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Lucan 6. 458
quos non concordia misti
Traxerunt torti magica vertigine fili.'
Quae sciet hos illos vendere lena toros ?'
FAS. I. 419.
THE second festival in honour of departed spirits was the • Lemuria, celebrated on the 9th, rith, and 13th of May. A description is here given of the nocturnal spells which had for their object the expulsion of unquiet ghosts from the dwellings of the living; an attempt, not very successful, is then made to discover the etymology of the word, and some of the superstitions connected with this period are enumerated.
1. Hinc ubi, &c. The last phenomenon mentioned was the setting of the Scorpion, which happened, according to the Calendars, on the 6th of May.
3. Nocturna, 'celebrated by night.'
4. Inferiae is the general term for all sacrifices or oblations to the shades of the deceased. Thus Festus,
• Inferiae sacrificia quae Diis Manibus fiebant.' 5. Annus erat brevior. The Roman year consisted originally of ten months, commencing with March. See Appendix on the Roman Year.
Februa. See introduction to 19. 6. Iane biformis. See note on 9. 85. 8. Compositi, laid to rest in the grave.' Compare Hor. S. 1. 9, 26
Est tibi mater? Cognati, queis te salvo est opus ? Haud mihi quisquam, Omnes composui-Felices ! nunc ego resto.' Busta. See note on 20. 2, and cf. v. 19. 9. Maiorum nomine. This derivation of the name of
the month 'Maius' will be found discussed in the Appendix on the Roman Year.
13. Ille, i.e. that man who is mindful of ancient ceremonies.
15. Signaque, &c. The commentators suppose this to mean "snaps his fingers.' Looking, however, to the exact signification of the words, we should rather suppose that some gesticulation is here indicated, in which the thumb was laid along the palm and then grasped by the fingers. Compare Met. 9. 299, where Lucina is represented as retarding the birth of Hercules by various spells, among others by clasping her hands,
' digitis inter se pectine iunctis Sustinuit nixus’.... 18. Fabas. We have seen in the last Extract that the old woman who is represented as propitiating the 'Dea Tacita, among other spells, binds the enchanted threads to the magic wheel,
‘Et septem nigras versat in ore fabas.' It is somewhat difficult to understand the origin of the numerous and very widely diffused superstitions connected with this simple vegetable. As illustrations, we may quote Festus,
* Fabam nec tangere nec nominare Diali flamini licet, quod ea putatur ad mortuos pertinere. Nam et lemuralibus iacitur larvis, et parentalibus adhibetur sacrificiis, et in flore eius luctus literae apparere videntur.' And Nonius Marcellus,
Lemures, larvae nocturnae et terrificationes imaginum et bestiarum. Varro de vita populi Romani libro primo :Quibus temporibus in sacris fabam iactant noctu ac dicunt se Lemurios domo extra ianuam eiicere.' Also Plin H. N. 18. 12
'Quin et prisco ritu fabasta suae religionis Diis in sacro est praevalens pulmentari cibo, et hebetare sensus existimata, insomnia quoque facere. Ob haec Pythagorica sententia damnata: ut alii tradidere, quoniam mortuorum animae sint in ea. Qua de causa parentando utique adsumitur. Varro et ob haec Flaminem ea non vesci tradit, et quoniam in flore eius literae lugubres reperiantur.'
With regard to the well-known precept of Pythagoras, kváuwv åtexeodai, Cicero remarks, De Divin. 1. 30
“Iubet igitur Plato, sic ad somnum proficisci corporibus affectis, ut nihil sit, quod errorem animis perturbationemque afferat. Ex quo etiam Pythagoricis interdictum putatur, ne faba vesceretur, quod habet inflationem magnam is cibus, tranquillitati mentis vera querentis contrariam .'
19. Aversusque iacit, i.e. throws them away with his head turned in the opposite direction, or, in other words, “throws them behind him.' So Virgil's sorceress commands her assistant, Ecl. 8. 101
• Fer cineres, Amarylli, foras, rivoque fuenti
Transque caput iace, nec respexeris.?.... 20. Hic, &c., 'with these beans I ransom myself and mine,' i. e. I buy off the ghost.
23. Temesaeaque ...aera. Temese was a town in the territory of the Bruttii, immediately south of Terina, with regard to which Strabo says, “ After Laus the first town of the Bruttii is Temese, which they now call Tempsa. It was founded by the Ausones, and then colonized by the Aetolians under Thoas, who were expelled by the Bruttii. Both Hannibal and the Romans ground down the Bruttii. This they say is the Temese mentioned by Homer, and not Tamesus (for it is pronounced in both ways) in Cyprus; copper mines are pointed out in the neighbourhood, which now are exhausted.' The passage in Homer is Odyss. 1. 184, where Pallas, under her assumed character of Mentor, declares to Telemachus,
Now hither have I come with ship and crew,
To Temese for brass.' The place is mentioned in Livy, Cicero, and many other authors. Ovid alludes again to its mines, Met. 15. 707
'Hippotadaeque domos regis, Temesesque metalla, and Statius S. 1. I, 42
'Et queis se totis Temese dedit hausta metallis.' With regard to the usage described in the lines before us, Sophron in his Mimes 2 tells us that ghosts are scared away by the barking of a dog, or by the tinkling of brass; and we learn
1 See also Hor. S. 2. 6, 83; and Scholiast. Aul. Gell. 4. 11; 10. 15; Fragment of Varro De Vita Populi Romani, &c.
Quoted by Scholiast on Lycophron, v. 77.
from the Scholiast on Theocritus !, that brass was considered a pure metal, possessing many virtues in removing pollutions, on which account it was sounded in eclipses of the moon and in matters relating to the dead.
28. Ovid, in the lines omitted, calls upon Mercury, who in the character of YuxottOutòs, or conductor of the dead, might be supposed to be acquainted with all matters appertaining to spirits, to communicate the desired information. Mercury answers the appeal, and tells a story how the shade of Remus appeared to his brother and demanded that some honours should be paid to his Manes; in consequence of which a festival was instituted and called 'Remuria,' a term which in process of time was corrupted into ‘Lemuria.' Krebs quotes Porphyrio on Horat. Ep. 2. 2, 209
'Lemures dictos esse putant quasi Remures a Remo, cuius occisi umbram frater Romulus quum placare vellet Lemuria instituit.
33. Compare lines 25—29 of 20, and read the notes.
35, 36. He supposes that the circumstance of the ‘Lemuria' being celebrated during May, gave rise to the idea that it was unlucky to marry during this month, a superstition, be it remarked, which prevails with full force in Scotland to this hour.
37, 38. The 'Lemuria,' as we have already remarked, were celebrated during three days, but these did not follow in succession continuata,' being the 9th, the 11th, and the 13th of the month.
FAS. II. 639.
THE ‘Terminalia,' in honour of 'Terminus,' god of boundaries, was a festival celebrated on VII. Kal. Mart. The origin and the nature of the worship of this deity is described by Dionysius, when treating of the institutions of Numa. A. R. 2. 74
'In order that every one might be contented with his own, and not covet what belonged to others, he laid down laws for fixing the boundaries of property. For having ordered each one to draw a line round his own possessions, and to set up stones upon the limits, he consecrated these stones to Jupiter Terminalis (óplov Alòs), and commanded all, upon a fixed day every year, to meet together on the spot where they were erected and offer sacrifices to them, and established the festival of the god of boundaries as one of the most honoured solemnities. This the Romans call “Terminalia,' the word being borrowed from the Greek with the change of a single letter 2. If any one should conceal or remove the land-marks, it was enacted that the person guilty of such deed should be devoted to the god, so that any one might kill him with impunity as sacrilegious. These institutions were not confined to the possession of individuals only, but extended also to what belonged to the state, in order that the gods of boundaries might separate the territory of the Romans from that of neighbouring tribes, and public from private property. These ordinances the Romans observe in our own days, both from religious motives and as a memorial of the olden time. For they consider the ‘Termini' as gods, and offer sacrifices to them; nothing, however, that has life, for it is considered unholy to shed blood on these stones, but cakes of flour and other first-fruits of the earth.'
1 Eidyll. 2. 36.
With regard to the bloodless sacrifices, although such appears to have been the custom in early ages ', yet it certainly had fallen into disuse before the time of Dionysius, as we see from lines 17, 18 of the present Extract, and also from Hor. Epod. 2. 59
'Vel agna festis caesa Terminalibus.' It would appear also from the above account, that Jupiter was the guardian of boundaries with the epithet 'Terminalis, but that from the practice of offering sacrifices at the stones used for landmarks, these came to be considered in the popular creed as the emblems of a distinct deity.
1 He means, of course, that those who had a common boundary were to meet at this landmark.
2 • Termen,' an old form of. Terminus’ (Varro L. L. 5. 4), differs by one letter only from the Greek τέρμων.
3 See Plutarch Num. c. 16, and Quaest. Rom. C. 15.