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Archaeology of Religion 12.docx

3 Pages

Course Code
CLAS 2531
Illaria Battiloro

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Ritual Practices Sacrifice  the sacrifice is at the heart of most religious acts  there were dozens of ways of sacrificing, depending on the type of sacrifice and the deity to be honoured  the forms of sacrifice did not depend solely on the social contact of the deities concerned; they were also dictated by the ritual scenario of all the religious festivals  it was a complex rite that took place in an open space, in the presence of the community concerned o 1. Preparation- of those who were to perform the sacrifice, of the offerings  the celebrants first washed themselves  then they wore special ceremonial robes  in the Roman rite, the official dress was the citizen's toga- for the celebrants to wear the toga was a reinforcement of their place in both the religious and political context of Rome  the animal victims were chosen to match the sex of the deity and in accordance with other ritual criteria (animals were most common sacrifice)  male gods received castrated male victims  goddesses received female victims  black animals were for the underworld gods only  white animals are for the upper world gods  they were always domesticated animals: cattle, sheep, pigs  suovetaurilia= boar + ram + bull in one sacrifice  performed as an act of purification (lustratio)  very rare that other types of animals were depicted on Roman monuments  they were washed and adorned (they were gifts to the gods, must be attractive and appealing) o 2. Preliminary Rites  once preparations were completed, a procession moved toward the altar, lead by the celebrant and followed by his attendants  the sacrifice began to the strains of a flute  the main celebrant poured incense and wine into a fire burning in a round, portable hearth- this is the only physical work that the celebrant actually does (the celebrant is identified in visual sources by wearing a veil)  the portable hearth used to transmit the offering to the deity represents the identity of the celebrant  incense= immortality  wine= divine sovereignty  therefore, this preliminary rite proclaimed immortality and the superiority of the gods o 3. Consecrating of the offering (act of making the offering sacred)- "Immolatio"  the celebrant moved on the immolation of the victim  he sprinkled the victim's back with salted flour (always present in Roman sacrifice- the meat needed to be salted, poured a little wine on its brow  then he ran the sacrificial knife along its spine- this rite proclaimed the consecration of the victim  with the knife it symbolically transferred the victim from human property to the god's property  once the transfer was completed, the celebrant ordered the actual killing  a man struck down then bled large victims, such as cows and bulls, smaller animals had their throats cut  in principle, the victim had to indicate its consent, particularly by lowering its head  for this reason, it would generally be tied by a harness fastened to a ring at the foot of the altar so that, with a little help from the sacrificer, it would be made to "bow" in acqu
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