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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7456
Livy, History, 1.18-1.21


nanThere was living, in those days, at Cures, a Sabine city, a man of renowned justice and piety-Numa Pompilius. He was as conversant as any one in that age could be with all divine and human law. [2] His master is given as Pythagoras of Samos, as tradition speaks of no other. But this is erroneous, for it is generally agreed that it was more than a century later, in the reign of Servius Tullius, that Pythagoras gathered round him crowds of eager students, in the most distant part of Italy, in the neighbourhood of Metapontum, Heraclea, and Crotona., Now, even if he had been contemporary with Numa, how could his reputation have reached the Sabines? From what places, and in what common language could he have induced any one to become his disciple? Who could have guaranteed the safety of a solitary individual travelling through so many nations differing in speech and character? [4] I believe rather that Numa's virtues were the result of his native temperament and self-training, moulded not so much by foreign influences as by the rigorous and austere discipline of the ancient Sabines, which was the purest type of any that existed in the old days. [5] When Numa's name was mentioned, though the Roman senators saw that the balance of power would be on the side of the Sabines if the king were chosen from amongst them, still no one ventured to propose a partisan of his own, or any senator, or citizen in preference to him. Accordingly they all to a man decreed that the crown should be offered to Numa Pompilius., He was invited to Rome, and following the precedent set by Romulus, when he obtained his crown through the augury which sanctioned the founding of the City, Numa ordered that in his case also the gods should be consulted. He was solemnly conducted by an augur, who was afterwards honoured by being made a State functionary for life, to the Citadel, and took his seat on a stone facing south. [7] The augur seated himself on his left hand, with his head covered, and holding in his right hand a curved staff without any knots, which they called a ‘lituus.’ After surveying the prospect over the City and surrounding country, he offered prayers and marked out the heavenly regions by an imaginary line from east to west; the southern he defined as ‘the right hand,’ the northern as ‘the left hand.’ [8] He then fixed upon an object, as far as he could see, as a corresponding mark, and then transferring the lituus to his left hand, he laid his right upon Numa's head and offered this prayer:, ‘Father Jupiter, if it be heaven's will that this Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, should be king of Rome, do thou signify it to us by sure signs within those boundaries which I have traced.’ [10] Then he described in the usual formula the augury which he desired should be sent. They were sent, and Numa being by them manifested to be king, came down from the ‘templum.’26


nanHaving in this way obtained the crown, Numa prepared to found as it were anew by laws and customs that City which had so recently been founded by force of arms He saw that this was impossible whilst a state of war lasted, for war brutalised men. [2] Thinking that the ferocity of his subjects might be mitigated by the disuse of arms, he built the temple of Janus at the foot of the Aventine as an index of peace and war, to signify when it was open that the State was under arms, and when it was shut that all the surrounding nations were at peace., Twice since Numa's reign has it been shut, once after the first Punic war in the consulship of T. Manlius, the second time, which heaven has allowed our generation to witness, after the battle of Actium, when peace on land and sea was secured by the emperor Caesar Augustus. [4] After forming treaties of alliance with all his neighbours and closing the temple of Janus, Numa turned his attention to domestic matters. The removal of all danger from without would induce his subjects to luxuriate in idleness, as they would be no longer restrained by the fear of an enemy or by military discipline. To prevent this, he strove to inculcate in their minds the fear of the gods, regarding this as the most powerful influence which could act upon an uncivilised and, in those ages, a barbarous people. [5] But, as this would fail to make a deep impression without some claim to supernatural wisdom, he pretended that he had nocturnal interviews with the nymph Egeria: that it was on her advice that he was instituting the ritual most acceptable to the gods and appointing for each deity his own special priests., First of all he divided the year into twelve months, corresponding to the moon's revolutions. But as the moon does not complete thirty days in each month, and so there are fewer days in the lunar year than in that measured by the course of the sun, he interpolated intercalary months and so arranged them that every twentieth year the days should coincide with the same position of the sun as when they started, the whole twenty years being thus complete. [7] He also established a distinction between the days on which legal business could be transacted and those on which it could not, because it would sometimes be advisable that there should be no business transacted with the people.


nanNext he turned his attention to the appointment of priests. He himself, however, conducted a great many religious services, especially those which belong to the Flamen of Jupiter. But he thought that in a warlike state there would be more kings of the type of Romulus than of Numa who would take the field in person. To guard, therefore, against the sacrificial rites which the king performed being interrupted, he appointed a Flamen as perpetual priest to Jupiter, and ordered that he should wear a distinctive dress and sit in the royal curule chair. He appointed two additional Flamens, one for Mars, the other for Quirinus, and also chose virgins as priestesses to, Vesta. This order of priestesses came into existence originally in Alba and was connected with the race of the founder. He assigned them a public stipend that they might give their whole time to the temple, and made their persons sacred and inviolable by a vow of chastity and other religious sanctions. [4] Similarly he chose twelve ‘Salii’ for Mars Gradivus, and assigned to them the distinctive dress of an embroidered tunic and over it a brazen cuirass. They were instructed to march in solemn procession through the City, carrying the twelve shields called the ‘Ancilia,’ and singing hymns accompanied by a solemn dance in triple time. The next office to be filled was that of the Pontifex Maximus. [5] Numa appointed the son of Marcus, one of the senators — Numa Marcius — and all the regulations bearing on religion, written out and sealed, were placed in his charge. Here was laid down with what victims, on what days, and at what temples the various sacrifices were to be offered, and from what sources the expenses connected with them were to be defrayed., He placed all other sacred functions, both public and private, under the supervision of the Pontifex, in order that there might be an authority for the people to consult, and so all trouble and confusion arising through foreign rites being adopted and their ancestral ones neglected might be avoided. [7] Nor were his functions confined to directing the worship of the celestial gods; he was to instruct the people how to conduct funerals and appease the spirits of the departed, and what prodigies sent by lightning or in any other way were to be attended to and expiated. To elicit these signs of the divine will, he dedicated an altar to Jupiter Elicius on the Aventine, and consulted the god through auguries, as to which prodigies were to receive attention.


nanThe deliberations and arrangements which these matters involved diverted the people from all thoughts of war and provided them with ample occupation. The watchful care of the gods, manifesting itself in the providential guidance of human affairs, had kindled in all hearts such a feeling of piety that the sacredness of promises and the sanctity of oaths were a controlling force for the community scarcely less effective than the fear inspired by laws and penalties. [2] And whilst his subjects were moulding their characters upon the unique example of their king, the neighbouring nations, who had hitherto believed that it was a fortified camp and not a city that was placed amongst them to vex the peace of all, were now induced to respect them so highly that they thought it sinful to injure a State so entirely devoted to the service of the gods., There was a grove through the midst of which a perennial stream flowed, issuing from a dark cave. Here Numa frequently retired unattended as if to meet the goddess, and he consecrated the grove to the Camaenae, because it was there that their meetings with his wife Egeria took place. [4] He also instituted a yearly sacrifice to the goddess Fides and ordered that the Flamens should ride to her temple in a hooded chariot, and should perform the service with their hands covered as far as the fingers, to signify that Faith must be sheltered and that her seat is holy even when it is in men's right hands. [5] There were many other sacrifices appointed by him and places dedicated for their performance which the pontiffs call the Argei. The greatest of all his works was the preservation of peace and the security of his realm throughout the whole of his reign., Thus by two successive kings the greatness of the State was advanced; by each in a different way, by the one through war, by the other through peace. Romulus reigned thirty-seven years, Numa forty-three. The State was strong and disciplined by the lessons of war and the arts of peace.


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

9 results
1. Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, 3.5 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.5. Very well," rejoined Cotta, "let us then proceed as the argument itself may lead us. But before we come to the subject, let me say a few words about myself. I am considerably influenced by your authority, Balbus, and by the plea that you put forward at the conclusion of your discourse, when you exhorted me to remember that I am both a Cotta and a pontife. This no doubt meant that I ought to uphold the beliefs about the immortal gods which have come down to us from our ancestors, and the rites and ceremonies and duties of religion. For my part I always shall uphold them and always have done so, and no eloquence of anybody, learned or unlearned, shall ever dislodge me from the belief as to the worship of the immortal gods which I have inherited from our forefathers. But on any question of el I am guided by the high pontifes, Titus Coruncanius, Publius Scipio and Publius Scaevola, not by Zeno or Cleanthes or Chrysippus; and I have Gaius Laelius, who was both an augur and a philosopher, to whose discourse upon religion, in his famous oration, I would rather listen than to any leader of the Stoics. The religion of the Roman people comprises ritual, auspices, and the third additional division consisting of all such prophetic warnings as the interpreters of the Sybil or the soothsayers have derived from portents and prodigies. While, I have always thought that none of these departments of religion was to be despised, and I have held the conviction that Romulus by his auspices and Numa by his establishment of our ritual laid the foundations of our state, which assuredly could never have been as great as it is had not the fullest measure of divine favour been obtained for it.
2. Cicero, Republic, 2.28 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.28. Quae cum Scipio dixisset, Verene, inquit Manilius, hoc memoriae proditum est, Africane, regem istum Numam Pythagorae ipsius discipulum aut certe Pythagoreum fuisse? saepe enim hoc de maioribus natu audivimus et ita intellegimus vulgo existimari; neque vero satis id annalium publicorum auctoritate declaratum videmus. Tum Scipio: Falsum est enim, Manili, inquit, id totum, neque solum fictum, sed etiam imperite absurdeque fictum; ea sunt enim demum non ferenda in mendacio, quae non solum ficta esse, sed ne fieri quidem potuisse cernimus. Nam quartum iam annum regte Lucio Tarquinio Superbo Sybarim et Crotonem et in eas Italiae partis Pythagoras venisse reperitur; Olympias enim secunda et sexagesima eadem Superbi regni initium et Pythagorae declarat adventum.
3. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 8.14 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

8.14. 1.  Pompilius, the Roman king, lived at peace for his entire life. And certain writers state that he was a pupil of Pythagoras, and that he received from him the ordices he laid down regarding the worship of the gods and was instructed in many other matters; and it was because of this that he became a man of renown and was summoned by the Romans to be their king.
4. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 2.59.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.59.1.  Up to this point, then, I have nothing to allege in contradiction to those who have published the history of this man; but in regard to what follows I am at a loss what to say. For many have written that Numa was a disciple of Pythagoras and that when he was chosen king by the Romans he was studying philosophy at Croton. But the date of Pythagoras contradicts this account
5. Livy, History, 1.6-1.12, 1.19-1.21, 1.36 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15.1-15.478 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

7. Vergil, Aeneis, 3.403-3.407 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.403. by mighty Abas) graven with this line: 3.404. SPOIL OF AENEAS FROM TRIUMPHANT FOES. 3.405. Then from that haven I command them forth; 3.406. my good crews take the thwarts, smiting the sea 3.407. with rival strokes, and skim the level main.
8. Plutarch, Numa Pompilius, 1.2-1.4, 8.4-8.10, 22.4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.3. but that there was another Pythagoras, the Spartan, who was Olympic victor in the foot-race for the sixteenth Olympiad 657-654 B.C. (in the third year of which Numa was made king), and that in his wanderings about Italy he made the acquaintance of Numa, and helped him arrange the government of the city, whence it came about that many Spartan customs were mingled with the Roman, as Pythagoras taught them to Numa. And at all events, Numa was of Sabine descent, and the Sabines will have it that they were colonists from Lacedaemon. 1.4. Chronology, however, is hard to fix, and especially that which is based on the names of victors in the Olympic games, the list of which is said to have been published at a late period by Hippias of Elis, who had no fully authoritative basis for his work. I shall therefore begin at a convenient point, and relate the noteworthy facts which I have found in the life of Numa. 8.4. This was the chief reason why Numa’s wisdom and culture were said to have been due to his intimacy with Pythagoras; for in the philosophy of the one, and in the civil polity of the other, religious services and occupations have a large place. It is said also that the solemnity of his outward demeanour was adopted by him because he shared the feelings of Pythagoras about it. 8.5. That philosopher, indeed, is thought to have tamed an eagle, which he stopped by certain cries of his, and brought down from his lofty flight; also to have disclosed his golden thigh as he passed through the assembled throngs at Olympia. And we have reports of other devices and performances of his which savoured of the marvellous, regarding which Timon the Phliasian wrote:— Down to a juggler’s level he sinks with his cheating devices, Laying his nets for men, Pythagoras, lover of bombast. 8.6. In like manner Numa’s fiction was the love which a certain goddess or mountain nymph bore him, arid her secret meetings with him, as already mentioned, Chapter iv. 1-2. and his familiar converse with the Muses. For he ascribed the greater part of his oracular teachings to the Muses, and he taught the Romans to pay especial honours to one Muse in particular, whom he called Tacita, that is, the silent, or speechless one ; thereby perhaps handing on and honouring the Pythagorean precept of silence. 8.6. In like manner Numa’s fiction was the love which a certain goddess or mountain nymph bore him, arid her secret meetings with him, as already mentioned, Chapter iv. 1-2. and his familiar converse with the Muses. For he ascribed the greater part of his oracular teachings to the Muses, and he taught the Romans to pay especial honours to one Muse in particular, whom he called Tacita, that is, the silent, or speechless one ; thereby perhaps handing on and honouring the Pythagorean precept of silence. 8.7. Furthermore, his ordices concerning images are altogether in harmony with the doctrines of Pythagoras. For that philosopher maintained that the first principle of being was beyond sense or feeling, was invisible and uncreated, and discernible only by the mind. And in like manner Numa forbade the Romans to revere an image of God which had the form of man or beast. Nor was there among them in this earlier time any painted or graven likeness of Deity 8.8. but while for the first hundred and seventy years they were continually building temples and establishing sacred shrines, they made no statues in bodily form for them, convinced that it was impious to liken higher things to lower, and that it was impossible to apprehend Deity except by the intellect. Their sacrifices, too, were altogether appropriate to the Pythagorean worship; for most of them involved no bloodshed, but were made with flour, drink-offerings, and the least costly gifts. 8.9. And apart from these things, other external proofs are urged to show that the two men were acquainted with each other. One of these is that Pythagoras was enrolled as a citizen of Rome. This fact is recorded by Epicharmus the comic poet, in a certain treatise which he dedicated to Antenor; and Epicharmus was an ancient, and belonged to the school of Pythagoras. Another proof is that one of the four sons born to king Numa was named Mamercus, after the son of Pythagoras. 8.10. And from him they say that the patrician family of the Aemilii took its name, Aemilius being the endearing name which the king gave him for the grace and winsomeness of his speech. Moreover, I myself have heard many people at Rome recount how, when an oracle once commanded the Romans to erect in their city monuments to the wisest and the bravest of the Greeks, they set up in the forum two statues in bronze, one of Alcibiades, and one of Pythagoras. According to the elder Pliny ( N.H. xxxiv. 12 ), these statues stood in the comitium at Rome from the time of the Samnite wars (343-290 B.C.) down to that of Sulla (138-78 B.C.). However, since the matter of Numa’s acquaintance with Pythagoras is involved in much dispute, to discuss it at greater length, and to win belief for it, would savour of youthful contentiousness. 22.4. Therefore we may well be indulgent with those who are eager to prove, on the basis of so many resemblances between them, that Numa was acquainted with Pythagoras. Antias, however, writes that it was twelve pontifical books, and twelve others of Greek philosophy, which were placed in the coffin. And about four hundred years afterwards, when Publius Cornelius and Marcus Baebius were consuls, heavy rains fell, and the torrent of water tore away the earth and dislodged the coffins. 22.4. Therefore we may well be indulgent with those who are eager to prove, on the basis of so many resemblances between them, that Numa was acquainted with Pythagoras. Antias, however, writes that it was twelve pontifical books, and twelve others of Greek philosophy, which were placed in the coffin. And about four hundred years afterwards, when Publius Cornelius and Marcus Baebius were consuls, heavy rains fell, and the torrent of water tore away the earth and dislodged the coffins.
9. Plutarch, Roman Questions, 10 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Why is it that when they worship the gods, they cover their heads, but when they meet any of their fellow-men worthy of honour, if they happen to have the toga over the head, they uncover? Cf. Pliny, Natural History, xxviii. 17 (60). This second fact seems to intensify the difficulty of the first. If, then, the tale told of Aeneas Cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, xii. 16. is true, that, when Diomedes passed by, he covered his head and completed the sacrifice, it is reasonable and consistent with the covering of one’s head in the presence of an enemy that men who meet good men and their friends should uncover. In fact, the behaviour in regard to the gods is not properly related to this custom, but accidentally resembles it; and its observance has persisted since the days of Aeneas. But if there is anything else to be said, consider whether it be not true that there is only one matter that needs investigation: why men cover their heads when they worship the gods: and the other follows from this. For they uncover their heads in the presence of men more influential than they: it is not to invest these men with additional honour, but rather to avert from them the jealousy of the gods, that these men may not seem to demand the same honours as the gods, nor to tolerate an attention like that bestowed, on the gods, nor to rejoice therein. But they thus worshipped the gods, either humbling themselves by concealing the head, or rather by pulling the toga over their ears as a precaution lest any ill-omened and baleful sound from without should reach them while they were praying. That they were mightily vigilant in this matter is obvious from the fact that when they went forth for purposes of divination, they surrounded themselves with the clashing of bronze. Or, as Castor Cf. Jacoby, Frag. der griech. Hist. 250, Frag. 15. states when he is trying to bring Roman customs into relation with Pythagorean doctrines: the Spirit within us entreats and supplicates the gods without, and thus he symbolizes by the covering of the head the covering and concealment of the soul by the body. 10. Why is it that when they worship the gods, they cover their heads, but when they meet any of their fellow-men worthy of honour, if they happen to have the toga over the head, they uncover? This second fact seems to intensify the difficulty of the first. If, then, the tale told of Aeneas is true, that, when Diomedes passed by, he covered his head and completed the sacrifice, it is reasonable and consistent with the covering of one's head in the presence of an enemy that men who meet good men and their friends should uncover. In fact, the behaviour in regard to the gods is not properly related to this custom, but accidentally resembles it; and its observance has persisted since the days of Aeneas. But if there is anything else to be said, consider whether it be not true that there is only one matter that needs investigation: why men cover their heads when they worship the gods; and the other follows from this. For they uncover their heads in the presence of men more influential than they: it is not to invest these men with additional honour, but rather to avert from them the jealousy of the gods, that these men may not seem to demand the same honours as the gods, nor to tolerate an attention like that bestowed on the gods, nor to rejoice therein. But they thus worshipped the gods, either humbling themselves by concealing the head, or rather by pulling the toga over their ears as a precaution lest any ill-omened and baleful sound from without should reach them while they were praying. That they were mightily vigilant in this matter is obvious from the fact that when they went forth for purposes of divination, they surrounded themselves with the clashing of bronze. Or, as Castor states when he is trying to bring Roman customs into relation with Pythagorean doctrines: the Spirit within us entreats and supplicates the gods without, and thus he symbolizes by the covering of the head the covering and concealment of the soul by the body.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
accessories Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
aeneas Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
ara maxima Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
augury Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 165
capite velato Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
daughters Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, augural Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, female Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, greek Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, matrons (veste maritali) Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, public ceremonial Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
dress, religious Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
fillets Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
gender Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
hairstyles, feminine Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
hairstyles Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
head-coverings Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
headbands Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
infulae Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
lana, lanea Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
laying on of hands Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 261
livy Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
matrons Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
myths, numa pompilius Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 165
numa Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 130
ordination Alikin, The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering (2009) 261
pythagoras Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 130
pythagoreans, pythagoreanism, pythagorizing Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 130
religion Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
ribbons Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
rites Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 165
romulus Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 165
sacrifice Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161; Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 130
senate Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
skepticism, academic' Wynne, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (2019) 165
soul Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 130
statues Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
toga Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
varro, m. terentius Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
veil, veiling Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
vergil Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
verrius flaccus, m. Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
vittae Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
wife, wives Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161
wool, woollen Edmondson, Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture (2008) 161