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This webpage reproduces a portion of
Roman Questions


published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1936

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. IV) Plutarch, Moralia

 p77  Roman Questions

(Part 3 of 5 on this website)

45 275e Why on the festival of the Veneralia do they pour out a great quantity of wine from the temple of Venus?104

Is it true, as most authorities affirm, that Mezentius, general of the Etruscans, sent to Aeneas and offered peace on condition of his receiving the year's vintage? But when Aeneas refused, Mezentius promised his Etruscans that when he had prevailed in battle, he would give them the wine. Aeneas learned of his promise and consecrated the wine to the gods, and after his victory he collected all the vintage and poured it out in front of the temple of Venus.

Or is this also symbolic, indicating that men should be sober and not drunken on festival days, since the gods take more pleasure in those who spill much strong drink than in those who imbibe it?

f 46 1   Why did the men of old keep the temple of Horta continually open?

Is it, as Antistius Labeo has stated, that since "to  p79 urge on" is expressed by hortari, Horta is the goddess who urges us on, as it were, and incites us to noble actions; and thus they thought that, since she was ever active, she should never be procrastinating nor shut off by herself nor unemployed?

Or rather do they call her, as at present, Hora, with the first syllable lengthened, an attentive and very considerate goddess, who, 276since she was protective and thoughtful, they felt was never indifferent nor neglectful of human affairs?

Or is this too like many other Latin words, a Greek word, and does it signify the supervising and guardian goddess? Hence her temple was continually open since she neither slumbers nor sleeps.

If, however, Labeo be right in pointing out that Hora is derived from "parorman"​105 (to urge on), consider whether we must not declare that orator is thus to be derived, since an orator is a counsellor or popular leader who stimulates, as it were, and incites; and it is not to be derived from "imprecating" or "praying" (orare), as some assert.

b 47 1   Why did Romulus build the temple of Vulcan outside the city?

Was it in consequence of Vulcan's fabled jealousy of Mars because of Venus​106 that Romulus, the reputed son of Mars, did not give Vulcan a share in his home or his city?

Or is this a foolish explanation, and was the temple originally built as a secret place of assembly and council-chamber for himself and his colleague Tatius,  p81 that here they might convene with the senators and take counsel concerning public affairs in quiet without being disturbed?

Or was it that since Rome, from the very beginning, has been in great danger from conflagrations, they decided to show honour to this god, but to place his temple outside of the city?107

c 48 1   Why is it that at festival of the Consualia they place garlands on both the horses and the asses and allow them to rest?

Is it because they celebrate this festival in honour of Poseidon, god of horses,​108 and the ass enjoys a share in the horse's exemption?

Or is it that since navigation and transport by sea have been discovered, pack animals have come to enjoy a certain measure of ease and rest?

49 1   Why was it the custom for those canvassing for office to do so in the toga without the tunic, as Cato has recorded?109

Was it in order that they might not carry money in the folds of their tunic and give bribes?

dOr was it rather because they used to judge candidates worthy of office, not by their family nor their wealth nor their repute, but by their wounds and scars? Accordingly that these might be visible to those that encountered them, they used to go down to their canvassing without tunics.

Or were they trying to commend themselves to popular favour by thus humiliating themselves by their scanty attire, even as they do by hand-shaking, personal appeals, and fawning behaviour?

 p83  50 1   Why did the priest of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) resign his office if his wife died, as Ateius has recorded?110

Is it because the man who has taken a wife and then lost her is more unfortunate than one who has never taken a wife? For the house of the married man is complete, but the house of him who has married and later lost his wife is not only incomplete, but also crippled.

eOr is it because the wife assists her husband in the rites, so that many of them cannot be performed without the wife's presence, and for a man who has lost his wife to marry again immediately is neither possible perhaps nor otherwise seemly? Wherefore it was formerly illegal for the flamen to divorce his wife; and it is still, as it seems, illegal, but in my day Domitian once permitted it on petition. The priests were present at that ceremony of divorce and performed many horrible, strange, and gloomy rites.​111

One might be less surprised at this resignation of the flamen if one should adduce also the fact that when one of the censors died, the other was obliged to resign his office;​112 fbut when the censor Livius Drusus died, his colleague Aemilius Scaurus was unwilling to give up his office until certain tribunes ordered him to be led away to prison.

51 1   Why is a dog placed beside the Lares that men call by the special name of praestites, and why are the Lares themselves clad in dog-skins?113

Is it because "those that stand before" are termed  p85 praestites, and, also because it is fitting that those who stand before a house should be its guardians, terrifying to strangers, but gentle and mild to the inmates, even as a dog is?

Or is the truth rather, as some Romans affirm, that, just as the philosophic school of Chrysippus​114 think that evil spirits stalk about 277whom the gods use as executioners and avengers upon unholy and unjust men, even so the Lares are spirits of punishment like the Furies and supervisors of men's lives and houses? Wherefore they are clothed in the skins of dogs and have a dog as their attendant, in the belief that they are skilful in tracking down and following up evil-doers.

52 1   Why do they sacrifice a bitch to the goddess called Geneta Mana​115 and pray that none of the household shall become "good"?

Is it because Geneta is a spirit concerned with the generation and birth of beings that perish? Her name means some such thing as "flux and birth" or "flowing birth."​116 Accordingly, just as the Greeks sacrifice a bitch to Hecatê,​117 beven so do the Romans offer the same sacrifice to Geneta on behalf of the members of their household. But Socrates​118 says that the Argives sacrifice a bitch to Eilioneia by reason of the ease with which the bitch brings forth its young. But does the import of the prayer, that none of them shall become "good," refer not to the human members of a household, but to the dogs? For dogs should be savage and terrifying.

 p87  Or, because of the fact that the dead are gracefully called "the good," are they in veiled language asking in their prayer that none of their household may die? One should not be surprised at this; Aristotle,​119 in fact, says that there is written in the treaty of the Arcadians with the Spartans: c"No one shall be made good​120 for rendering aid to the Spartan party in Tegea"; that is, no one shall be put to death.

53 1   Why do they even now, at the celebration of the Capitoline games, proclaim "Sardians for sale!",​121 and why is an old man led forth in derision, wearing around his neck a child's amulet which they call a bulla?122

Is it because the Etruscans called Veians fought against Romulus for a long time, and he took this city last of all​123 and sold at auction many captives together with their king, taunting him for his stupidity and folly? dBut since the Etruscans were originally Lydians, and Sardis was the capital city of the Lydians, they offered the Veians for sale under this name; and even to this day they preserve the custom in sport.​a

54 1   Why do they call the meat-markets macella and macellae?

Is this word corrupted from mageiroi (cooks) and has it prevailed, as many others have, by force of habit? For c and g have a close relation­ship in  p89 Latin, and it was only after many years that they made use of g, which Spurius Carvilius​124 introduced. And l, again, is substituted lispingly for r when people make a slip in the pronunciation of r because of the indistinctness of their enunciation.

eOr must this problem also be solved by history? For the story goes that there once lived in Rome a violent man, a robber, Marcellus by name, who despoiled many people and was with great difficulty caught and punished; from his wealth the public meat-market was built, and it acquired its name from him.

55 1   Why is it that on the Ides of January the flute-players are allowed to walk about the city wearing the raiment of women?125

Is it for the reason commonly alleged? They used to enjoy, as it seems, great honours, fwhich King Numa had given them by reason of his piety towards the gods. Because they were later deprived of these honours by the decemviri, who were invested with consular power,​126 they withdrew from the city. There was, accordingly, inquiry made for them, and a certain superstitious fear seized upon the priests when they sacrificed without flutes. But when the flute-players would not hearken to those sent to summon them to return, but remained in Tibur, a freedman secretly promised the officials to bring them back. On the pretext of having sacrificed to the gods, he prepared a sumptuous banquet and invited the flute-players. Women were present, as well as wine, and a party lasting all the night was being celebrated with merriment and dancing, when  p91 suddenly the freedman interrupted, saying that his patron was coming to see him, 278and, in his perturbation, he persuaded the flute-players to climb into wagons, which were screened round about with skins, to be conveyed back to Tibur. But this was a trick, for he turned the wagons around, and, without being detected, since the flute-players comprehended nothing because of the wine and the darkness, at dawn he had brought them all to Rome. Now the majority of them happened to be clad in raiment of feminine finery because of the nocturnal drinking-bout; when, therefore, they had been persuaded and reconciled by the officials, bit became their custom on that day to strut through the city clad in this manner.

56 1   Why are the matrons supposed to have founded the temple of Carmenta originally, and why do they reverence it now above all others?

There is a certain tale repeated that the women were prevented by the senate from using horse-drawn vehicles;​127 they therefore made an agreement with one another not to conceive nor to bear children, and they kept their husbands at a distance, until the husbands changed their minds and made the concession to them. When children were born to them, they, as mothers of a fair and numerous progeny, founded the temple of Carmenta.

Some assert that Carmenta was the mother of Evander and that she came to Italy; cthat her name was Themis, or, as others say, Nicostratê; and that because she chanted oracles in verse, she was named Carmenta by the Latins, for they call verses carmina.

 p93  But others think that Carmenta is a Fate, and that this is the reason why the matrons sacrifice to her. The true meaning of the name is "deprived of sense,"​128 by reason of her transports. Wherefore Carmenta was not so named from carmina, but rather carmina from her, because, in her divine frenzy, she chanted oracles in verse and metre.129

57 1   Why do women that sacrifice to Rumina pour milk over the offerings, but make no oblation of wine in the ceremony?

Is it because the Latins call the teat ruma, and assert that Ruminalis​130 acquired its name inasmuch as the she-wolf offered its teat to Romulus? dTherefore, as we call wet-nurses thelonai from thele (teat), even so Rumina is she that gives suck, the nurse and nurturer of children; she does not, therefore, welcome pure wine, since it is harmful for babes.

58 1   Why did they use to address some of the senators as Conscript Fathers, others merely as Fathers?131

Is it because they used to call those senators originally assigned to that body by Romulus fathers and patricians, that is to say "well-born," since they could point out their fathers,​132 while they called those who were later enrolled from the commoners conscript fathers?

 p95  59 1   Why did Hercules and the Muses have an altar in common?

eIs it because Hercules taught Evander's people the use of letters, as Juba​133 has recorded? And this action was held to be noble on the part of men who taught their friends and relatives. It was a long time before they began to teach for pay, and the first to open an elementary school was Spurius Carvilius,​134 a freedman of the Carvilius​135 who was the first to divorce his wife.

60 1   Why, when there are two altars of Hercules, do women receive no share nor taste of the sacrifices offered on the larger altar?

Is it because the friends of Carmenta came late for the rites, fas did also the clan of the Pinarii? Wherefore, as they were excluded from the banquet while the rest were feasting, they acquired the name Pinarii (Starvelings).​136 Or is it because of the fable of Deianeira and the shirt?137

61 1   Why is it forbidden to mention or to inquire after or to call by name that deity, whether it be male or female, whose especial province it is to preserve and watch over Rome?138 This prohibition they connect with a superstition and relate that Valerius Soranus came to an evil end because he revealed the name.

Is it because, as certain Roman writers have  p97 recorded, there are certain evocations and enchantments affecting the gods, by which the Romans also believed that certain gods had been called forth​139 from their enemies, and had come to dwell among themselves, 279and they were afraid of having this same thing done to them by others? Accordingly, as the Tyrians​140 are said to have put chains upon their images, and certain other peoples are said to demand sureties when they send forth their images for bathing or for some other rite of purification, so the Romans believed that not to mention and not to know the name of a god was the safest and surest way of shielding him.

Or as Homer​141 has written,

Earth is yet common to all,

so that mankind should reverence and honour all the gods, since they possess the earth in common, even so did the Romans of early times conceal the identity of the god who was the guardian of their safety, since they desired that not only this god, but all the gods should be honoured by the citizens?

b 62 1 Why, among those called Fetiales, or, as we should say in Greek, peace-makers or treaty-bringers, was he who was called pater patratus considered the chief? The pater patratus142 is a man whose father is still alive and who has children; even now he possesses a certain preferment and confidence, for the praetors entrust to him any wards whose beauty and youth require a careful and discreet guardian­ship.

 p99  Is it because there attaches to these men respect for their children and reverence for their fathers? Or does the name suggest the reason? For patratus means, as it were, "completed" or "perfected," since he to whose lot it has fallen cto become a father while he still has a father is more perfect than other men.

Or should the man who presides over oaths and treaties of peace be, in the words of Homer,​143 one "looking before and after"? Such a man above all others would be he that has a son to plan for and a father to plan with.

63 1   Why is the so‑called rex sacrorum, that is to say "king of the sacred rites," forbidden to hold office or to address the people?144

Is it because in early times the kings performed greater part of the most important rites, and themselves offered the sacrifices with the assistance of the priests? But when they did not practise moderation, but were arrogant and oppressive, dmost of the Greek states took away their authority, and left to them only the offering of the sacrifice to the gods; but the Romans expelled their kings altogether, and to offer the sacrifices they appointed another, whom they did not allow to hold office or to address the people, so that in their sacred rites only they might seem to be subject to a king, and to tolerate a kingship only on the gods' account.​145 At any rate, there is a sacrifice traditionally performed in the forum at the place called Comitium, and, when the rex has performed this, he flees from the forum as fast as he can.146

 p101  64 1   Why did they not allow the table to be taken away empty, but insisted that something should be upon it?147

eWas it that they were symbolizing the necessity of ever allowing some part of the present provision to remain for the future, and to‑day to be mindful of to‑morrow, or did they think it polite to repress and restrain the appetite while the means of enjoyment was still at hand? For persons who have accustomed themselves to refrain from what they have are less likely to crave for what they have not.

Or does the custom also show a kindly feeling towards the servants? For they are not so well satisfied with taking as with partaking, since they believe that they thus in some manner share the table with their masters.​148

Or should no sacred thing be suffered to be empty, and the table is a sacred thing?

65 1   Why does the husband approach his bride for the first time, not with a light, fbut in darkness?

Is it because he has a feeling of modest respect, since he regards her as not his own before his union with her? Or is he accustoming himself to approach even his own wife with modesty?

Or, as Solon​149 has given directions that the bride shall nibble a quince before entering the bridal chamber, in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant, even so did the Roman legislator, if there was anything abnormal or disagreeable connected with the body, keep it concealed?

Or is this that is done a manner of casting infamy  p103 upon unlawful amours, since even lawful love has a certain opprobrium connected with it?

66 1   Why is one of the hippodromes called Flaminian?

280Is it because a certain Flaminius​150 long ago bestowed some land upon the city and they used the revenues for the horse-races; and, as there was money still remaining, they made a road, and this they also called Flaminian?151

67 1   Why do they call the rod-bearers "lictors"?152

Is it because these officers used both to bind unruly persons and also to follow in the train of Romulus with straps in their bosoms? Most Romans use alligare for the verb "to bind," but purists, when they converse, say ligare.​153

Or is the c but a recent insertion, and were they formerly called litores, that is, a class of public servants? bThe fact that even to this day the word "public" is expressed by leitos in many of the Greek laws has escaped the attention of hardly anyone.

68 1   Why do the Luperci sacrifice a dog?154 The Luperci are men who race through the city on the Lupercalia, lightly clad in loin-cloths, striking those whom they meet with a strip of leather.

 p105  Is it because this performance constitutes a rite of purification of the city? In fact they call this month February, and indeed this very day, februata; and to strike with a kind of leather thong they call februare, the word meaning "to purify." cNearly all the Greeks used a dog as the sacrificial victim for ceremonies of purification; and some, at least, make use of it even to this day. They bring forth for Hecatê​155 puppies along with the other materials for purification, and rub round about with puppies​156 such persons as are in need of cleansing, and this kind of purification they call periskylakismos ("puppifrication").

Or is it that lupus means "wolf" and the Lupercalia is the Wolf Festival, and that the dog is hostile to the wolf, and for this reason is sacrificed at the Wolf Festival?

Or is it that the dogs bark at the Luperci and annoy them as they race about in the city?

Or is it that the sacrifice is made to Pan, and a dog is something dear to Pan because of his herds of goats?​b

69 1   Why on the festival called Septimontium​157 were they careful to refrain from the use of horse-drawn vehicles; and why even to this day are those who do not contemn ancient customs still careful about this? dThe festival Septimontium they observe in commemoration of the addition to the city of the seventh hill, by which Rome was made a city of seven hills.

 p107  Is it, as some of the Roman writers conceive, because the city had not yet been completely joined together in all its parts?

Or has this "nothing to do with Dionysus"?​158 But did they imagine, when their great task of consolidation had been accomplished, that the city had now ceased from further extension; and they rested themselves, and gave respite to the pack-animals, which had helped them in their labours, and afforded the animals an opportunity to enjoy the general festival with no work to do?

eOr did they wish that the presence of the citizens should adorn and honour every festival always, and, above all, that one which was held in commemoration of the consolidation of the city? Wherefore in order that they might not leave the City, in whose honour the festival was being held, it was not permitted to make use of vehicles on that day.

70 1   Why do they call such persons as stand convicted of theft or of any other servile offences furciferi?159

Is this also evidence of the carefulness of the men of old? For anyone who had found guilty of some knavery a slave reared in his own household used to command him to take up the forked stick, which they put under their carts, and to proceed through the community or the neighbourhood, observed of all observers, fthat they might distrust him and be on their guard against him in the future. This stick we call a prop, and the Romans furca ("fork");  p109 wherefore also he who has borne it about is called furcifer ("fork-bearer").

71 1   Why do they tie hay to one horn of vicious bulls to warn anyone who meets them to be on guard?

Is it because bulls, horses, asses, men, all wax wanton through stuffing and gorging? So Sophocles​160 has somewhere written,

You prance, as does a colt, from glut of food,

For both your belly and your cheeks are full.

Wherefore also the Romans used to say that Marcus Crassus​161 had hay on his horn: for those who heckled the other chief men in the State were on their guard against assailing him, 281since they knew that he was vindictive and hard to cope with. Later, however, another saying was bandied about, that Caesar had pulled the hay from Crassus; for Caesar was the first to oppose Crassus in public policy and to treat him with contumely.

72 1   Why did they think that the priests that take the omens from birds, whom they formerly called Auspices, but now Augures, should always keep their lanterns open and put no cover on them?

Were they like the Pythagoreans,​162 who made small matters symbols of great, forbidding men to sit on a peck measure or the poke a fire with a sword; band even so did the men of old make use of many riddles, especially with reference to priests; and is the question of the lantern of this sort? For the  p111 lantern is like the body which encompasses the soul; the soul within is a light​163 and the part of it that comprehends and thinks should be ever open and clear-sighted, and should never be closed nor remain unseen.

Now when the winds are blowing the birds are unsteady, and do not afford reliable signs because of their wandering and irregular movements. Therefore by this custom they instruct the augurs not to go forth to obtain these signs when the wind is blowing, but only in calm and still weather when they can use their lanterns open.

The Editor's Notes:

104 Cf. Ovid, Fasti, IV.877 ff.; Dionysius, Roman Antiquities, I.65; Pliny, Natural History, XIV.(p77)12 (88), where the authority cited is Varro. Plutarch speaks of the festival of Vinalia (April 23) as Veneralia perhaps because Venus (together with Jupiter) was the protecting deity of the vine.

105 Plutarch here (in hora, horman, (h)orator), as often, makes havoc of etymology and quantity.

106 Cf. Homer, Od. VIII.266‑359.

107 Cf. Vitruvius, I.7.1.

108 Cf. Life of Romulus, chap. xiv (25D).

109 Cf. Life of Coriolanus, chap. xiv (219F-220A).

110 Cf. Aulus Gellius, X.15.

110 Cf. Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII p422.

111 Cf. Livy, V.31.6, 7; VI.27.4, 5; IX.34.

113 Cf. Ovid, Fasti, V.129 ff.

114 Cf. Moralia, 361B, 419A, 1051C.

115 Cf. Pliny Natural History, XXIX.4 (58).

116 An attempt to derive the name from genitus (-a, -um) and manare.

117 Cf. 280C, infra.

118 Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. IV p498.

119 Frag. 592 (ed. V. Rose); cf. Moralia, 292B, infra.

120 Cf. χρηστὲ χαῖρ on Greek tombstones.

121 So apparently Plutarch; but the Latin Sardi venales can mean nothing but "Sardinians for sale." Plutarch, or his authority, has confused Sardi with Sardiani (Sardians).

122 Cf. Life of Romulus, xxv (33E).

123 This is quite contrary to the traditional account (cf. for example, Livy, VI.21‑23), according to which Veii was not captured until 396 B.C.

124 Cf. 278E, infra.

125 Cf. Livy, IX.30; Ovid, Fasti, VI.653 ff.; Valerius Maximus II.5.4; see also Classical Weekly, 1921, p51.

126 Consulari potestate.

127 Cf. Livy, V.25.9, and XXXIV.1 and 8.

128 That is, carens mente.

129 Cf. Life of Romulus, xxi (31A); Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, I.31; Strabo, V.3.3, p230; Ovid, Fasti, I.619 ff.

Thayer's Note: The version of Ovid online, at line 619 inauspiciously has

nam prius Ausonias matres carpenta vehebant

Since these carpenta make good sense, I suspect some kind of problem in the Loeb edition note. Carmentis appears earlier on in Book VI of the Fasti (6.499), in the same suspicious company of Evander as in line 619.

130 Cf. 320D, infra, and Life of Romulus, iv (19D); Ovid, Fasti, II.411 ff.

131 Cf. Life of Romulus, xiii (25A).

132 Cf. Livy, X.8.10.

133 Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. III. p470.

134 Cf. 277D, supra.

135 Cf. the note on 267C, supra.

136 An attempt to derive the word from Greek πεινῶ, "be hungry"; see further Livy, I.7; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, I.40.

137 The shirt anointed with the blood of Nessus which Deianeira supposed to be a love charm. She sent the shirt to Heracles and thereby brought about his death; hence Heracles may be supposed to hate all women; see Sophocles, Trachiniae, or Ovid, HeroidesIX.

138 Cf. Macrobius, Saturnalia, III.9.3; Pliny Natural History, XXVIII.4 (18).

139 Cf., for example, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman AntiquitiesXIII.3; Livy, V.21 (the evocatio of Juno from Veii); Macrobius, SaturnaliaIII.9.7 and 14.16.

140 Cf. Diodorus, XVII.41.8; Quintus Curtius, IV.3.21.

141 Il. XV.193.

142 Plutarch here mistakenly explains patrimus instead of patratus: contrast Livy, I.24.6; Tacitus, Hist. IV.53.

143 Il. I.343, Od. XXIV.452; cf. Shakespeare, Hamlet IV.IV.37; Shelley, Ode to a Skylark (18th stanza).

144 Cf. Livy, II.2.1‑2; IX.34.12; XL.42.

145 Ibid. III.39.4.

146 The Regifugium: cf. Ovid, Fasti, II.685 ff.: see the Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII p408.

Thayer's Note: Or more accessibly online, the article Regifugium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

147 Cf. Moralia, 702D ff.

148 Cf. Horace, Satires, II.6.66‑67.

149 Cf. Moralia, 138D; Life of Solon, chap. xx (89C).

150 The consul defeated at Trasimene. The circus was built circa 221 B.C.; cf. Varro, De Lingua Latina, V.154.

Thayer's Note: For full details on the Circus Flaminius, see the article in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

151 The Via Flaminia ran from the Pons Mulvius up the Tiber Valley to Narnia in Umbria; later it was extended over the Apennines to the Port of Ariminum.

Thayer's Note: For much more detailed information, including photographs of many of the Roman bridges and other remains along the way (among which the Mulvian Bridge, Narni and Rimini mentioned in the Loeb edition's note), see the Via Flaminia homepage.

152 Cf. Life of Romulus, chap. xxvi (34A); Aulus Gellius, XII.3.

153 Cf. Festus, s.v. lictores; Valgius Rufus, frag. 1 (Gram. Rom. Frag. I. p484).

154 Cf. 290D, infra; Life of Romulus, chap. xxi (31B ff.); Life of Numa, chap. xix (72E); Life of Caesar, chap. lxi (736D); Life of Antony, chap. xii (921B-C); Varro, De Lingua Latina, VI.13; scholium on Theocritus, II.12.

155 Cf. 277B, supra, and 290D, infra.

156 That the puppies were later sacrificed we may infer from the practice elsewhere and on other occasions.

157 On this festival see J. B. Carter, American Journal of Archaeology (2nd Series), XII pp172 ff.; H. Last in the Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII pp355 ff.

Thayer's Note: The beginning student should start with the entry Septimontium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, providing a summary overview; then in progressing depth, the article Septimontium in Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, and Platner's detailed article in CP 1906, 69‑80.

158 "Nothing to do with the case": cf. Moralia, 615A, and Lucian, Dionysius, 5, with Harmon's note (L. C. L., vol. I p55); see also Moralia 388E and 612E.

159 Cf. Life of Coriolanus, chap. xxiv (225D).

160 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. p311, Sophocles, Frag. 764; or Pearson, no. 848; cf. Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1640‑1641; Menander, Hero, 16‑17 (p291 ed. Allinson in L. C. L.).

161 Cf. Life of Crassus, chap. vii (547C); Horace, Satires, I.4.34 "faenum habet in cornu; longe fuge!"

162 Cf. 290E, infra, and the notes on Moralia, 12D-E (Vol. I p58).

163 Cf. Moralia, 1130B.

Thayer's Notes:

a Already by the time Plutarch wrote, no one really knew what this was about: the article Ludi Capitolini of Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities collects the theories and references.

b These ideas seem to me to a great extent undone by the widespread sacrificing of dogs in various other contexts, by no means unique to the Lupercalia: as for example the Robigalia, the agricultural practices prescribed by Columella (R. R. II.21.3 f.), the Macedonian rite of lustration of an army, and the very old pre‑Roman rites recorded in the Iguvine Tables of Umbria, which then call for the puppies to be made into brochettes and eaten.

In A. M. Franklin's book, The Lupercalia, pp74‑82, a chapter titled "The Dog as a Sacred Animal in Italy" will serve as a good starting point for investigating these and many other connections.

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