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Appendix II | Prof. Deubner’s Theory of the Lupercalia

(See pp. 34 and 106)

In the Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft, 1910, p. 481 foll., Prof. Ueubner has published an interesting study of this puzzling festival, to which I wish to invite attention, though it has reached me too late for use in my earlier lectures.

It has long been clear to me that any attempt to explain the details of the Lupercalia on a single hypothesis must be a failure. If all the details belong to the same age and the same original festival, we cannot recover the key to the whole ceremonial, though we may succeed in interpreting certain features of it with some success. Is it, however, possible that these details belong to different periods,—that the whole rite, as we know it, with all the details put together from different sources of knowledge, was the result of an accretion of various features upon an original simple basis of ceremonial? Prof. Deubner answers this question in the affirmative, and works out his answer with much skill and learning.

He begins by explaining the word lupercus as derived from lupus and arceo, and meaning a “keeper off of wolves.” The luperci were originally men chosen from two gentes or families to keep the wolves from the sheepfolds, in the days when the Palatine was a shepherd's settlement, and they did it by running round the base of the hill in a magical circle (if I understand him rightly). If that be so, we need not assume a deity Lupercus, nor in fact any deity at all, nor need we see in the runners a quasi-dramatic representation of wolves as vegetation-spirits, as Mannhardt proposed (see my Roman Festivals, p. 316 foll.). This view has the advantage of making the rite a simple and practical one, such as would be natural to primitive Latins; and the etymology is apparently unexceptionable, though it will doubtless be criticised, as in fact it has been long ago.

But in course of time, Prof. Deubner goes on, there came to be engrafted on this simple rite of circumambulation without reference to a deity, a festival of the rustic god Faunus; and now there was added a sacrifice of goats, which seem to have been his favourite victims (kids in Hor. Odes, iii. 18). The luperci, who had formerly run round the hill quite naked, as in many rites of the kind (see p. 491), now girt themselves with the skins of the goats, in order to increase their “religious force” in keeping away the wolves, with strength derived from the victims.

But the luperci also carried in their hands, in the festival as we know it, strips of the skins of the victims, with which they struck at women who offered themselves to the blows, in order to make them fertile. This, Prof. Deubner thinks, was a still later accretion. Life in a city had obliterated the original meaning of the rite—the keeping off wolves; but a new meaning becomes attached to it, presumably growing out of the use of the skins as magical instruments of additional force. Here, too, Juno first appears on the scene as the deity of women, for the strips were known as amicula Iunonis (R.F. 321 and note). The strips may have been substituted for something carried in the hand to drive away the wolves; the goat, it should be noted, is prominent in the cult of Juno, e.g. at Lanuvium. The mystical meaning of striking or flogging has been sufficiently explained in this instance by Mannhardt (R.F. p. 320), and is now familiar to anthropologists in other contexts.

In the period when the fertilisation of women became the leading feature of the rite, the State took up the popular festival, and it gained admittance to the religious calendar, which was drawn up for the city of the four regions (see above, Lect. IV., p. 106). The State was represented, as we learn from Ovid, by the Flamen Dialis (Fasti, ii. 282).

But we still have to account for some strange detail, which has never been satisfactorily explained in connection with the rest of the ceremony. The runners had their foreheads smeared with the blood of the victims, which was then wiped off with wool dipped in milk; after which, says Plutarch (Romulus, 21), they were obliged to laugh. These details, as Prof. Deubner remarks, seem very un-Roman; we have no parallel to them in Roman ritual, and I have remarked more than once in these lectures on the absence of the use of blood in Roman ceremonial. I have suggested that they were allowed to survive in the religion of the city-state, though actually belonging to that of a primitive population living on the site of Rome. Prof. Deubner's explanation is very different, and at first sight startling. These, he thinks, are Greek cathartic details added by Augustus when he re-organised the Lupercalia, as we may guess that he did from Suet. Aug. 31. They can all be paralleled from Greek religion. We know of them only from Plutarch, who quotes a certain Butas as writing Greek elegiacs in which they were mentioned; but of the date of this poet we know nothing. Ovid does not mention these details, nor hint at them in the stories he tells about the festival. (It is certainly possible that Augustus's revision may have been made after Ovid wrote the second book of the Fasti; it could not have been done until he became Pont. Max. in 12 B.C., and perhaps not till long after that, and the Fasti was written some time before Ovid's banishment in A.D. 9.) That Augustus should insert Greek cathartic details in the old Roman festival is certainly surprising, but not impossible. We know that in the ludi saeculares he took great pains to combine Greek with Roman ritual.

The above is a mere outline of Prof. Deubner's article, but enough, I hope, to attract the attention of English scholars to it. Whether or no it be accepted in whole or part by learned opinion, it will at least have the credit of suggesting a way in which not only the Lupercalia, but possibly other obscure rites, may be compelled ultimately to yield up their secrets.

Appendix III | The Pairs of Deities in Gellius xiii

23 (see page 150)

The first paired deity mentioned by Gellius is Lua Saturni, also known as Lua Mater, of whom Dr. Frazer writes (p. 412), “In regard to Lua we know that she was spoken of as a mother, which makes it not improbable that she was also a wife.” We are not surprised to find him claiming that because Vesta is addressed as Mater in the Acta Fratr. Arv. (Henzen, p. 47), that virgin deity was also married. This he does in his lectures on Kingship (p. 222), quoting Ennius and Lactantius as making Vesta mother of Saturnus and Titan. No comment on this is needed for any one conversant with Graeco-Roman religion and literature from Ennius onward. The title Mater here means simply that Vesta was to her worshippers in a maternal position: “quamvis virginem, indole tamen quadam materna praeditam fuisse nuper exposuit Preunerus,” says Henzen, quoting Preuner's Hestia-Vesta, an old book but a good one (p. 333). But to return to Lua: I freely confess that I cannot explain why she was styled Mater. We only know of her, apart from the list in Gellius and one passage of Servius, from the two passages of Livy quoted without comment by Dr. Frazer. The first of these (viii. 1), which may be taken from the pontifical books, seems to let in a ray of light on her nature and function. In 338 B.C. the Volscians had been beaten, and “armorum magna vis” was found in their camp. “Ea Luae Matri se dare consul dixit, finesque hostium usque ad maritimam oram depopulatus est.” That is, as I understand the words, he dedicated the enemy's spoils to the numen who was the enemy of his own crops.1 For if Lua be connected etymologically with lues, she may be the hurtful aspect of Saturnus, like Tursa Cerfia Cerfii Martii as Buecheler explains it (Umbrica, p. 98).

A curious passage of Servius may be quoted in support of this view, in which Luae is an almost certain correction for Lunae (see Jordan's edition of Preller's Rom. Mythol. vol. ii. p. 22) Commenting on Virgil's “Arboribusque satisque lues” (Aen. iii 139), he writes: “quidam dicunt, diversis numinibus vel ben vel male faciendi potestatem dicatam, ut Veneri coniugia, Cereri divortia, Iunoni procreationem liberorum: sterilitatem horurn tam Saturno quam Luae, hanc enim sicut Satumum orbandi potestatem habere.” Whatever Lua may originally have been she seems to have been regarded as a power capable of working for evil in the crops and in women; if you could get her to work on your enemy's crops (cp. the excantatio, above p. 58), so much the better, and the better would her claim be to the title of Mater (but Dr. Frazer supplies us with examples of a hostile spirit being called by a family name, e.g., Grandfather Smallpox G. B. iii. p. 98). When the consul had dedicated the spoils to her he proceeded to assist her in her functions by ravaging the crops of the enemy; thus she became later on a deity of spoils. In the Macedonian triumph of B.C. 167 we find her in company with Mars and Minerva as one of the deities to whom “spolia hostium dicare ius fasque est” (Livy xlv. 33).

I may add here that Dr. Frazer has another arrow in his quiver to prove that Saturnus was married: if Lua was not his wife (which no Roman asserts) certainly (he says) Ops was. He quotes a few words from Macrobius (i. 13. 19) in which these two are mentioned as husband and wife. If he had quoted the whole passage, his reader would have been better able to judge of the value of the writers of whom Macrobius says that they “crediderunt” that Ops was wife of Saturn. For it appears that some of them fancied that Saturnus was “a satu dictus cuius causa de caelo est”—(a desperate attempt to make the old spirit of the seed into a heaven-god), while Ops, whose name speaks for itself, was the earth. But the real companion deity to Ops was not Saturnus, but Consus. This has been placed beyond all reasonable doubt by Wissowa in his de Ferris (reprinted in Gesammelte Abhandlungen, p. 154 foll.). See also my R.F. p. 212. The names Ops and Consus obviously refer to stored corn, and everything in their cult points the same way. Saturnus' connection with Ops is a late and a mistaken one, derived from the Graecising tendency, which brought Cronos and Rhea to bear on them.

Next a word about Flora Quirini. As this coupling of names is followed by Virites Quirini, in the characteristic method explained in the text (cp. Cic. Nat. Deor. ii. 27 of Vesta, “viseius ad aras et focos pertinet”), it is hardly necessary o comment on it. Hora is perhaps connected with Umbrian Heris (cp. puechelcr, Umbrica, index), which with kindred forms means will; willingness. Thus in “Nerienem Mavortis et Herem” (Ennius, fragm. 70, in Baehrens, Fragm. Poet. Lat.) we may see the strength and the will of Mars (cp. Herie Iunonis). Hora is also connected in legend with Hersilia (Ov. Met. 14. 829), and this helps to show how the Alexandrian erotic legend-making faculty got hold of her. But, says Dr. Frazer, Ennius regarded her as wife of Quirinus: “Teque Quirine pater veneror, Horamque Quirini” (fragm. 71 of the Annates). This is Dr. Frazer's interpretation of the words, but Ennius says nothing of conjugal relations; and even if he had, his evidence as to ancient Roman conceptions would be worthless. Ennius was not a Roman; he came from Magna Graecia; and if Dr. Frazer will read all that is said about him, e.g. in Schanz's history of Roman literature, he will allow that every statement of such a man about old Roman ideas of the divine must be regarded with suspicion and subjected to careful criticism.

Next we come to Salacia Neptuni. Of this couple Dr. Frazer says that Varro plainly implies that they were husband and wife, and that this is affirmed by Augustine, Seneca, and Servius.. The accumulation of evidence seems strong; but Varro implies nothing of the kind (L. L. v. 72). He is indulging in fancy etymologies, and derives Neptunus from nubere, “quod mare terras obnubit ut nubes caelum, ab nuptu id est opertione ut antiqui, a quo nuptiae, nuptus dictus.” If he had meant to make Salacia wife of Neptunus, this last sentence would surely have suggested it; but he goes on after a full stop, “Salacia Neptuni a salo.” It is only the later writers, ignorant of the real nature of Roman religious ideas, who make Salacia into a wife. It is worth noting that Varro adds another feminine deity in his next sentence, Venilia, whom Virgil makes the mother of Turnus (Aen. x. 76); and Servius, commenting on this line, goes one better, and says she was identical with Salacia. Perhaps both were sea or water spirits, connected with Neptunus as famulae or anculae (see Wissowa, R. K. p. 19), but they are lost to us, and speculation is useless. In R.F. p. 186, I suggested an explanation of Salacia which I am disposed to withdraw. But for anyone wishing to study the treatment of old Roman numina by the mythologists and philosophers of the Graeco-Roman period, I would recommend an attentive reading of the whole chapter of Augustine from which Dr. Frazer quotes a few words {C. D. vii. 22); and further a careful study of the Graeco-Roman methods of fabricating myths about Roman divine names for which he will do well to read the passages referred to by Wissowa in R. K. pp. 250 and 251, and notes.

Lastly, comes Maia Volcani. Here for once we get a fact of cult, which is a relief, after the loose and reckless statements of non-Roman and Christian writers. The flamen Volcanalis sacrificed to Maia on May 1st, which proves that there was a real and not a fancied connection between Volcanus and Maia but certainly not that they were husband and wife. Dr. Frazer however, quotes Cincius “on the Fasti” as (ap. Macrob. i. 12. 18) stating this, and refers us to Schanz's Gesch. der rom. Lit. for information about him. In the second edition of that work he will find a discussion of the very doubtful question as to whether the Cincius he quotes is the person whom he asserts him to be viz., the annalist of the second Punic War. The writer of the article “Cincius” in Pauly-Wissowa Real-Encycl. is very confident that the one who wrote on the Fasti lived as late as the age of Augustus. But putting that aside, what are we to make of the fact that another annalist, L. Calpurnius Piso (famous as the author of the first lex de repetundis, 149 B.C.), said that the wife of Volcanus was not Maia, but Maiestas? Piso was not a good authority (see above, p. 51), but he seems here to bring the “consort” of the fire-god into line with such expressions of activity as Moles, Virites, and so on; and it seems that as early as the second century B.C. sport and speculation with these names were beginning. I have quoted the whole pedantic passage from Macrobius in my Roman Festivals, p. 98, where the reader may enjoy it at leisure. I shall not be surprised if he comes to the conclusion that neither Macrobius nor his learned informers knew anything about Maia. When he reads that she was the mother of Mercurius, he will recollect that Mercurius was not a Roman deity of the earliest period, and did not belong to the di indigetes; and when he finds that that she is identified with Bona Dea, he must not forget that that deity, as scholars are now pretty well agreed, was introduced at Rome from Tarentum in the age of the Punic Wars. The one fact we know is the sacrifice by the flamen Volcanalis on May 1. Someone went to work to explain this and another, viz. that the Ides of the month was the dedication day of the first temple of Mercurius (B.C. 495), and also the fact that the temple of the Bona Dea on the Aventine was dedicated on the Kalends. The result was an extraordinary jumble of fancy and myth, which has been recognised as such by those who have studied closely the methods of Graeco-Roman scholarship. The unwary, of course, are taken in. A student of these methods might do well to take as an exercise in criticism the three “specimens of Roman mythology” which Dr. Frazer says (p. 413) have “survives the wreck of antiquity”—the loves of Vertumnus and Pomona, of Jupiter and Juturna, of Janus and Cardea. In the last of these especially he will find one of the most audacious pieces of charming and wilful invention that a Latin poet could perpetrate, in imitation of Hellenistic love tales, and to suit the [taste of a public whose education was mainly Greek.

The above lengthy note was written before I had seen von Domaszewski's paper on this subject (“Festschrift fur O. Hirschfeld”) reprinted in Abkandlungen zur rom. Religion, p. 104 foll. cp. p. 162.) His explanations are different in detail from mine, but rest on the same general principle that the names Salacia, etc., indicate functions or attributes of the male deity to whom they are attached.

Appendix IV | (Lecture VIII., page 169 foll.) Ius and Fas

In historical times the two kinds of ius, divinum and humanum were strongly distinguished (see Wissowa, R. K. p. 318, who quotes Gaius ii. 2: “summa itaque rerum divisio in duos articulos diducitur, nam aliae sunt divini iuris, aliae humani”). But it is almost certain that there was originally no such clear distinction. The general opinion of historians of Roman law is thus expressed by Cuq (Institutions juridiques des domains, p. 54): “Le droit civil n'a eu d'abord qu'une portee fort restreinte. Peu a peu il a gagne” du terrain, il a entrepris de reglementer des rapports qui autrefois (etaient du domaine de la religion. Pendant longtemps a Rome le droit theocratique a coexiste avec le droit civil. “(See also Muirhead, Introduction to Roman law, ed. Goudy, p. 15.) Possibly the formation of an organised calendar, marking off the days belonging to the deities from those which were not so made over to them, first gave the opportunity for the gradual realisation of the thought that the set of rules under which the citizen was responsible to the divine beings was not exactly the same as that under which he was responsible to the civil authorities. The distinction took many ages to realise in all its aspects, and is not complete even under the XII. Tables or later, because the sanction for civil offences remained in great part a divine one; on this point Jhering is certainly wrong (Geist des rom. Rechts, i. 267 foll.). As Cuq remarks (p. 54, note 1), one institution of the ius divinum kept its force after the complete secularisation of law, and retains it to this day, viz. the oath.

If there was originally no distinction between religious and civil rules of law, it follows that there were originally no two distinguishing terms for them. The earliest passage in which they are distinguished as ius divinum and humanum (so far as I know) is Cicero's speech for Sestius (B.C. 56), sec. 91, quoted by Wissowa, p. 319: “domicilia coniuncta quas urbes dicimus, invento d divino iure et humano, moenibus cinxerunt.”But by all British writers on Roman law, and by many foreign ones, the word fas is used as equivalent to the ius divinum, and sharply distinguished from ius. Thus the late Dr. Greenidge, in his useful work on Roman public life (p. 52 and elsewhere), makes this distinction; he writes of the rex as the chief expounder of the divine law (fas), and of the control exercised by fas over the citizen's life. Cp. Muirhead, ed. Goudy, p. 15 foll., where Mommsen is quoted thus: “Mommsen is probably near the mark when he describes the leges regiae as mostly rules of the fas” But Mommsen, like Wissowa in his Religion und Kultus, does not use the word fas, but speaks of “Sakralrecht.” Sohm, on the other hand (Roman Law, trans. Ledlie, p. 15, note), i compares fas with Sanscrit dharma and Greek themis, as meaning unwritten rules of divine origin, which eventually gave way before ius, as in Greece before δικαιον. (Cp. Binder, Die Plebs, p. 501.) But it is safer in this case to leave etymology alone, and to try to discover what the Romans themselves understood by fas, which is indeed a peculiar and puzzling word. (For its possible connection with fari, effari (ager effatus), fanum, and profanum, etc., see H. Nettleship's Contributions to Latin Lexicography, s.v. “Fas.”)

Fas was at all times indeclinable, and is rarely found even as an accusative, as in Virg. Aen. ix. 96:

mortaline manu factae immortale carinae

fas habeant?

In the oldest examples of its use, i.e. in the ancient calendar QRCF, on March 24 and May 24, i.e. “quando rex comitiavit fas” (Varro, L. L. vi. 31), and QStDF on June 15, i.e. “Quando stercus delatum fas” (Varro, L. L. vi. 32), it is hard to say whether it is a substantive at all, and not rather an adverb like satis. So, too, in the antique language of the lex templi of Furfo (58 B.C.) we read, “Utii tangere sarcire tegere devehere defigere mandare ferro oeti promovere referre fasque esto” (liceat should probably be inserted before fasque esto). See CIL. i. 603, line 7; Dessau, Inscript. Lat. selectae, ii. 1. 4906, p. 246. In these examples fas simply means that you may do certain acts without breaking religious law; it does not stand for the religious law itself. To me it looks like a technical word of the ius divinum, meaning that which it is lawful to do under it; thus a dies fast us is one on which it is lawful under that ius to perform certain acts of civil government, “sine piaculo” (Varro, L. L. vi. 29). Nefas is, therefore, in the same way a word which conveys a prohibition under the divine law. By constant juxtaposition with ius, fas came in course of time to take on the character of a substantive and so too did its opposite nefas. The dictionaries supply many examples of its use as a substantive and as paralleled with ius but the only one I can find that is earlier than Cicero is Terence' Hecyra, iii. 3. 27, i.e. in the work of a non-Roman.

I cannot find that it is so used by Varro, where we might naturally have expected it. Cicero does not call his imaginary ius divinum a fas, but iura religionum, constitutio religionum (de Legibus ii. 10–23, 17–32). Ius is the word always used technically of particular departments of the religious law, e.g. ius pontificium, ius augurale, and ius fetiale (CIL. i. p. 202 is preimus ius fetiale paravit). The notion that fas could mean a kind of code of religious law is probably due to Virgil's use of the word in “Quippe etiam festis quaeddam exercere diebus Fas et iura sinunt, “Georg. i. 269, and to the comment of Servius,”id est, divina humanaque iura permittunt: nam ad religionem fas, ad homines iura pertinent.”

It is strange to find it personified as a kind of deity in the formula of the fetiales, used when they announced the Roman demands at an enemy's frontier (Livy i. 32): “Audi Iuppiter, inquit, audite Fines (cuiuscunque gentis sunt nominat), audiat Fas.” Whence did Livy get this formula? We have no record of a book of the fetiales; if this came from those of the pontifices, as is probable, the formula need not be of ancient date, and the personification of Fines also suggests a doubt as to the genuineness of the whole formula.

Appendix V | The Worship of Sacred Utensils (page 436)

There can be no doubt that some kind of worship was paid by the Arval Brethren to certain ollae, or primitive vessels of sunbaked clay used in their most ancient rites. This is attested by two inscriptions of different ages which are printed on pp. 26 and 27 of Henzen's Acta Fratrum Arvalium. After leaving their grove and entering the temple “in mensa sacrum fecerunt ollis” and shortly afterwards, “in aedem intraverunt et ollas precati I sunt.” Then, to our astonishment, we read that the door of the temple was opened, and the ollae thrown down the slope in front of it. This last act seems inexplicable; but the worship finds I a singular parallel in the dairy ritual of the Todas of the Nilghiri hills.

Dr. Rivers, in his work on the Todas (Macmillan, 1906, p. 453), in summing up his impressions of their worship, observes that “the attitude of worship which is undoubtedly present in the Toda mind is becoming transferred from the gods themselves to the material objects used in the service of the gods.” “The religious attitude of worship is being transferred from the gods themselves to the objects round which centres the ritual of the dairy.” These objects are mainly the bells of the buffaloes and the dairy vessels; and an explicit account of them, the reverence in which they are held, and the prayers in which they are mentioned, will be found in the fifth, sixth, and eighth chapters of Dr. Rivers' work, which, as an account of what seems to be a religion atrophied by over-development of ritual, is in many ways of great interest to the student of Roman religious experience. The following sentence will appeal to the readers of these Lectures:—

“The Todas seem to show us how the over-development of the ritual aspect of religion may lead to atrophy of those ideas and beliefs through which the religion has been built up; and then how, in its turn, the ritual may suffer, and acts which are performed mechanically, with no living ideas behind them, may come to be performed carelessly and incompletely, while religious observances which involve trouble and discomfort may be evaded or completely neglected.”

Whether the worship of the ollae was a part of the original ritual of the Brethren, or grew up after its revival by Augustus it is impossible to determine. But if we can allow the dairy ritual of the Todas to help us in the matter, we may conclude that in any case it was not really primitive, and that it was a result of that process of over-ritualisation to which must also be ascribed the piacula caused by the growth of a fig-tree on the roof of the temple, and the three Sondergötter Addenda Commolenda Deferunda. (See above p. 161 foll, and Henzen, Acta Fratr. Arv. p. 147.)

  • 1.

    For the taboo on such spoils, and their destruction, see M. S. Reinach's interesting paper “Tarpeia,” in Cultes, mythes, et religions, iii. 221 foll.