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Indo-European Sacred Space

Vedic and Roman Cult

Roger D. Woodard

Publication Year: 2006

In Indo-European Sacred Space, Roger D. Woodard provides a careful examination of the sacred spaces of ancient Rome, finding them remarkably consistent with older Indo-European religious practices as described in the Vedas of ancient India. Employing and expanding on the fundamental methods of Émile Benveniste, as well as Georges Dumezil's tripartite analysis of Proto-Indo-European society, Woodard clarifies not only the spatial dynamics of the archaic Roman cult but, stemming from that, an unexpected clarification of several obscure issues in the study of Roman religion. _x000B_Looking closely at the organization of Roman religious activity, especially as regards sacrifices, festivals, and the hierarchy of priests, Woodard sheds new light on issues including the presence of the god Terminus in Jupiter's Capitoline temple, the nature of the Roman suovetaurilia, the Ambarvalia and its relationship to the rites of the Fratres Arvales, and the identification of the "Sabine" god Semo Sancus. Perhaps most significantly, this work also presents a novel and persuasive resolution to the long standing problem of "agrarian Mars."_x000B__x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

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pp. iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

Indo-European Sacred Space is a work about two particular bounded spaces—one small, one great—used in the practice of the ancestral Indo- European religion. The focus of the study falls squarely upon the reflexes of those spaces as they survived in two Indo-European descendent cultures, one lying on the western margin of the area of Indo-European expansion...

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pp. xi

Many are those to whom I am indebted for assistance, advice, and support in the preparation of this work. All cannot be named, but I would be remiss not to express special thanks to a few: to Gregory Nagy, editor of this series, for his friendship and support; to Willis Regier and his staff at the University of Illinois Press, for their excellent professionalism...

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1. The Minor Capitoline Triad

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pp. 1-58

This first chapter lays a foundation for the rest of the book that follows. Much, therefore, of what appears in chapter 1 is review and restatement, but with some new ideas and interpretations applied. Even among the old ideas, however, some concepts and methods will likely be unfamiliar to a subset of readers. These include basic notions about the tripartition of...

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2. Terminus

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pp. 59-95

Chapter 2 begins with an examination of the evidence for Indo-European parallels to Roman Terminus. This investigation will take us to Ireland and to India, and we will discover that the Vedic cult of the latter place offers a particularly close match to Terminus. The Vedic comparandum will be examined in detail. The chapter concludes with an examination of...

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3. Into the Teacup

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pp. 96-141

The public rites of the Terminalia, the Ambarvalia, the Arval celebration of the goddess Dea Dia, ancient rituals of lustration preserved in the writings of Cato, Virgil, and Tibullus—these are the things which will occupy our attention in chapter 3. We will examine these rituals and their component parts comparatively, holding them up to the light side by side, and...

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4. The Fourth Fire

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pp. 142-240

Chapter 4 brings us to the heart of the present work. We will begin by examining the large sacred space of Vedic cult, the Mahāvedi, its geometry and its use, and then turn to its homologous Roman space, the Ager Romanus. Around the periphery of that Roman space are positioned several sites of ritual importance, as we saw in chapter 3. We will investigate almost all of these in turn, focusing on that locale and ritual attested in...

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5. From the Inside Out

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pp. 241-267

In this the final chapter of our study we will more closely examine elements of the Indo-European sacred spaces. Particular attention will be given to the boundary markers of the great sacred space, especially to their instantiation in Roman cult and the significance of their use for, inter alia, revealing the character of the gods Terminus and Mars. Discussions in...

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pp. 269

As promised in the preface, the discussions, analyses, and theories presented in the preceding pages mark only a beginning. There is much that remains to be done given the ideas developed herein. Three topics for study by application and further development of these ideas come readily to mind. First and foremost, an examination of the rites of the Umbrian...


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pp. 271-275


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pp. 277-284


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pp. 285-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780252092954
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252029882

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2006