The Ancient Library

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On this page: Saeculares Ludi – Sagitta – Sagitarii – Sagum – Salacia – Salarium – Salii



offered at evening, the intervening time be­ing taken up by the process of preparation. Sseculares Ludi (properly Ludi Tirentlnl or Tdrentlnl). The " Secular Games " arose from some gentile sacrifices of the Valerian family, which were offered to the gods be­neath the earth at the Terentum (or Taren-tum), a spot in the Campus Martius where a volcanic fire smouldered. The first cele­bration of the Ludi Tcrentini of which there is actual evidence took place 249 b.c., by the direction of the Sibylline books, in honour of Dis and Proserpine. Owing to the vow then made, to repeat them at the beginning of every Sfeciilum, or period of one hundred years, they were called the " Secular Games." Like all cults prescribed by the Sibylline books, they are of non-Roman origin, being, in fact, borrowed from the Etruscans, who at the conclusion of a mean period of 100 years, reckoned accord­ing to the longest human life in a genera­tion, used to present an expiatory offering on behalf of the new generation to the gods beneath the earth. The games seem to have been next held, not in 149, but in 146; the one following was omitted on account of the Civil Wars, and the games were not held again until the time of Augustus, in 17 b.c. [It was for this occasion that Horace wrote his Carmen Saiciilare.] The date was fixed by a reckoning different from that hitherto followed, by taking 110 years as the normal standard of the sainilum. In later times sometimes the new reckoning was adopted, sometimes the old; as early as Claudius we have a return to the old, and in 47 a.d. that emperor celebrated with secular games the 800th year of Rome. Similarly the years 900 and 1000 of the city were celebrated. The ritual order of the games, which Augustus only altered by the introduction of Apollo, Diana, and Latona among the deities worshipped, was as follows: At the beginning of the season of harvest, heralds invited the people to the festival, which none had ever seen, nor would see again; and the commission of fifteen, which was charged with the due celebration of all festivals enjoined by the Sibylline books, distributed the means of expiation, consisting of torches, sulphur, and pitch, to all free persons on the Capitol and in the Palatine temple of Apollo. At the same time in the temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, in that of the Palatine Apollo, and in that of Diana on the Aventine, wheat, barley, and beans were handed to the people for an offering of firstfruits. At the feast

proper, which lasted three days and three nights, the emperor upon the first night ' sacrificed to the Parcse three rams, which were completely burnt up, upon three altara at the Terenium. This was accompanied by the burning of torches and the chanting of a hymn. At the same place, and on the same or the following day, a black hog and a young pig were offered to Tellus, and dark-coloured victims to Dis and Proserpine. On the first day white bulls were sacrificed to Jupiter, and a white cow to Juno on the i Capitol, after which scenic games were held \ in honour of Apollo. On the second day the matrons prayed to Juno on the Capitol; on the third, a sacrifice of white oxen took place in the Palatine temple of Apollo, while twenty-seven boys and the same number of maidens sang the carmen sceculare in Greek and in Latin.

Sagitta. Arrow. (See Bows.)

Sagittarll. The bowmen in the Roman armies. These were generally raised by lev}' or furnished by the allies. The Cre­tan, Balearic, and Asiatic bowmen were specially celebrated.

Sagum, The military cloak of the Roman soldiers, which consisted of a four-cornered piece of cloth worn over the armour and fastened upon the shoulder by a clasp. It was a symbol of war, as the tliga was the symbol of peace.

Salacla. A Roman goddess of the salt water. She was identified with the Greek Amphitrite, and regarded as the wife of Neptune.

Salarium. A Roman term signifying properly the allowance of salt which the governor furnished for the magistrates and officers who formed his retinue ; then the gratification in money which took the place of the salt. Under the Empire it was the pay of the imperial magistrates, as well as of the physicians and professors in the service of the State.

Sail! (" dancers "). An old Italian college of priests of Mars ; said to have been intro­duced at Rome by Numa and doubled by Tullus Hostilius. The earlier college was called the Salii Pdlattni, and the later the Salii Agonales or Collini. The former derived their name from their curia on the Palatine Hill; the latter, from the Colline Gate, near which stood their sanctuary on the Quirinal. Both colleges consisted of twelve life-members of patrician family, and recruited their numbers from young men, whose parents were required to be still living ; at their head was a magister, a

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