The Religion of Numa - And Other Essays on the Religion of Ancient Rome
by Jesse Benedict Carter
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This little book tries to tell the story of the religious life of the Romans from the time when their history begins for us until the close of the reign of Augustus. Each of its five essays deals with a distinct period and is in a sense complete in itself; but the dramatic development inherent in the whole forbids their separation save as acts or chapters. In spite of modern interest in the study of religion, Roman religion has been in general relegated to specialists in ancient history and classics. This is not surprising for Roman religion is not prepossessing in appearance, but though it is at first sight incomparably less attractive than Greek religion, it is, if properly understood, fully as interesting, nay, even more so. In Mr. W. Warde Fowler's Roman Festivals however the subject was presented in all its attractiveness, and if the present book shall serve as a simple introduction to his larger work, its purpose will have been fulfilled.

No one can write of Roman religion without being almost inestimably indebted to Georg Wissowa whose Religion und Cultus der Roemer is the best systematic presentation of the subject. It was the author's privilege to be Wissowa's pupil, and much that is in this book is directly owing to him, and even the ideas that are new, if there are any good ones, are only the bread which he cast upon the waters returning to him after many days.

The careful student of the history of the Romans cannot doubt the psychological reality of their religion, no matter what his personal metaphysics may be. It is the author's hope that these essays may have a human interest because he has tried to emphasise this reality and to present the Romans as men of like passions to ourselves, in spite of all differences of time and race.

Hearty thanks are due to Mr. W. Warde Fowler and to Mr. Albert W. Van Buren for their great kindness in reading the proofs; and the dedication of the book is at best a poor return for the help which my wife has given me.

J.B.C. ROME, November, 1905.









Rome forms no exception to the general rule that nations, like individuals, grow by contact with the outside world. In the middle of the five centuries of her republic came the Punic wars and the intimate association with Greece which made the last half of her history as a republic so different from the first half; and in the kingdom, which preceded the republic, there was a similar coming of foreign influence, which made the later kingdom with its semi-historical names of the Tarquins and Servius Tullius so different from the earlier kingdom with its altogether legendary Romulus, Numa, Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Martius. We have thus four distinct phases in the history of Roman society, and a corresponding phase of religion in each period; and if we add to this that new social structure which came into being by the reforms of Augustus at the beginning of the empire, together with the religious changes which accompanied it, we shall have the five periods which these five essays try to describe: the period before the Tarquins, that is the "Religion of Numa"; the later kingdom, that is the "Reorganisation of Servius"; the first three centuries of the republic, that is the "Coming of the Sibyl"; the closing centuries of the republic, that is the "Decline of Faith"; and finally the early empire and the "Augustan Renaissance." Like all attempts to cut history into sections these divisions are more or less arbitrary, but their convenience sufficiently justifies their creation. They must be thought of however not as representing independent blocks, arbitrarily arranged in a certain consecutive order, not as five successive religious consciousnesses, but merely as marking the entrance of certain new ideas into the continuous religious consciousness of the Roman people. The history of each of these periods is simply the record of the change which new social conditions produced in that great barometer of society, the religious consciousness of the community. It is in the period of the old kingdom that our story begins.

At first sight it may seem a foolish thing to try to draw a picture of the religious condition of a time about the political history of which we know so little, and it is only right therefore that we should inquire what sources of knowledge we possess.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when under the banner of the new-born science of "Comparative Philology" there gathered together a group of men who thought they held the key to prehistoric history, and that words themselves would tell the story where ancient monuments and literature were silent. It was a great and beautiful thought, and the science which encouraged it has taken its place as a useful and reputable member of the community of sciences, but its pretensions to the throne of the revealer of mysteries have been withdrawn by those who are its most ardent followers, and the "Indo-Germanic religion" which is brought into being is a pleasant thought for an idle hour rather than a foundation and starting-point for the study of ancient religion in general. Altogether aside from the fact that although primitive religion and nationality are in the main identical, language and nationality are by no means so—we have the great practical difficulty in the case of Greece and Rome that in the earliest period of which we have knowledge these two religions bear so little resemblance that we must either assert for the time of Indo-Germanic unity a religious development much more primitive than that which comparative philology has sketched, or we must suppose the presence of a strong decadent influence in Rome's case after the separation, which is equally difficult. If we realise that in a primitive religion the name of the god is usually the same as the name of the thing which he represents, the existence of a Greek god and a Roman god with names which correspond to the same Indo-Germanic word proves linguistically that the thing existed and had a name before the separation, but not at all that the thing was deified or that the name was the name of a god at that time. We must therefore be content to begin our study of religion much more humbly and at a much later period.

In fact we cannot go back appreciably before the dawn of political history, but there are certain considerations which enable us at least to understand the phenomena of the dawn itself, those survivals in culture which loom up in the twilight and the understanding of which gives us a fair start in our historical development. For this knowledge we are indebted to the so-called "anthropological" method, which is based on the assumption that mankind is essentially uniform, and that this essential uniformity justifies us in drawing inferences about very ancient thought from the very primitive thought of the barbarous and savage peoples of our own day. At first sight the weakness of this contention is more apparent than its strength, and it is easy to show that the prehistoric primitive culture of a people destined to civilisation is one thing, and the retarded primitive culture of modern tribes stunted in their growth is quite another thing, so that, as has so often been said, the two bear a relation to each other not unlike that of a healthy young child to a full-grown idiot. And yet there is a decided resemblance between the child and the idiot, and whether prehistoric or retarded, primitive culture shows everywhere strong likeness, and the method is productive of good if we confine our reasoning backwards to those things in savage life which the two kinds of primitive culture, the prehistoric and the retarded, have in common. To do this however we must have some knowledge of the prehistoric, and our modern retarded savage must be used merely to illumine certain things which we see only in half-light; he must never be employed as a lay-figure in sketching in those features of prehistoric life of which we are totally in ignorance. It is peculiarly useful to the student of Roman religion because he stands on the borderland and looking backwards sees just enough dark shapes looming up behind him to crave more light. For in many phases of early Roman religion there are present characteristics which go back to old manners of thought, and these manners of thought are not peculiar to the Romans but are found in many primitive peoples of our own day. The greatest contribution which anthropology has made to the study of early Roman religion is "animism."

Not much more than a quarter of a century ago the word "animism" began to be used to describe that particular phase of the psychological condition of primitive peoples by which they believe that a spirit (anima) resides in everything, material and immaterial. This spirit is generally closely associated with the thing itself, sometimes actually identified with it. When it is thought of as distinct from the thing, it is supposed to have the form of the thing, to be in a word its "double." These doubles exercise an influence, often for evil, over the thing, and it is expedient and necessary therefore that they should be propitiated so that their evil influence may be removed and the thing itself may prosper. These doubles are not as yet gods, they are merely powers, potentialities, but in the course of time they develop into gods. The first step in this direction is the obtaining of a name, a name the knowledge of which gives a certain control over the power to him who knows it. Finally these powers equipped with a name begin to take on personal characteristics, to be thought of as individuals, and finally represented under the form of men.

It cannot be shown that all the gods of Rome originated in this way, but certainly many of them did, and it is not impossible that they all did; and this theory of their origin explains better than any other theory certain habits of thought which the early Romans cherished in regard to their gods. At the time when our knowledge of Roman religion begins, Rome is in possession of a great many gods, but very few of them are much more than names for powers. They are none of them personal enough to be connected together in myths. And this is the very simple reason why there was no such thing as a native Roman mythology, a blank in Rome's early development which many modern writers have refused to admit, taking upon themselves the unnecessary trouble of positing an original mythology later lost. The gods of early Rome were neither married nor given in marriage; they had no children or grandchildren and there were no divine genealogies. Instead they were thought of occasionally as more or less individual powers, but usually as masses of potentialities, grouped together for convenience as the "gods of the country," the "gods of the storeroom," the "gods of the dead," etc. Even when they were conceived of as somewhat individual, they were usually very closely associated with the corresponding object, for example Vesta was not so much the goddess of the hearth as the goddess "Hearth" itself, Janus not the god of doors so much as the god "Door."

But by just as much as the human element was absent from the concept of the deity, by just so much the element of formalism in the cult was greater. This formalism must not be interpreted according to our modern ideas; it was not a formalism which was the result and the successor of a decadent spirituality; it was not a secondary product in an age of the decline of faith; but it was itself the essence of religion in the period of the greatest religious purity. In the careful and conscientious fulfilment of the form consisted the whole duty of man toward his gods. Such a state of affairs would have been intolerable in any nation whose instincts were less purely legal. So identical were the laws concerning the gods and the laws concerning men that though in the earliest period of Roman jurisprudence the ius divinum and the ius humanum are already separated, they are separated merely formally as two separate fields or provinces in which the spirit of the law and often even the letter of its enactment are the same. Such a formalism implies a very firm belief in the existence of the gods. The dealings of a man with the gods are quite as really reciprocal as his dealings with his fellow citizens. But on the other hand though the existence of the gods is never doubted for a moment, the gods themselves are an unknown quantity; hence out of the formal relationship an intimacy never developed, and while it is scarcely just to characterise the early cult as exclusively a religion of fear, certainly real affection is not present until a much later day. The potentiality of the gods always overshadowed their personality. But this was not all loss, for the absence of personality prevented the growth of those gross myths which are usually found among primitive peoples, for the purer more inspiring myths of gods are not the primitive product but result from the process of refining which accompanies a people's growth in culture. Thus the theory of animism illumines the religious condition of that borderland of history in which Romulus and Numa Pompilius have their dwelling-place.

According to that pleasant fiction of which the ancient world was so extremely fond—the belief that all institutions could be traced back to their establishment by some individual—the religion of Rome was supposed to have been founded by her second king Numa, and it was the custom to refer to all that was most antique in the cult as forming a part of the venerable "religion of Numa." For us this can be merely a name, and even as a name misleading, for a part of the beliefs with which we are dealing go back for centuries before Romulus and the traditional B.C. 753 as the foundation of Rome. But it is a convenient term if we mean by it merely the old kingdom before foreign influences began to work. The Romans of a later time coined an excellent name not so much for the period as for the kind of religion which existed then, contrasting the original deities of Rome with the new foreign gods, calling the former the "old indigenous gods" (Di Indigetes) and the latter the "newly settled gods" (Di Novensides). For our knowledge of the religion of this period we are not dependent upon a mere theory, no matter how good it may be in itself, but we have the best sort of contemporary evidence in addition, and it is to the discovery of this evidence that the modern study of Roman religion virtually owes its existence. The records of early political history were largely destroyed in B.C. 390 when the Gauls sacked Rome, but the religious status, with the conservativeness characteristic of religion generally, suffered very few changes during all these years, and left a record of itself in the annually recurring festivals of the Roman year, festivals which grew into an instinctive function of the life of the common people. Many centuries later when the calendar was engraved on stone, these revered old festivals were inscribed on these stone calendars in peculiarly large letters as distinguished from all the other items. Thus from the fragments of these stone calendars, which have been found, and which are themselves nineteen centuries old, we can read back another eight or ten centuries further. By the aid of this "calendar of Numa" we are able to assert the presence of certain deities in the Rome of this time, and the equally important absence of others. And from the character of the deities present and of the festivals themselves a correct and more or less detailed picture of the religious condition of the time may be drawn. This calendar and the list of Indigetes extracted from it form the foundation for all our study of the history of Roman religion.

The religious forms of a community are always so bound up with its social organisation that a satisfactory knowledge of the one is practically impossible without some knowledge of the other. Unfortunately there is no field in Roman history where theories are so abundant and facts so rare as in regard to the question of the early social organisation. But without coming into conflict with any of the rival theories we may make at least the following statements. In the main the community was fairly uniform and homogeneous, there were no great social extremes and no conspicuous foreign element, so that each individual, had he stopped to analyse his social position, would have found himself in four distinct relationships: a relationship to himself as an individual; to his family; to the group of families which formed his clan (gens); and finally to the state. We may go a step further on safe ground and assert that the least important of these relations was that to himself, and the most important that to his family. The unit of early Roman social life was not the individual but the family, and in the most primitive ideas of life after death it is the family which has immortality, not the individual. The state is not a union of individuals but of families. The very psychological idea of the individual seems to have taken centuries to develop, and to have reached its real significance only under the empire. Of the four elements therefore we have established the pre-eminence of the family and the importance of the state as based on the family idea; the individual may be disregarded in this early period, and there is left only the clan, which however offers a difficult problem. The family and the state were destined to hold their own, merely exchanging places in the course of time, so that the state came first and the family second; the individual was to grow into ever increasing importance, but the clan is already dying when history begins. It is a pleasant theory and one that has a high degree of probability that there may have been a time when the clan was to the family what the state is when history begins, and that when the state arose out of a union of various clans, the immediate allegiance of each family was gradually alienated from its clan and transferred to the state, so that the clan gave up its life in order that the state, the child of its own creation, might live. If this be so, we can see why the social importance of the clan ceases so early in Roman history.

The centre therefore of early religious life is the family, and the state as a macrocosm of the family; and the father of each family is its chief priest, and the king as the father of the state is the chief priest of the state. As for the individual the only god which he has for worship is his "double," called in the case of a man his Genius and in that of a woman her Juno, her individualisation of the goddess Juno, quite a distinct deity, peculiar to herself. But even here the family instinct shows itself, and though later the Genius and the Juno represent all that is intellectual in the individual, they seem originally to have symbolised the procreative power of the individual in relation to the continuance of the family. The family and the state, however, side by side worshipped a number of deities.

In the primitive hut, the model of which has come down to us in so many little burial urns of early time (for example those that have recently been dug up in the wonderful cemetery under the Roman Forum), with its one door and no window, there were several elements which needed propitiation; the door itself as the keeper away of evil, the hearth, and the niche for the storage of food. The door-god was the god-door Janus, the ianua itself; the hearth was in the care of the womenfolk, the wife and daughters, so it was a goddess, Vesta, whom they served; and the storage-niche, the penus, was in the keeping of the "store-closet gods" (Di Penates). The state itself was modelled after the house. It had its Janus, its sacred door, down in the Forum, and the king himself, the father of the state, was his special priest; it had its hearth, where the sacred fire burned, and its own Vesta, tended by the vestal virgins, the daughters of the state; and it had its store-niche with its Penates. At a later date but still very early there was added to the household worship the idea of the general protector of the house, the Lar, which gave rise to the familiar expression "Lares and Penates." The origin of this Lar Familiaris, as he is called, is interesting, because it shows the intimate connection between the farming life of the community and its religion. The Lares were originally the group of gods who looked after the various farms; they were in the plural because they were worshipped where the boundary lines of several farms met, but though several of them were worshipped together, each farm had its one individual Lar. But the care of the farm included also the protection of the house on the farm, so that the Lar of the farm became also the Lar of the house, first of course of houses on farms, and then of every house everywhere even when no farm was connected with it.

Aside from Vesta, the Genius, the Lar, and the Penates, possibly the most important element in family worship was the cult of the dead ancestors. This cult is, of course, common to almost all religions, and its presence in Roman religion is in so far not surprising, but the form in which it occurs there is curious and relatively rare. Just as the living man has a "double," the Genius, so the dead man also must have a double, but this double is originally not the Genius, who seems to have been thought of at first as ceasing with the individual. On the contrary as death is the great leveller and the remover of individuality, so the double of the dead was not thought of at first as an individual double but merely as forming a part of an indefinite mass of spirits, the "good gods" (Di Manes) as they were called because they were feared as being anything but good. These Di Manes had therefore no specific relation to the individual, and the individual really ceased at death; the only human relation which the Di Manes seem to have preserved was a connection with the living members of the family to which they had originally belonged. It is therefore very misleading to assert that the Romans had from the beginning a belief in immortality, when we instinctively think of the immortality of the individual. The thing that was immortal was not the individual but the family. It is thoroughly in keeping with the practical character of the Roman mind that they did not concern themselves with the place in which these spirits of the dead were supposed to reside, but merely with the door through which they could and did return to earth. We have no accounts of the Lower World until Greece lent her mythology to Rome, and imagination never built anything like the Greek palace of Pluto. But while they did not waste energy in furnishing the Lower World with the fittings of fancy, they did keep a careful guard over the door of egress. This door they called the mundus, and represented it crudely by a trench or shallow pit, at the bottom of which there lay a stone. On certain days of the year this stone was removed, and then the spirits came back to earth again, where they were received and entertained by the living members of their family. There were a number of these days in the year, three of them scattered through the year: August 24, October 5, November 8; and two sets of days: February 13-21 and May 9, 11, 13. The February celebration, the so-called Parentalia, was calm and dignified and represented all that was least superstitious and fearful in the generally terrifying worship of the dead. The Lemuria in May had exactly the opposite character and belongs to the category of the "expulsion of evil spirits," of which Mr. Frazer in his Golden Bough has given so many instances.

In this connection it is interesting to notice two facts which stand almost as corollaries to these beliefs. One fact is the religious necessity for the continuance of the family, in order that there might always be a living representative of the family to perform the sacrifices to the ancestors. It was the duty of the head of the family not only to perform these sacrifices himself as long as he lived but also to provide a successor. The usual method was by marriage and the rearing of a family, but, in case there was no male child in the family, adoption was recurred to. Here it is peculiarly significant that the sanction of the chief priest was necessary, and he never gave his consent in case the man to be adopted was the only representative of his family, so that his removal from that family into another would leave his original family without a male representative. In cases of inheritance the first lien on the income was for the maintenance of the traditional sacrifices unless some special arrangement had been made. These exceptional inheritances, without the deduction for sacrifices, were naturally desired above all others and the phrase "an inheritance without sacrifices" (hereditas sine sacris) became by degrees the popular expression for a godsend. The other fact of interest in this connection is that, inasmuch as ancestors were worshipped only en masse and not as individuals, that process could not take place in Roman religion which is so familiar in many other religions, namely that the great gods of the state should some of them have been originally ancestors whose greatness during life had produced a corresponding emphasis in their worship after death, so that ultimately they were promoted from the ranks of the deified dead into the select Olympus of individual gods. This has been a favourite theory of the making of a god from the time of Euhemerus down to Herbert Spencer. There are religions in which it is true for certain of the major gods, but there are no traces of the process in Roman religion, and the reason is obvious in view of the peculiar character of ancestor worship in Rome.

We have now seen the principal elements which went to make up the family religion and that part of the state religion which was an enlargement and an imitation of the family religion. But even in the most primitive times a Roman's life was not bounded by his own hut and the phenomenon of death. There was work to be done in life, a living to be gained, and here, as everywhere, there were hosts of unseen powers who must be propitiated. His religion was not only coincident with every phase of private life, it was also closely related to the specific occupations and interests of the people, and just as the interests of the community, its means of livelihood, were agriculture and stock-raising, so the gods were those of the crops and the herds. Some years ago the late Professor Mommsen succeeded in extracting from the existing stone calendars a list of the religious festivals of the old Roman year, and also in proving that this list of festivals was complete in its present condition at a time before the city of Rome was surrounded by the wall which Servius Tullius built, and that it therefore goes back to the old kingdom, the time of what has been called the "Religion of Numa." We cannot go through all the festivals in detail, but it is extremely interesting to notice that almost every one of them is connected with the life of the farmer and represents the action of propitiation towards some god or group of gods at every time in the Roman year which was at all critical for agricultural interests.

It must not be forgotten also that this list is not absolutely complete, because it represents merely the official state festivals, and not even all of them but only those which fell upon the same day or days every year, so that they could be engraved in the stone to form a perpetual calendar. All state festivals, of which there were several, which were appointed in each particular year according to the backward or forward estate of the harvest, were omitted from the list, though they were celebrated at some time in every year; and naturally the public calendars contained no reference to the many private and semi-private ceremonies of the year, with which the state had nothing official to do, festivals of the family and the clan, and even local festivals of various districts of the city.

In this list of peaceful deities of the farm there is one god whose character has been very much misunderstood because of the company which he keeps; this is the god Mars. It has become the fashion of late to consider him as a god of vegetation, and a great many ingenious arguments have been brought forward to show his agricultural character. But the more primitive a community is, the more intense is its struggle for existence, and the more rife its rivalries with its neighbours. Alongside of the ploughshare there must always have been the sword or its equivalent, and along with Flora and Ceres there must always have been a god of strife and battle. That Mars was this god in early as well as later times is shown above all things by the fact that he was always worshipped outside the city, as a god who must be kept at a distance. Naturally his cult was associated with the dominant interest of life, the crops, and he was worshipped in the beautiful ceremony of the purification of the fields, which Mr. Walter Pater has so exquisitely described at the opening of Marius the Epicurean. But he was regarded as the protector of the fields and the warder off of evil influences rather than as a positive factor in the development of the crops. Then too in the early days of the Roman militia, before the regular army had come into existence, the war season was only during the summer after the planting and before the harvest, so that the two festivals which marked the beginning and the end of that season were also readily associated with the state of the crops at that time.

But the most interesting and curious thing about this old religion is not so much what it does contain as what it does not. It is not so much what we find as what we miss, for more than half the gods whom we instinctively associate with Rome were not there under this old regime. Here is a partial list of those whose names we do not find: Minerva, Diana, Venus, Fortuna, Hercules, Castor, Pollux, Apollo, Mercury, Dis, Proserpina, Aesculapius, the Magna Mater. And yet their absence is not surprising when we realise that almost all of the gods in this list represent phases of life with which Rome in this early period was absolutely unacquainted. She had no appreciable trade or commerce, no manufactures or particular handicrafts, and no political interests except the simple patriarchal government which sufficed for her present needs. Her gods of water were the gods of rivers and springs; Neptune was there, but he was not the ocean-god like the Greek Poseidon. Vulcan, the god of fire, who was afterwards associated with the Greek Hephaistos and became the patron of metal-working, was at this time merely the god of destructive and not of constructive fire. Even the great god Juppiter who was destined to become almost identical with the name and fame of Rome was not yet a god of the state and politics, but merely the sky-god, especially the lightning god, Juppiter Feretrius, the "striker," who had a little shrine on the Capitoline where later the great Capitoline temple of Juppiter Optimus Maximus was to stand. Another curious characteristic of this early age, which, I think, has never been commented on, is the extraordinarily limited number of goddesses. Vesta is the only one who seems to stand by herself without a male parallel. Each of the others is merely the contrasted potentiality in a pair of which the male is much more famous, and the only ones in these pairs who ever obtained a pronounced individuality did so because their cult was afterwards reinforced by being associated with some extra-Roman cult. The best illustration of this last is Juno. We may go further and say that it-seems highly probable that the worship of female deities was in the main confined to the women of the community, while the men worshipped the gods. This distinction extended even to the priesthoods where the wife of the priest of a god was the priestess of the corresponding goddess. Such a state of affairs is doubly interesting in view of the pre-eminence of female deities in the early Greek world, which has been so strikingly shown by Miss Jane Harrison in her recent book, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion.

The most vital question which can be put to almost any religion is that in regard to its expansive power and its adaptability to new conditions. Society is bound to undergo changes, and a young social organism, if normal, is continually growing new cells. New conditions are arising and new interests are coming to the front. In addition, if the growth is to be continuous, new material is being constantly absorbed, and the simple homogeneous character of the old society is being entirely changed by the influx of foreign elements. This is what occurred in ancient Rome, and it is because ancient Roman religion was not capable of organic development from within, that the curious things happened to it which our history has to record. It is these strange external accretions which lend the chief interest to the story, while at the same time they conceal the original form so fully as to render the writing of a history of Roman religion extremely difficult.

Yet it must not be supposed because Roman religion was unable to adapt itself to the new constitution of society with its contrasted classes, and to the new commercial and political interests which attracted the attention of the upper classes, that it was absolutely devoid within itself, within its own limitations, of a certain capability of development. For several centuries after outside influences began to affect Rome, her original religion kept on developing alongside of the new forms. The manner in which it developed is thoroughly significant of the original national character of the Romans.

We have seen that from the very beginning the nature of the gods as powers rather than personalities tended to emphasise the value and importance of the name, which usually indicated the particular function or speciality of each deity and was very often the only thing known about him. In the course of time as the original name of the deity began to be thought of entirely as a proper name without any meaning, rather than as a common noun explaining the nature of the god to which it was attached, it became necessary to add to the original name some adjective which would adequately describe the god and do the work which the name by itself had originally done. And as the nature of the various deities grew more complicated along with the increasing complications of daily life, new adjectives were added, each one expressing some particular phase of the god's activity. Such an adjective was called a cognomen, and was often of very great importance because it began to be felt that a god with one adjective, i.e. invoked for one purpose, was almost a different god from the same god with a different adjective, i.e. invoked for another purpose. Thus a knowledge of these adjectives was almost as necessary as a knowledge of the name of the god. The next step in the development was one which followed very easily. These important adjectives began to be thought of as having a value and an existence in themselves, apart from the god to which they were attached. The grammatical change which accompanied this psychological movement was the transfer of the adjective into an abstract noun. Both adjectives and abstract nouns express quality, but the adjective is in a condition of dependence on a noun, while the abstract noun is independent and self-supporting. And thus, just as in certain of the lower organisms a group of cells breaks off and sets up an individual organism of its own, so in old Roman religion some phase of a god's activity, expressed in an adjective, broke off with the adjective from its original stock and set up for itself, turning its name from the dependent adjective form into the independent abstract noun. Thus Juppiter, worshipped as a god of good faith in the dealings of men with one another, the god by whom oaths were sworn under the open sky, was designated as "Juppiter, guarding-good-faith," Juppiter Fidius. There were however many other phases of Juppiter's work, and hence the adjective fidius became very important as the means of distinguishing this activity from all the others. Eventually it broke off from Juppiter and formed the abstract noun Fides, the goddess of good faith, where the sex of the deity as a goddess was entirely determined by the grammatical gender of abstract nouns as feminine.

This is all strange enough but there is one more step in the development even more curious yet. This abstract goddess Fides did not stay long in the purely abstract sphere; she began very soon to be made concrete again, as the Fides of this particular person or of that particular group and as this Fides or that, until she became almost as concrete as Juppiter himself had been, and hence we have a great many different Fides in seeming contradiction to the old grammatical rule that abstract nouns had no plural. Now all this development in the field of religion throws light upon the character of the Roman mind and its instinctive methods of thought, and we see why it is that the Romans were very great lawyers and very mediocre philosophers. Both law and philosophy require the ability for abstract thought; in both cases the essential qualities of a thing must be separated from the thing itself. But in the case of philosophic thought this abstraction, these qualities, do not immediately seek reincarnation. They continue as abstractions and do not immediately descend to earth again, whereas for law such a descent is absolutely necessary because jurisprudence is interested not so much in the abstraction by itself, but rather in the abstract as presented in concrete cases. Hence a type of mind which found it equally easy to make the concrete into the abstract and then to turn the abstract so made into a kind of concrete again, is par excellence the legal mind, and no better proof of the instinctive tendency to law-making on the part of the Romans can be found than in the fact that the same habits of mind which make laws also governed the development of their religion.

Unfortunately however it was not these abstract deities who could save old Roman religion. They were merely the logical outcome of the deities already existing, merely new offspring of the old breed. They did not represent any new interests, but were merely the individualisation of certain phases of the old deities, phases which had always been present and were now at most merely emphasised by being worshipped separately.


Like a lofty peak rising above the mists which cover the tops of the lower-lying mountains, the figure of Servius Tullius towers above the semi-legendary Tarquins on either side of him. We feel that we have to do with a veritable character in history, and we find ourselves wondering what sort of a man he was personally—a feeling that never occurs to us with Romulus and the older kings, and comes to us only faintly with the elder Tarquin, while the younger Tarquin has all the marks of a wooden man, who was put up only to be thrown down, whose whole raison d'etre is to explain the transition from the kingdom to the republic on the theory of a revolution. Eliminate the revolution, suppose the change to have been a gradual and a constitutional one, and you may discard the proud Tarquin without losing anything but a lay-figure with its more or less gaudy trappings of later myths. But it is not so with Servius; his wall and his constitution are very real and defy all attempts to turn their maker into a legend. Yet on the other hand we must be on our guard, for much of the definiteness which seems to attach to him is rather the definiteness of a certain stage in Rome's development, a certain well-bounded chronological and sociological tract. It is dangerous to try to limit too strictly Servius's personal part in this development; and far safer, though perhaps less fascinating, to use his name as a general term for the changes which Rome underwent from the time when foreign influences began to tell upon her until the beginning of the republic. He forms a convenient title therefore for certain phases of Rome's growth. And yet even this is not strictly correct, for Servius stands not so much for the coming into existence of certain facts, as for the recognition of the existence of these facts. The facts themselves were of slow growth, covering probably centuries, but the actions resulting from them, and the outward changes in society, came thick and fast and may well have taken place, all of them, within the limits of one man's life. The foundation fact upon which all these changes were based is the influence of the outside world on the Roman community. Until this time there had been little to differentiate Rome from any other of the hill-communities of Italy, of which there were scores in her immediate neighbourhood; nor was she the only one to come into contact with the outside world. It was the effect which that influence had upon her as contrasted with her neighbours which made the difference. When we ask why this influence affected her differently we find no satisfactory answer, and are in the presence of a mystery—the world-old insoluble mystery of the superiority of one tribe or one individual over others apparently of the same class. Political history is wont to tell this chapter of Rome's story under the title of the "Rise of the Plebeians," but the presence of the Plebeians was only the outward symbol of an inward change. This change was the breaking up of the monotonous one-class society of the primitive community with its one—agricultural—interest, and the formation of a variegated many-class society with manifold interests, such as trade, handicraft, and politics. It was the awakening of Rome into a world-life out of her century-long undisturbed bucolic slumber.

There were at this time two peoples in Italy, who by reason of their older culture were able to be Rome's teachers. One lay to the north of her, the mysterious Etruscans, whose culture fortunately for Rome had only a very moderate influence, because the Etruscan culture had already lost much of its virility, possibly also because it was distinctly felt to be foreign, and hence could effect no insidious entry, and probably because Rome was at this time too strong and young and clean to take anything but the best from Etruria. The other lay to the south, the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia, separated from Rome for the present by many miles of forest and by hostile tribes. Around her in Latium were her own next of kin, the Latins, becoming rapidly inferior to her, but enabled to do her at least this service, that of absorbing the foreign influences which came, and in certain cases latinising them, and thus transmitting them to Rome in a more or less assimilated condition.

The three great facts in the life of Rome during this period are the coming of Greek merchants and Greek trade from the south, the coming of Etruscan artisans and handicraft from the north, and the beginnings of her political rivalry and gradual prominence in the league of Latin cities around her. Each one of these movements is reflected in the religious changes of the period. In regard to the first two this is not surprising, for the ancient traveller, like his mythical prototype Aeneas, carried his gods with him. Thus there were worshipped in private in Rome the gods of all the peoples who settled within her walls, and the presence of these gods was destined to make its influence felt. Your primitive polytheist is very catholic in his religious tastes; for, when one is already in possession of many gods, the addition of a few more is a minor matter, especially when, as was now the case in Rome, these deities are the patrons of occupations and interests hitherto entirely unknown to the Roman, and hence not provided for in his scheme of gods. It was therefore in no spirit of disloyalty to the already existing gods, and with no desire to introduce rival deities, that the new cults began to spread until they became so important as to call for state recognition.

Possibly the most interesting cases are those of the two gods who came from the south, Hercules and Castor, interesting because they were the forerunners of that great multitude of Greek gods who later came in proudly by special invitation, and even more interesting yet because, though they were Greek as Greek could be, they came into Rome, as it were, incognito, and were so far from being known as Greek, that, when the same gods came in afterwards more directly, these new-comers were felt to be quite a different thing, and their worship was carried on in another part of the city away from the old-established cults.

In the Greek world Herakles and Hermes were the especial patrons of travellers, and as travelling was never done for pleasure but always for business, they became the patrons of the travelling merchant. It was also natural that they should go with the settlers away from the mother-city into the new colony. Thus it was that they came from the mother-land into the colonies of Magna Graecia in Southern Italy, and once being established there made their way slowly but inevitably northwards. The story of Hermes, under the name of Mercury, belongs to a later chapter, but that of Herakles = Hercules must be recounted here. It is only within the last few years that the scholarly world has been persuaded that there was no such thing as an original Italic Hercules; at first sight it was very difficult to believe, because there seemed to be so many apparently very old Italic legends centering in Hercules. But it has been shown, either that these legends never existed and rest solely upon false interpretation of monuments, or that, though they did exist at an early date, they were introduced under Greek influence. It was the trading merchant therefore who brought Herakles northward. And as the god went, his name was softened into Hercules, and with the assimilation of the name to the tongue of the Italic people, there went hand in hand an adaptation of his nature to their needs, so that by degrees he became thoroughly italicised both in form and content. It is probable that the cult came into Rome as well as into the other cities of Latium, but in Rome it was confined to a few individuals, and at first obtained no public recognition. On the contrary, for reasons that we are at a loss to find, this Greek cult seems to have reached very large proportions in the little town of Tibur (Tivoli), fourteen miles north-east of Rome. There it dominated all other worship and lost so much of its foreign atmosphere that it became thoroughly latinised. In the course of time the Roman state acknowledged this Tivoli cult of Hercules and accepted a branch of it as its own. But the extraordinary thing about this acknowledgment is that the Romans felt it to be a Latin and not a foreign cult. They showed this intimate and friendly feeling by permitting an altar to Hercules to be erected within the city proper, in the Forum Boarium. But in order to understand the significance of this act a word of digression is necessary.

Under the old Roman regime every act of life was performed under the supervision of the gods, and this godly patronage was especially emphasised in acts which affected the life of the community. No act was of greater importance for the community than the choice of a home, the location of a settlement. Thus the founding of an ancient city was accompanied by sacred rites, chief among which was the ploughing of a furrow around the space which was ultimately to be enclosed by the wall. This furrow formed a symbolic wall on very much the same principle as that on which the witch draws her circle. The furrow was called the pomerium and was to the world of the gods what the city wall was to the world of men. It did not however always coincide with the actual city wall, and the space it embraced was sometimes less, sometimes more, than that embraced by the city wall; and just as new walls covering larger territory could be built for the city, so a new pomerium line could be drawn. As was becoming for a spiritual barrier there was nothing to mark it except the boundary stones through which the imaginary line passed. The wall, which Servius built and which continued to be the outer wall of Rome for a period of eight or nine hundred years until the third Christian century, was at the time of its building coincident in the main with the line of the pomerium, with one very important exception: namely that all the region of the Aventine, which was inside the limits of the political city and embraced by the Servian wall, lay outside the pomerium line and was in other words outside the religious city. It continued thus all through the republic and into the empire until the reign of Claudius. Originally the pomerium line played an important part in the religious world and it continued to do so until the middle of the republic, during the Second Punic War, when its sanctity was destroyed and it lost its real religious significance, though it remained as a formal institution. As a divine barrier it served originally in the world of the gods very much the same purpose as the material wall of stone did in the world of men. Before the problem of foreign gods had begun to exist for the Romans, in the good old days when they knew only the gods of their own religion, the pomerium served to keep within the bounds of Rome all the beneficent kindly gods whose presence was not needed outside in the fields, and it served fully as important a purpose in keeping outside of Rome the gods who were feared rather than loved, for example the dread war-god Mars. When foreign gods began to be introduced into Rome they might, of course, be worshipped inside the pomerium by private individuals, but when the state acknowledged them it was more prudent that her worship should be outside the sacred wall. Thus it came to pass that the foreign gods, who were taken into the cult of the Roman state, were given temples in the Campus Martius or over on the Aventine, and the two or three cases where they were publicly worshipped inside the pomerium form no real exception to this rule—such an exception would be, in fact, quite unthinkable in the strictly logical system of Roman worship—but these gods were allowed inside because they came to Rome from her kinsfolk, the Latins, and were not felt to be foreign.

Hercules is one of the cases in this last category. Though originally, as we have seen, a Greek god, his long residence in Tibur (Tivoli) had made him, as it were, a naturalised citizen of Latium, and hence Rome felt it no impropriety to take him inside her pomerium. At first his worship seems to have been carried on by two clans, the Potitii and the Pinarii, but later, during the republic, the state assumed control. But though it was really the Greek Herakles who had come in as the latinised Hercules, the god had paid a certain price for his admission, for he came stripped of all the various attributes which he had had in Greece and retaining merely his function as patron of trade and travel. It was this practical side of his nature alone which appealed to the Romans; it found its expression in the offering of "the tenth" at the great altar in the Forum Boarium. This altar always remained in a certain sense the centre of Hercules-worship in Rome. It was reinforced at an early date by no less than three temples of Hercules in the more or less immediate neighbourhood, all of which were characterised by the same relative simplicity of ritual. Centuries later Herakles became known to the Romans through direct Greek channels, and it was recognised that this new Herakles was akin to the old Hercules, so that he too was called Hercules. There was nothing surprising in this to the Romans, because they considered it a matter of course that there should be found a parallel among their own gods for each Greek deity. They never understood the true state of affairs; it is doubtful whether they could have understood it: namely, that in almost all their other identifications of Roman and Greek deities, they were really doing violence to their own native gods by superimposing upon them the attributes of a deity with whom they had really nothing in common, whereas, in identifying the new Herakles with their old Hercules, they were doing a perfectly legitimate thing. For one who knows the true state of affairs there is something pathetically amusing in the fact that they really showed more delicacy in making their old (really originally Greek) Hercules into the new Greek Herakles-Hercules, than they did in throwing together Neptune and Poseidon, Mars and Ares, Diana and Artemis. As a matter of fact they always reverenced the old cult of the great altar, and never allowed the more sensational phases of Greek worship to be practised there, and put off into another quarter the temples which were built to Hercules under the various new attributes which the new Greek cult brought with it. These temples were placed, as was proper, outside the pomerium, in the southern part of the Campus Martius.

But to return to the simple Hercules and the Servian regime, the Roman state had now obtained a deity, of which, by the contagion of commerce, they already felt a need, a god of great power from whom came success in the practical undertakings of life. Hence he had a strong hold on the Romans whose practical side was undergoing a rapid development. The idea of trade was now represented in the religious world, it had received its divine sanction.

The other god, who came up from Magna Graecia and whose formal acceptance into the state-cult formed one of the earliest incidents in the breakdown of the old agricultural religion, was Castor, with his twin-brother Pollux, although brother Pollux was always an insignificant partner, so much so that the temple which was subsequently built to them both was referred to either as the temple of "Castor" alone or as the temple of "the Castors." At various points in the old Greek world we meet with a pair of brothers, at first not designated by individual names but merely named as a pair. Even these pair-names do not agree, but they represent all of them the same idea. Later when individual names are substituted for the general pair-name, these individual names also differ. They are gods of protection, and on the sea-coast—and most of Greece is sea-coast—they are especially helpful as rescuers from the dangers of the sea, and they are also very early and almost everywhere connected with horses. But in spite of their usefulness they are not very prominent, and it is doubtful whether they would ever have become famous, except for one of those little accidents which make the fortunes of gods as well as of men. It so happened that horses began to be used in warfare more than for the mere drawing of chariots; a primitive sort of cavalry came into being, produced by mounting heavy-armed foot-soldiers on horseback. With this cavalry the "Twin-Brothers" (Dios-kouroi = "Sons of Zeus"), especially Castor, became prominent. Just as the Greek merchants had taken Herakles with them when they set out to plant colonies in Southern Italy, so the heavy-mounted horsemen carried their god Castor with them wherever they went. The Italic tribes in their turn were quick to seize upon this idea of cavalry, and with it as an essential part went its divine patron, Castor. Thus the Castor-cult moved steadily northward, carried, as it were, on horseback. At last it reached Latium, and there the little town of Tusculum, afterwards so famous as the residence of Cicero, became in some unaccountable way an important cult-centre, and did for Castor what Tibur had done for Hercules, i.e. latinised him, so that Rome received him not as an alien but as one of her kin. There can be little doubt that the Roman cult actually did come from Tusculum, and that in its introduction into Rome, as in every other step on its march, it was connected with the reorganisation of the cavalry. This would seem to imply that Tusculum was famous for its cavalry and that Rome took the idea of it from her—statements for which we have unfortunately no other confirmation, though we have abundant proof of the cult at Tusculum and of Rome's close association with it.

Castor was thus the patron of the "horsemen" (equites) and his great day was July 15, when the horsemen's parade took place. Possibly this had been the date of the festival at Tusculum, a day especially appropriate because it was the Ides of the month, and the Ides were sacred to Juppiter, whose sons Castor and Pollux (Dios-kouroi) were supposed to be. It is extremely interesting in the light of this knowledge of the true state of affairs to see how legend later explained the coming of Castor and Pollux. It was an incident in the mythical war which was supposed to have taken place after the last Tarquin had been driven out, and the republic had been started. The adversaries of Rome, allied with Tarquin, notably Octavius Mamilius of Tusculum, fought against the Romans in the battle of Lake Regillus on July 15, B.C. 499. The Romans won, and the first news of victory was brought to Rome by the miraculous appearance of Castor and Pollux who were seen watering their horses in the Forum at the spring of Juturna. A temple on this spot was then vowed and fifteen years later, B.C. 484, it was completed and dedicated. Tusculum, July 15, and the dedication of the temple in B.C. 484 are seemingly the only historical facts in this legend; and long before B.C. 499 Castor was worshipped in Rome, especially on July 15. The site of his original worship was without doubt the same locality in the Forum where his temple was subsequently built, for it is an almost invariable rule that the earliest temples are built on the actual site of, or close to, the old altar or shrine which preceded the formal temple. Like Hercules therefore he was received inside the pomerium, and probably for a similar reason, because it was felt that he was a god of Tusculum, and hence a god of Rome's kinsfolk. We have an additional confirmation of this feeling in the way in which the later direct cult of Castor was treated. This cult, connecting Castor with healing and the interpretation of dreams, and emphasising his function as a rescuer from the dangers of the sea, would have been without meaning for the old Romans who worshipped him merely as a patron of horsemen and horsemanship. The new ideas seem to have had as their centre a later temple in the Circus Flaminius and thus Hercules and Castor may again be paralleled, since they have, each of them, an old cult-centre inside the pomerium, Hercules in the Forum Boarium, Castor in the Forum, and a later cult-centre, for more advanced ideas, in each case in the Circus Flaminius.

Although it was Greek influence which ultimately caused the destruction of Roman religion, and although the cults of Hercules and of Castor are the first definite effects of this influence, it cannot be said that the destruction had in any sense begun, because in their slow journey northward, and in their long residence at Tibur and Tusculum respectively, the two cults had lost all that was pernicious. The Roman instinct, which felt them to be akin to itself, did not go amiss; they were indeed akin to the new Rome with its new interest in trade and its increased interest in warfare, for the trader and the warrior have gone side by side in all ages of the world's history, whether it be a primitive instinct to grasp territory for commercial purposes or a more civilised endeavour to obtain an open port.

The beginnings of Greek influence have thus been exhibited in the case of Hercules and of Castor, and it remains to inquire what Etruria did. There is no race about which we know so much and yet so little as about the Etruscans. They have always been and still are a riddle, and as our knowledge of them increases we seem further than ever from a solution, and what we gain in positive knowledge is more than counterbalanced by the increased sense of our ignorance. Altogether aside from the problem of the origin of the Etruscans, and the race to which they belonged, is the other problem of their disappearance. In a certain sense Etruria steps out of history quite as mysteriously as she entered into it, nay even more mysteriously, for we are always willing to allow a certain percentage of mystery as the legitimate accompaniment of prehistoric history, but when in the light of more or less historic times a nation steps off the stage of the world's history, and leaves practically no heritage behind her, we have a right to be amazed. Of all the peoples in Italy Rome ought in the order of events to have been her successor, and yet when we contrast the influence of Etruria on Rome with the influence of the Greek colonies of Southern Italy we see an amazing difference. The influence of these Greek colonies on Rome prepared the way for the direct influence of the Greek motherland, so that one passed over into the other by imperceptible gradations, but the influence of Etruria on Rome not only led to nothing but was in itself of a most superficial sort. Etruria must have had some literature, yet we search the history of Roman literature in vain for any traces of the influence of that literature on Rome, with the one exception of books on divination and the interpretation of lightning. We know too little of her manners and customs to be able to tell exactly how much they may have influenced Rome, and yet it is worth noting that the things which Roman writers actually refer to Etruria, are all of them most superficial: a few of the insignia of political office; a few of the trappings of one or two ritualistic acts; a branch of divination, by the consultation of the entrails (haruspicina), which was of secondary importance compared to augury; and the most depraved form of Roman public sport, the gladiatorial games. The only fundamental institution of Rome which it is the habit to ascribe to Etruria, the idea of the so-called templum or division of the sky into regions as an axiom of augury, seems to have been quite as much a general Italic idea as a specifically Etruscan one. Even in art her influence was relatively slight, and though her architects seem to have built the earliest formal temples for Rome, they were soon succeeded in this work by the Greeks. We seek in vain for a complete and satisfactory explanation of this limitation of her influence, but certain thoughts suggest themselves, which, as far as they go, are probably correct. All that we know of Etruria impresses us with the fact that hers was an outward civilisation unaccompanied by an inward culture, that it was a formal rather than a spiritual growth, an artificial acquisition from without rather than a development from within outwards. It was strong but with its strength went brutality, it was interested in art but for its sensual rather than its spiritual aspects. Now the idealism of youth is present in nations just as in individuals, though probably a nation is less conscious of it than an individual. It is with the nation one of the effects of the instinct of self-preservation, and for a youthful nation to absorb the vices of an old decadent one would be self-destruction. Thus the youthful Rome rejected most of the Etruscan poison, and thus nature purified herself, and Etruria was buried in the pit of her own nastiness.

There was however one town which acted as an interpreter between Rome and Etruria, and was the original cult-centre for a very great goddess, spreading her cult in both directions, into Rome and into Etruria. The town was Falerii and the goddess was Minerva, who in a certain sense entered Rome three times, once direct from Falerii to Rome, and once from Falerii to Rome by way of Etruria, and finally, when Falerii was captured by the Romans, again direct to Rome. In the earliest period there are scarcely any traces of the worship of Minerva in Latium or Southern Italy, and we are absolutely certain that she was not known in Rome. In the country north of Rome, however, the situation is different There she is found quite frequently, especially in Etruria under the name of MENERVA or MENRVA. Yet she cannot have been an Etruscan goddess, because the name itself is Italic and not Etruscan. She is therefore neither Roman, nor Etruscan, nor Latin, at least so far as we know Latin in Latium. If we can find a place however where a Latin people is under strong Etruscan influence, we shall be near the solution. Such a place is Falerii, in the country of the Faliscans. To the ancients it appeared so thoroughly Etruscan that they go out of their way to explain that it was not. As a matter of fact it was the only Latin town on the right bank of the Tiber, and because of its locality it was early brought into vital connection with the Etruscans, so vital that while it never lost all of its original Latin character, it lost enough of it to exercise a very considerable direct influence over Etruria, and to be to a very large extent influenced by her in turn. We cannot of course positively prove that Minerva was originally worshipped only at Falerii, and that her cult spread entirely from this one point, but we have at least strong negative evidence, and so far as the general history of ancient religion is concerned there is nothing impossible in such a spread. Religious history shows many parallels to this; for example the classic case of the god Eros of Thespiae, in Boeotia, who would have lived and died merely a little insignificant local god, if it had not been for the Boeotian poet Hesiod who adopted Eros into his poetry and thus gave him a start in life by which he ultimately succeeded in going all over the Greek world, and then passing into Rome as Cupid; and so into all later times.

We are accustomed to think of Minerva as the Latin name for Athena, the daughter of Zeus, and unconsciously we clothe Minerva with all the glory of Athena and endow her with Athena's many-sidedness. In reality the little peasant goddess of Falerii had originally nothing in common with Athena except the fact that both of them were interested in handicraft and the handicraftsman, but Athena had a hundred other interests besides, while this one thing seems to have filled the whole of Minerva's horizon. When Minerva went on her travels into Etruria, she came among a people who eventually learned from the representations of Greek art a very considerable amount of Greek mythology, and who, when they heard of Athena, saw her resemblance to Minerva and began thus to associate the two. But even in this association Minerva was still pre-eminently the goddess of the artisan and the labouring man, she was the patroness of the works of man's hands rather than of the works of his mind, and as such she was brought into Rome by Etruscan and Faliscan workmen. At first she was worshipped merely by these workmen in their own houses, but by degrees as the number of these workmen increased and as a knowledge of their handicraft spread to native Romans, Minerva became so prominent that the state was compelled to acknowledge her, and to accept her among the gods of the state. But it was a very different acknowledgment from that of Hercules or Castor; these gods had been received inside the pomerium, but Minerva was given a temple outside, over on the Aventine. None the less her cult throve, and her power was soon shown both religiously and socially. Her great festival was on the 19th of March, a day which had been originally sacred to Mars, but the presence of Minerva's celebrations on that day soon caused the associations with Mars to be almost entirely forgotten. Socially her temple became the meeting-place of all the artisans of Rome, it was at once their religious centre and their business headquarters. There they met in their primitive guilds (collegia) and arranged their affairs, and thus it continued to be as long as pagan Rome lasted. The respect shown to these guilds of Minerva is nowhere more clearly exhibited than in an incident which happened in the time of the Second Punic War, several centuries after the introduction of the cult. Terrified by adverse portents the Roman Senate instructed the old poet Livius Andronicus to write a hymn in honour of Juno and to train a chorus of youths and maidens to sing it. The hymn was sung, and was such a great success that the gratitude of the Senate took the form of granting permission to the poets of the city to have a guild of their own, and a meeting-place along with the older guilds in the temple of Minerva on the Aventine. This was the Roman state's first expression of literary appreciation; from her standpoint it was flattery indeed, for were not poets by this decree made equal to butchers, bakers, and cloth-makers, and was not poetry acknowledged to be of some practical use and adjudged a legitimate occupation?

The history of the cult of Minerva is much more complicated than that of Hercules or Castor. Like them she was subjected to strong Greek influence, and, as we shall see later, not very long after her introduction she was taken into the company of Juppiter and Juno, thus forming the famous Capitoline triad. Also temples were built to her individually under various aspects of the worship of Athena with whom she gradually became identified, but in the old Aventine temple the original idea of Minerva, the working man's friend, continued practically unchanged. Doubtless the society of Servius's day, who witnessed the coming of Minerva, did not realise what this introduction meant, and how absolutely necessary it was for Rome's future development that the artisan class should be among her people, and that this class should be represented in the world of the gods. They little knew that in the temple on the Aventine was being brought to expression the trade-union idea, which was to pass over into the mediaeval guild of both workmen and masters, still under religious auspices, and to find a latter-day parody in the modern labour-union, with its spirit of hostility to employers, and its indifference, at least as an organisation, to things religious.

Trade and handicraft were thus added to the Roman world, of men on earth, and of the gods above the earth, and it remains for us to consider the awakening of the political spirit and its corresponding religious phenomenon; but before we do this, we must clear the way by casting aside one ancient hypothesis connected with Servius's religious reforms, which is not correct, at least in the way in which the ancients meant it.

The writing of the earlier period of Rome's history is sometimes complicated rather than helped by the statements of the generally well-meaning but often misguided historians of later times. Their real knowledge of the facts was in many cases no greater than ours, while they lacked what modern historians possess: a breadth of view and a knowledge of the phenomena of history in many periods and among many nations. The study of the social and religious movements under Servius presents us with an interesting illustration of this. It was customary namely to ascribe to Servius Tullius the introduction of the cult of Fortuna, and Plutarch takes occasion twice in his Moralia to describe the interest of Servius in this cult and to recount the extraordinary number of temples which he built to the great goddess of chance under her various attributes. The Romans of Plutarch's day thought of Fortuna in very much the way in which their poets, especially Horace, described her, as a great and powerful goddess of chance, the personification of the element of apparent caprice which seems to be present in the running of the universe. It is very much our way of thinking of her, and of course both our own concept and the later Roman concept go back to Greece. But Greece had not always had this idea of the goddess of luck. The older purer age of Greek thought was permeated with the idea of the absolute immutable character of the divine will, a belief which precluded the possibility of chance or caprice. The earliest Greek Tyche (Fortuna) was the daughter of Zeus who fulfilled his will; and that his will through her was often a beneficent will is shown in the tendency to think of her as a goddess of plenty. It was only the growth of scepticism, the failure of faith to bear up under the apparently contradictory lessons of experience, which brought into being in the Alexandrian age Tyche, the goddess of chance, the winged capricious deity poised on the ball. It was this habit of thought which eventually gave the Romans that idea of Fortuna which has became our idea because it is the prevalent one in Roman literature and life in the periods with which we are most familiar. Now if Fortuna be thought of in this latter way, it is a very easy matter to connect her with Servius Tullius, for the legendary accounts of Servius's career picture him as a very child of "fortune," raised from the lowest estate to the highest power, the little slave boy who became king. What goddess would he delight to honour, if not the goddess of the happy chance which had made him what he was?

All this is very pretty, but it is unfortunately quite impossible, because whatever the time may have been when Fortuna began to be worshipped in Rome, it is certain that the idea of chance did not enter into the concept of her until long after Servius's day. Instead the early Fortuna was a goddess of plenty and fertility, among mankind as a protectress of women and of childbirth, among the crops and the herds as a goddess of fertility and fecundity. Her full name was probably Fors Fortuna, a name which survived in two old temples across the river from Rome proper, in Trastevere, where she was worshipped in the country by the farmers in behalf of the crops. Fortuna is thus merely the cult-name added to the old goddess Fors to intensify her meaning, which finally broke off from her and became independent, expressing the same idea of a goddess of plenty. Later under Greek influence the concept of luck, especially good-luck, slowly displaced the older idea. The possibility of such a transition from fertility to good-luck is shown us in the phrase "arbor felix," which originally meant a fruitful tree and later a tree of good omen. As regards Fortuna and Servius therefore there is no inherent reason why they should have been connected, and whenever it was that Fortuna began to exist, be it before or after Servius, she came into the world as a goddess of plenty and did not turn into a goddess of luck till centuries after her birth.

It must not be supposed that Rome in this sixth century before Christ could take into herself all these traders and artisans, and become thus interested also among her own citizens in these new employments, without receiving a corresponding impulse toward a larger political life. Thus there began that ever-increasing participation in the affairs of the Latin league, which was her first step toward acquiring a world dominion. It is probable that Rome had always belonged to this league, but at first as a very insignificant member. Those were the days in which Alba Longa stood out as leader, a leadership which she afterwards lost, but of which the recollection was retained because the Alban Mount behind Alba Longa remained the cult-centre, connected with the worship of the god of the league, the Juppiter of the Latins (Juppiter Latiaris), not only until B.C. 338 when the league ceased to exist, but even later when Rome kept up a sentimental celebration of the old festival. In the course of time, for reasons which we do not know, Alba Longa's power declined and the mantle of her supremacy fell upon Aricia, a little town still in existence not far from Albano. The coming of Aricia to the presidency of the league started a religious movement which is one of the most extraordinary in the checkered history of Roman religion. The ultimate result of this movement was the introduction of the goddess Diana into the state-cult of Rome, where she was subsequently identified with Apollo's sister Artemis. But this is a long story, and to understand it we must go back some distance to make our beginning.

Among the more savage tribes and in the wilder mountain regions of both Greece and Italy there was worshipped a goddess who had a different name in each country, Artemis in Greece, Diana in Italy, but who was in nature very much the same. This does not imply that it was the same goddess originally or that the early Artemis of Greece had any influence on the Diana of Italy. Their similarity was probably caused merely by the similarity of the conditions from which they sprang, the similar needs of the two peoples. She was a goddess of the woods, and of nature, and especially of wild animals, a patroness of the hunt and the huntsman, but also a goddess of all small animals, of all helpless little ones, and a helper too of those that bore them, hence a goddess of birth, and in the sphere of mankind a goddess of women and of childbirth. Later in Greece Artemis was absorbed into the sea-cult of Apollo on the island of Delos, where she became Apollo's sister, like him the child of Latona; but naturally Diana experienced no similar change until in Rome, centuries later, she was artificially identified with Artemis. In the earliest times there were two places in Italy where the cult of Diana was especially prominent, both, as we should expect, in wooded mountainous regions: one on Mount Tifata (near Capua), the modern St. Angelo in Formis; the other in Latium, in a grove near Aricia. It is with this latter cult-centre that we have here to do. The grove near Aricia became so famous that the goddess worshipped there was known as "Diana of the Grove" (Diana Nemorensis), and the place where she was worshipped was called the "Grove" (nemus), a name which is still retained in the modern "Nemi." She was a goddess of the woods, of the animal kingdom, of birth, and so of women; and almost all the dedicatory inscriptions which have been found near her shrine were put up by women. She was worshipped above all by the people of Aricia, and she seems to have been the patron deity of the town. When it fell to Aricia's lot to become the head of the league, her goddess Diana promptly assumed an important position in the league, not because she had by nature any political bearing whatsoever, but merely because she was wedded to Aricia, and experienced all the vicissitudes of her career. Thus there came into the league, alongside of the old Juppiter Latiaris of the Alban Mount, the new Diana Nemorensis of Aricia, and sacrifices to her formed a part of the solemn ritual of the united towns of Latium. It does not take actually a great many years for a religious custom to acquire sanctity, and before many generations had passed, Diana was felt to be quite as original and essential a part of the worship of the league as Juppiter himself. During these same centuries Rome was growing in importance and influence in the league, until, instead of being one of its insignificant towns, she was in a fair way to become its president. Here her diplomacy stepped in to help her. The league was of course essentially a political institution, but in a primitive society political institutions are still in tutelage to religious ones, and the direct road to strong political influence lies through religious zeal. The way to leadership in the Latin league lay through excessive devotion to Juppiter and Diana. It is therefore no accidental coincidence that we find Rome in the period of Servius building a temple to Juppiter Latiaris on the top of the Alban Mount, and introducing the worship of Diana into Rome, building her a temple on the Aventine, hence outside the pomerium. Yet it was not the introduction of her worship as an ordinary state-cult, for then she would have been taken inside the pomerium with far greater right than Hercules and Castor were. It was, on the contrary, the building of a sanctuary of the league outside the pomerium, yet inside the civil wall; not the adoption of Diana as a Roman goddess, but the close association of the Diana of the Latin league with Rome. It was the attempt to put Rome religiously as well as politically into the position which Aricia held; and it was successful. Diana was still the league-goddess; tradition has it that the league helped to build the temple; and the dedication day of the temple, August 13, was the same as that of the temple at Nemi. The Roman temple was outside the pomerium therefore, not because she was a foreign goddess like Minerva, but because as a league-goddess she must be outside, not inside, the sacred wall of Rome.

Diana had been introduced for a specific purpose as part of a diplomatic game, not because Rome felt any real religious need of her; it is hardly to be expected therefore that her subsequent career in Rome would be of any great importance. Naturally when once the state had taken the responsibility of the cult upon itself, that cult was assured as long as pagan Rome lasted, for the state was always faithful, at least in the mechanical performance of a ritual act; but popular interest could not be counted on, especially as many of the things which Diana stood for, for example her relation to women, were ably represented by Juno. It is not likely that Diana would ever have been of importance in the religion of subsequent time, had it not been for another accident which served to keep alive the interest in Diana, just as the accident of Diana's connection with the Latin league had aroused that interest in the beginning. This was the coming of Apollo and his sister Artemis. Apollo came first, probably during the time of Servius, but Artemis seems to have come much later, not before B.C. 431. Her identification with Diana was inevitable, and from that time onward Diana begins a new life with all the attributes and myths of Artemis, but this new Artemis-Diana was quite as different a goddess from the old Aventine Diana as the new Athena-Minerva was from the old Aventine Minerva.

The political interest of the Romans had been aroused, they had found their life-work, their career was opening before them, and it must not be supposed that the reflex action of this new political spirit on the religious world was confined to the building of two league temples, one to Juppiter Latiaris on the Alban Mount, miles away from Rome, and one to Diana outside the pomerium over in the woods of the Aventine. This political interest was no artificial acquisition, but the inevitable expression of an instinct. It must therefore find its representation inside the city, in connexion with a deity who was already deep in the hearts of the people. This deity could be none other than the sky-father Juppiter, who had stood by them in the old days of their exclusively farming life, sending them sunshine and rain in due season. Up on the Capitoline he was worshipped as Feretrius, "the striker," in his most fearful attribute as the god of the lightning. To him the richest spoils of war (spolia opima) were due, and to him the conqueror gave thanks on his return from battle. It was this Juppiter of the Capitoline who was chosen to be the divine representative of Rome's political ambition; and her confidence in the future, and the omen of her inevitable success lay in the cult-names, the cognomina, with which this Juppiter was henceforth and forever adorned, Juppiter Optimus Maximus. These adjectives are no mere idle ornament, no purely pleasant phraseology; they express not merely the excellence of Rome's Juppiter but his absolute superiority to all other Juppiters, including Juppiter Latiaris. And so while Rome with one hand was building a temple for the league on the Alban Mount, merely as a member of the league, with the other hand she was building a temple in the heart of her city to a god who was to bring into subjection to himself all other gods who dared to challenge his supremacy, just as the city which paid him honour was to overcome all other cities which refused to acknowledge her. From henceforth Juppiter Optimus Maximus represents all that is most truly Roman in Rome. It was under his banner that her battles were fought, it was to him in all time to come that returning generals gave thanks.

Tradition sets the completion of the Capitoline temple in the first year of the republic, but the idea and the actual beginning of the work belong to the later kingdom and hence to our present period, and the contemplation of it forms a fitting close to the development which we have tried to sketch. And now that this part of our work is over it may be well to ask ourselves what we have seen, for there have been so many bypaths which we have of necessity explored, that the main road we have travelled may not be entirely distinct in our mind. In the period which corresponds to the later kingdom, and roughly to the sixth century before Christ, and which we have called "Servian" for convenience, we have watched a primitive pastoral community, isolated from the world's life, turning into a small city-state with political interests, the beginnings of trade and handicraft, and various rival social classes; and we have seen how along with the coming of these outside interests there came various new cults connected with them, most of them implying entirely new deities, and only one or two of them new sides of old deities. The body of old Roman religion had received its first blows; what Tacitus (Hist. i. 4) says of the downfall of the empire—"Then was that secret of the empire disclosed, that it was possible for a ruler to be appointed elsewhere than at Rome"—is true of Roman religion in this period when it was discovered that the state might take into itself deities from outside Rome. And yet while the principle itself was fatal, the practice of it, so far, had been without much harm. Rome's growth was inevitable, it was quite as inevitable that these new interests should be represented in the world of the gods; her old gods did not suffice, hence new ones were introduced. But the actual gods brought in thus far were harmless; Hercules, Castor, Minerva, Diana never did Rome any injury in themselves, never injured her national morale, never lowered the tone of earnest sobriety which had been characteristic of the old regime.

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