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By Anna J. Clark

This publication explores a facet of ways Romans thought of themselves. Its topic is 'divine qualities': features like harmony, religion, desire, Clemency, Fortune, Freedom, Piety, and Victory, which got public cult in Rome within the Republican interval. Anna Clark attracts on quite a lot of proof (literature, drama, cash, structure, inscriptions and graffiti) to teach that those features weren't easily given cult simply because they have been intrinsically very important to 'Romans'. They fairly turned 'Roman' via claims, counter-claims, appropriations and explorations of them by means of various contributors. The assets introduced into life by means of cult (temples, altars, coin pictures, statues, passwords, votive inscriptions) have been seen and available to a extensive variety of individuals. Divine characteristics have been suitable to a broader social spectrum than is generally well-known, and this has vital outcomes for our realizing of Roman society.

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24 Varronian etymologies, for example, are of interest in terms of associations and categorization made by the late Republican polymath. How Varro categorizes divine qualities in his de Lingua Latina diVers from the kind of groupings made by Cicero discussed in the previous chapter: concordia, honos, and virtus (and Bellona) are grouped with Castor and Pollux, an association implying grouping as gods of war. spes is not found among the gods of book 5, but associations are made between spes and sponte and spes and spicae, the latter developed at greater length in his de Re Rustica.

94, cf. 102, where he refers to mens as ‘a goddess created from an abstract concept, a very Roman practice’; Dume´zil (1970), 473–4 talks of ‘Mens, who is typically Roman, a personiWed abstraction representing reXection, judgment, the opposite of rash temerity’; Palmer (1990), 14 describes the goddess victoria’s name now seeming to us ‘so thoroughly Roman’; and Holliday (2002), 197 alludes to ‘that most Roman of deities, Virtus’. Deubner (1897–1909), 2070 goes so far as to describe the process of ‘deiWcation of abstracts’ in Rome, especially in the imperial period (as opposed to the Greek development of abstracts from deities), as corresponding to the ‘ro¨mischen Volkscharakter’ (‘character of the Roman people’).

18 Divine Qualities Whenever they were written down and perhaps especially whenever they were spoken, divine qualities had a particular ‘tone’. I use the term ‘tone’ to Wt the loose analogy with language I am employing by talking of divine qualities as a cognitive vocabulary. They gained this tone, this exegetical resonance, or charge, because they were part of Roman religion, that system for understanding the world that was part of every area of Roman society. Many of the claims made using divine qualities that still survive in extant (and necessarily written) material were originally oral: vows made by generals in battle, and (probably) by others who had their dedication inscribed; those in dramatic performances of various kinds; speeches made in the senate and in contiones; the passwords shared by armies, and, in the imperial period, acclamations.

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