Roman Altar to Jupiter, Newstead

Roman Altar to Jupiter, Newstead

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Roman Altar to Jupiter, Newstead - History

Jupiter - The God of Rome

Illustration of Jupiter, King of the Gods of Rome

In ancient Roman religion, Jupiter was the chief of the gods. The name "Jupiter" means "the best and greatest" (Optimus Maximus). He was identified with the Greek god Zeus.

Jupiter was the spirit of the sky and worshiped as the god of thunder and lightning. During wartime he was sought to protect in battle and was the 'giver of victory.' During peacetime he was the god of justice and morality. He was believed to be present during the giving of oaths and transactions. His temple was on the Capitoline Hill.

The Bible mentions a lot regarding "Idols"

Leviticus 26:1 - Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up [any] image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I [am] the LORD your God.

2 Kings 21:21 - And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

Ezekiel 22:4 - Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come [even] unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.

Jeremiah 50:2 - Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard publish, [and] conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

Micah 1:7 - And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered [it] of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

Ezekiel 6:6 - In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

Habakkuk 2:18 - What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?

2 Kings 21:11 - Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, [and] hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which [were] before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:

Ezekiel 18:12 - Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,

2 Corinthians 6:16 - And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them] and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Isaiah 19:1 - The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

Ezekiel 18:6 - [And] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,

Ezekiel 23:37 - That they have committed adultery, and blood [is] in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through [the fire], to devour [them].

Ezekiel 30:13 - Thus saith the Lord GOD I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause [their] images to cease out of Noph and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt.

Zechariah 13:2 - And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, [that] I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

2 Chronicles 15:8 - And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that [was] before the porch of the LORD.

Ezekiel 14:7 - For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me I the LORD will answer him by myself:

Revelation 2:14 - But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

2 Kings 23:24 - Moreover the [workers with] familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

Ezekiel 18:15 - [That] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife,

Psalms 106:38 - And shed innocent blood, [even] the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Revelation 2:20 - Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Ezekiel 20:8 - But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 20:31 - For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.

Isaiah 19:3 - And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

Ezekiel 44:12 - Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.

1 Corinthians 10:19 - What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

Ezekiel 6:9 - And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

Ezekiel 36:25 - Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.


The Romans believed that Jupiter granted them supremacy because they had honoured him more than any other people had. Jupiter was "the fount of the auspices upon which the relationship of the city with the gods rested." [18] He personified the divine authority of Rome's highest offices, internal organization, and external relations. His image in the Republican and Imperial Capitol bore regalia associated with Rome's ancient kings and the highest consular and Imperial honours. [19]

The consuls swore their oath of office in Jupiter's name, and honoured him on the annual feriae of the Capitol in September. To thank him for his help, and to secure his continued support, they sacrificed a white ox (bos mas) with gilded horns. [20] A similar sacrificial offering was made by triumphal generals, who surrendered the tokens of their victory at the feet of Jupiter's statue in the Capitol. Some scholars have viewed the triumphator as embodying (or impersonating) Jupiter in the triumphal procession. [21]

Jupiter's association with kingship and sovereignty was reinterpreted as Rome's form of government changed. Originally, Rome was ruled by kings after the monarchy was abolished and the Republic established, religious prerogatives were transferred to the patres, the patrician ruling class. Nostalgia for the kingship (affectatio regni) was considered treasonous. Those suspected of harbouring monarchical ambitions were punished, regardless of their service to the state. In the 5th century BC, the triumphator Camillus was sent into exile after he drove a chariot with a team of four white horses (quadriga)—an honour reserved for Jupiter himself. When Marcus Manlius, whose defense of the Capitol against the invading Gauls had earned him the name Capitolinus, was accused of regal pretensions, he was executed as a traitor by being cast from the Tarpeian Rock. His house on the Capitoline Hill was razed, and it was decreed that no patrician should ever be allowed to live there. [22] Capitoline Jupiter represented a continuity of royal power from the Regal period, and conferred power to the magistrates who paid their respects to him at the same time he embodied that which was now forbidden, abhorred, and scorned. [23] [ clarification needed ]

During the Conflict of the Orders, Rome's plebeians demanded the right to hold political and religious office. During their first secessio (similar to a general strike), they withdrew from the city and threatened to found their own. When they agreed to come back to Rome they vowed the hill where they had retreated to Jupiter as symbol and guarantor of the unity of the Roman res publica. [24] Plebeians eventually became eligible for all the magistracies and most priesthoods, but the high priest of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) remained the preserve of patricians. [25]

Flamen and Flaminica Dialis Edit

Jupiter was served by the patrician Flamen Dialis, the highest-ranking member of the flamines, a college of fifteen priests in the official public cult of Rome, each of whom was devoted to a particular deity. His wife, the Flaminica Dialis, had her own duties, and presided over the sacrifice of a ram to Jupiter on each of the nundinae, the "market" days of a calendar cycle, comparable to a week. [26] The couple were required to marry by the exclusive patrician ritual confarreatio, which included a sacrifice of spelt bread to Jupiter Farreus (from far, "wheat, grain"). [27]

The office of Flamen Dialis was circumscribed by several unique ritual prohibitions, some of which shed light on the sovereign nature of the god himself. [28] For instance, the flamen may remove his clothes or apex (his pointed hat) only when under a roof, in order to avoid showing himself naked to the sky—that is, "as if under the eyes of Jupiter" as god of the heavens. Every time the Flaminica saw a lightning bolt or heard a clap of thunder (Jupiter's distinctive instrument), she was prohibited from carrying on with her normal routine until she placated the god. [29]

Some privileges of the flamen of Jupiter may reflect the regal nature of Jupiter: he had the use of the curule chair, [30] and was the only priest (sacerdos) who was preceded by a lictor [31] and had a seat in the senate. [32] Other regulations concern his ritual purity and his separation from the military function he was forbidden to ride a horse or see the army outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium). Although he served the god who embodied the sanctity of the oath, it was not religiously permissible (fas) for the Dialis to swear an oath. [33] He could not have contacts with anything dead or connected with death: corpses, funerals, funeral fires, raw meat. This set of restrictions reflects the fulness of life and absolute freedom that are features of Jupiter. [34]

Augurs Edit

The augures publici, augurs were a college of sacerdotes who were in charge of all inaugurations and of the performing of ceremonies known as auguria. Their creation was traditionally ascribed to Romulus. They were considered the only official interpreters of Jupiter's will, thence they were essential to the very existence of the Roman State as Romans saw in Jupiter the only source of state authority.

Fetials Edit

The fetials were a college of 20 men devoted to the religious administration of international affairs of state. [35] Their task was to preserve and apply the fetial law (ius fetiale), a complex set of procedures aimed at ensuring the protection of the gods in Rome's relations with foreign states. Iuppiter Lapis is the god under whose protection they act, and whom the chief fetial (pater patratus) invokes in the rite concluding a treaty. [36] If a declaration of war ensues, the fetial calls upon Jupiter and Quirinus, the heavenly, earthly and chthonic gods as witnesses of any potential violation of the ius. He can then declare war within 33 days. [37]

The action of the fetials falls under Jupiter's jurisdiction as the divine defender of good faith. Several emblems of the fetial office pertain to Jupiter. The silex was the stone used for the fetial sacrifice, housed in the Temple of Iuppiter Feretrius, as was their sceptre. Sacred herbs (sagmina), sometimes identified as vervain, had to be taken from the nearby citadel (arx) for their ritual use. [38]

Jupiter and religion in the secessions of the plebs Edit

The role of Jupiter in the conflict of the orders is a reflection of the religiosity of the Romans. On one side, the patricians were able to naturally claim the support of the supreme god as they held the auspices of the State. On the other side, the plebs (plebeians) argued that, as Jupiter was the source of justice, they had his favor because their cause was just.

The first secession was caused by the excessive debt burden on the plebs. The legal institute of the nexum permitted a debtor to become a slave of his creditor. The plebs argued the debts had become unsustainable because of the expenses of the wars wanted by the patricians. As the senate did not accede to the proposal of a total debt remission advanced by dictator and augur Manius Valerius Maximus the plebs retired on the Mount Sacer, a hill located three Roman miles to the North-northeast of Rome, past the Nomentan bridge on river Anio. [39] The place is windy and was usually the site of rites of divination performed by haruspices. The senate in the end sent a delegation composed of ten members with full powers of making a deal with the plebs, of which were part Menenius Agrippa and Manius Valerius. It was Valerius, according to the inscription found at Arezzo in 1688 and written on the order of Augustus as well as other literary sources, that brought the plebs down from the Mount, after the secessionists had consecrated it to Jupiter Territor and built an altar (ara) on its summit. The fear of the wrath of Jupiter was an important element in the solution of the crisis. The consecration of the Mount probably referred to its summit only. The ritual requested the participation of both an augur (presumably Manius Valerius himself) and a pontifex. [40]

The second secession was caused by the autocratic and arrogant behaviour of the decemviri, who had been charged by the Roman people with writing down the laws in use till then kept secret by the patrician magistrates and the sacerdotes. All magistracies and the tribunes of the plebs had resigned in advance. The task resulted in the XII Tables, which though concerned only private law. The plebs once again retreated to the Sacer Mons: this act besides recalling the first secession was meant to seek the protection of the supreme god. The secession ended with the resignation of the decemviri and an amnesty for the rebellious soldiers who had deserted from their camp near Mount Algidus while warring against the Volscians, abandoning the commanders. The amnesty was granted by the senate and guaranteed by the pontifex maximus Quintus Furius (in Livy's version) (or Marcus Papirius) who also supervised the nomination of the new tribunes of the plebs, then gathered on the Aventine Hill. The role played by the pontifex maximus in a situation of vacation of powers is a significant element underlining the religious basis and character of the tribunicia potestas. [41]

A dominant line of scholarship has held that Rome lacked a body of myths in its earliest period, or that this original mythology has been irrecoverably obscured by the influence of the Greek narrative tradition. [42] After the influence of Greek culture on Roman culture, Latin literature and iconography reinterpreted the myths of Zeus in depictions and narratives of Jupiter. In the legendary history of Rome, Jupiter is often connected to kings and kingship.

Birth Edit

Jupiter is depicted as the twin of Juno in a statue at Praeneste that showed them nursed by Fortuna Primigenia. [43] An inscription that is also from Praeneste, however, says that Fortuna Primigenia was Jupiter's first-born child. [44] Jacqueline Champeaux sees this contradiction as the result of successive different cultural and religious phases, in which a wave of influence coming from the Hellenic world made Fortuna the daughter of Jupiter. [45] The childhood of Zeus is an important theme in Greek religion, art and literature, but there are only rare (or dubious) depictions of Jupiter as a child. [46]

Numa Edit

Faced by a period of bad weather endangering the harvest during one early spring, King Numa resorted to the scheme of asking the advice of the god by evoking his presence. [47] He succeeded through the help of Picus and Faunus, whom he had imprisoned by making them drunk. The two gods (with a charm) evoked Jupiter, who was forced to come down to earth at the Aventine (hence named Iuppiter Elicius, according to Ovid). After Numa skilfully avoided the requests of the god for human sacrifices, Jupiter agreed to his request to know how lightning bolts are averted, asking only for the substitutions Numa had mentioned: an onion bulb, hairs and a fish. Moreover, Jupiter promised that at the sunrise of the following day he would give to Numa and the Roman people pawns of the imperium. The following day, after throwing three lightning bolts across a clear sky, Jupiter sent down from heaven a shield. Since this shield had no angles, Numa named it ancile because in it resided the fate of the imperium, he had many copies made of it to disguise the real one. He asked the smith Mamurius Veturius to make the copies, and gave them to the Salii. As his only reward, Mamurius expressed the wish that his name be sung in the last of their carmina. [48] Plutarch gives a slightly different version of the story, writing that the cause of the miraculous drop of the shield was a plague and not linking it with the Roman imperium. [49]

Tullus Hostilius Edit

Throughout his reign, King Tullus had a scornful attitude towards religion. His temperament was warlike, and he disregarded religious rites and piety. After conquering the Albans with the duel between the Horatii and Curiatii, Tullus destroyed Alba Longa and deported its inhabitants to Rome. As Livy tells the story, omens (prodigia) in the form of a rain of stones occurred on the Alban Mount because the deported Albans had disregarded their ancestral rites linked to the sanctuary of Jupiter. In addition to the omens, a voice was heard requesting that the Albans perform the rites. A plague followed and at last the king himself fell ill. As a consequence, the warlike character of Tullus broke down he resorted to religion and petty, superstitious practices. At last, he found a book by Numa recording a secret rite on how to evoke Iuppiter Elicius. The king attempted to perform it, but since he executed the rite improperly the god threw a lightning bolt which burned down the king's house and killed Tullus. [50]

Tarquin the Elder Edit

When approaching Rome (where Tarquin was heading to try his luck in politics after unsuccessful attempts in his native Tarquinii), an eagle swooped down, removed his hat, flew screaming in circles, replaced the hat on his head and flew away. Tarquin's wife Tanaquil interpreted this as a sign that he would become king based on the bird, the quadrant of the sky from which it came, the god who had sent it and the fact it touched his hat (an item of clothing placed on a man's most noble part, the head). [51]

The Elder Tarquin is credited with introducing the Capitoline Triad to Rome, by building the so-called Capitolium Vetus. Macrobius writes this issued from his Samothracian mystery beliefs. [52]

Sacrifices Edit

Sacrificial victims (hostiae) offered to Jupiter were the ox (castrated bull), the lamb (on the Ides, the ovis idulis) and the wether (castrated male goat or ram) (on the Ides of January). [53] The animals were required to be white. The question of the lamb's gender is unresolved while a lamb is generally male, for the vintage-opening festival the flamen Dialis sacrificed a ewe. [54] This rule seems to have had many exceptions, as the sacrifice of a ram on the Nundinae by the flaminica Dialis demonstrates. During one of the crises of the Punic Wars, Jupiter was offered every animal born that year. [55]

Temples Edit

Temple of Capitoline Jupiter Edit

The temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus stood on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. [56] Jupiter was worshiped there as an individual deity, and with Juno and Minerva as part of the Capitoline Triad. The building was supposedly begun by king Tarquinius Priscus, completed by the last king (Tarquinius Superbus) and inaugurated in the early days of the Roman Republic (September 13, 509 BC). It was topped with the statues of four horses drawing a quadriga, with Jupiter as charioteer. A large statue of Jupiter stood within on festival days, its face was painted red. [57] In (or near) this temple was the Iuppiter Lapis: the Jupiter Stone, on which oaths could be sworn.

Jupiter's Capitoline Temple probably served as the architectural model for his provincial temples. When Hadrian built Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus was erected in the place of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.

Other temples in Rome Edit

There were two temples in Rome dedicated to Iuppiter Stator the first one was built and dedicated in 294 BC by Marcus Atilius Regulus after the third Samnite War. It was located on the Via Nova, below the Porta Mugonia, ancient entrance to the Palatine. [58] Legend attributed its founding to Romulus. [59] There may have been an earlier shrine (fanum), since the Jupiter cult is attested epigraphically. [60] Ovid places the temple's dedication on June 27, but it is unclear whether this was the original date, [61] or the rededication after the restoration by Augustus. [62]

A second temple of Iuppiter Stator was built and dedicated by Quintus Caecilus Metellus Macedonicus after his triumph in 146 BC near the Circus Flaminius. It was connected to the restored temple of Iuno Regina with a portico (porticus Metelli). [63]

Iuppiter Victor had a temple dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the third Samnite War in 295 BC. Its location is unknown, but it may be on the Quirinal, on which an inscription reading Diovei Victore [64] has been found, or on the Palatine according to the Notitia in the Liber Regionum (regio X), which reads: aedes Iovis Victoris. Either might have been dedicated on April 13 or June 13 (days of Iuppiter Victor and of Iuppiter Invictus, respectively, in Ovid's Fasti). [65] Inscriptions from the imperial age have revealed the existence of an otherwise-unknown temple of Iuppiter Propugnator on the Palatine. [66]

Iuppiter Latiaris and Feriae Latinae Edit

The cult of Iuppiter Latiaris was the most ancient known cult of the god: it was practised since very remote times near the top of the Mons Albanus on which the god was venerated as the high protector of the Latin League under the hegemony of Alba Longa.

After the destruction of Alba by king Tullus Hostilius the cult was forsaken. The god manifested his discontent through the prodigy of a rain of stones: the commission sent by the Roman senate to inquire was also greeted by a rain of stones and heard a loud voice from the grove on the summit of the mount requesting the Albans perform the religious service to the god according to the rites of their country. In consequence of this event the Romans instituted a festival of nine days (nundinae). Nonetheless a plague ensued: in the end Tullus Hostilius himself was affected and lastly killed by the god with a lightning bolt. [67] The festival was reestablished on its primitive site by the last Roman king Tarquin the Proud under the leadership of Rome.

The feriae Latinae, or Latiar as they were known originally, [68] were the common festival (panegyris) of the so-called Priscan Latins [69] and of the Albans. [70] Their restoration aimed at grounding Roman hegemony in this ancestral religious tradition of the Latins. The original cult was reinstated unchanged as is testified by some archaic features of the ritual: the exclusion of wine from the sacrifice [71] the offers of milk and cheese and the ritual use of rocking among the games. Rocking is one of the most ancient rites mimicking ascent to Heaven and is very widespread. At the Latiar the rocking took place on a tree and the winner was of course the one who had swung the highest. This rite was said to have been instituted by the Albans to commemorate the disappearance of king Latinus, in the battle against Mezentius king of Caere: the rite symbolised a search for him both on earth and in heaven. The rocking as well as the customary drinking of milk was also considered to commemorate and ritually reinstate infancy. [72] The Romans in the last form of the rite brought the sacrificial ox from Rome and every participant was bestowed a portion of the meat, rite known as carnem petere. [73] Other games were held in every participant borough. In Rome a race of chariots (quadrigae) was held starting from the Capitol: the winner drank a liquor made with absynth. [74] This competition has been compared to the Vedic rite of the vajapeya: in it seventeen chariots run a phoney race which must be won by the king in order to allow him to drink a cup of madhu, i. e. soma. [75] The feasting lasted for at least four days, possibly six according to Niebuhr, one day for each of the six Latin and Alban decuriae. [76] According to different records 47 or 53 boroughs took part in the festival (the listed names too differ in Pliny NH III 69 and Dionysius of Halicarnassus AR V 61). The Latiar became an important feature of Roman political life as they were feriae conceptivae, i. e. their date varied each year: the consuls and the highest magistrates were required to attend shortly after the beginning of the administration, originally on the Ides of March: the Feriae usually took place in early April. They could not start campaigning before its end and if any part of the games had been neglected or performed unritually the Latiar had to be wholly repeated. The inscriptions from the imperial age record the festival back to the time of the decemvirs. [77] Wissowa remarks the inner linkage of the temple of the Mons Albanus with that of the Capitol apparent in the common association with the rite of the triumph: [78] since 231 BC some triumphing commanders had triumphed there first with the same legal features as in Rome. [79]

Ides Edit

The Ides (the midpoint of the month, with a full moon) was sacred to Jupiter, because on that day heavenly light shone day and night. [80] Some (or all) Ides were Feriae Iovis, sacred to Jupiter. [81] On the Ides, a white lamb (ovis idulis) was led along Rome's Sacred Way to the Capitoline Citadel and sacrificed to him. [82] Jupiter's two epula Iovis festivals fell on the Ides, as did his temple foundation rites as Optimus Maximus, Victor, Invictus and (possibly) Stator. [83]

Nundinae Edit

The nundinae recurred every ninth day, dividing the calendar into a market cycle analogous to a week. Market days gave rural people (pagi) the opportunity to sell in town and to be informed of religious and political edicts, which were posted publicly for three days. According to tradition, these festival days were instituted by the king Servius Tullius. [84] The high priestess of Jupiter (Flaminica Dialis) sanctified the days by sacrificing a ram to Jupiter. [85]

Festivals Edit

During the Republican era, more fixed holidays on the Roman calendar were devoted to Jupiter than to any other deity. [86]

Viniculture and wine Edit

Festivals of viniculture and wine were devoted to Jupiter, since grapes were particularly susceptible to adverse weather. [87] Dumézil describes wine as a "kingly" drink with the power to inebriate and exhilarate, analogous to the Vedic Soma. [88]

Three Roman festivals were connected with viniculture and wine.

The rustic Vinalia altera on August 19 asked for good weather for ripening the grapes before harvest. [89] When the grapes were ripe, [90] a sheep was sacrificed to Jupiter and the flamen Dialis cut the first of the grape harvest. [91]

The Meditrinalia on October 11 marked the end of the grape harvest the new wine was pressed, tasted and mixed with old wine [92] to control fermentation. In the Fasti Amiternini, this festival is assigned to Jupiter. Later Roman sources invented a goddess Meditrina, probably to explain the name of the festival. [93]

At the Vinalia urbana on April 23, new wine was offered to Jupiter. [94] Large quantities of it were poured into a ditch near the temple of Venus Erycina, which was located on the Capitol. [95]

Regifugium and Poplifugium Edit

The Regifugium ("King's Flight") [96] on February 24 has often been discussed in connection with the Poplifugia on July 5, a day holy to Jupiter. [97] The Regifugium followed the festival of Iuppiter Terminus (Jupiter of Boundaries) on February 23. Later Roman antiquarians misinterpreted the Regifugium as marking the expulsion of the monarchy, but the "king" of this festival may have been the priest known as the rex sacrorum who ritually enacted the waning and renewal of power associated with the New Year (March 1 in the old Roman calendar). [98] A temporary vacancy of power (construed as a yearly "interregnum") occurred between the Regifugium on February 24 and the New Year on March 1 (when the lunar cycle was thought to coincide again with the solar cycle), and the uncertainty and change during the two winter months were over. [99] Some scholars emphasize the traditional political significance of the day. [100]

The Poplifugia ("Routing of Armies" [101] ), a day sacred to Jupiter, may similarly mark the second half of the year before the Julian calendar reform, the months were named numerically, Quintilis (the fifth month) to December (the tenth month). [102] The Poplifugia was a "primitive military ritual" for which the adult male population assembled for purification rites, after which they ritually dispelled foreign invaders from Rome. [103]

Epula Iovis Edit

There were two festivals called epulum Iovis ("Feast of Jove"). One was held on September 13, the anniversary of the foundation of Jupiter's Capitoline temple. The other (and probably older) festival was part of the Plebeian Games (Ludi Plebei), and was held on November 13. [104] In the 3rd century BC, the epulum Iovis became similar to a lectisternium. [105]

Ludi Edit

The most ancient Roman games followed after one day (considered a dies ater, or "black day", i. e. a day which was traditionally considered unfortunate even though it was not nefas, see also article Glossary of ancient Roman religion) the two Epula Iovis of September and November.

The games of September were named Ludi Magni originally they were not held every year, but later became the annual Ludi Romani [106] and were held in the Circus Maximus after a procession from the Capitol. The games were attributed to Tarquinius Priscus, [107] and linked to the cult of Jupiter on the Capitol. Romans themselves acknowledged analogies with the triumph, which Dumézil thinks can be explained by their common Etruscan origin the magistrate in charge of the games dressed as the triumphator and the pompa circensis resembled a triumphal procession. Wissowa and Mommsen argue that they were a detached part of the triumph on the above grounds [108] (a conclusion which Dumézil rejects). [109]

The Ludi Plebei took place in November in the Circus Flaminius. [110] Mommsen argued that the epulum of the Ludi Plebei was the model of the Ludi Romani, but Wissowa finds the evidence for this assumption insufficient. [111] The Ludi Plebei were probably established in 534 BC. Their association with the cult of Jupiter is attested by Cicero. [112]

Larentalia Edit

The feriae of December 23 were devoted to a major ceremony in honour of Acca Larentia (or Larentina), in which some of the highest religious authorities participated (probably including the Flamen Quirinalis and the pontiffs). The Fasti Praenestini marks the day as feriae Iovis, as does Macrobius. [113] It is unclear whether the rite of parentatio was itself the reason for the festival of Jupiter, or if this was another festival which happened to fall on the same day. Wissowa denies their association, since Jupiter and his flamen would not be involved with the underworld or the deities of death (or be present at a funeral rite held at a gravesite). [114]

The Latin name Iuppiter originated as a vocative compound of the Old Latin vocative *Iou and pater ("father") and came to replace the Old Latin nominative case *Ious. Jove [115] is a less common English formation based on Iov-, the stem of oblique cases of the Latin name. Linguistic studies identify the form *Iou-pater as deriving from the Proto-Italic vocable *Djous Patēr, [12] and ultimately the Indo-European vocative compound *Dyēu-pəter (meaning "O Father Sky-god" nominative: *Dyēus-pətēr). [116]

Older forms of the deity's name in Rome were Dieus-pater ("day/sky-father"), then Diéspiter. [117] The 19th-century philologist Georg Wissowa asserted these names are conceptually- and linguistically-connected to Diovis and Diovis Pater he compares the analogous formations Vedius-Veiove and fulgur Dium, as opposed to fulgur Summanum (nocturnal lightning bolt) and flamen Dialis (based on Dius, dies). [118] The Ancient later viewed them as entities separate from Jupiter. The terms are similar in etymology and semantics (dies, "daylight" and Dius, "daytime sky"), but differ linguistically. Wissowa considers the epithet Dianus noteworthy. [119] [120] Dieus is the etymological equivalent of ancient Greece's Zeus and of the Teutonics' Ziu (genitive Ziewes). The Indo-European deity is the god from which the names and partially the theology of Jupiter, Zeus and the Indo-Aryan Vedic Dyaus Pita derive or have developed. [121]

The Roman practice of swearing by Jove to witness an oath in law courts [122] is the origin of the expression "by Jove!"—archaic, but still in use. The name of the god was also adopted as the name of the planet Jupiter the adjective "jovial" originally described those born under the planet of Jupiter [123] (reputed to be jolly, optimistic, and buoyant in temperament).

Jove was the original namesake of Latin forms of the weekday now known in English as Thursday [124] (originally called Iovis Dies in Latin). These became jeudi in French, jueves in Spanish, joi in Romanian, giovedì in Italian, dijous in Catalan, Xoves in Galician, Joibe in Friulian, Dijóu in Provençal.

Major epithets Edit

The epithets of a Roman god indicate his theological qualities. The study of these epithets must consider their origins (the historical context of an epithet's source).

Jupiter's most ancient attested forms of cult belong to the State cult: these include the mount cult (see section above note n. 22). In Rome this cult entailed the existence of particular sanctuaries the most important of which were located on Mons Capitolinus (earlier Tarpeius). The mount had two tops that were both destined to the discharge of acts of cult related to Jupiter. The northern and higher top was the arx and on it was located the observation place of the augurs (auguraculum) and to it headed the monthly procession of the sacra Idulia. [125] On the southern top was to be found the most ancient sanctuary of the god: the shrine of Iuppiter Feretrius allegedly built by Romulus, restored by Augustus. The god here had no image and was represented by the sacred flintstone (silex). [126] The most ancient known rites, those of the spolia opima and of the fetials which connect Jupiter with Mars and Quirinus are dedicated to Iuppiter Feretrius or Iuppiter Lapis. [127] The concept of the sky god was already overlapped with the ethical and political domain since this early time. According to Wissowa and Dumézil [128] Iuppiter Lapis seems to be inseparable from Iuppiter Feretrius in whose tiny templet on the Capitol the stone was lodged.

Another most ancient epithet is Lucetius: although the Ancients, followed by some modern scholars such as Wissowa, [118] interpreted it as referring to sunlight, the carmen Saliare shows that it refers to lightning. [129] A further confirmation of this interpretation is provided by the sacred meaning of lightning which is reflected in the sensitivity of the flaminica Dialis to the phenomenon. [130] To the same atmospheric complex belongs the epithet Elicius: while the ancient erudites thought it was connected to lightning, it is in fact related to the opening of the rervoirs of rain, as is testified by the ceremony of the Nudipedalia, meant to propitiate rainfall and devoted to Jupiter. [131] and the ritual of the lapis manalis, the stone which was brought into the city through the Porta Capena and carried around in times of drought, which was named Aquaelicium. [132] Other early epithets connected with the atmospheric quality of Jupiter are Pluvius, Imbricius, Tempestas, Tonitrualis, tempestatium divinarum potens, Serenator, Serenus [133] [134] and, referred to lightning, Fulgur, [135] Fulgur Fulmen, [136] later as nomen agentis Fulgurator, Fulminator: [137] the high antiquity of the cult is testified by the neutre form Fulgur and the use of the term for the bidental, the lightning well dug on the spot hit by a lightning bolt. [138]

A group of epithets has been interpreted by Wissowa (and his followers) as a reflection of the agricultural or warring nature of the god, some of which are also in the list of eleven preserved by Augustine. [139] [140] The agricultural ones include Opitulus, Almus, Ruminus, Frugifer, Farreus, Pecunia, Dapalis, [141] Epulo. [142] Augustine gives an explanation of the ones he lists which should reflect Varro's: Opitulus because he brings opem (means, relief) to the needy, Almus because he nourishes everything, Ruminus because he nourishes the living beings by breastfeeding them, Pecunia because everything belongs to him. [143] Dumézil maintains the cult usage of these epithets is not documented and that the epithet Ruminus, as Wissowa and Latte remarked, may not have the meaning given by Augustine but it should be understood as part of a series including Rumina, Ruminalis ficus, Iuppiter Ruminus, which bears the name of Rome itself with an Etruscan vocalism preserved in inscriptions, series that would be preserved in the sacred language (cf. Rumach Etruscan for Roman). However many scholars have argued that the name of Rome, Ruma, meant in fact woman's breast. [144] Diva Rumina, as Augustine testifies in the cited passage, was the goddess of suckling babies: she was venerated near the ficus ruminalis and was offered only libations of milk. [145] Here moreover Augustine cites the verses devoted to Jupiter by Quintus Valerius Soranus, while hypothesising Iuno (more adept in his view as a breastfeeder), i.e. Rumina instead of Ruminus, might be nothing else than Iuppiter: "Iuppiter omnipotens regum rerumque deumque Progenitor genetrixque deum. ".

In Dumézil's opinion Farreus should be understood as related to the rite of the confarreatio the most sacred form of marriage, the name of which is due to the spelt cake eaten by the spouses, rather than surmising an agricultural quality of the god: the epithet means the god was the guarantor of the effects of the ceremony, to which the presence of his flamen is necessary and that he can interrupt with a clap of thunder. [146]

The epithet Dapalis is on the other hand connected to a rite described by Cato and mentioned by Festus. [147] Before the sowing of autumn or spring the peasant offered a banquet of roast beef and a cup of wine to Jupiter : it is natural that on such occasions he would entreat the god who has power over the weather, however Cato' s prayer of s one of sheer offer and no request. The language suggests another attitude: Jupiter is invited to a banquet which is supposedly abundant and magnificent. The god is honoured as summus. The peasant may hope he shall receive a benefit, but he does not say it. This interpretation finds support in the analogous urban ceremony of the epulum Iovis, from which the god derives the epithet of Epulo and which was a magnificent feast accompanied by flutes. [148]

Epithets related to warring are in Wissowa's view Iuppiter Feretrius, Iuppiter Stator, Iuppiter Victor and Iuppiter Invictus. [149] Feretrius would be connected with war by the rite of the first type of spolia opima which is in fact a dedication to the god of the arms of the defeated king of the enemy that happens whenever he has been killed by the king of Rome or his equivalent authority. Here too Dumézil notes the dedication has to do with regality and not with war, since the rite is in fact the offer of the arms of a king by a king: a proof of such an assumption is provided by the fact that the arms of an enemy king captured by an officer or a common soldier were dedicated to Mars and Quirinus respectively.

Iuppiter Stator was first attributed by tradition to Romulus, who had prayed the god for his almighty help at a difficult time the battle with the Sabines of king Titus Tatius. [150] Dumézil opines the action of Jupiter is not that of a god of war who wins through fighting: Jupiter acts by causing an inexplicable change in the morale of the fighters of the two sides. The same feature can be detected also in the certainly historical record of the battle of the third Samnite War in 294 BC, in which consul Marcus Atilius Regulus vowed a temple to Iuppiter Stator if "Jupiter will stop the rout of the Roman army and if afterwards the Samnite legions shall be victouriously massacred. It looked as if the gods themselves had taken side with Romans, so much easily did the Roman arms succeed in prevailing. ". [151] [152] In a similar manner one can explain the epithet Victor, whose cult was founded in 295 BC on the battlefield of Sentinum by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges and who received another vow again in 293 by consul Lucius Papirius Cursor before a battle against the Samnite legio linteata. The religious meaning of the vow is in both cases an appeal to the supreme god by a Roman chief at a time of need for divine help from the supreme god, albeit for different reasons: Fabius had remained the only political and military responsible of the Roman State after the devotio of P. Decius Mus, Papirius had to face an enemy who had acted with impious rites and vows, i.e. was religiously reprehensible. [153]

More recently Dario Sabbatucci has given a different interpretation of the meaning of Stator within the frame of his structuralistic and dialectic vision of Roman calendar, identifying oppositions, tensions and equilibria: January is the month of Janus, at the beginning of the year, in the uncertain time of winter (the most ancient calendar had only ten months, from March to December). In this month Janus deifies kingship and defies Jupiter. Moreover, January sees also the presence of Veiovis who appears as an anti-Jupiter, of Carmenta who is the goddess of birth and like Janus has two opposed faces, Prorsa and Postvorta (also named Antevorta and Porrima), of Iuturna, who as a gushing spring evokes the process of coming into being from non-being as the god of passage and change does. In this period the preeminence of Janus needs compensating on the Ides through the action of Jupiter Stator, who plays the role of anti-Janus, i.e. of moderator of the action of Janus. [154]

Epithets denoting functionality Edit

Some epithets describe a particular aspect of the god, or one of his functions:

  • Jove Aegiochus, Jove "Holder of the Goat or Aegis", as the father of Aegipan. [155]
  • Jupiter Caelus, Jupiter as the sky or heavens see also Caelus.
  • Jupiter Caelestis, "Heavenly" or "Celestial Jupiter".
  • Jupiter Elicius, Jupiter "who calls forth [celestial omens]" or "who is called forth [by incantations]" "sender of rain".
  • Jupiter Feretrius, who carries away the spoils of war". Feretrius was called upon to witness solemn oaths. [156] The epithet or "numen" is probably connected with the verb ferire, "to strike," referring to a ritual striking of ritual as illustrated in foedus ferire, of which the silex, a quartz rock, is evidence in his temple on the Capitoline hill, which is said to have been the first temple in Rome, erected and dedicated by Romulus to commemorate his winning of the spolia opima from Acron, king of the Caeninenses, and to serve as a repository for them. Iuppiter Feretrius was therefore equivalent to Iuppiter Lapis, the latter used for a specially solemn oath. [157] According to Livy I 10, 5 and Plutarch Marcellus 8 though, the meaning of this epithet is related to the peculiar frame used to carry the spolia opima to the god, the feretrum, itself from verb fero,
  • Jupiter Centumpeda, literally, "he who has one hundred feet" that is, "he who has the power of establishing, of rendering stable, bestowing stability on everything", since he himself is the paramount of stability.
  • Jupiter Fulgur ("Lightning Jupiter"), Fulgurator or Fulgens
  • Jupiter Lucetius ("of the light"), an epithet almost certainly related to the light or flame of lightningbolts and not to daylight, as indicated by the Jovian verses of the carmen Saliare. [158]
  • Jupiter Optimus Maximus (" the best and greatest"). Optumus[159] because of the benefits he bestows, Maximus because of his strength, according to Cicero Pro Domo Sua. [160]
  • Jupiter Pluvius, "sender of rain".
  • Jupiter Ruminus, "breastfeeder of every living being", according to Augustine. [161]
  • Jupiter Stator, from stare, "to stand": "he who has power of founding, instituting everything", thence also he who bestows the power of resistance, making people, soldiers, stand firm and fast. [162]
  • Jupiter Summanus, sender of nocturnal thunder
  • Jupiter Terminalus or Iuppiter Terminus, patron and defender of boundaries
  • Jupiter Tigillus, "beam or shaft that supports and holds together the universe." [163]
  • Jupiter Tonans, "thunderer"
  • Jupiter Victor, "he who has the power of conquering everything." [163]

Syncretic or geographical epithets Edit

Some epithets of Jupiter indicate his association with a particular place. Epithets found in the provinces of the Roman Empire may identify Jupiter with a local deity or site (see syncretism).

  • Jupiter Ammon, Jupiter equated with the Egyptian deity Amun after the Roman conquest of Egypt
  • Jupiter Brixianus, Jupiter equated with the local god of the town of Brescia in Cisalpine Gaul (modern North Italy)
  • Jupiter Capitolinus, also Jupiter Optimus Maximus, venerated throughout the Roman Empire at sites with a Capitol (Capitolium)
  • Jupiter Dolichenus, from Doliche in Syria, originally a Baal weather and war god. From the time of Vespasian, he was popular among the Roman legions as god of war and victory, especially on the Danube at Carnuntum. He is depicted as standing on a bull, with a thunderbolt in his left hand, and a double ax in the right.
  • Jupiter Indiges, "Jupiter of the country," a title given to Aeneas after his death, according to Livy[164]
  • Jupiter Ladicus, Jupiter equated with a Celtiberian mountain-god and worshipped as the spirit of Mount Ladicus in Gallaecia, northwest Iberia, [165] preserved in the toponym Codos de Ladoco. [166]
  • Jupiter Laterius or Latiaris, the god of Latium
  • Jupiter Parthinus or Partinus, under this name was worshiped on the borders of northeast Dalmatia and Upper Moesia, perhaps associated with the local tribe known as the Partheni.
  • Jupiter Poeninus, under this name worshipped in the Alps, around the Great St Bernard Pass, where he had a sanctuary.
  • Jupiter Solutorius, a local version of Jupiter worshipped in Spain he was syncretised with the local Iberian god Eacus.
  • Jupiter Taranis, Jupiter equated with the Celtic god Taranis.
  • Jupiter Uxellinus, Jupiter as a god of high mountains.

In addition, many of the epithets of Zeus can be found applied to Jupiter, by interpretatio romana. Thus, since the hero Trophonius (from Lebadea in Boeotia) is called Zeus Trophonius, this can be represented in English (as it would be in Latin) as Jupiter Trophonius. Similarly, the Greek cult of Zeus Meilichios appears in Pompeii as Jupiter Meilichius. Except in representing actual cults in Italy, this is largely 19th-century usage modern works distinguish Jupiter from Zeus.

Sources Edit

Marcus Terentius Varro and Verrius Flaccus [167] were the main sources on the theology of Jupiter and archaic Roman religion in general. Varro was acquainted with the libri pontificum ("books of the Pontiffs") and their archaic classifications. [168] On these two sources depend other ancient authorities, such as Ovid, Servius, Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, patristic texts, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Plutarch.

One of the most important sources which preserve the theology of Jupiter and other Roman deities is The City of God against the Pagans by Augustine of Hippo. Augustine's criticism of traditional Roman religion is based on Varro's lost work, Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum. Although a work of Christian apologetics, The City of God provides glimpses into Varro's theological system and authentic Roman theological lore in general. According to Augustine, [169] Varro drew on the pontiff Mucius Scaevola's tripartite theology:

  • The mythic theology of the poets (useful for the theatre)
  • The physical theology of the philosophers (useful for understanding the natural world)
  • The civil theology of the priests (useful for the state) [170]

Jovian theology Edit

Georg Wissowa stressed Jupiter's uniqueness as the only case among Indo-European religions in which the original god preserved his name, his identity and his prerogatives. [118] In this view, Jupiter is the god of heaven and retains his identification with the sky among the Latin poets (his name is used as a synonym for "sky". [171] ) In this respect, he differs from his Greek equivalent Zeus (who is considered a personal god, warden and dispenser of skylight). His name reflects this idea it is a derivative of the Indo-European word for "bright, shining sky". His residence is found atop the hills of Rome and of mountains in general as a result, his cult is present in Rome and throughout Italy at upper elevations. [172] Jupiter assumed atmospheric qualities he is the wielder of lightning and the master of weather. However, Wissowa acknowledges that Jupiter is not merely a naturalistic, heavenly, supreme deity he is in continual communication with man by means of thunder, lightning and the flight of birds (his auspices). Through his vigilant watch he is also the guardian of public oaths and compacts and the guarantor of good faith in the State cult. [173] The Jovian cult was common to the Italic people under the names Iove, Diove (Latin) and Iuve, Diuve (Oscan, in Umbrian only Iuve, Iupater in the Iguvine Tables).

Wissowa considered Jupiter also a god of war and agriculture, in addition to his political role as guarantor of good faith (public and private) as Iuppiter Lapis and Dius Fidius, respectively. His view is grounded in the sphere of action of the god (who intervenes in battle and influences the harvest through weather).Wissowa (1912), pp. 103–108

In Georges Dumézil's view, Jovian theology (and that of the equivalent gods in other Indo-European religions) is an evolution from a naturalistic, supreme, celestial god identified with heaven to a sovereign god, a wielder of lightning bolts, master and protector of the community (in other words, of a change from a naturalistic approach to the world of the divine to a socio-political approach). [174]

In Vedic religion, Dyaus Pitar remained confined to his distant, removed, passive role and the place of sovereign god was occupied by Varuna and Mitra. In Greek and Roman religion, instead, the homonymous gods *Diou- and Διϝ- evolved into atmospheric deities by their mastery of thunder and lightning, they expressed themselves and made their will known to the community. In Rome, Jupiter also sent signs to the leaders of the state in the form of auspices in addition to thunder. The art of augury was considered prestigious by ancient Romans by sending his signs, Jupiter (the sovereign of heaven) communicates his advice to his terrestrial colleague: the king (rex) or his successor magistrates. The encounter between the heavenly and political, legal aspects of the deity are well represented by the prerogatives, privileges, functions and taboos proper to his flamen (the flamen Dialis and his wife, the flaminica Dialis).

Dumézil maintains that Jupiter is not himself a god of war and agriculture, although his actions and interest may extend to these spheres of human endeavour. His view is based on the methodological assumption that the chief criterion for studying a god's nature is not to consider his field of action, but the quality, method and features of his action. Consequently, the analysis of the type of action performed by Jupiter in the domains in which he operates indicates that Jupiter is a sovereign god who may act in the field of politics (as well as agriculture and war) in his capacity as such, i.e. in a way and with the features proper to a king. Sovereignty is expressed through the two aspects of absolute, magic power (epitomised and represented by the Vedic god Varuna) and lawful right (by the Vedic god Mitra). [176] However, sovereignty permits action in every field otherwise, it would lose its essential quality. As a further proof, Dumézil cites the story of Tullus Hostilius (the most belligerent of the Roman kings), who was killed by Jupiter with a lightning bolt (indicating that he did not enjoy the god's favour). Varro's definition of Jupiter as the god who has under his jurisdiction the full expression of every being (penes Iovem sunt summa) reflects the sovereign nature of the god, as opposed to the jurisdiction of Janus (god of passages and change) on their beginning (penes Ianum sunt prima). [177]

Capitoline Triad Edit

The Capitoline Triad was introduced to Rome by the Tarquins. Dumézil [178] thinks it might have been an Etruscan (or local) creation based on Vitruvius' treatise on architecture, in which the three deities are associated as the most important. It is possible that the Etruscans paid particular attention to Menrva (Minerva) as a goddess of destiny, in addition to the royal couple Uni (Juno) and Tinia (Jupiter). [179] In Rome, Minerva later assumed a military aspect under the influence of Athena Pallas (Polias). Dumézil argues that with the advent of the Republic, Jupiter became the only king of Rome, no longer merely the first of the great gods.

Archaic Triad Edit

The Archaic Triad is a hypothetical theological structure (or system) consisting of the gods Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus. It was first described by Wissowa, [180] and the concept was developed further by Dumézil. The three-function hypothesis of Indo-European society advanced by Dumézil holds that in prehistory, society was divided into three classes (priests, warriors and craftsmen) which had as their religious counterparts the divine figures of the sovereign god, the warrior god and the civil god. The sovereign function (embodied by Jupiter) entailed omnipotence thence, a domain extended over every aspect of nature and life. The colour relating to the sovereign function is white.

The three functions are interrelated with one another, overlapping to some extent the sovereign function, although essentially religious in nature, is involved in many ways in areas pertaining to the other two. Therefore, Jupiter is the "magic player" in the founding of the Roman state and the fields of war, agricultural plenty, human fertility and wealth. [181]

This hypothesis has not found widespread support among scholars.

Jupiter and Minerva Edit

Apart from being protectress of the arts and craft as Minerva Capta, who was brought from Falerii, Minerva's association to Jupiter and relevance to Roman state religion is mainly linked to the Palladium, a wooden statue of Athena that could move the eyes and wave the spear. It was stored in the penus interior, inner penus of the aedes Vestae, temple of Vesta and considered the most important among the pignora imperii, pawns of dominion, empire. [182] In Roman traditional lore it was brought from Troy by Aeneas. Scholars though think it was last taken to Rome in the third or second century BC. [183]

Juno and Fortuna Edit

The divine couple received from Greece its matrimonial implications, thence bestowing on Juno the role of tutelary goddess of marriage (Iuno Pronuba).

The couple itself though cannot be reduced to a Greek apport. The association of Juno and Jupiter is of the most ancient Latin theology. [184] Praeneste offers a glimpse into original Latin mythology: the local goddess Fortuna is represented as milking two infants, one male and one female, namely Jove (Jupiter) and Juno. [185] It seems fairly safe to assume that from the earliest times they were identified by their own proper names and since they got them they were never changed through the course of history: they were called Jupiter and Juno. These gods were the most ancient deities of every Latin town. Praeneste preserved divine filiation and infancy as the sovereign god and his paredra Juno have a mother who is the primordial goddess Fortuna Primigenia. [186] Many terracotta statuettes have been discovered which represent a woman with a child: one of them represents exactly the scene described by Cicero of a woman with two children of different sex who touch her breast. Two of the votive inscriptions to Fortuna associate her and Jupiter: " Fortunae Iovi puero. " and "Fortunae Iovis puero. " [187]

In 1882 though R. Mowat published an inscription in which Fortuna is called daughter of Jupiter, raising new questions and opening new perspectives in the theology of Latin gods. [188] Dumezil has elaborated an interpretative theory according to which this aporia would be an intrinsic, fundamental feature of Indoeuropean deities of the primordial and sovereign level, as it finds a parallel in Vedic religion. [189] The contradiction would put Fortuna both at the origin of time and into its ensuing diachronic process: it is the comparison offered by Vedic deity Aditi, the Not-Bound or Enemy of Bondage, that shows that there is no question of choosing one of the two apparent options: as the mother of the Aditya she has the same type of relationship with one of his sons, Dakṣa, the minor sovereign. who represents the Creative Energy, being at the same time his mother and daughter, as is true for the whole group of sovereign gods to which she belongs. [190] Moreover, Aditi is thus one of the heirs (along with Savitr) of the opening god of the Indoiranians, as she is represented with her head on her two sides, with the two faces looking opposite directions. [191] The mother of the sovereign gods has thence two solidal but distinct modalities of duplicity, i.e. of having two foreheads and a double position in the genealogy. Angelo Brelich has interpreted this theology as the basic opposition between the primordial absence of order (chaos) and the organisation of the cosmos. [192]

Janus Edit

The relation of Jupiter to Janus is problematic. Varro defines Jupiter as the god who has potestas (power) over the forces by which anything happens in the world. Janus, however, has the privilege of being invoked first in rites, since in his power are the beginnings of things (prima), the appearance of Jupiter included. [193]

Saturn Edit

The Latins considered Saturn the predecessor of Jupiter. Saturn reigned in Latium during a mythical Golden Age reenacted every year at the festival of Saturnalia. Saturn also retained primacy in matters of agriculture and money. Unlike the Greek tradition of Cronus and Zeus, the usurpation of Saturn as king of the gods by Jupiter was not viewed by the Latins as violent or hostile Saturn continued to be revered in his temple at the foot of the Capitol Hill, which maintained the alternative name Saturnius into the time of Varro. [194] A. Pasqualini has argued that Saturn was related to Iuppiter Latiaris, the old Jupiter of the Latins, as the original figure of this Jupiter was superseded on the Alban Mount, whereas it preserved its gruesome character in the ceremony held at the sanctuary of the Latiar Hill in Rome which involved a human sacrifice and the aspersion of the statue of the god with the blood of the victim. [195]

Fides Edit

The abstract personification Fides ("Faith, Trust") was one of the oldest gods associated with Jupiter. As guarantor of public faith, Fides had her temple on the Capitol (near that of Capitoline Jupiter). [196]

Dius Fidius Edit

Dius Fidius is considered a theonym for Jupiter, [197] and sometimes a separate entity also known in Rome as Semo Sancus Dius Fidius. Wissowa argued that while Jupiter is the god of the Fides Publica Populi Romani as Iuppiter Lapis (by whom important oaths are sworn), Dius Fidius is a deity established for everyday use and was charged with the protection of good faith in private affairs. Dius Fidius would thus correspond to Zeus Pistios. [198] The association with Jupiter may be a matter of divine relation some scholars see him as a form of Hercules. [199] Both Jupiter and Dius Fidius were wardens of oaths and wielders of lightning bolts both required an opening in the roof of their temples. [128]

The functionality of Sancus occurs consistently within the sphere of fides, oaths and respect for contracts and of the divine-sanction guarantee against their breach. Wissowa suggested that Semo Sancus is the genius of Jupiter, [200] but the concept of a deity's genius is a development of the Imperial period. [201]

Some aspects of the oath-ritual for Dius Fidius (such as proceedings under the open sky or in the compluvium of private residences), and the fact the temple of Sancus had no roof, suggest that the oath sworn by Dius Fidius predated that for Iuppiter Lapis or Iuppiter Feretrius. [202]

Genius Edit

Augustine quotes Varro who explains the genius as "the god who is in charge and has the power to generate everything" and "the rational spirit of all (therefore, everyone has their own)". Augustine concludes that Jupiter should be considered the genius of the universe. [203]

G. Wissowa advanced the hypothesis that Semo Sancus is the genius of Jupiter. [200] W. W. Fowler has cautioned that this interpretation looks to be an anachronism and it would only be acceptable to say that Sancus is a Genius Iovius, as it appears from the Iguvine Tables. [204]

Censorinus cites Granius Flaccus as saying that "the Genius was the same entity as the Lar" in his lost work De Indigitamentis. [205] [206] probably referring to the Lar Familiaris. Mutunus Tutunus had his shrine at the foot of the Velian Hill near those of the Di Penates and of Vica Pota, who were among the most ancient gods of the Roman community of according to Wissowa. [207]

Dumézil opines that the attribution of a Genius to the gods should be earlier than its first attestation of 58 BC, in an inscription which mentions the Iovis Genius. [208]

A connection between Genius and Jupiter seems apparent in Plautus' comedy Amphitryon, in which Jupiter takes up the looks of Alcmena's husband in order to seduce her: J. Hubeaux sees there a reflection of the story that Scipio Africanus' mother conceived him with a snake that was in fact Jupiter transformed. [209] Scipio himself claimed that only he would rise to the mansion of the gods through the widest gate. [210]

Among the Etruscan Penates there is a Genius Iovialis who comes after Fortuna and Ceres and before Pales. [211] Genius Iovialis is one of the Penates of the humans and not of Jupiter though, as these were located in region I of Martianus Capella' s division of Heaven, while Genius appears in regions V and VI along with Ceres, Favor (possibly a Roman approximation to an Etruscan male manifestation of Fortuna) and Pales. [212] This is in accord with the definition of the Penates of man being Fortuna, Ceres, Pales and Genius Iovialis and the statement in Macrobius that the Larentalia were dedicated to Jupiter as the god whence the souls of men come from and to whom they return after death. [213]

Summanus Edit

The god of nighttime lightning has been interpreted as an aspect of Jupiter, either a chthonic manifestation of the god or a separate god of the underworld. A statue of Summanus stood on the roof of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, and Iuppiter Summanus is one of the epithets of Jupiter. [214] Dumézil sees the opposition Dius Fidius versus Summanus as complementary, interpreting it as typical to the inherent ambiguity of the sovereign god exemplified by that of Mitra and Varuna in Vedic religion. [215] The complementarity of the epithets is shown in inscriptions found on puteals or bidentals reciting either fulgur Dium conditum [216] or fulgur Summanum conditum in places struck by daytime versus nighttime lightning bolts respectively. [217] This is also consistent with the etymology of Summanus, deriving from sub and mane (the time before morning). [218]

Liber Edit

Iuppiter was associated with Liber through his epithet of Liber (association not yet been fully explained by scholars, due to the scarcity of early documentation). In the past, it was maintained that Liber was only a progressively-detached hypostasis of Jupiter consequently, the vintage festivals were to be attributed only to Iuppiter Liber. [219] Such a hypothesis was rejected as groundless by Wissowa, although he was a supporter of Liber's Jovian origin. [220] Olivier de Cazanove [221] contends that it is difficult to admit that Liber (who is present in the oldest calendars—those of Numa—in the Liberalia and in the month of Liber at Lavinium) [222] was derived from another deity. Such a derivation would find support only in epigraphic documents, primarily from the Osco-Sabellic area. [223] Wissowa sets the position of Iuppiter Liber within the framework of an agrarian Jupiter. The god also had a temple in this name on the Aventine in Rome, which was restored by Augustus and dedicated on September 1. Here, the god was sometimes named Liber [224] and sometimes Libertas. [225] Wissowa opines that the relationship existed in the concept of creative abundance through which the supposedly-separate Liber might have been connected [226] to the Greek god Dionysos, although both deities might not have been originally related to viticulture.

Other scholars assert that there was no Liber (other than a god of wine) within historical memory. [227] O. de Cazanove [228] argues that the domain of the sovereign god Jupiter was that of sacred, sacrificial wine (vinum inferium), [229] while that of Liber and Libera was confined to secular wine (vinum spurcum) [230] these two types were obtained through differing fermentation processes. The offer of wine to Liber was made possible by naming the mustum (grape juice) stored in amphoras sacrima. [231] Sacred wine was obtained by the natural fermentation of juice of grapes free from flaws of any type, religious (e. g. those struck by lightning, brought into contact with corpses or wounded people or coming from an unfertilised grapeyard) or secular (by "cutting" it with old wine). Secular (or "profane") wine was obtained through several types of manipulation (e.g. by adding honey, or mulsum using raisins, or passum by boiling, or defrutum). However, the sacrima used for the offering to the two gods for the preservation of grapeyards, vessels and wine [232] was obtained only by pouring the juice into amphors after pressing. [233] The mustum was considered spurcum (dirty), and thus unusable in sacrifices. [234] The amphor (itself not an item of sacrifice) permitted presentation of its content on a table or could be added to a sacrifice this happened at the auspicatio vindamiae for the first grape [235] and for ears of corn of the praemetium on a dish (lanx) at the temple of Ceres. [236]

Dumézil, on the other hand, sees the relationship between Jupiter and Liber as grounded in the social and political relevance of the two gods (who were both considered patrons of freedom). [237] The Liberalia of March were, since earliest times, the occasion for the ceremony of the donning of the toga virilis or libera (which marked the passage into adult citizenship by young people). Augustine relates that these festivals had a particularly obscene character: a phallus was taken to the fields on a cart, and then back in triumph to town. In Lavinium they lasted a month, during which the population enjoyed bawdy jokes. The most honest matronae were supposed to publicly crown the phallus with flowers, to ensure a good harvest and repeal the fascinatio (evil eye). [222] In Rome representations of the sex organs were placed in the temple of the couple Liber Libera, who presided over the male and female components of generation and the "liberation" of the semen. [238] This complex of rites and beliefs shows that the divine couple's jurisdiction extended over fertility in general, not only that of grapes. The etymology of Liber (archaic form Loifer, Loifir) was explained by Émile Benveniste as formed on the IE theme *leudh- plus the suffix -es- its original meaning is "the one of germination, he who ensures the sprouting of crops". [239]

The relationship of Jupiter with freedom was a common belief among the Roman people, as demonstrated by the dedication of the Mons Sacer to the god after the first secession of the plebs. Later inscriptions also show the unabated popular belief in Jupiter as bestower of freedom in the imperial era. [240]

Veiove Edit

Scholars have been often puzzled by Ve(d)iove (or Veiovis, or Vedius) and unwilling to discuss his identity, claiming our knowledge of this god is insufficient. [241] Most, however, agree that Veiove is a sort of special Jupiter or anti-Iove, or even an underworld Jupiter. In other words, Veiove is indeed the Capitoline god himself, who takes up a different, diminished appearance (iuvenis and parvus, young and gracile), in order to be able to discharge sovereign functions over places, times and spheres that by their own nature are excluded from the direct control of Jupiter as Optimus Maximus. [242] This conclusion is based on information provided by Gellius, [243] who states his name is formed by adding prefix ve (here denoting "deprivation" or "negation") to Iove (whose name Gellius posits as rooted in the verb iuvo "I benefit"). D. Sabbatucci has stressed the feature of bearer of instability and antithesis to cosmic order of the god, who threatens the kingly power of Jupiter as Stator and Centumpeda and whose presence occurs side by side to Janus' on January 1, but also his function of helper to the growth of the young Jupiter. [244] In 1858 Ludwig Preller suggested that Veiovis may be the sinister double of Jupiter. [245]

In fact, the god (under the name Vetis) is placed in the last case (number 16) of the outer rim of the Piacenza Liver—before Cilens (Nocturnus), who ends (or begins in the Etruscan vision) the disposition of the gods. In Martianus Capella's division of heaven, he is found in region XV with the dii publici as such, he numbers among the infernal (or antipodal) gods. The location of his two temples in Rome—near those of Jupiter (one on the Capitoline Hill, in the low between the arx and the Capitolium, between the two groves where the asylum founded by Romulus stood, the other on the Tiber Island near that of Iuppiter Iurarius, later also known as temple of Aesculapius) [246] —may be significant in this respect, along with the fact that he is considered the father [247] of Apollo, perhaps because he was depicted carrying arrows. He is also considered to be the unbearded Jupiter. [248] The dates of his festivals support the same conclusion: they fall on January 1, [249] March 7 [250] and May 21, [251] the first date being the recurrence of the Agonalia, dedicated to Janus and celebrated by the king with the sacrifice of a ram. The nature of the sacrifice is debated Gellius states capra, a female goat, although some scholars posit a ram. This sacrifice occurred rito humano, which may mean "with the rite appropriate for human sacrifice". [252] Gellius concludes by stating that this god is one of those who receive sacrifices so as to persuade them to refrain from causing harm.

The arrow is an ambivalent symbol it was used in the ritual of the devotio (the general who vowed had to stand on an arrow). [253] It is perhaps because of the arrow and of the juvenile looks that Gellius identifies Veiove with Apollo [254] and as a god who must receive worship in order to obtain his abstention from harming men, along with Robigus and Averruncus. [255] The ambivalence in the identity of Veiove is apparent in the fact that while he is present in places and times which may have a negative connotation (such as the asylum of Romulus in between the two groves on the Capitol, the Tiberine island along with Faunus and Aesculapius, the kalends of January, the nones of March, and May 21, a statue of his nonetheless stands in the arx. Moreover, the initial particle ve- which the ancient supposed were part of his name is itself ambivalent as it may have both an accrescitive and diminutive value. [256]

Maurice Besnier has remarked that a temple to Iuppiter was dedicated by praetor Lucius Furius Purpureo before the battle of Cremona against the Celtic Cenomani of Cisalpine Gaul. [257] An inscription found at Brescia in 1888 shows that Iuppiter Iurarius was worshipped there [258] and one found on the south tip of Tiber Island in 1854 that there was a cult to the god on the spot too. [259] Besnier speculates that Lucius Furius had evoked the chief god of the enemy and built a temple to him in Rome outside the pomerium. On January 1, the Fasti Praenestini record the festivals of Aesculapius and Vediove on the Island, while in the Fasti Ovid speaks of Jupiter and his grandson. [260] Livy records that in 192 BC, duumvir Q. Marcus Ralla dedicated to Jupiter on the Capitol the two temples promised by L. Furius Purpureo, one of which was that promised during the war against the Gauls. [261] Besnier would accept a correction to Livy's passage (proposed by Jordan) to read aedes Veiovi instead of aedes duae Iovi. Such a correction concerns the temples dedicated on the Capitol: it does not address the question of the dedication of the temple on the Island, which is puzzling, since the place is attested epigraphically as dedicated to the cult of Iuppiter Iurarius, in the Fasti Praenestini of Vediove [262] and to Jupiter according to Ovid. The two gods may have been seen as equivalent: Iuppiter Iurarius is an awesome and vengeful god, parallel to the Greek Zeus Orkios, the avenger of perjury. [263]

A. Pasqualini has argued that Veiovis seems related to Iuppiter Latiaris, as the original figure of this Jupiter would have been superseded on the Alban Mount, whereas it preserved its gruesome character in the ceremony held on the sanctuary of the Latiar Hill, the southernmost hilltop of the Quirinal in Rome, which involved a human sacrifice. The gens Iulia had gentilician cults at Bovillae where a dedicatory inscription to Vediove has been found in 1826 on an ara. [264] According to Pasqualini it was a deity similar to Vediove, wielder of lightningbolts and chthonic, who was connected to the cult of the founders who first inhabited the Alban Mount and built the sanctuary. Such a cult once superseded on the Mount would have been taken up and preserved by the Iulii, private citizens bound to the sacra Albana by their Alban origin. [265]

Victoria Edit

Victoria was connected to Iuppiter Victor in his role as bestower of military victory. Jupiter, as a sovereign god, was considered as having the power to conquer anyone and anything in a supernatural way his contribution to military victory was different from that of Mars (god of military valour). Victoria appears first on the reverse of coins representing Venus (driving the quadriga of Jupiter, with her head crowned and with a palm in her hand) during the first Punic War. Sometimes, she is represented walking and carrying a trophy. [266]

A temple was dedicated to the goddess afterwards on the Palatine, testifying to her high station in the Roman mind. When Hieron of Syracuse presented a golden statuette of the goddess to Rome, the Senate had it placed in the temple of Capitoline Jupiter among the greatest (and most sacred) deities. [267] Although Victoria played a significant role in the religious ideology of the late Republic and the Empire, she is undocumented in earlier times. A function similar to hers may have been played by the little-known Vica Pota.

Terminus Edit

Juventas and Terminus were the gods who, according to legend, [268] refused to leave their sites on the Capitol when the construction of the temple of Jupiter was undertaken. Therefore, they had to be reserved a sacellum within the new temple. Their stubbornness was considered a good omen it would guarantee youth, stability and safety to Rome on its site. [269] This legend is generally thought by scholars to indicate their strict connection with Jupiter. An inscription found near Ravenna reads Iuppiter Ter., [270] indicating that Terminus is an aspect of Jupiter.

Terminus is the god of boundaries (public and private), as he is portrayed in literature. The religious value of the boundary marker is documented by Plutarch, [271] who ascribes to king Numa the construction of temples to Fides and Terminus and the delimitation of Roman territory. Ovid gives a vivid description of the rural rite at a boundary of fields of neighbouring peasants on February 23 (the day of the Terminalia. [272] On that day, Roman pontiffs and magistrates held a ceremony at the sixth mile of the Via Laurentina (ancient border of the Roman ager, which maintained a religious value). This festival, however, marked the end of the year and was linked to time more directly than to space (as attested by Augustine's apologia on the role of Janus with respect to endings). [273] Dario Sabbatucci has emphasised the temporal affiliation of Terminus, a reminder of which is found in the rite of the regifugium. [274] G. Dumézil, on the other hand, views the function of this god as associated with the legalistic aspect of the sovereign function of Jupiter. Terminus would be the counterpart of the minor Vedic god Bagha, who oversees the just and fair division of goods among citizens. [275]

Iuventas Edit

Along with Terminus, Iuventas (also known as Iuventus and Iuunta) represents an aspect of Jupiter (as the legend of her refusal to leave the Capitol Hill demonstrates. Her name has the same root as Juno (from Iuu-, "young, youngster") the ceremonial litter bearing the sacred goose of Juno Moneta stopped before her sacellum on the festival of the goddess. Later, she was identified with the Greek Hebe. The fact that Jupiter is related to the concept of youth is shown by his epithets Puer, Iuuentus and Ioviste (interpreted as "the youngest" by some scholars). [276] Dumézil noted the presence of the two minor sovereign deities Bagha and Aryaman beside the Vedic sovereign gods Varuna and Mitra (though more closely associated with Mitra) the couple would be reflected in Rome by Terminus and Iuventas. Aryaman is the god of young soldiers. The function of Iuventas is to protect the iuvenes (the novi togati of the year, who are required to offer a sacrifice to Jupiter on the Capitol) [277] and the Roman soldiers (a function later attributed to Juno). King Servius Tullius, in reforming the Roman social organisation, required that every adolescent offer a coin to the goddess of youth upon entering adulthood. [278]

In Dumézil's analysis, the function of Iuventas (the personification of youth), was to control the entrance of young men into society and protect them until they reach the age of iuvenes or iuniores (i.e. of serving the state as soldiers). [279] A temple to Iuventas was promised in 207 BC by consul Marcus Livius Salinator and dedicated in 191 BC. [280]

Penates Edit

The Romans considered the Penates as the gods to whom they owed their own existence. [281] As noted by Wissowa Penates is an adjective, meaning "those of or from the penus" the innermost part, most hidden recess [282] Dumézil though refuses Wissowa's interpretation of penus as the storeroom of a household. As a nation the Romans honoured the Penates publici: Dionysius calls them Trojan gods as they were absorbed into the Trojan legend. They had a temple in Rome at the foot of the Velian Hill, near the Palatine, in which they were represented as a couple of male youth. They were honoured every year by the new consuls before entering office at Lavinium, [283] because the Romans believed the Penates of that town were identical to their own. [284]

The concept of di Penates is more defined in Etruria: Arnobius (citing a Caesius) states that the Etruscan Penates were named Fortuna, Ceres, Genius Iovialis and Pales according to Nigidius Figulus, they included those of Jupiter, of Neptune, of the infernal gods and of mortal men. [285] According to Varro the Penates reside in the recesses of Heaven and are called Consentes and Complices by the Etruscans because they rise and set together, are twelve in number and their names are unknown, six male and six females and are the cousellors and masters of Jupiter. Martianus states they are always in agreement among themselves. [286] While these last gods seem to be the Penates of Jupiter, Jupiter himself along with Juno and Minerva is one of the Penates of man according to some authors. [287]

This complex concept is reflected in Martianus Capella's division of heaven, found in Book I of his De Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae, which places the Di Consentes Penates in region I with the Favores Opertanei Ceres and Genius in region V Pales in region VI Favor and Genius (again) in region VII Secundanus Pales, Fortuna and Favor Pastor in region XI. The disposition of these divine entities and their repetition in different locations may be due to the fact that Penates belonging to different categories (of Jupiter in region I, earthly or of mortal men in region V) are intended. Favor(es) may be the Etruscan masculine equivalent of Fortuna. [288]

Vindolanda Altar to Jupiter Dolichenus

This past July a Roman altar dedicated to Jupiter Dolichenus was discovered in the excavations of the former Roman fort Vindolanda. Vindolanda is near modern Chesterholm, England, just south of Hadrian’s Wall. The altar, weighing roughly 1.5 tons, is carved stone. One side bears a relief image of a jar and a patera, a shallow dish frequently used in religious rituals involving sacrifice. The opposite side depects a male figure in Roman clothing standing on the back of a bull. He bears a thunderbolt in one hand, and a battle axe in the other. A third side bears an inscription in Latin. The text reads:

Sulpicius Pu
dens praef
coh IIII Gall
V. S. L. M.

The inscription uses standard abbreviations and dedicates the altar to “To Jupiter Best and Greatest of Doliche, Sulpicius Pudens, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Gauls, fulfilled his vow gladly and deservedly.”

What’s particularly interesting about this altar is that it is inside the walls of the fort proper, in an area that might conceivably have been a shrine, rather than in or on the exterior walls, as is common all along the forts and guard posts associated with Hadrian’s Wall.After preliminary excavation, the bottom half of a second alter was discovered, suggesting that there may have been a more formal shrine. The second altar was dedicated to Dolichenus by a prefect of the Second Cohort of Nervians, a Vindolanda regiment that later moved to the fort at Whitley Castle in the third century. There were animal remains as well, which suggests that there may have formal sacrifices and feasts in the vicinity.

We know from the Vindolanda tablets that Sulpicius Pudens was the commanding officer of the Roman regiment stationed in Vindolanda during the third century C.E. It would have been fairly typical for Sulpicius Pudens to have had the altar created and dedicated to the deity in fulfillment of an oath. It would also appear that this is the same Pudens who dedicated a smaller altar on another wall of the fort.

The Romans enlisted soldiers from all over the empire and those men tended to bring their gods with them, and adapt the local deities as well. Jupiter Dolichenus was a deity that Romans in Anatolia adopted there, he is associated with a hill outside the Turkish town of Dülük, (then known as Doliche). He began to be popular among Roman soldiers stationed nearby during the beginning of the second century C.E. From Duluk, the soldiers carried him all over the empire—leaving hundreds of inscriptions and altars dedicated to him. In Anatolia, Dolichenus was a deity associated with weather, known to the local Semitic speakers as Hadad, and to the Indo-European Hittites as Teshab. The sobriquet “Jupiter” was added by Roman worshipers who identified Dolichenus as an avatar of Jupiter.

You can find more here and here. There are several other altars, and stone building inscriptions at Vindolanda, but nothing as dramatic as this.

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Digital Images

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Publication drawings illustrating the different phases of Newstead fort. Roxburgh Inventory fig. 424.

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View of artefact from the James Curle excavation 1905-1909.

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Professor Dennis W Harding

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the N, centred on the southern annexe. The Newstead by-pass (under construction) runs across the photograph.

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the NW, centred on the southern annexe. The Newstead by-pass (under construction) runs across the photograph.

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the WNW, centred on the southern annexe and a temporary camp. The Newstead by-pass (under construction) runs across the photograph.

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the W, centred on the Roman fort and western annexe.

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the WSW, centred on the Roman fort and western annexe.

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Newstead, oblique aerial view, taken from the SSE, centred on the Roman fort eastern annexe and 'great camps' complex.

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Newstead Roman fort and western annexe, oblique aerial view, taken from the SE.

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Oblique aerial view of Newstead centred on the cropmarks of the Roman fort, eastern and southern annexes, enclosure and Roman temporary camps, taken from the SW.

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Oblique aerial view centred on the soilmarks of the Roman fort, taken from the W.

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Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the Roman fort, annexes and temporary camps with the enclosure adjacent, taken from the WNW.

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Detail of stonework at Drygrange summerhouse, incorporating Roman stones from the pit in the principle at Newstead.

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Oblique aerial view of excavation.

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Newstead, Roman forts and temporary camps. Excavation photograph, I A Richmond Antonine I dividing-wall, looking W

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Antonine fort wall and cobbled foundation of Flavian II rampart

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Newstead, Roman forts and temporary camps. Excavation photograph, I A Richmond S wall of Antonine I barrack, on Flavian II intervallum road.

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Publication drawings illustrating the different phases of Newstead fort. Roxburgh Inventory fig. 424.

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Excavation photograph showing drain carrying water from outer court Praetorium passing through ambulatory, S side, taken during the James Curle excavation 1905-1909.

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Excavation photograph showing workman indicating scale in excavated trench, taken during the James Curle excavation 1905-1909.

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© Courtesy of HES (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Collection)

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Excavation photograph taken during the James Curle excavation 1905-1909.

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

© Courtesy of HES (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Collection)

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Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the Roman fort and fort annexes, taken from the WSW.

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Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the possible fort annexe, taken from the ESE.

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Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of Newstead Roman fort and Roman temporary camps with Melrose town and remains of the Eildon Hill North fort in the distance and the Leaderfoot railway viaduct and road bridge in the foreground, taken from the NE. The viaduct is no longer in use.

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Newstead, Roman fort and temporary camps: air photograph showing Eastern annexe (NT 572 343), and 'Great camp' complex of temporary camps (NT 574 341). Also shows pit-alignment and linear feature (NT 576 343 to NT 577 339) at Broomhill

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View of the Newstead excavations. Titled: 'Mackie & myself at Newstead July 1906'. 'Thomas Ross'.


Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Melrose
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

For Trimontium Monument (NT 56848 34513), see NT53SE 68.

NT53SE 20.02 NT 567 343 Western Annexe

NT53SE 20.03 NT 569 341 Southern Annexe Pottery

NT53SE 20.04 NT 572 343 Eastern Annexe

NT53SE 20.05 NT 574 341 Roman Temporary Camps, 'Great Camps' Complex

NT53SE 20.06 NT 570 337 Roman Temporary Camp - 40 acre

NT53SE 20.07 NT 567 337 Roman Temporary Camp - 160 acre

NT53SE 20.08 NT 570 344 Roman Pottery Glass Bead Glass Armlet

NT53SE 20.09 NT 569 342 Annexe (possible)

NT53SE 20.12 NT 570 346 Annexe (possible)

NT53SE 20.13 NT 5650 3435 Ditches Roman Pottery

NT53SE 20.14 NT 572 341 Pitchstone Blade.

NT53SE 20.16 NT 571 343 (centred) Intaglio brooch iron spearhead Samian Ware

(Centred: NT 5710 3439) Trimontium (Roman Fort) (R) (Site of).

Roman Forts and Temporary Camps, Newstead (Site). Of the Roman forts and temporary camps near Newstead no structural remains survive on the surface of the ground, and everything known about them has been learned by excavation (J Curle 1911 I A Richmond 1952) or by air-photography. Their site lies on the S bank of the Tweed, a mile and a half E of Melrose, on a high bluff just E of the village of Newstead, where Dere Street crossed the river.

The N side of the site is completely protected by the bluff, while on the other sides a shallow trough to the S, now occupied by the main railway-line to Carlisle, and a gentle fall to E and W ensure good immediate dominance of the situation. The westward outlook, up the Tweed valley, is good, but all other vistas are short, as often in a bridge-head site. If, however, the choice of site was partly determined by political considerations, it was the best in the locality.

Once chosen, the site was intensively occupied, and it is now clear that the two main periods distinguished by the late Dr James Curle each contained two phases. There were two Flavian occupations, the first beginning with Agricola in AD 80 and the second ending about AD 100 and two Antonine occupations, the first beginning in AD 140 and the second terminating not later than AD 196. The successive forts occupied the same site throughout, and their structures overlie one another in a tangle which can best be resolved by treating each fort separately.

(i) THE AGRICOLAN FORT, facing westwards and covering 10.6 acres, measures 655 ft. from N to S by 705 ft. from E to W over its rampart, of which the line is staggered at each of the four gates, so that the right or unshielded side of the attacker is exposed. The resultant outline, resembling a swastika with staggered tails, is a highly unusual and difficult piece of castrametation. It is matched in Scotland only at Milton (J Roman Stud vol.39) (Dumfriesshire), where, however, the arrangement appears at two gates only and is illogically designed at one of them. At Newstead the gates themselves remain unexcavated. The rampart, 23 ft thick, was of white beaten clay, resting upon a frontal strip of cobbling 7 ft 6 in wide and in front of it on every side of the fort lay two ditches, set 10 ft apart and measuring 8 ft to 9 ft in width and up to 5 ft in depth. Behind the rampart was an open space (intervallum) 50 ft wide, a provision for marshalling the defence and placing the buildings of the fort beyond the range of lethal missiles or fire-darts. Little is known of the buildings themselves they were not observed until recently, when the only structure identified was a timber-framed stable, resting upon timber sole-plates, bordering the south intervallum. The occurrence of such a building, however, implies that the fort was equipped with buildings of at least comparable solidity throughout and that the garrison of this period was not housed, as was once thought, in tents. The stabling attests the presence of cavalry, and the fort is big enough to have held an ala milliaria or two alae quingenariae brigaded together but no specific information as to the garrison of this period is forthcoming.

The erection of the fort is to be associated with Agricola's northward advance in AD 80. As to its end, in the filling of its obliterated ditches were found two coins (J Curle 1911) of AD 86, in mint condition, which can hardly have been current later than AD 90. These would seem to date the supersession of the first fort to the late eighties.

(ii) THE LATE-DOMITIANIC FORT was erected on the site of the Agricolan fort, of which the rampart and buildings were demolished and the ditches obliterated. In filling the Agricolan ditches the demolition party disposed of a good deal of its own rubbish, including remnants of leather tents, a broken mallet and so forth. The new fort which it then set about building was almost rectangular it covered 14.3 acres and measured 760 ft. (N to S) by 820 ft. (E to W) over its rampart, which was of clay. This embodied the Agricolan rampart wherever possible and was 45 ft. thick, an enormous width which implies a correspondingly great height, calculable at about 28 ft. The massive vallum was fronted by a new single ditch, well over 16 ft. wide and 7 ft. 6 in. deep.

The scale of these works, so much larger than those of the Agricolan fort, denotes an intention both to settle down on the site and to make it impregnable. Now that the legion at Inchtuthill had departed for Central Europe, Newstead was the largest and most important military position N of the Cheviots, and this is a context in which the scale of its new defences can be understood. Inside the rampart an intervallum some 50 ft. wide was provided, but, as not uncommonly, it was occupied by at least one narrow building, a cook-house or the like. Both this building and the main barracks of the new fort were erected upon stone foundations set in clay, the absence of mortar implying that the stonework represented the low sill-walls of timber-framed wattle-and-daub buildings roofed with shingles or thatch. The known barrack, a twin block measuring 224 ft. long by 57 ft. wide, is exceptionally large for auxiliary troops and probably belonged to legionaries, whose weapons come from pits of this period on the site. On the main cross-street of the fort, which faced westwards, a twin granary (horreum) and the sacellum, or regimental shrine, of a headquarters building (principia) were identified while in the praetentura, or forward part of the fort, there was noted a single living-room (contubernium) belonging to a barrack-block which consisted of a row of such individual living-quarters. The pits (J Curle 1911) of the period produced both legionary and auxilliary armour, but once more no unit is specifically defined and not enough is known about the number and disposition of barracks or stables in the praetentura to permit an estimate of the accommodation. Outside the W rampart of the fort there was in this period, if not before, a bath-house and, adjoining it, an extendsive courtyard building, resembling a house, which is best explained as a praetorium - a mansio or rest-house for official travellers. It may be compared with the institution (Dessau) of praetoria on the military roads of Thrace under Claudius, and another structure of exactly the same kind has been revealed by air-photography flanking the main road which leaves the N gate of the Flavian fort at Birrens. That this period of occupation ended in disaster there is little doubt. Not only were the buildings set on fire, but the armour and weapons from the pits showed abundant signs of damage. The date of the end is not yet precisely ascertained, but the tentative suggestion of about AD 100 offered above is that which best fits the evidence.

(iii) THE EARLY-ANTONINE FORT was founded on the overgrown ruins of the late-Domitianic rampart, but its vallum, in the then new fashion, was faced externally with a massive stone fort-wall. This enclosed an area of 14.7 acres, measuring 773 ft. (N to S) by 830 ft. (E to W). All that remains of the wall is its foundations, 6 ft. wide by 3 ft. deep, and fragments of a chamfered plinth. There came behind it a rampart 36 ft. wide, backed by ovens situated on an intervallum 29 ft. wide. In front of the fort wall lay two ditches, the outer 6 ft. wide and 3 ft. deep, the inner 8 ft. wide and 3 ft. 6 in. deep, each V-shaped and each with the counterscarp considerably steeper than the scarp. The character of the filling suggested that they were intended to hold entanglements of branches. The outer lip of the outer ditch lay 71 ft. away from the fort wall and that of the inner ditch 33 ft. away, and they were plainly intended to trap attackers in the field of fire best suited to the defenders using hand-missiles.

Inside the fort, which faced E, buildings of this period are known in some detail. The praetentura contains twelve barracks, all divided into eleven living-quarters (contubernia) ten for the men and one for a centurion. The main buildings comprise a large headquarters-building (principia), with the usual colonnaded front courtyard (campus), cross-hall, regimental shrine, and administrative offices for regimental funds and records two granaries, one of each side of the principia, with porticoes on the via quintana behind them and a commandant's house, with private bathing-establishment, as at Mumrills. The N end of the row of main buildings remains unexplored, but must have contained, for example, a hospital. The retentura also remains uninformative as regards buildings of this period. It was cut off from the main buildings by a dividing-wall 6 ft. 6 in. wide, matching the fort wall in size and provided with a single gateway flanked by two rectangular projecting towers. The dividing-wall was associated with neither ditch nor rampart-backing and terminated at the rampart-backing of the main fort-wall which enveloped the retentura though it was here built in different and inferior style.

These arrangements, unique in Britain, are best explained by the fact that the garrison of the period comprised both legionaries and auxiliaries. Thus, the principia yielded an altar dedicated by a centurion of the Twentieth Legion, G Arrius Domitianus, and with it were found both legionary and auxiliary armour, presumably relics from the official armoury of the fort which often lay in the principia. That the legionary centurion was commander of the joint force is further shown by the fact that he dedicated the principal altar in the headquarters building, honouring, as was customary, Jupiter, the patron deity of the Roman army, and also set up altars to deites outside the fort.

The function of the dividing-wall was, then, to separate the two types of unit, and the name of the auxiliary unit is given by another altar, from the parade ground E of the fort, as the ala Augusta Vocontiorum, a calvalry regiment 500 strong. Although none of the barracks or stables of this unit survives, there is in fact exactly room within the walled retentura to contain the eight barracks and eight stables which such a unit required and which have been detected in the forts of similar units (F G Simpson and I A Richmond 1941) on Hadrian's Wall.

To W of the fort the little bath-house of this period also received an enclosing rampart, as if to reserve it for the use of one or other unit.

(iv) THE LATER-ANTONINE FORT came into existence after no long period of disuse, for the early-Antonine ditches were filled up before any noticeable amount of silt had gathered in them. The fort wall was used once more, doubtless with re-building where needed, so that the size and dimensions of the fort thus remain as in the previous period. The width of the rampart-backing, however, was increased to 54 ft., at the expense of the intervallum, which was reduced to a roadway 11 ft. wide. This probably means that cooking and similar operations were now being done upon a shelf cut in the rampart-back itself, but the remains were not preserved to a sufficient height to show this.

Outside the fort wall the ditch system was now re-cut, and comprised three ditches, their outer lips placed at 19 ft., 52 ft., and 86 ft. beyond the wall. These are true V-shaped ditches between 10 ft and 12 ft. wide and approximately 4 ft. deep, and they are plainly intended to check an advance across a field of fire.

Inside the fort the dividing-wall was demolished and the whole of the retentura was now levelled up and filled with stables. The legionary barracks were rebuilt, but, as the liberal provision of stable shows, the garrison was now cavalry, and the twelve barracks of the praetentura are in fact exactly sufficient to accommodate the twenty-four turmae of an ala milliaria. The headquarters building was rebuilt, and received a large hall, 50 ft. wide and 160 ft. long, spanning the via principalis in front of it. It has been suggested that such halls were in fact riding-schools, such as the basilica equestris exercitatoria mentioned in an inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarium, 7, 965) from Netherby, Cumberland and in Britain the only other known examples (Wheeler F G Simpson and I A Richmond 1937) at Brecon Gaer and Halton, are associated with cavalry garrisons but completely convincing proof of identity is not yet forthcoming.

Neither the date of foundation nor the date of evacuation of this latest fort is as yet securely established. As explained in the Introduction (RCAHMS 1956), it seems certain that its beginning was not earlier than AD 158 and its end not later than AD 196, and associated pottery recovered in the fort is consonant with such dating but not susceptible of closer interpretation. The latest coin recorded by Dr Curle is of AD 177.

THE ANNEXES. There is no doubt that in each period of occupation the Roman fort at Newstead was furnished with one or more annexes or fortified compounds intended to house camp-followers or afford temporary shelter to convoys. Dr. Curle recognised at least four of these, attached to every side of the fort except the N. and often subdivided but it was not then possible, in every case, to associate these with given periods. Air-photography, however, has added enough to the general picture for the necessary discrimination to be made.

(i) The W Annexe, of which the main defences comprise at least four ditches and a rampart, was found to be linked first with the ditches of the Agricolan fort and also with the later Antonine phase. It enclosed some 7 acres. In the latter period it was subdivided by an E-W ditch, of which the E half apparently followed an earlier ditch surrounding the baths and their compound and cutting off the later Flavian praetorium adjoining them.

(ii) The E Annexe enclosed over 20 acres. The E end of its N side makes use of part of temporary camp B, and it is shown by air-photography to have been everywhere defended by a double ditch. These ditches continued across the ground later occupied by the S annexe to a point just E of the Agricolan S gateway. Like the W annexe it is presumably Agricolan. The broad single ditch that isolates its W end must be a later development, and may be considered as associated with the large single ditch of the late-Domitianic occupation, if this feature is not really two ditches combined and connected with the early Antonine occupation also.

(iii) The S Annexe, enclosing some 14 1/2 acres, seems to have developed as a subdivided unit from the first. The outer or S half, bounded by a double ditch, goes with the Flavian roadway from the S and was later modified to fit the Antonine road. Air-photography shows that its SE angle was sharper that Curle's plan would suggest. The inner subdivision is similarly related to the roads but looks like a development dating from a time after the Agricolan E annexe had passed out of use, and may itself represent a reduction of the S annexe in the late-Domitianic period.

THE TEMPORARY CAMPS. As at Ardoch or Glenlochar, the vicinity of the fort at Newstead was the scene of many troop movements or concentrations, whether for campaigning or engineering. These have left their mark in the form of five large temporary camps, defended by a slight ditch and rampart, in which the troops bivouacked in their lines of leather tents.

The largest of these (RCAHMS 1956, fig.426, A), covering 1590 ft. by 1340 ft. and furnished with four gateways defended by traverses (tutuli), was identified by excavation E of the fort, on the site where the Antonine altar to the Campestres, or goddesses of the parade-ground, was found. An early cremation burial was also found in its S ditch. This, however, was not the only camp on this part of the site. Aerial photography has identified the W side and N side, with tutulus, of a second (B) whose ditch was later in part used for the E annexe of the Flavian fort and determined its odd shape. The same flight revealed the NW angle and part of the adjacent sides of a third camp (C), without in either case disclosing the whole perimeter.

A fourth large camp (D) lay S of the fort, astride the ridge N of the Bogle Burn, of which air-photography has disclosed the SW angle, NE angle, and E side, but as yet no gateway. This work, measuring 1380 ft. by 1300 ft., crosses both the Flavian and Antonine roads leading to the fort from the S and is thus likely to be earlier than either. It occupies much the same site as a fifth camp (E), of which air-photography has so far revealed only the E side, with a gate defended by a tutulus. This camp seems to have lain along the W side of the Antonine road and its SE angle appears to have been eroded by the Bogle Burn.

THE ROADSIDE POST. The crest of the ridge N of the Bogle Burn is occupied by a small post (F), measuring 180 ft. square and possessing an outlook southwards which is denied to the main fort. It must have lain very close to the point where Dere Street crossed the ridge on the direct line from Eildon to the Tweed crossing. A trial trench, cut in 1947 by Dr St Joseph, produced a fragment of Flavian Samian ware from the site, but its internal arrangements are otherwise unknown and it is impossible to say whether its purpose was for signalling or for supervision of traffic, to mention the two most obvious possible functions.

EARTHWORK. Within the SW quadrant of the fourth of the temporary camps mentioned above, and on the same ridge as is occupied by the roadside post, air-photography has revealed the S half of an earthwork possibly a native fort. No remains are visible on the ground, but the air-photographs suggest that it was a double-ditched, broadly-oval work measuring about 360 ft. by 330 ft. over all.

THE SITE IN POST-ROMAN TIMES. Even when abandoned by their builders, the Roman ruins at Newstead seem to have retained some kind of shadowy significance. That the area was inhabited in post-Roman times is proved by the occurrence of Roman dressed stones in an earth-house (RCAHMS 1956, No.611). Again, Professor R S Loomis (1949) notes that about 1220 Guillaume le Clerc, in the Fergus romance, identified "Mont Dolerous" with the mountain of Melrose and located on it a castle overhanging a deep river and he accepts a suggestion that the poet may have had in mind the remains of the Roman fortifications, still conspicuous in his day.

In the 18th century the site was supposed to be that of an abbey and was known as "Red Abbey-steed" (A Milne 1743), a name perpetuated as "Redabbey Stead" on the second edition (1899) of the 6-inch OS map.

A number of carved stones and altars have been discovered in and around the Forts and Camps and are described by the RCAHMS. Four altars and two stones, together with a cast of a third are in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, and one of the stones is in the Melrose Abbey Museum.

Information from OS Recorder (DT) 26 February 1957

Among other finds made on the surface of the fort in 1966 were two second brass of Antoninus Pius, which were retained by the finder and a sestertius of Trajan was donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) in 1966.

J Elliot 1966 Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1967

There are at least three camps to the east of the fort.

Information from J K St Joseph 8 April 1978

Magnetometer survey and exploratory excavations were undertaken in the SW part of the Fort, to the W of the so-called 'reducing' or 'dividing' wall in order to investigate indications of industrial activities from surface finds.

Field walking over several years by Walter Elliot has produced from this part of the site a variety of finds, including the wasters and metal working slags. The magnetometer survey showed a complex picture suggesting intense activity. The most substantial magnetic anomaly was of a magnitude and size to suggest a kiln. Excavation in the area of this feature in fact showed it to be a very dense bank of magnetic iron slag, part of a substantial smithing occupation. An area 10 by 10m was opened, but only the upper levels of a complex stratification could be excavated in the time available. The earliest feature identified was a deposit of heavy cobbles set in grey clay, exposed in a field drain trench and extending over an area of several square metres at least.

Its nature could not be established in this excavation.

The major phase examined consisted of a series of iron smithing hearths set in a complex accumulation of iron working debris. In one part there was a sequence of at least six hearths superimposed one above the other. Some were substantial structures surrounded by clay and stone walling, others survived as more ephemeral features with slighter traces of clay surrounds. The fuel used in the smithing process was coal.

These activities seem to have taken place inside one of the stone buildings located 80 years ago by James Curle.

These smithing deposits and the wall of the stone building were sealed by a roughly cobbled earth floor, into which were cut more industrial features, perhaps associated with lead working. Both these two latter phases have produced pottery of the Antonine period.

This season's work has given no confirmation at all to Richmond's hypothesis that this part of the Fort housed a cavalry unit in the early Antonine period. The field work and excavation have however revealed substantial 2nd century industrial activities in the SW quarter of the Fort, including probable tile/brick making and iron smelting, as well as lead working and iron smithing.

R Jones and M Gillings 1987

A magnetometer survey in the SW part of the fort showed substantial anomaly readings, particularly within Building XXII. An area 10 by 10m was excavated, revealing a cobbled surface at a depth of 0.3m with traces of a channel cut in it and several hollows associated with lead-working, later sealed with stones. Beneath the cobbles lay a wall, probably the west wall of Building XXII inside the latter lay an accumulation of iron-working debris and a sequence of six superimposed smithing-hearths. The high magnetic reading was caused by a solid bank of slag at the edge of one of these. The fuel used was coal.

The remains suggest a fabrica rather than a barrack and sustained production at a high level of activity. (Work for Bradford University was directed by Mr M Gillings and Dr R J F Jones)

S S Frere 1988 E J MacKie 1971 P Ashbee 1989

Part of a small annexe was revealed by RCAHMS aerial survey, under unusually favourable soil- and crop-conditions, near the SW angle of the fort. Its relationship with the road running N to the S gate of the Domitianic fort suggests a Flavian date.

Excavation in the SW of the fort revealed that in earlier Antonine occupations the 'Dividing Wall' had separated an extensive industrial area from more conventional fort buildings. Fort buildings constructed of rammed earth walls on stone foundations had at least two phases of modification. After demolition of the 'Dividing Wall' a sequence of sill-beam timber buildings was constructed over the industrial area. Following demolition of fort buildings a ditch was cut through the collapsed walls and the back of the rampart. Geophysical survey revealed plan detail of W sector of the fort and survey to the S indicated potential industrial structures aligned on 2 S roads from the fort. Also suggestions of masonry buildings S of the fort.

Possible 'traffic island' of Flavian date examined where westerly of 2 southern roads met to S Annexe ditch.

It is obvious now that the military complex at Newstead was considerably larger and more complex than previously thought.

Sponsors: National Museum of Scotland (NMS), University of Bradford, British Academy, Borders

Regional Council, Society of Antiquaries of London.

Geophysical survey on sloping ground N of the fort suggested ditches running N to the River Tweed.

NT 570 343 (centre) A jasper intaglio bearing an image of the emperor Caracalla was found near the N gate of the fort. Claimed as Treasure Trove (TT 114/99) and allocated to NMS (FRA 4771) it is displayed in the Trimontium Museum in Melrose, where it is on long-term loan.

A wide range of other finds have been recovered after ploughing, claimed as Treasure Trove (TT 116-17/99) and allocated to NMS, where full listings are held. Significant finds include brooch fragments, a button and loop fastener, and an architectural stone block bearing decorative mouldings (NMS FV 66) which is probably from the fort's S gate.

NT 571 343 (centre) Extensive fieldwalking collections built up over 30 years were recently donated to NMS. The material includes a large number of intaglios (all previously published), unpublished copper-alloy finds (including knee and trumpet brooches, a dumb-bell strap mount, an enamelled belt fitting and a bell), a clay slingshot, a lamp fragment, and large quantities of pottery.

Additionally a base sherd of samian (now in NMS) was found casually at NT 572 348 it is from a Dr 33 C Gaulish cup and is stamped 'REGINM'.

Stone mould NT 571 345 Stone mould found casually just outwith the NE corner of Newstead fort (NT53SE 20). It is a small sandstone block, 45-53mm square, with moulds on two adjacent faces. One is for an ingot, the other for an unidentified D-shaped object with a central pendant bar this was probably a blank which would subsequently be hammered to shape. The type is undiagnostic but the findspot suggests a Roman date.

Roman Altar to Jupiter, Newstead - History

Roman standard-bearers march out on campaign: a scene from Trajan's Column. The legion's eagle, borne by an aquilifer, is at the centre. Other standards display portait medallions of the emperor and his predecessors, while a vexillium, or flag, probably proclaims the unit's titles.
© Author's collection

Each year vows to Jupiter were renewed at every fort, and fresh altars dedicated. The old ones were reverently buried. An example (below left) comes from Newstead, and probably dates to the Antonine reoccupation of the fort in the 140s. IOM stands for Iovi Optimo Maximo - Jupiter Best and Greatest. Gaius Arrius Domitianus, a centurion of the Twentieth Valeria Victrix Legion, is the dedicator. The final letters V.S.L.L.M. indicate that Gaius has “gladly, willingly, and deservedly fulfilled his vow.”

Gaius dedicated two other altars at Newstead. Both are to deities of the wilds - Silvanus, a god of the woods, and Diana, the goddess of hunting. It would be natural for Roman troops, reoccupying a long-abandoned fort site, to propitiate the deities who might haunt it. Of particular interest is the dedication to Silvanus, which is made not only for the welfare of Gaius himself but also that of his family.

Altars to Jupiter, along with images and dedications to the emperor, were kept in a fort’s headquarters building, or principia, where they provided a focus of power and loyalty. Here the commanding officer presided over religious ceremonies such as the suovetaurilia, which involved the sacrifice of a bull, a boar, and a ram. Augury was also conducted in this sacred area. This was not concerned with the prediction of future events, but with obtaining through favourable signs, or auspices, divine approval for intended actions. The emperor was the chief augur, for he was considered to have a special link to the gods. His subordinates could therefore only carry out augury on his behalf, or “under his auspices”.

In this scene from the Bridgeness Slab the commander of the Second Augusta Legion pours a libation on an altar in preparation for the suovetaurilia. This powerful ceremony of purification was conducted at the start or conclusion of major enterprises such as the building of the Antonine Wall.
© SCRAN/National Museums of Scotland

The Romans believed in a parallel spirit world which touched every aspect of nature and human affairs. It encompassed universal deities like Jupiter down to godlings who might inhabit a particular tree or cupboard. Abstract concepts such as victory, discipline, concord, or good luck were also presided over by their special gods. It was therefore in everyone's best interest to recognise and propitiate the deities relevant to any situation. Sometimes this involved the building of temples, but the gods could be anywhere. At all costs they were not to be offended, and with luck they might even grant mortals their support and approval.

A tombstone found near the Antonine Wall fort at Mumrills illustrates the universality of the Roman army and its religion. The inscription translates:

“To the Divine Shades. Here lies Nectovelius, son of Vindex. Aged thirty, and a Brigantian by birth, he served for nine years in the Second Thracian Cohort.”

Nectovelius was a native Briton, born into the great Brigantian tribe which inhabited the area now covered by northern England and parts of south-west Scotland. He joined the Roman army as an auxiliary at the age of 21, and ended his service on the Antonine Wall. In his short life he must have encountered the Celtic deities of his homeland, the Hellenistic gods of his regiment, and the great protectors of the Roman state. After nine years of service on the frontier Nectovelius earned a Roman burial with full military honours.

Caerleon's Roman Legion

This is a reproduction of an altar found in Scotland.

The original was made (or commissioned) by Marcus Cocceius Firmus, a centurion of the Second Legion Augusta.

Altars such as this were either made before battle asking for help in the coming fight, or after as a thanksgiving.

This example was found near the fort headquarters, often they were sited in a temple. Incense was burnt in the top. It was believed that the smoke carried the message to heaven - in this case to Jupiter.

Marcus survived his years in the army and returned home to the Black Sea.

Follow this link for an altar found in Caerwent. Probably erected by an optio from Caerleon's Roman legion.

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The dates of the great festivals were set out in the ritual calendar, which was first drawn up by the legendary King Numa, the successor of Romulus. Copies, inscribed on stone, survive, but almost all date from the reign of Emperor Augustus, and if Numa's calendar ever existed, it had undergone changes over time. Every month except September had festivals. Some lost their original meaning and acquired a new one. The shepherds' festival in April for the protection of their flocks known as the Parilia became a birthday festival for Rome. There were festivals for the dead—the Parentalia every February and the Lemuria in May—which were essentially family festivals. The Saturnalia in December was also a family festival, though it started with sacrifices at the temple of Saturn the feasting when masters and slaves exchanged roles, and presents were given, all took place inside the household.


Our last name was found sometime after 1863 when the Vindolanda property was owned by antiquarian John Clayton. During improvements to farm drains the tombstone of Brigomaglos was found and he is regarded as a late fifth or early sixth century Christian from the Hic Iacit formula or early Christian formula on the stone.

It is translated to ‘Brigomaglos lies here’. The name of Brigomaglos is a familiar type of Celtic name, consisting of two main elements ‘brigo’ meaning ‘high’ and ‘maglos’ meaning ‘chief, lord’. We do know that there was a Christian community living at Vindolanda in this period.

Sketch of the tombstone of Brigomaglos.

Recent excavations have revealed a number of small chapel churches as well as other object with Christian symbolism. A new permanent exhibition room opened in September 2020 at Vindolanda about this period.

Barbara Birley is Curator for Roman Vindolanda Site & Museum and the Roman Army Museum. She and other curators of the remarkable collections from Hadrian’s Wall present a striking new contribution to understanding the archaeology of a Roman frontier in ‘Living on the Edge of Empire‘ by Rob Collins, available to order now. It was published by Pen and Sword on 3 August 2020.

Watch the video: Temple of Capitoline Jupiter