Home About Network of subjects Linked subjects heatmap Book indices included Search by subject Search by reference Browse subjects Browse texts

Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Dionysius Of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.34.5

nan But from the best conjectures I have been able to make, I find that even before the arrival of Hercules in Italy this place was sacred to Saturn and was called by the people of the country the Saturnian hill, and all the rest of the peninsula which is now called Italy was consecrated to this god, being called Saturnia by the inhabitants, as may be found stated in some Sibylline prophecies and other oracles delivered by the gods. And in many parts of the country there are temples dedicated to this god; certain cities bear the same name by which the whole peninsula was known at that time, and many places are called by the name of the god, particularly headlands and eminences. <

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

4 results
1. Varro, On The Latin Language, 5.41-5.42 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.34.1, 1.34.3, 1.59.4, 1.67.1, 1.77.2, 2.4.2, 2.5.2, 2.19.3, 2.66-2.67, 2.69-2.71, 2.73, 3.70.3, 4.2.1, 4.2.4, 4.40.7, 4.62, 5.46.1-5.46.3, 13.3.2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.34.1.  A few years after the Arcadians another Greek expedition came into Italy under the command of Hercules, who had just returned from the conquest of Spain and of all the region that extends to the setting of the sun. It was some of his followers who, begging Hercules to dismiss them from the expedition, remained in this region and built a town on a suitable hill, which they found at a distance of about three stades from Pallantium. This is now called theCapitoline hill, but by the men of that time the Saturnian hill, or, in Greek, the hill of Cronus. 1.34.3.  As for the name of the hill, some think it was an ancient name, as I have said, and that consequently the Epeans were especially pleased with the hill through memory of the hill of Cronus in Elis. This is in the territory of Pisa, near the river Alpheus, and the Eleans, regarding it as sacred to Cronus, assemble together at stated times to honour it with sacrifices and other marks of reverence. 1.77.2.  But most writers relate a fabulous story to the effect that it was a spectre of the divinity to whom the place was consecrated; and they add that the advantageous was attended by many supernatural signs, including a sudden disappearance of the sun and a darkness that spread over the sky, and that the appearance of the spectre was far more marvellous than that of a man both in stature and in beauty. And they say that the ravisher, to comfort the maiden (by which it became clear that it was a god), commanded her not to grieve at all at what had happened, since she had been united in marriage to the divinity of the place and as a result of her violation should bear two sons who would far excel all men in valour and warlike achievements. And having said this, he was wrapped in a cloud and, being lifted from the earth, was borne upwards through the air. 2.4.2.  Concerning the form of government, then, this is our decision; and to this honour we conceive none has so good a title as you yourself by reason both of your royal birth and of your merit, but above all because we have had you as the leader of our colony and recognize in you great ability and great wisdom, which we have seen displayed quite as much in your actions as in your words." Romulus, hearing this, said it was a great satisfaction to him to be judged worthy of the kingly office by his fellow men, but that he would not accept the honour until Heaven, too, had given its sanction by favourable omens. 2.5.2.  After this prayer a flash of lightning darted across the sky from the left to the right. Now the Romans look upon the lightning that passes from the left to the right as a favourable omen, having been thus instructed either by the Tyrrhenians or by their own ancestors. Their reason is, in my opinion, that the best seat and station for those who take the auspices is that which looks toward the east, from whence both the sun and the moon rise as well as the planets and fixed stars; and the revolution of the firmament, by which all things contained in it are sometimes above the earth and sometimes beneath it, begins its circular motion thence. 2.19.3.  And, — the thing which I myself have marvelled at most, — notwithstanding the influx into Rome of innumerable nations which are under every necessity of worshipping their ancestral gods according to the customs of their respective countries, yet the city has never officially adopted any of those foreign practices, as has been the experience of many cities in the past; but, even though she has, in pursuance of oracles, introduced certain rites from abroad, she celebrates them in accordance with her own traditions, after banishing all fabulous clap-trap. The rites of the Idaean goddess are a case in point; 2.66. 1.  Numa, upon taking over the rule, did not disturb the individual hearths of the curiae, but erected one common to them all in the space between the Capitoline hill and the Palatine (for these hills had already been united by a single wall into one city, and the Forum, in which the temple is built, lies between them), and he enacted, in accordance with the ancestral custom of the Latins, that the guarding of the holy things should be committed to virgins.,2.  There is some doubt, however, what it is that is kept in this temple and for what reason the care of it has been assigned to virgins, some affirming that nothing is preserved there but the fire, which is visible to everybody. And they very reasonably argue that the custody of the fire was committed to virgins, rather than to men, because fire in incorrupt and a virgin is undefiled, and the most chaste of mortal things must be agreeable to the purest of those that are divine.,3.  And they regard the fire as consecrated to Vesta because that goddess, being the earth and occupying the central place in the universe, kindles the celestial fires from herself. But there are some who say that besides the fire there are some holy things in the temple of the goddess that may not be revealed to the public, of which only the pontiffs and the virgins have knowledge. As a strong confirmation of this story they cite what happened at the burning of the temple during the First Punic War between the Romans and the Carthaginians over Sicily.,4.  For when the temple caught fire and the virgins fled from the flames, one of the pontiffs, Lucius Caecilius, called Metellus, a man of consular rank, the same who exhibited a hundred and thirty-eight elephants in the memorable triumph which he celebrated for his defeat of the Carthaginians in Sicily, neglecting his own safety for the sake of the public good, ventured to force his way into the burning structure, and, snatching up the holy things which the virgins had abandoned, saved them from the fire; for which he received the honours from the State, as the inscription upon his statue on the Capitol testifies.,5.  Taking this incident, then, as an admitted fact, they add some conjectures of their own. Thus, some affirm that the objects preserved here are a part of those holy things which were once in Samothrace; that Dardanus removed them out of that island into the city which he himself had built, and that Aeneas, when he fled from the Troad, brought them along with the other holy things into Italy. But others declare that it is the Palladium that fell from Heaven, the same that was in the possession of the people of Ilium; for they hold that Aeneas, being well acquainted with it, brought it into Italy, whereas the Achaeans stole away the copy, — an incident about which many stories have been related both by poets and by historians.,6.  For my part, I find from very many evidences that there are indeed some holy things, unknown to the public, kept by the virgins, and not the fire alone; but what they are I do not think should be inquired into too curiously, either by me of by anyone else who wishes to observe the reverence due to the gods. 2.67. 1.  The virgins who serve the goddess were originally four and were chosen by the kings according to the principles established by Numa, but afterwards, from the multiplicity of the sacred rites they perform, their number was increased of six, and has so remained down to our time. They live in the temple of the goddess, into which none who wish are hindered from entering in the daytime, whereas it is not lawful for any man to remain there at night.,2.  They were required to remain undefiled by marriage for the space of thirty years, devoting themselves to offering sacrifices and performing the other rites ordained by law. During the first ten years their duty was to learn their functions, in the second ten to perform them, and during the remaining ten to teach others. After the expiration of the term of thirty years nothing hindered those who so desired from marrying, upon laying aside their fillets and the other insignia of their priesthood. And some, though very few, have done this; but they came to ends that were not at all happy or enviable. In consequence, the rest, looking upon their misfortunes as ominous, remain virgins in the temple of the goddess till their death, and then once more another is chosen by the pontiffs to supply the vacancy.,3.  Many high honours have been granted them by the commonwealth, as a result of which they feel no desire either for marriage or for children; and severe penalties have been established for their misdeeds. It is the pontiffs who by law both inquire into and punish these offences; to Vestals who are guilty of lesser misdemeanours they scourge with rods, but those who have suffered defilement they deliver up to the most shameful and the most miserable death.,4.  While they are yet alive they are carried upon a bier with all the formality of a funeral, their friends and relations attending them with lamentations, and after being brought as far as the Colline Gate, they are placed in an underground cell prepared within the walls, clad in their funeral attire; but they are not given a monument or funeral rites or any other customary solemnities.,5.  There are many indications, it seems, when a priestess is not performing her holy functions with purity, but the principal one is the extinction of the fire, which the Romans dread above all misfortunes, looking upon it, from whatever cause it proceeds, as an omen that portends the destruction of the city; and they bring fire again into the temple with many supplicatory rites, concerning which I shall speak on the proper occasion. 2.69. 1.  But what I am going to relate is still more wonderful and more like a myth. They say that somebody unjustly accused one of the holy virgins, whose name was Tuccia, and although he was unable to point to the extinction of the fire as evidence, he advanced false arguments based on plausible proofs and depositions; and that the virgin, being ordered to make her defence, said only this, that she would clear herself from the accusation by her deeds.,2.  Having said this and called upon the goddess to be her guide, she led the way to the Tiber, with the consent of the pontiffs and escorted by the whole population of the city; and when she came to the river, she was so hardy as to undertake the task which, according to the proverb, is among the most impossible of achievement: she drew up water from the river in a sieve, and carrying it as far as the Forum, poured it out at the feet of the pontiffs.,3.  After which, they say, her accuser, though great search was made for him, could never be found either alive or dead. But, though I have yet many other things to say concerning the manifestations of this goddess, I regard what has already been said as sufficient. 2.70. 1.  The sixth division of his religious institutions was devoted to those the Romans call Salii, whom Numa himself appointed out of the patricians, choosing twelve young men of the most graceful appearance. These are the Salii whose holy things are deposited on the Palatine hill and who are themselves called the (Salii) Palatini; for the (Salii) Agonales, by some called the Salii Collini, the repository of whose holy things is on the Quirinal hill, were appointed after Numa's time by King Hostilius, in pursuance of a vow he had made in the war against the Sabines. All these Salii are a kind of dancers and singers of hymns in praise of the gods of war.,2.  Their festival falls about the time of the Panathenaea, in the month which they call March, and is celebrated at the public expense for many days, during which they proceed through the city with their dances to the Forum and to the Capitol and to many other places both private and public. They wear embroidered tunics girt about with wide girdles of bronze, and over these are fastened, with brooches, robes striped with scarlet and bordered with purple, which they call trabeae; this garment is peculiar to the Romans and a mark of the greatest honour. On their heads they wear apices, as they are called, that is, high caps contracted into the shape of a cone, which the Greeks call kyrbasiai.,3.  They have each of them a sword hanging at their girdle and in their right hand they hold a spear or a staff or something else of the sort, and on their left arm a Thracian buckler, which resembles a lozenge-shaped shield with its sides drawn in, such as those are said to carry who among the Greeks perform the sacred rites of the Curetes.,4.  And, in my opinion at least, the Salii, if the word be translated into Greek, are Curetes, whom, because they are kouroi or "young men," we call by that name from their age, whereas the Romans call them Salii from their lively motions. For to leap and skip is by them called salire; and for the same reason they call all other dancers saltatores, deriving their name from the Salii, because their dancing also is attended by much leaping and capering.,5.  Whether I have been well advised or not in giving them this appellation, anyone who pleases may gather from their actions. For they execute their movements in arms, keeping time to a flute, sometimes all together, sometimes by turns, and while dancing sing certain traditional hymns. But this dance and exercise performed by armed men and the noise they make by striking their bucklers with their daggers, if we may base any conjectures on the ancient accounts, was originated by the Curetes. I need not mention the legend which is related concerning them, since almost everybody is acquainted with it. 2.71. 1.  Among the vast number of bucklers which both the Salii themselves bear and some of their servants carry suspended from rods, they say there is one that fell from heaven and was found in the palace of Numa, though no one had brought it thither and no buckler of that shape had ever before been known among the Italians; and that for both these reasons the Romans concluded that this buckler had been sent by the gods.,2.  They add that Numa, desiring that it should be honoured by being carried through the city on holy days by the most distinguished young men and that annual sacrifices should be offered to it, but at the same time being fearful both of the plot of his enemies and of its disappearance by theft, caused many other bucklers to be made resembling the one which fell from heaven, Mamurius, an artificer, having undertaken the work; so that, as a result of the perfect resemblance of the man-made imitations, the shape of the buckler sent by the gods was rendered inconspicuous and difficult to be distinguished by those who might plot to possess themselves of it.,3.  This dancing after the manner of the Curetes was a native institution among the Romans and was held in great honour by them, as I gather from many other indications and especially from what takes place in their processions both in the Circus and in the theatres.,4.  For in all of them young men clad in handsome tunics, with helmets, swords and bucklers, march in file. These are the leaders of the procession and are called by the Romans, from a game of which the Lydians seem to have been the inventors, ludiones; they show merely a certain resemblance, in my opinion, to the Salii, since they do not, like the Salii, do any of the things characteristic of the Curetes, either in their hymns or dancing. And it was necessary that the Salii should be free men and native Romans and that both their fathers and mothers should be living; whereas the others are of any condition whatsoever. But why should I say more about them? 2.73. 1.  The last branch of the ordices of Numa related to the sacred offices allotted to those who held the higher priesthoods and the greatest power among the Romans. These, from one of the duties they perform, namely, the repairing of the wooden bridge, are in their own language called pontifices; but they have jurisdiction over the most weighty matters.,2.  For they the judges in all religious causes wherein private citizens, magistrates or the ministers of the gods are concerned; they make laws for the observance of any religious rites, not established by written law or custom, which may seem to them worthy of receiving the sanction of law and custom; they inquire into the conduct of all magistrates to whom the performance of any sacrifice or other religious duty is committed, and also into that of all the priests; they take care that their servants and ministers whom they employ in religious rites commit no error in the matter of the sacred laws; to the laymen who are unacquainted with such matters they are the expounders and interpreters of everything relating to the worship of the gods and genii; and if they find that any disobey their orders, they inflict punishment upon them with due regard to every offence; moreover, they are not liable to any prosecution or punishment, nor are they accountable to the senate or to the people, at least concerning religious matters.,3.  Hence, if anyone wishes to call them hierodidaskaloi, hieronomoi, hierophylakes, or, as I think proper, hierophantai, he will not be in error. When one of them dies, another is appointed in his place, being chosen, not by the people, but by the pontifices themselves, who select the person they think best qualified among their fellow citizens; and the one thus approved of receives the priesthood, provided the omens are favourable to them.,4.  These — not to speak of others less important — are the greatest and the most notable regulations made by Numa concerning religious worship and divided by him according to the different classes of sacred rites; and through these it came about that the city increased in piety. 3.70.3.  And having found the swine shortly afterwards, he wished to perform his vow to the heroes, but found himself in great perplexity, being unable to discover the largest cluster of grapes. In his anxiety over the matter he prayed to the gods to reveal to him by omens what he sought. Then by a divine inspiration he divided the vineyard into two parts, taking one on his right hand and the other on his left, after which he observed the omens that showed over each; and when there appeared in one of them such birds as he desired, he again divided that into two parts and distinguished in the same manner the birds that came to it. Having continued this method of dividing the places and coming up to the last vine that was pointed out by the birds, he found an incredibly huge cluster. As he was carrying it to the chapel of the heroes he was observed by his father; 4.2.4.  For when he had fallen asleep one day while sitting in the portico of the palace about noon, a fire shone forth from his head. This was seen by his mother and by the king's wife, as they were walking through the portico, as well as by all who happened to be present with them at the time. The flame continued to illumine his whole head till his mother ran to him and wakened him; and with the ending of his sleep the flame was dispersed and vanished. Such are the accounts that are given of his birth. 4.40.7.  And it was made clear by another prodigy that this man was dear to the gods; in consequence of which that fabulous and incredible opinion I have already mentioned concerning his birth also came to be regarded by many as true. For in the temple of Fortune which he himself had built there stood a gilded wooden statue of Tullius, and when a conflagration occurred and everything else was destroyed, this statue alone remained uninjured by the flames. And even to this day, although the temple itself and all the objects in it, which were restored to their formed condition after the fire, are obviously the products of modern art, the statue, as aforetime, is of ancient workmanship; for it still remains an object of veneration by the Romans. Concerning Tullius these are all the facts that have been handed down to us. 4.62. 1.  It is said that during the reign of Tarquinius another very wonderful piece of good luck also came to the Roman state, conferred upon it by the favour of some god or other divinity; and this good fortune was not of short duration, but throughout the whole existence of the country it has often saved it from great calamities.,2.  A certain woman who was not a native of the country came to the tyrant wishing to sell him nine books filled with Sibylline oracles; but when Tarquinius refused to purchase the books at the price she asked, she went away and burned three of them. And not long afterwards, bringing the remaining six books, she offered to sell them for the same price. But when they thought her a fool and mocked at her for asking the same price for the smaller number of books that she had been unable to get for even the larger number, she again went away and burned half of those that were left; then, bringing the remaining books, she asked the same amount of money for these.,3.  Tarquinius, wondering at the woman's purpose, sent for the augurs and acquainting them with the matter, asked them what he should do. These, knowing by certain signs that he had rejected a god-sent blessing, and declaring it to be a great misfortune that he had not purchased all the books, directed him to pay the woman all the money she asked and to get the oracles that were left.,4.  The woman, after delivering the books and bidding him take great care of them, disappeared from among men. Tarquinius chose two men of distinction from among the citizens and appointing two public slaves to assist them, entrusted to them the guarding of the books; and when one of these men, named Marcus Atilius, seemed to have been faithless to his trust and was informed upon by one of the public slaves, he ordered him to be sewed up in a leather bag and thrown into the sea as a parricide.,5.  Since the expulsion of the kings, the commonwealth, taking upon itself the guarding of these oracles, entrusts the care of them to persons of the greatest distinction, who hold this office for life, being exempt from military service and from all civil employments, and it assigns public slaves to assist them, in whose absence the others are not permitted to inspect the oracles. In short, there is no possession of the Romans, sacred or profane, which they guard so carefully as they do the Sibylline oracles. They consult them, by order of the senate, when the state is in the grip of party strife or some great misfortune has happened to them in war, or some important prodigies and apparitions have been seen which are difficult of interpretation, as has often happened. These oracles till the time of the Marsian War, as it was called, were kept underground in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in a stone chest under the guard of ten men.,6.  But when the temple was burned after the close of the one hundred and seventy-third Olympiad, either purposely, as some think, or by accident, these oracles together with all the offerings consecrated to the god were destroyed by the fire. Those which are now extant have been scraped together from many places, some from the cities of Italy, others from Erythrae in Asia (whither three envoys were sent by vote of the senate to copy them), and others were brought from other cities, transcribed by private persons. Some of these are found to be interpolations among the genuine Sibylline oracles, being recognized as such by means of the so‑called acrostics. In all this I am following the account given by Terentius Varro in his work on religion. 5.46.1.  When each side observed the enemy's condition, of which they judged by the size of the camps and the information given by prisoners, the Sabines were inspired with confidence and felt contempt for the small numbers of the enemy, while the Romans were seized with fear by reason of the multitude of their opponents. But they took courage and entertained no small hopes of victory because of various omens sent to them by the gods, and particularly from a final portent which they saw when they were about to array themselves for battle. 5.46.2.  It was as follows: From the javelins that were fixed in the ground beside their tents (these javelins are Roman weapons which they hurl and having pointed iron heads, not less than three feet in length, projecting straight forward from one end, and with the iron they are as long as spears of moderate length) — from these javelins flames issued forth round the tips of the heads and the glare extended through the whole camp like that of torches and lasted a great part of the night. 5.46.3.  From this portent they concluded, as the interpreters of prodigies informed them and as was not difficult for anyone to conjecture, that Heaven was portending to them a speedy and brilliant victory, because, as we know, everything yields to fire and there is nothing that is not consumed by it. And inasmuch as this fire issued from defensive weapons, they came out with great boldness from their camp, and engaging the Sabines, fought, few in number, with enemies many times superior, placing their reliance in their own good courage. Besides, their long experience joined to their willingness to undergo toil encouraged them to despise every danger. 13.3.2.  Upon the capture of the city, accordingly, he sent the most distinguished of the knights to remove the statue from its pedestal; and when those who had been sent came into the temple and one of them, either in jest and sport or desiring an omen, asked whether the goddess wished to remove to Rome, the statue answered in a loud voice that she did. This happened twice; for the young men, doubting whether it was the statue that had spoken, asked the same question again and heard the same reply.
3. Livy, History, 1.16.1-1.16.2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Herodian, History of The Empire After Marcus, 1.16.1-1.16.2 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aeneas Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
arcadia, arcadian Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
augustus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
carthage Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
cassius dio Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
cedranus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
dionysius of halicarnassus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
divination Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
dreams and visions, examples, dionysius of halicarnassus Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
ianus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
iuppiter Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
macrobius Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
omens, dionysius of halicarnassus Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
oracles, reports, dionysius of halicarnassus Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
portents, dionysius of halicarnassus Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
portents Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
protarchus of tralles Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
rites, sacrificium' Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
rites, saturnalia Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
roman topography, mons capitolinus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
sacrifice Moxon, Peter's Halakhic Nightmare: The 'Animal' Vision of Acts 10:9–16 in Jewish and Graeco-Roman Perspective (2017) 415
saturnus Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
seruius tullius Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
temples, shrines, and altars, of saturnus (forum romanum) Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
temples, shrines, and altars, of saturnus (mons capitolinus) Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126
uirgil Buszard, Greek Translations of Roman Gods (2023) 126