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Volcanus

(1,070 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] is the original form of the name of the Roman god (CIL I2 453; Vetter No. 200B 6b; Volchanus: CIL I2 1218; Volganus: CIL I2 364; Volkanus: CIL IX 6349), the form Vulcanus is more recent. Attempts to trace this name back through the Etruscan Velch(ans) [1. 289-409] to a Cretan ελχάνος ( Welchános, or Zeus Velchanos) [1. 155-287] and thus to identify its origin in the eastern Mediterranean region are based primarily on linguistic similarities; the conclusion that Volcanus was therefore originally a god of vegetation is hypothetical …

Septerion

(307 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] (Σεπτήριον/ Septḗrion), not Stepterion (Στεπτήριον/ Steptḗrion), was the name of a nine-yearly sequence of festivals and rituals, in the course of which a boy would set fire to a wooden construction beneath the temple of Apollo in Delphi, would then himself be led in a procession into the Thessalian Tempe valley to be ritually purified there of his 'offence' with accompanying sacrifices in the river Peneius. A central constituent was the plucking at the sanctuary to Apollo there of a l…

Nomioi Theoi

(181 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] (Νόμιοι Θεοί; Nómioi Theoí). As an adjunct to νομεύς/ nomeús, ‘shepherd’, νόμιος/ nómios is a poetic apostrophe or actual cult invocation for the identification of groups of gods (anon. NT in Rome: IG XIV 1013) and individual gods in their function as pastoral deities. The following are addressed as Νόμιος/ Nómios: Hermes (Aristoph. Thesm. 977f.); Pan (Hom. H. 19,5; Paus. 8,38,11: cult of Lycosura in Arcadia); the Nymphs (Orph. H. 51,11f.); Aristaeus [1] in Cyrene (Pind. Pyth. 9,65); Dionysus (Anth. Pal. 9,524); Zeus (Stob. 53,13…

Rex sacrorum

(1,144 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] In literature also rex sacrificulus (e.g. Liv. 2,2,1), 'king of the sacrifice', or simply rex (e.g. Varro Ling. 6,12 f.). The great age of this Roman priesthood is evident from the requirement that the rex sacrorum belong to a patrician gens (Cic. Dom. 38; Liv. 6,41,9; exception: MRR 1,284 n. 8), be born of a marriage concluded by confarreatio , and he himself be married by that ritual (Gai. Inst. 1,112). The rex sacrorum was nominated by the pontifical college, and, after being elected, inaugurated into the comitia calata (Antistius Labeo fr. 22 Huschke in Gell. NA …

Saxanus

(225 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] ( Saxsanus, also Saxsetanus). Epithet, primarily of Hercules. The name derives from Latin saxum, 'rock, stone'; Hercules S. was worshipped in the context of individual Italic or provincial Roman quarrying regions. The beginning of the worship of Hercules S. dates back to before the second half of the 1st century AD in central Italy (Tibur: CIL XIV 3543, the restoration of an older sanctuary in the Flavian period as a terminus ante quem), less likely in upper Italy (CIL V 5013). From Italy, the cult presumably came to Germany with some of the soldiers…

Patrii di

(911 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] The patrii di (Greek θεοὶ πάτριοι/ theoì pátrioi or θεοὶ πατρῷοι/ theoì patrôioi, theoí pátrioi ) were not a fixed category of Roman religious law, but represented an indigenous attempt to classify religious plurality in terms of the traditionalistic scheme typical of ancient religion: that of in-group/out-group. The 'gods of the fathers' gained some of their legitimacy from the fact that the ancestors were already worshipping them in accordance with the traditional value system (Latin patrii mores ritusque; Greek pátrioi nómoi). Therefore, patrii di can refer t…

Mena

(117 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] According to Varro, Antiquitates rerum divinarum fragments 95 and 273 Cardauns (in Aug. Civ. 7,2-3; cf. ibid. 4,11), a daughter of Jupiter; se was the Roman goddess of menstruation. M., recorded nowhere else, seems to be patterned on the Greek μήνη/ mḗnē, ‘Moon (personified as Mḗnē/ Sēlēnē ), or the linguistically and connotatively related Greek μήν/ mēn, Latin mēnsis, ‘(lunar) month’, and continues the customary association of menstruation with the monthly cycle and the influence of the moon. M.'s sphere of action overlaps those of othe…

Personification

(3,673 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Shapiro, H. Alan (Baltimore)
I. Terminology [German version] A. Personification in Rhetoric and Poetry The early modern term personificatio expresses the Hellenistic, rhetorical concept of προσωποποιία/ prosōpopoiía , which refers to the representation of fictive persons, concrete (inanimate) items or abstract concepts as speakers and actors (Latin, conformatio: Rhet. Her. 4,66; personarum ficta inductio: Cic. De or. 3,205; prosopopoeia: Quint. Inst. 9,29-37). As a fictional personalisation, primarily of concepts, prosōpopoiía was considered by Greek literary theory to be an element of a…

City deity

(508 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The religion of Mesopotamia is characterized by a system of tutelary deities for the numerous city settlements that has its origin in the Sumerian religion of the 4th millennium BC. There is evidence of the existence and worship of city deities from the 3rd to the 1st millennium. Individual city deities achieved supraregional importance in the course of history (e.g.  Assur [2];  Enlil;  Ištar,  Marduk;  Nabû).  Asia Minor IV.;  Pantheon;  Religion II. and III. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] II. Classical antiquity For Graeco-Roman …

Polytheism

(1,339 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
I. In general and in classical antiquity [German version] 1. History of the term The adjective πολύθεος/ polýtheos refers in poetic Greek to that which pertains to many deities: the altar as the seat ( hédra) of many gods (Aesch. Suppl. 424) or the divine assembly attended by many gods (Lucian. Iuppiter Tragoedus 14). It is only in Jewish and Christian literature (Apologists) that this concept is used to justify the rule ( monarchía) of a single deity. Philo [12] of Alexandria coined the terms δόξα πολύθεος/ dóxa polýtheos (Phil. De decalogo 65) and πολυθεΐα/ polytheḯa (Phil. De mutatione…

Board games

(916 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] A. Ancient East Attested since the 2nd half of the 4th millennium, board games were used as a pastime but also for divination purposes ( Divination; in conjunction with models of the liver [3]). The playing boards of 5 × 4 squares were made from wood (carved or with coloured inlays), stone (painted or with inlays) or baked clay; the playing pieces and dice, from ivory or bone; no information is available on the way the games were played. There is probably no connection with the Egypt…

Deification

(1,408 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient the deification of  rulers always occurred in the context of the legitimization and exercise of  rulership. Deified rulers and proper gods were always differentiated on principle. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] A. Mesopotamia References to the deification of living rulers are geographically restricted to Babylonia and temporally to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC: a) individual rulers claimed divine descent for themselves as a means of legitimizing their rule…

Moon deities

(1,252 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Röllig, Wolfgang (Tübingen) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin)
[German version] I. General The status of the moon in ancient mythological speculation and cult worship reflected its central position in the calendar cycles, agricultural cycles and monthly cycles with respect to their various aspects. The moon (personified) could be the addressee of the cult; the cult also included the male and female deities embedded in the traditional panthea and associated with the moon as moon deities (MD) with regard to their particular aspect. Whilst e.g. Selene/Luna just li…

Volturnus

(583 words)

Author(s): Vanotti, Gabriella (Novara) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] [1] River in southern Italy River in southern Italy (approximately 185 km in length) with a catchment area of approximately 5,677 km2. It rises on the south-eastern slopes of Monte Metuccia (near Aesernia) from a large karst spring, absorbs tributaries from the Monti del Matese and ultimately the Calor (modern Calore) to the west of mons Taburnus, before breaking to the north of the Tifata mons through to the Mare Tyrrhenum, where its alluvial deposits have created the plain of Campania (Str. 5,4,4;…

Pantheon

(2,240 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] [1] Name to describe the plurality of gods In modern scholarship on religious history, the term 'pantheon' is used in systematizing the plurality of ancient gods (Polytheism). In the following, it will be used accordingly to denote all the many deities worshipped in a particular geographical area and socio-historical context. Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main) [German version] I. Mesopotamia Sumerian does not have its own expression for a collective of gods corresponding to the term 'pantheon'. The Sumerian term A-nun-na, 'seed of the prince' (i.e. of Enki, …

Romulus

(2,313 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Leppin, Hartmut (Hannover) | Groß-Albenhausen, Kirsten (Frankfurt/Main) | Bleckmann, Bruno (Strasbourg) | Küppers, Jochem (Düsseldorf)
[German version] [1] Legendary founder of Rome The legendary founder of Rome. Perhaps literally 'the Roman'. A possible correspondence between the Etruscan nomen gentile Rumelna (Volsinii, 6th cent. BC: ET Vs 1,35) and the alleged Roman nomen gentile Romilius - the name is securely attested only in an old tribus Romilia/-ulia (Paul Fest. 331 L.) - and between R. and an Etruscan praenomen * Rumele [1. 31 f.] proves nothing about the historicity of the figure of R. Also problematic is the attempt [2. 491-520; 3. 95-150] to connect the finds from the Roman Mon…

Nicander

(1,519 words)

Author(s): Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) | Günther, Linda-Marie (Munich) | Fornaro, Sotera (Sassari) | Fantuzzi, Marco (Florence) | Damschen, Gregor (Halle/Saale) | Et al.
(Νίκανδρος; Níkandros). [German version] [1] Spartan king, c. 715 BC Spartan king, Eurypontid, the father of Theopompus (Hdt. 8,131). N. led the raid of Spartans and Asinaeans into Argolis, in retaliation for which the Argives destroyed Asine [1] ( c. 715 BC). The settlement was refounded a few years later on the Messenian Gulf (Asine [2]; Paus. 2,36,4f.; 3,7,4; 4,14,3f.). Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) Bibliography M. Meier, Aristokraten und Damoden, 1998, 74f., 93, 96. [German version] [2] Strategos in the Aetolian League, 190/189, 184/3 and 177/6 BC Son of Bittus of Trichonium (Syll.3 5…

Sacrifice

(10,943 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
I. Religious studies [German version] A. General Sacrifice is one of the central concepts in describing ritual religion in ancient and modern cultures. In European Modernity, the term sacrifice (directly or indirectly influenced by Christian theology of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind) also has an intimation towards individual self-giving ('sacrifice of self'). The range of nuances in the modern meaning stretches to include discourses that have lost their religious motif and hav…

Ritual

(8,221 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Term Ritual refers to an elaborate sequence of individual rites which, following an established ritual syntax, are logically connected within a certain functional context. Rituals are not limited to religious contexts but exist in other cultural contexts, political as well as social. The significance of rituals for those who participate in them can be reduced neither…

Religion

(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…
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