The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Jupiter (continued)



to Jupiter. On these his special priest, the flatnen dlalis, offers him the Idulia, a sacrifice of a white lamb. While he watches over fail- weather, he also controls all other weather; as Ftilgurator and Fulmlnfltor (" flasher of lightning ") and as TSnans or TonitruCdis (" thunderer ") he brings down those fearful storms which were familiar to Rome; as Pluvius he sends | a fertilizing rain. Any place, or thing, ; struck by lightning was supposed to be sacred to Jupiter as having been taken possession of by him, and thus it needed a particular dedication, (tfee puteal.) As the god of rain, there was instituted in his honour at Rome a festival of supplication, called aqucellctum. In this the pontifices \ brought into Rome from the temple of Mars outside the Porta Capena a cylindrical stone called the lapis manalis (rain-stone), while the matrons followed the procession with bare feet, as did also the magistrates, unac­companied by their insignia. In the same character he was appealed to by the country­folk, before sowing time and in the spring and autumn, when a sacrificial feast was offered to him. He and Juno were wor- j shipped before the commencement of the | harvest, even before any sacrifice to Ceres. Throughout all Latium, the feast of the Vlnalia (q.v.) was celebrated in his honour as the giver of wine; and at the commence­ment of the vintage season he was offered a lamb by the flamen Dialis. He was honoured in all Italy, after Mars, as the decider of battles and giver of victory; this was specially the case at Rome, where, as early as the days of Romulus, shrines were founded to him as Stdtor ("he who stays flight") and Flretrius (to whom the spoils taken by a Roman general in the field from a hostile general were offered. See spolia). He watches over justice and truth, and is therefore the most ancient and most important god of oaths; he was specially called on by the fetiales (q.v.) as a witness at the ceremonies connected with treaties of peace. Not only the law of nations, but also the law of hospitality, is under his special protection, and while he causes his blessing to fall on the whole country, he is also the god of good fortune and blessing to the family. His gracious power does not confine itself to the present alone; by means of signs comprehensible to experts, he reveals the future (see auspicia) ; and shows his approval or disapproval of a contemplated undertaking.

He was worshipped of old on the Alban

Hill, by the Latin people, as their ancestral god, under the name of luppiter Latiaris (or Ldtialis) ; at the formation of the Latin league he was honoured as the god of the league by a sacrificial feast, which they all held in common ; even after its dissolution the sacrifice was continued under the super­intendence of the consuls. (See fehi/e.) The chief seat of his worship in Rome was the Capitol, where he was honoured as the ideal head of the State, as the Increaser and Preserver of Roman might and power, under the name of luppiter Optlinus Maxlmus (" Best and Greatest"). It was there that his earthenware image was enthroned, with the thunderbolt in its right hand. It stood in the centre of the temple begun by Tar-qulnius Superbus, the last of the kings, and finished and dedicated in the first year of the Republic. In the pediment of the temple was the quadriga, the attribute of the god of thunder, while the chambers to the left and right were dedicated to Juno and to Minerva respectively. Here the consuls, at their entry into office and their departure to war, made their solemn vows; hither came the triumphal procession of the victor, who was clad in the festal garb of the god, and who, before offering to Jupiter the customary thank-offering of white oxen, prayed to his image and placed in his lap the laurel-wreath of victory bound about the fasces. Hither poured in, to adorn the temple and to fill its treasures, countless multitudes of costly votive offerings from the State, from generals and private citi­zens, and from foreign kings and nations. When, after its existence for 400 years, the ancient temple was destroyed by fire in B.C. 83, it was rebuilt on its original plan but with increased magnificence (b.c. 78). The image of the god was a copy in gold and ivory of the Olympian Zeus (q.v.). The temple was burnt down again a.d. 70, and Vespasian had scarcely restored it when a fresh fire burnt it down a.d. 80, whereupon Domitiau in a.d. 82 erected the temple which continued to stand as late as the 9th century.

As was natural for the most exalted god of the Roman State, he had the most splendid festivals in his honour. Amongst the greatest of these were the ludl Bomani, the ludi magni, and the ludi plebeii. (See games.)' Under the Empire the Capitoline Jupiter was recognised as the loftiest representative of the Roman name and State, whose vicegerent on earth was the emperor. As his worship gradually

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.