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In my paper I examine the use of Sibylline Books during Augustus’ reign. I discuss the role of the Sibyl as well as the collection attributed to her in terms of cultural changes and cultural paraphrases. According to my opinion the prophetess had mainly cultural, not ritual significance. I argue for treating the interventions onto corpus of official Sibylline Books made by Augustus in the category of creating the new cultural identity for the inhabitants of the Empire.

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In my paper I analyse the narrative of Livy about the Bacchanalia conspiracy. Our author, who is short with some events, dedicates twelve long chapters to this happening, that is, he regards it as important. In his report we can establish more different sources: the accounts of earlier historians, the decree of the senat (Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus) and rumours. In spite of his loyalty to the traditional Roman religion, his decription is reliable.

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. Echos du monde classique/Classical Views 36 (N.S. 11), pp. 33 – 49 . Rose , H. 1948 : Ancient Roman Religion . London Sartori , A. 1995 : Un viandante tra “Iuno e le Iunones”. Epigraphica 57 , pp. 235 – 237 . Schilling , R. 1979

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nella Dacia) . Budapest 2007 . Szabó 2014 Cs. Szabó : Urbs et cultus deorum. Római vallás a Kr.u. II.–III. századi városokban: módszertani áttekintés. [Roman religion in the 2nd–3rd c. AD cities. A methodological review] . Vallástudományi Szemle

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1 As Mary Beard has demonstrated, the term ‘foreign’ in relation to Roman religion does not have an ethnic connotation but is rather a social construction. While there is no doubt that the cults considered here had

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The paper investigates some open questions concerning the Roman Lupercalia . Within the research it appears that several problems touching the Lupercalia as well as other ceremonies within the Parentalia can be solved in regard to the feasts of the month February as a whole.

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The So-called “Mithraic Cave” of Angera

A New Perspective from Archaeological Investigations

Author: Stefano De Togni

Summary

The existence of a mithraeum at Angera (VA, Italy) was assumed for the first time in the 19th century, after the discovery of two Mithraic inscriptions re-used as ornaments of a private garden in the middle of the small town. The location of the alleged mithraeum is still uncertain: the inscriptions have been found out of context, and the place of worship has never been localized.

The “Antro mitraico” (Mithraic Cave), also known as “Tana del Lupo”, is a natural cave situated at the base of the East wall of the cliff on which the Rocca Borromeo (the Castle of Angera) stands. At the cave the most visible archaeological evidences are tens of breaches cut into the outside rocky wall, which probably contained votive inscriptions or stele. These elements denote the use of the cave as a place of worship.

In 1868 Biondelli identified in the cave the location of a Mithraic cult, giving rise to a theory that continues still today. If, on the one hand, the proposal appeared plausible, there is no clear evidence that in the cave a mithraeum was ever set up; besides, the presence of many an ex voto is in conflict with the mysteric ritual practices. This paper is intended to present an analytical study of the monument, with a broader inquiry on the characteristics of mithraea and other sanctuaries within natural caves.

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Summary

A mithraeum always has long benches, which were called praesepiae, “places where cattle are fed in a stall” (CIMRM 233). The name is inappropriate for a dining room, which was usually called, instead, triclinium. Mithraeum is the current modern name, whereas the ancients called it spelaeum, antrum, templum. Another important name was Leonteum, which was not a separate cultic place for Leones only, because Porphyry states that the members of a Mithraic community were the Leones and the servants were called Korakes, the Ravens (Porphyr. de abst. 4. 16). The Mithraic menu apparently consisted of meat rather than of vegetables, even though one should take into account the fact that bones are better preserved than vegetables in an archaeological site, and therefore they are often published, whereas vegetal remains had never been investigated by means of chemical analyses. Lions are notoriously carnivorous and the praesepiae had to be filled with meat for the Leones.

The initiation of Leones was supposed to be dry and fiery (Tert. Adv. Marcionem I 13), and we are also told that the Mithraic Leones avoided water for their purifications and washed their hands with honey (Porph. De antro 15–16). Moreover, a lion and a snake are often depicted on Mithraic reliefs as going to drink from a crater. It is possible to get some information from those facts about what Leones were used to drinking during their symposia: they were thirsty but their drink could not be water, but eventually, wine was permitted. Iustin. Apol. I 66 speaks of a cup of water, but only to mention some ritual acts during initiations and not during symposia.

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Summary

In 2014, during the archaeological investigations carried out by the University of Bologna (Department of History and Cultures – Section of Archaeology), within the Ostia Marina Project, in the suburban neighborhood out of Porta Marina (block IV, ix), a new building has been found with outstanding Mithraic features. The building, for the special type of the marble floor of the spelaeum, has been conventionally called the “Mithraeum of colored marbles”. The spelaeum has a single bench, a ritual well and a flowerbed for a sacred plant. It differs clearly both in form and size from the typical patterns of the mithraea discovered until now in ancient Ostia. On the basis of the currently available data, a very late chronology (end of 4th century AD) can be proposed for the building.

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During the Roman Empire, when an autonomous Etruscan culture had disappeared long ago, aspects of the old Etruscan religion were still surviving and had been integrated in the Roman traditional religion: the haruspices, acting as diviners for public or private purposes all over the Roman empire, could interpret prodigies, what Roman priests and even augurs did not. When, with the Christians, a new religion arrived which risked to overthrow the old national religion of the Romans, Etruscan religious tradition played an important role against the rise of Christianity: with the sacred books of the Etruscans, with the prophets who were alleged to have created the Etruscan religious tradition, the Romans could find in their own heritage what could match the Bible of the Christians or their prophets. Unsurprisingly, haruspices were active in the resistance movement against the new religion.

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