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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 syno…

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 Etru…

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. Litat…

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

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

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.

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 (

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' (

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

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…

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.…

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. …

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 carrie…

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 functi…
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