Flamen

  (Redirected from Flamines minores)

A flamen was a priest of the ancient Roman religion who was assigned to one of eighteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic. The most important three were the flamines maiores (or "major priests"), who served the important Roman gods Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. The remaining twelve were the flamines minores ("lesser priests"). Two of the minores cultivated deities whose names are now unknown; among the others are deities about whom little is known other than the name. During the Imperial era, the cult of a deified emperor (divus) also had a flamen.

The fifteen Republican flamens were members of the Pontifical College, which administered state-sponsored religion. When the office of flamen was vacant, a pontifex could serve as a temporary replacement, although only the pontifex maximus is known to have substituted for the Flamen Dialis, one of the flamines maiores.

EtymologyEdit

The etymology of flamen remains obscure. The term is traditionally connected with the Proto-Germanic *blōtan- ("to sacrifice"), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₂(d/g)-m(e)n-, which could have originally meant "sacrifice".[1][2][3] The link remains however uncertain since it is impossible to decide whether the Latin form reflects an earlier flă-men, flăd-men or flăg-smen.[2][3]

Indo-Europeanist Georges Dumézil attempted to link the term to the Sanskrit word brahman,[4]

HistoryEdit

By the time of the religious reformation of Augustus, the origins and functions of many of the long-neglected gods resident in Rome was confusing even to the Romans themselves. The obscurity of some of the deities assigned a flamen (for example Falacer, Palatua, Quirinus and Volturnus) suggests that the office dated back to Archaic Rome. Many scholars[who?] assume that the flamines existed at least from the time of the early Roman kings, before the establishment of the Republic. The Romans themselves credited the foundation of the priesthood to Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome. According to Livy, Numa created the offices of the three flamines maiores and assigned them each a fine robe of office and a curule chair.[5] The flamines were circumscribed by many taboos.

The flamen was a sacred position within Roman society; however, it could be used for political reasons. Certain people could be appointed as flamen to stop them from gaining power. For example, flamens were not allowed to ride a horse; therefore, this would make it extremely difficult for such a person to lead and command an army.[6] Attaining such a position also didn't allow the flamen to run or hold a political office. There may have been flamens appointed simply to stop their progression in power and politics for reasons such as making enemies or simply jealousy.[7]

AppointmentEdit

The flamen was a high position within Roman society and religion, therefore people were chosen for several different reasons. In the case of the Flamen Dials they were appointed by the Pontifex Maximus. Three nominations were given to the pontifex maximus by the Pontifical College which Roman's believed to be the most worthy of such position. The Pontifex Maximus did not just select a new Flamen Dials but "scrutinized each candidate's qualifications in order to ensure that he and his wife were fit to serve"[8] After the Flamen and his wife were chosen they then had to participate in a Roman tradition and ceremony known as captio This ceremony was performed by an Augur. It was the Augur's job to make sure the gods would accept the new Flamen. This was done by asking for the king of the gods, Jupiter's blessing, and the gods would respond by providing the proper signs to the people. This ceremony was known as comity calata (convoked assembly) which was performed on the top of the Capitoline Hill[9]

Privileges and disadvantagesEdit

Such a position in Roman society came with many privileges which in turn gave Flamen's a unique power within Rome. In the case of the Law and Criminal courts, the Flamen wielded great power. When a person was deemed a criminal they could appeal to a flamen who had the power of pardoning criminals, and thus they were actively cultivated by higher ups in society. There were also several other privileges that the Flamen possessed. Bailey says that these were the exemption from the Patria Potestas (lit. power of the father) of his father, the wearing of the toga praetexta and the privileges of having a lictor of his own, of sitting on the curule chair, and having an ex officio place in the Senate".[10] During the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 390 BCE, the Flamen's were also given a special task. In an attempt to preserve Roman culture and history, the Flamens and other religious orders such as the vestals were in charge of the sacred and religious items of Rome. Their objective was to take these treasures out of Rome so they wouldn't be destroyed by the Gauls. "Their sacred cult should not be abandoned as long as a single person survived to observe it".[11]

The Flamen were also prohibited from many different actions and rituals. In the case of death Flamens were in charge of performing ritual sacrificing. However, other than that, contact with anything related to death was prohibited so that the Flamen could still part take in his religious duties. One extreme example would be in the case of the Flamen's wife or Flaminica. They were not allowed to wear Calcei Morticini, "shoes made from the skin of an animal that had died of natural causes." Since the animal was not part of a religious ritual or offered to the gods, these shoes would be seen as not pure and disrespectful to the gods.[12]

Another disadvantage of the Flamen was they "were also forbidden to touch, see, or refer to yeast, raw meat, goats, dogs, ivy, or beans;" the reason these were prohibited from the Flamen was that they could potentially interfere with his religious practices. Most of were associated with being unsanitary or associated with death. When these Flamen would have to perform ritual sacrifices it would almost be impossible for the flamen to avoid contact with raw meat. However Roman accounts don't include such events in their writings.[12] Another thing Flamen's were forbidden from was binding. They could not be bound to anything because it could hinder and jeopardize their position as flamen. Therefore, the only bind they were tied to was their religious position and priesthood.[13]

MarriageEdit

The marriage of a Flamen was extremely important because it was one of the requirements needed to be eligible for the Flamen position. The Flamen and his wife (the Flaminica) did have to come from a Patrician background and the parents had to be married through the ancient ceremony of confarreatio. This only applied to the Flamen because when they married his wife would become part of his family.[14] Through the process of confarreatio, the wife or Flaminica would pass from the manus (hand) of her father, to the hand of her husband which would transfer the authority her father had over her to her husband who would also become part of the religious cult.[15] When choosing a Flaminica, it was required that she had to be a virgin before the marriage to her husband and hopeful flamen and therefore had to be unmarried previously.[16] The position of Flamen was also heavily dependent on the Flaminica because they both served together. In the result of death of either, the surviving priest would then step down from their position. It was viewed as unlucky in such a position to be widowed.[17]

After the marriage of the Flamen and Flaminica they could not be separated or divorced. The only way to escape such a marriage was through death, because once they attained such a position they became the direct property of the deity they were assigned to.[18] Since they ruled together they were also responsible for performing certain rituals together. During certain practices and rituals the Flamen and Flaminica had to follow certain rules such as leaving during purification rituals.[19] Another ritual practiced by the priest and priestess was their bed. Only the Flamen and Flaminica were allowed to sleep in the bed for ritual reasons and under no circumstance could they spend the night away from the bed for any longer than three days. The purpose being to create and ensure a strong relationship between the couple. The end of the bed was lined with "a thin layer of clay."[20]

GarbEdit

The official costume of a flamen, allegedly of great antiquity, was a hat called an apex and a heavy cloak called a laena. The laena was a double-thick wool cloak with a fringed edge, and was worn over the flamen's toga with a clasp to hold it around his throat.[21] The apex was a leather skull-cap with a chin-strap and a point of olive wood on its top, like a spindle, with a little fluff of wool at the base of the spindle.[22] This was the traditional outfit during a ritual or sacrifice performed by the flamen. The flamen would not wear the laena on a daily occurrence. The flamen would also wear special shoes known as calcei.[23] The importance of the Flamen dress is that it represented status. Only Flamen were able to wear such a costume which separated them from average citizens and also politicians and military figures. The responsibility for the creation of such a costume fell in the hands of the Flaminica. The costume was made by hand and the use of a ritual blade known as secespikta.[23] Clothing was also used as a symbol because it defined social status. These priests wore special clothing to separate them from plebeians and other patricians. The laena had to be made of complete wool because it was seen as pure and the most appropriate clothing to serve the gods.

Duties and obligationsEdit

The Flamen and wife the Flamincia had special roles that could not be done by the other. This position in Roman society was held to a specific standard with strict rules. The Flamen could not perform the duties of the Flamincia and she could not perform the duties of her husband. One example would be the honour killing and sacrifice of a Ram, which was a known as an offering to Jupiter and could only be done by the Flamincia on market days.[24] The Flamen couldn't perform their scared duties without the Flamincia. These positions of serving the gods were meant to be served together as husband and wife. This was a partnership where each person was dependent on the other. This is the reason why, when one died, the other would have to step down, because they were not allowed to replace their partner or continue by themselves.

Flamines maioresEdit

The three flamines maiores were required to be patricians:

  • The Flamen Dialis oversaw the cult of Jupiter, the sky deity and ruler of the gods.
  • The Flamen Martialis oversaw the cult of Mars, the god of war, leading public rites on the days sacred to Mars. The sacred spears of Mars were ritually shaken by the Flamen Martialis when the legions were preparing for war.
  • The Flamen Quirinalis oversaw the cult of Quirinus, who presided over organized Roman social life and was related to the peaceful aspect of Mars. The Flamen Quirinalis led public rites on the days sacred to Quirinus.

A fourth flamen maior was dedicated to Julius Caesar as a divinity (divus) of the Roman state.[25] Thereafter, any deceased emperor could be made divus by vote of the senate and consent of his successor, and as a divus he would be served by a flamen. The flamen's role in relation to living emperors is uncertain; no living emperor is known to have received official divine worship;[26] see Imperial cult.

A flamen could also be represented by a proflamen, or by a member without that title who could act as a substitute for the flamen (qui vice flaminis fungebatur).[27]

Flamines minoresEdit

 
Flamines, distinguished by their pointed apices, as part of a procession on the Augustan Altar of Peace

The twelve flamines minores could be plebeians.[28] Some of the deities whose cult they tended were rather obscure, and only ten are known by name:

There were two other flamines minores during the Republican period, but the names of the deities they cultivated are unknown. The flamines minores seem mostly connected to agriculture or local cults. The change to an urban way of life may explain why these deities lost their importance or fell into oblivion.[citation needed]

The Floralis and Pomonalis are not recorded in calendars as their festivals were moveable. Some information exists for the ritual roles of the Portunalis in connection with the cult of the god Quirinus and Volcanalis in connexion with the cult of the goddess Maia on the Kalends of May.[29] Also preserved is the list of deities invoked by the flamen Cerialis when he officiated at sacrifices to the goddesses Ceres and Tellus.[30]

Scholars disagree about some differences among flamines maiores and minores. Some maintain the difference was not substantial.[31] Others, among them Dumézil,[32] believe that inherent differences lay in the right of the auspicia maiora and the ritual of inauguration that concerned only the maiores[33] by birth as farreati, that is, as children of parents married through the ritual of confarreatio, which was the form of marriage in turn required for maiores. The maiores also had the privilege of having calatores, assistants who carried out day-to-day business.[34] The difference would thus be akin to that between magistracies with imperium and those with potestas only.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hellquist, Elof. "blota". Svensk etymologisk ordbok, 1922.
  2. ^ a b Kroonen, Guus (2013). Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic. Brill. p. 70. ISBN 978-90-04-18340-7.
  3. ^ a b de Vaan, Michiel (2018). Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages. Brill. p. 225. ISBN 978-90-04-16797-1.
  4. ^ 'The Sanskrit brahman... must derive, with reverse guna, from *bhelgh-men- or *bholgh-men-. The Latin flamen must derive from a neighboring form, *bhlagh-smen-, which, along with forms having the radical -el- or - ol-, presents the same shift'. Dumézil G.,(1940), Mitra-Varuna, trans. D. Coltman. New York: Zone Books, 1988, p.26;
  5. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:20
  6. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. pp. 32–33.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Charles (Winter 2015). "PRIESTS AND POLITICIANS: REX SACRORUM AND FLAMEN DIALIS IN THE MIDDLE REPUBLIC". Phoenix. 69(3): 334–354.
  8. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. pp. 19–20.
  9. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 22.
  10. ^ Bailey, Cyril (1972). Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome. Greenwood Press Publishers. p. 155.
  11. ^ Mathisen, Ralph (2019). Ancient Roman Civilization:History and Sources 753 BCE to 640 CE. Oxford University Press. p. 103.
  12. ^ a b DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. pp. 34–35.
  13. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 36.
  14. ^ Goldberg, Charles (Winter 2015). "PRIESTS AND POLITICIANS: REX SACRORUM AND FLAMEN DIALIS IN THE MIDDLE REPUBLIC". Phoenix. 69(3): 334–354.
  15. ^ DeLizuo, Meghan (2016). A Place at the Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 20.
  16. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 21.
  17. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 23.
  18. ^ DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. pp. 32–33.
  19. ^ Bailey, Cyril (1972). Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome. Greenwood Press Publishers. p. 155.
  20. ^ DeLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 31.
  21. ^ Maurus Servius Honoratus, Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil iv.262; Cicero Brutus 14.56.
  22. ^ Servius Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil ii.683, viii.664, x.270.
  23. ^ a b DiLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 37.
  24. ^ DeLuzio, Meghan (2016). A Place at The Altar. Princeton University Press. p. 43.
  25. ^ Caesar's first flamen was Mark Antony.
  26. ^ Caesar may have been granted an active flamen while living; the evidence is equivocal.
  27. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin)[permanent dead link].
  28. ^ Seindal, René. "flamines maiores". Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  29. ^ Fest. p.321 L1 s.v. "persillum"; Macrob. Sat. I,12, 18
  30. ^ The lost treatise De jure pontificio by Quintus Fabius Pictor had contained the list, which was in turn recorded by Varro and through Servius later preserved by Augustine in the De civitate Dei.
  31. ^ Kurt Latte, Roemische Religionsgeschichte 1960, pp. 36-37
  32. ^ G. Dumezil La religion romaine archaique Paris, 1974, Consideratons preliminaires, XI
  33. ^ Gaius 1, 112; Aulus Gellius 13, 15 quoting Messala De Auspicis; Festus p. 274-275 L2.
  34. ^ Fest. p. 354 L2; Jörg Rüpke, Religion of the Romans (Polity Press, 2007, originally published in German 2001), p. 227 online.

External linksEdit