Curia Calabra

The Curia Calabra was a religious station or templum used for the ritual observation of the new moon in ancient Rome. Although its exact location is unclear, it was most likely a roofless enclosure in front of an augural hut (auguraculum), on the southwest flank of the Area Capitolina, the precinct of Temple of Capitoline Jupiter. Servius identifies the Curia Calabra with a Casa Romuli ("Hut of Romulus") on the Capitoline,[1] but Macrobius implies that it was adjacent to the Casa.[2]

The Roman calendar was originally lunar. On the Kalends or first day of each month, the pontifex minor occupied the Curia Calabra to await the sighting of the new moon. The Rex Sacrificulus and the pontifex then carried out a res divina (religious service) and sacrifice in honor of Juno, and the Roman people were called to assembly (in comitia calata). Like calata, the name Calabra probably derives from calare, "to summon" or "proclaim".[3]

Sources

  • Lawrence Richardson, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), p. 102.

Notes

  1. ^ Servius, note to Aeneid 8.654.
  2. ^ Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.15.10, 19.
  3. ^ Varro, De lingua latina 6.27; Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.15.10–19.
Calends

The calends or kalends (Latin: kalendae) is the first day of every month in the Roman calendar. The English word calendar is derived from this word.

College of Pontiffs

The College of Pontiffs (Latin: Collegium Pontificum; see collegium) was a body of the ancient Roman state whose members were the highest-ranking priests of the state religion. The college consisted of the Pontifex Maximus and the other pontifices, the Rex Sacrorum, the fifteen flamens, and the Vestals. The College of Pontiffs was one of the four major priestly colleges; originally their responsibility was limited to supervising both public and private sacrifices, but as time passed their responsibilities increased. The other colleges were the augurs (who read omens), the quindecimviri sacris faciundis ("fifteen men who carry out the rites"), and the Epulones (who set up feasts at festivals).

The title pontifex comes from the Latin for "bridge builder", a possible allusion to a very early role in placating the gods and spirits associated with the Tiber River, for instance. Also, Varro cites this position as meaning "able to do".The pontifex maximus was the most important member of the college. Until 104 BC, the pontifex maximus held the sole power in appointing members to the other priesthoods in the college.

The flamens were priests in charge of fifteen official cults of Roman religion, each assigned to a particular god. The three major flamens (flamines maiores) were the Flamen Dialis, the high priest of Jupiter; the Flamen Martialis, who cultivated Mars; and the Flamen Quirinalis, devoted to Quirinus. The deities cultivated by the twelve flamines minores were Carmenta, Ceres, Falacer, Flora, Furrina, Palatua, Pomona, Portunus, Volcanus (Vulcan), Volturnus, and two whose names are lost.

The Vestal Virgins were the only female members of the college. They were in charge of guarding Rome's sacred hearth, keeping the flame burning inside the Temple of Vesta. Around age 6 to 10, girls were chosen for this position and were required to perform the rites and obligations, including remaining chaste, for 30 years.

Janus

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (; Latin: IANVS (Iānus), pronounced [ˈjaː.nus]) is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius), but according to ancient Roman farmers' almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month.Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The gates of a building in Rome named after him (not a temple, as it is often called, but an open enclosure with gates at each end) were opened in time of war, and closed to mark the arrival of peace (which did not happen very often). As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

Janus had no flamen or specialised priest (sacerdos) assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites (rex sacrorum) himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had an ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year. As such, Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each ceremony, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.The ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own.

Juno (mythology)

Juno (English: ; Latin: IVNO, Iūnō, [ˈjuːnoː]) was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. A daughter of Saturn, she is the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan, Bellona and Juventas. She is the Roman equivalent of Hera, queen of the gods in Greek mythology; like Hera, her sacred animal was the peacock. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni, and she was said to also watch over the women of Rome. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina ("Queen") and was a member of the Capitoline Triad (Juno Capitolina), centered on the Capitoline Hill in Rome; it consisted of her, Jupiter, and Minerva, goddess of wisdom.

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She is often shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the 'aegis'.

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