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On this page: Dioscuria – Diota – Diphros – Diphthera – Diplax – Diplois – Diploma – Diptycha – Directa Actio – Diribitores



their parents or husbands, that they might receive their punishment in private. The consuls then were ordered by the senate to destroy all Baccha­nalia throughout Rome and Italy, with the excep­tion of such altars or statues of the god as had existed there from ancient times. In order to pre­vent a restoration of the Bacchic orgies, the cele­brated decree of the senate (Senatus auctoritas de Bacclianalibus) was issued, commanding that no Bacchanalia should be held either in Rome or Italy ; that if any one should think such cere­monies necessary, or if he could not neglect them without scruples or making atonements, he should apply to the praetor urbanus, who might then consult the senate. If the permission should be granted to him in an assembly of the senate, con­sisting of not less than one hundred members, he might solemnise the Bacchic sacra ; but no more than five persons were to be present at the cele­bration ; there should be no common fund, and no master of the sacra or priest. (Liv. xxxix. 18.) This decree is also mentioned by Cicero {De Legg. ii. 15). A brazen table containing this im­portant document was discovered near Bari, in southern Italy, in the year 1640, and is at present in the imperial Museum of Vienna. A copy of it is given in Drakenborch's edition of Livy (vol. vii. p. 197, &c.).

We have in our account of the Roman Baccha­nalia closely followed the description given by Livy, which may, indeed, be somewhat exag­gerated ; but considering the difference of character between the Greeks and Remans, it cannot be surprising that a festival like the Dionysia, when once introduced among the Romans, should have immediately degenerated into the grossest and coarsest excesses. Similar consequences were seen immediately after the time when the Romans were made acquainted with the elegance and the luxuries of Greek life ; for, like barbarians, they knew not where to stop, and became brutal in their enjoy­ments. But whether the account of Livy be ex­aggerated or not, this much is certain, that the Romans, ever since the time of the suppression of the Bacchanalia, considered these orgies as in the highest degree immoral and licentious, as we see from the manner in which they applied the words derived from Bacchus, e. g. bacclior, bacchans, bac-cliatio, baccliicus, and others. But the most sur­prising circumstance in the account of Livy is, that the Bacchanalia should have been celebrated for several years in the boisterous manner described by him, and by thousands of persons, without any of the magistrates appearing to have been aware of it.

While the Bacchanalia were thus suppressed, another more simple and innocent festival of Bac­chus, the Liberalia (from Liber, or Liber Pater, a name of Bacchus), continued to be celebrated at Rome every year on the 16th of March. (Ovid, Fast. iii. 713.) A description of the ceremonies customary at this festival is given by Ovid (L c.), with which may be compared Varro (De Ling. Lat. v. 55, ed. Bipont). Priests and aged priestesses, adorned with garlands of ivy, carried through the city wine, honey, cakes, and sweet-meats, toge­ther with an altar with a handle (ansaia ara), in the middle of which there was a small fire-pan (foculus), in which from time to time sacrifices were burnt. On this day Roman youths who had attained their sixteenth year received the toga


virilis. (Cic. ad Att. vi. 1.) That the Liberalia were celebrated with various amusements and great merriment, might be inferred from the general character of Dionysiac festivals ; but we may also see it from the name Ludi Liberates, which is sometimes used instead of Liberalia; and Naevius (ap. Pest.) expressly says that persons expressed themselves very freely at the Liberalia. St. Augustine {De Civ. Dei, vii. 21) even speaks of a high degree of licentiousness carried on at this festival. [L. S.]

DIOSCURIA (Sioo-Kotpia), festivals cele­ brated in various parts of Greece in honour of the dioscuri. The Spartan dioscuria mentioned by Pausanias (iv. 27. § 1 ; compare with iii. 16. § 3) and Spanheim (ad Callim. Hymn, in Pall. 24), were celebrated with sacrifices, rejoicings, and drinking. At Gyrene the dioscuri were likewise honoured with a great festival. (Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. v. 629.) The Athenian festival of the dios­ curi has been described under anaceia. Their worship was very generally adopted in Greece, especially in the Doric and Achaean states, as we conclude from the great number of temples dedi­ cated to them ; but scarcely anything is known respecting the manner in which their festivals were celebrated. [L. S.]

DIOTA. [amphora.]

DIPHTHERA (SiQBtpa), a kind of cloak made of the skins of animals and worn by herds­men and country people in general. It is fre­quently mentioned by Greek writers. (Aristoph. Nub. 72, and Schol. Vesp. 444 ; Plato, Crit. p. 53 ; Lucian, Tim. c. 12.) Pollux (vii. 70) says that it had a covering for the head {tirLKpavov\ in which respect it would correspond to the Roman cucul-lus. [CucuLLUS.] (Becker, ChariMes, vol. ii. p. 359.)

DIPHROS (5:0pos). [ccjrrus ; thronus.]

DIPLAX (5nrAa£). [pallium.]

DIPLOIS (SnrAois). [pallium.]

DIPLOMA, a writ or public document, which conferred upon a person any right or privilege. During the republic, it was granted by the con­suls and senate ; and under the empire by the emperor and the magistrates whom he authorised to do so. (Cic. ad Fam. vi. 12, ad Ait. x. 17, c. Pis. 37 ; Sen. Ben. vii. 10 ; Suet. Cal. 38, Ner. 12, OIL 7 ; Dig. 48. tit. 10. s.27.) The diploma was sealed by the emperor (Suet. Aug. 50) ; it con­sisted of two leaves, whence it derived its name. These writs were especially given to public couriers, or to those who wished to procure the use of the public horses or carriages. (Plin. Ep. x. 14,121 ; compare x. 54, 55.) The tabellarii of the em­peror would naturally alwaj's have a diploma ; whence we read in an inscription (Orelli, No. 2917) of a diplomarius tabellarius.

DIPTYCHA. [tabulae.]


DIRIBITORES, are said by most modern writers to have been the persons who gave to the citizens the tabella with which they voted in the comitia ; but Wunder has most distinctly proved, in the preface to his Codex Erfutensis (pp. cxxvi.— clviii.), that it was the office of the diribitores to divide the votes when taken out of the cistae, so as to determine which had the majority. He remarks that the etymology of diribere would lead us to assign to it the meaning of " separation *-' or " division," as it is compounded of dis arid Iiabere9

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