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CLA 310 L09.26

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Susan Dunning

CLA 310 – Religion of Rome S. Dunning 09/26/12 **Material up to Oct. 3 lecture for midterm Communication with the gods - How did the Romans communicate with their gods? o Ritual, performance are ways in which the ancient Romans communicate with their deities - Theories and models o Communication theory (cf., Ripke) o Theories of performance (cf., Bell) o Speech-act theory (cf., Austin) o Do-et-des model (many; cf., Pulleyn)  Give so you give (reciprocal relationship) - Sacrifices, oracles o Oracles are divinely initiated o Sacrifice different aspects of life (e.g., time, resources) o Go big or go home with way of communicating  Sign of respect, must come with something  Flashy gets attention of deities - Festivals o Ritual sequence o Combination of many different rituals done in a short period of time - Ritual associated with some tradition – present meaning rooted in past value - Ritual also considered as habit o Not necessarily religious in nature o E.g., drinking water in morning - Performance – someone performing might not know what he is doing but what he’s doing can change his way of thinking o Substitute for “ritual” o Usually an act of respect to the deity - Reciprocal / ethics Stages of sacrifice - Performed at altar outside of temple - “Bloodless” vs. animal sacrifices - Private vs. Public content o May be followed by vow; if fulfilled, additional votive offering - Must be perficio – done fully, perfectly o Depicted in full afterwards - Major sacrifices accompanied by music, many attendants, etc. - Greek or Roman rite? - Officiation of sacrifice usually headed by women - Camillus = young children, especially boys, go and help out with the oracle - Disruption of service = failure to finish = bad - Public funds sponsor public sacrifices - Generals, on behalf of their troops , sponsor to celebrate victories – first ask to be granted permission to hold a triumph Pompa (Procession) - Finest clothes, decorated animals (gilded horns) - Host = sacrificant - Slaves, half-clothed (in contrast to their well-dressed masters (i.e., togas)), slaughter the sacrificial victims - Complete procession o Artwork enjoyed by humans will be enjoyed by the gods as well - Cooperation / assent of the animal is important for the sacrifice to work – must be a willing participant Prayer and Libraion - Long, short prayers - Pouring of the wine on the earth / fire = libation ~ allowing the gods to partake in the celebration with wine - Veiling of officiant with toga (Roman rite – as opposed to Greek rite of having a naked head, i.e., no head covering like a hat) - Sensual experience Sprinkling of wine and mola salsa - Mola salsa prepared by the Vestal Virgins (flour, salt mixture) - Sprinkle over the sacrificial animal (to prepare it) Killing of the Victim - Romans do not fixate on sacrifice in artwork – therefore such scenes are rare - Slave kills animals Examination of Entrails - Looking for abnormalities in the innards of the animal - Must have religious expert on hand – like priest or pontifex maximus – to tell what is present (or not) in the entrails - Sacrifice done over if it’s not good - If something is missing = prodigy / ill omen o More rituals must be performed to propitiate gods (i.e., appease) - Normal citizens cannot afford big animals – usually cakes or smaller animals Burning on Altar and Banquet - Bones, fat, sinews burned for the gods - Roman citizens then fed with the sacrificial meat OR it’s sold in the (meat) market - Burning whole sacrifices ~ holocaust o E.g., dogs, suovetaurilia - Vestal Virgins are invited to sacrificial banquets (participate) – gods are invited too Suovetaurilia (and lustrum) - Often paired with celebration – and accounting for the Roman people (?) - Renewing contract with the gods – purifying Roman people with the sacrifices - Word a fusion of the Latin for pig (sus), ram (ovis) and bull (taurus) - Associated with private and public rituals of purification o Of an army before battle o Of the city after a prodigy Lectisternia and sellinesteria - Lectisternium = a banquet given to, and in honour of, the gods – to share in the Roman people’s meal th o First celebrated in the early 4 c. BC (Livy) o Incorporated into several major festivals o Introduced to Rome from the Greek world o Couches set out for the deities to sit in - Sellinesterium is the equivalent of a lectisternium, but instead of couches to recline in, the deities were made to sit in chairs (to goddesses, mostly) - This ritual banquet begun in times of distress o Sibylline books guarded by the (quin)decimviri – usually recommend that the ritual be done Ludi Circensis - Ludi = games – done in a circus (i.e., not the same circus as modern pop culture) - Chariot races included among many other athletic games, hunts, e
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