The Ancient Library

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On this page: Fibula – Fides – God of Fire – Firmicus Maternus – Fiscus – Flabellum – Flamen



delivered the general up, naked and hand-bound, to the enemy. In case of the alliance being concluded, the pater patratus took a flint stone, which was preserved in the temple of Jupiter Feretrlus, and slew a swine therewith, first reading out the terms of the alliance,and then appealing to Jupiter, in case the Roman people maliciously broke the treaty, to smite them as he would smite the animal. He then signed the document, which bound the collegium of fetiales to see that the treaty was observed. It was also usual for the civil magistrate to make oath by Jupiter, Mars, and Qulrlnus, on a sceptre which was likewise taken from the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Since the Second Punic War there is but little mention of the action of the fetiales, but its existence can be traced as late as the middle of the 4th century a.d.

Fibtila (Greek pirone). A clasp for fastening garments, resembling our brooches

FIBUL*. (Grivaud de la Vincelle, Arts el Metian, pi. xli, xtiii.)

or safety-pins. It consisted of a hoop and a needle, sometimes elastic, sometimes fixed by a joint. Somejibuloi were in the shape of buckles. (See illustrations.)

Fides. The Roman personification of honour in keeping word or oath. As Fides Publica, or Honour of the People, this goddess had a temple on the Capitol, founded by king Numa, to which the JlamlnSs of Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus rode in a covered chariot on the 1st of October. At the sacrifice they had their right hands wrapped up to the fingers with white bands. The meaning of the covered chariot was that honour could not be too carefully protected: of the covered right hand, that the right hand, the seat of honour, should be kept pure and holy. The goddess was represented with outstretched right hand and a white veil. Her attributes were ears of corn and fruits, joined hands, and a turtle-dove.

Fire, God of. See hephaestus and


Firmlcns Materiras (lulius). (1) A '. heathen writer, a native of Sicily. About , 354 A.D. he published, in eight books, a work on astrology (Matheseos Libn VIII) which he had begun under Constantine. It gives a vivid picture of the gross super­stition of that age with regard to the sup­posed influence of the stars in human fortunes.

(2) Another writer of the same time, and of the same age, was a convert to Christia­nity, who, about 347 a.d., published a work on the error of the heathen religions (De ErrOrg PrOfanarum ReUglonum) in which he called on the emperors Constantlus and Constans to extirpate the last remains of heathenism.

Fiscus. The emperor's private purse, as distinguished from the public treasury (cerarium). It was instituted by Augustus, and was under the exclusive control of the emperor. The chief sources from which it was replenished were the entire revenues of the imperial provinces, the produce of unclaimed estates, and of confiscations. The main items of fiscal expenditure were the army, the fleet, and war material, the salaries of officials, the provision of corn for Rome, postal communication, and the public buildings. For the officials who administered the fiscus, see procurator.

Flabellum. A fan. See clothing.

Flamen (from flare; one who blows or kindles the sacrificial fire). The special priest of a special deity among the Romans. There were 15 Flamlnes; three higher ones (Flamines •maiBrSs) of patrician rank: these were the flamen Dialis (of Jupiter), Marttalls (of Mars), and QutrlnOMs (of Qwlrlnws). The remaining 12 wereflamines mlnOrSs, plebeians, and attached to less important deities, as Vulcanus, Flora, Pomona, and Carmenta. Their office was for life, and they could only be deprived of it in certain events. The emblem of their dignity was a white conical hat (Apex), made out of the hide of a sacrificed animal, and having an olive branch and woollen thread at the top. This the famines were obliged to wear always out of doors, indeed the Flamen Dialis had originally to wear it indoors as well. They were exempted from all the duties of civic life, and ex­cluded at the same time from all partici­pation in politics. In course of time, it is true, they were allowed to hold urban offices, but even then they were forbidden to go out of Italy.

The Flamen Dialis was originally not

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