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Lecture

Archaeology of Religion 13.docx

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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLAS 2531
Professor
Illaria Battiloro

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Ritual Practices in the Roman World, ctd Immolatio: Consecrating the Offerings  the most crucial moment of the process is when the haruspex is examining the exta- the internal organs of the animal The Sacrificial Banquet  when the offering had been consumed in the flames or placed on the ground, the rest of the victim was "rendered profane," that is to say the celebrant "seized" it by laying his hand upon it, thereby making it suitable for human consumption  the same procedure was followed with liquid offerings and probably also with those based on grain and vegetables  in this way the celebrant did not consume sacred food, but food that the deity had somehow agreed to let him have  the consumption of portions of meat or of liquids offered by the celebrant of a sacrifice is a complex problem  usually the celebrant and sacrificers consumed their portions on the spot, paid by the community  in some festivals, particular social groups within the city banqueted at public sites  this was the last step of a very long process  sacra supellex- sacred dishes for the sacrificial banquet that were property of the gods Offerings  relations between mortals and immortals were founded upon the exchange of gifts and counter gifts  sacrifice, which organized an exchange of offerings in the form of food, fell into this category  but there are also other ways of maintaining those relationships  recall: the temple itself is a dedication, a votive offering, as well as everything within the sanctuary  at all levels of society, individuals and communities (must be Roman citizens) offered gifts to the gods: o gifts from the fathers of the families (pater familias) o gifts from children o gifts from the city o gifts from the senate o gifts from one military unit  offerings as ex voto- many of the offered objects wer given as tokens of thanks or to conciliate a god or to pay homage; other objects were dedicated in the fulfillment of a vow o the same object could be an ex voto and a simple dedication  a wide range of objects were offered: o terracotta figurines  ie. matronae- offered by women as representations of the matron's responsibilities- raising children, growing the population  goddesses (Venus and Fortuna)  of a child- could be made by family, by a woman (token of thanks for childbirth, or a request for fertility)  animals, fruits, vegetables- best way to interpret is to see them as cheaper placeholders for the real victims  heads- very common, male or female; not attached to a body, very debated meaning- could be a dedication of the entire person (the head contains the brain/soul/person)  anatomical votives- hands, feet, genitalia, uteri!- specifically linked to healing cults (gods connected with health and healing capabilities)- the object likely symbolizes a request for healing or a thanksgiving for healing performed
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