which was named for Rhome, the sister of L. Accor…

Libera

(98 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] The consort of Liber; as he is the god of male fertility, so she is the goddess of female fertility (Aug. Civ. 6,9). She belongs to the Aventine triad of Ceres, Liber and L. (Fast. Caeretani, CIL I 1, 212) and is venerated together with Liber, at the Liberalia and at wine festivals [1. 256ff.]. In accordance with the identification of Liber with Dionysius L. is equated with Ariadne (Ov. Fast. 3,512). For bibliography see Liber. Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) Bibliography 1 O. de Cazanove, Jupiter, Liber et le vin latin, in: RHR 205, 1988, 245-265.

Inferi

(310 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Etymologically related to infra (‘below’), Inferi is a collective term for all the gods of the Underworld ( Manes). It corresponds to the Greek terms katachthónioi and hypochthónioi. The Dii Inferi are contrasted to the gods above the earth ( Dii Superi CIL IX 5813) or the gods of the heavens ( Dii Caelestes) and the earth ( Dii Terrestres) (e.g. in a declaration of war by the  Fetiales: Liv. 1,32,9). In the cult, their Underworld nature is characterized by the way in which the sacrifice is offered to them: it is thrown on the ground (Fe…

Indigitamenta

(405 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] For the etymology, see  Indiges. According to Wissowa, the word indigitamenta refers to collections of invocation phrases with which Roman priests turn to deities on different occasions and which are kept secret by the state because of their compelling authority [1; 2]. With reference to Varro (Antiquitates 14, fr. 87 Cardauns), however, the indigitamenta are frequently regarded as lists of deities that belong to the pontifical books. Many of these gods, so-called ‘special gods or gods of the moment’, have a limited role which is mo…

Novendiale sacrum

(360 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] ( novemdiale sacrum). NS describes a Roman rite of purification, which was probably performed on the ninth and last day (Fest. 186,13) of a period of nine days of festivities ( feriae novendiales, Paul. Fest. 187; feriae per novem dies, Liv. 1,31,4). Such feriae had no fixed position in the calendar, but were announced according to need (Varro Ling. 6,26: feriae conceptivae). They always took place when the prodigium of a rain of stones had happened and demanded state expiation (e.g. Liv. 35,9,5f.; 39,22,3f.; Obseq. 52; [1. 176f…

Libitina

(227 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Roman goddess who supervises the fulfilment of funeral duties (Plut. Numa 12,1). The name L., the etymology of which is disputed [1], therefore denotes metaphorically death in poetry (Hor. Carm. 3,30,7 L.). L. was equated with Venus Lubentina (Varro Ling. 6,47). Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. 269b; Numa 12,1) based this identification on the fact that two conflicting phenomena such as death and birth - the latter is related to L. as the result of sexual love - must belong to the domain of a single divinity. In L.'s grove ( lucus Libitinae), probably located on the Esquiline, t…

Lethus

(78 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] (Λῆθος; Lêthos). Pelasgian, son of Teutamus, father of Hippothous [2] (Hom. Il. 17,288) and Pylaeus. Both sons were commanders of Pelasgian troops from Larisa (Hom. Il. 2,840ff.). Since the name L. is reminiscent of the underground place of Lethe, it is reasonable to assume that there was a connection between this mythical person and the Underworld. Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva) Bibliography 1 P. Wathelet, Dictionnaire des Troyens de l'Iliade, vol. 1, 1988, no. 170 and 207.

Indiges

(384 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] (Plural: indigetes) refers to a deity or a group of deities whose identity was interpreted in different ways already in antiquity (Serv. Aen. 12,794). The etymology is also disputed: the hypothesis most widely supported today is the one according to which indiges like  Indigitamenta are considered to be derived from indigitare < * end-ag-itare [1] (‘to invoke’; Fest. 101 L.: indigitanto imprecanto), with indiges, its sense passive, meaning ‘invoked’ (* indag-et-) [2. 59]. Near Lavinium on the river Numicus a cult dedicated to Jupiter Indiges (Liv. 1,2…

Manes, Di.

(476 words)

Author(s): Prescendi, Francesca (Geneva)
[German version] Roman spirits of the dead, particularly the animae (‘souls’) of deceased individuals. They are part of the Underworld and also referred to as di inferi (e.g. CIL X 2936; VI 13388) and contrasted with the gods above ground ( di superi); in metonymy, they may stand for the Underworld itself. Literature of antiquity explains di manes euphemistically as ‘the good’ (Paul Fest. 132 l.; Serv. Aen. 1,143) and links them with Lat. mane, ‘the morning’, with mania or with Mater Matuta (Paul Fest. 109 l.). The salutation frequently found on gravestones and in memorial inscriptions, dis…
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