Beginning with the well-known fact that one lost a lawsuit if he made even a single verbal mistake in his speech during the process of the legis actio (Gai. inst. 4, 11. 30), we have to examine through some examples the power of verbality in ius sacrum. (I.) We study the development of the concept of fatum (II.), a narration of Plinius maior concerning the dedicatio of the templum of Ops Opifera (III.), another narration based on a source of Plinius related to a special interpretation of prodigium (IV.), as well as parallels that can be discovered between “fruges excantare” and the ceremony of the evocatio (V.). From thes one could gain a picture of connection between Roman religion and jurisprudence of the Archaic Age and the spoken word.
Vergil’s depiction of Juno as saeva does not correspond to Homer’s depiction of Hera, but rather to a combination of Homer’s Hera and Pallas. Vergil’s Juno, moreover, is far less subservient to Jupiter (who is not really as active in the Aeneid as Zeus is in the Iliad). While Homer frequently pairs Hera with Pallas Athena, Vergil’s Juno acts independently, while assuming in particular many of the traits of Homer’s Pallas Athena.
In the opening of Fasti 6, Ovid proposes different explanations for the origin of the month name June by means of a competition between three goddesses: Juno, Juventas, and Concordia. Each goddess puts forth an etymology for June that derives from her own name or individual attributions, alimenting the indecisiveness of the poet who eventually walks out of the scene unable to return a verdict. As she is depicted in this text, Juno might appear as a parodic version of the Virgilian goddess and the ideas she represents. To a close reading, however, it is evident that Juno has retained her reconciliatory function, which has allowed the Roman development, and moreover has been enriched by characteristics that look back at her ancient Italian cult and, at the same time, place her in the new Augustan reality. In particular, Ovid blends the early martial and political aspects of the goddess with her function as protectress of legitimate marriage, which seems to have been prominent in the Augustan period. In fact, Ovid emphasizes that conjugal union is the means by which Juno ends her hostility and enables further growth and development.
A driving force in Vergil’s Aeneid is the hostility of Juno to the Trojans as they approach, and finally arrive in Italy. The epic in some ways mirrors the opposition encountered by Augustus as the new ruler of Rome. Juno’s opposition to the Trojans has its origin not only in Greek mythology, but in the history of the local peoples of Italy with whom early Romans had to contend. From the outset of the poem she becomes the personification of these opposing forces. Once the Trojans finally reach mainland Italy, she sets in motion a long war, although the one depicted in the Aeneid was not as long as the real wars Romans waged with the Latin League and with the many of the tribes of Italy, including the Veii. The reality of the wars Rome had to contend with are here compared to the relatively brief one depicted in the Aeneid, and the pacification of Juno reflects the merging of the different peoples of Rome with their subjugator.