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The Taurobolium and Modern Practice

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:20 pm
by Titus Iulius Nero
Being that the Magna Mater is my patron Goddess I was wondering what other's thoughts were about editing the Taurobolium being that such sacrifice is not exactly pleasant in our modern age.

Any ideas as to what could be done in an alternative? Especially being that the Priests of the Magna Mater underwent the Taurobolium as a means of initiation (among others things, though that particular act is not of my concern :P )

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:01 am
by Horatius Piscinus
Salve Tite Nero

There were probably two different culti for the Magna Mater. This past year I was doing a survey of inscriptions related to the Magna Mater. Like others who have taken the time, there appeared to me some patterns to suggest this idea.

The galli priests and the tauobolia relate to a Hellenistic cultus that is generally associated with those bearing non-Roman names, in port cities of the Mediterrannean, southwestern France, and Africa Proconsularis.

When the Magna Mater was first introduced at Rome, it was a patrician cultus. The Magna Mater was identified as a Goddess of Troy, and thus of Aeneas. She was provided with an entirely Roman cultus that was unlike that of the galli. The Julio-Claudian emperors gave this cultus some sponsorship as a dynatic cultus. The Julii claimed descent from Aeneas through his son at Alba Longa, while the Emperor Claudius sponsored the cultus in memory of his ancestors. Later, under the Antonines there appeares to have been a reworking of this patrician cultus over to an imperial cultus. Inscriptions of this imperial cultus call upon the Magna Mater for safekeeping of the emperor. There is no mention of galli or taurobolia in these inscriptions. Names that appear are that of Roman administrators or sometimes women with Roman names, often patrician names. These inscriptions appear in the interior of provincia, mostly along the Rhine-Danube border, but also at a few administrative sites that supplied the frontier. The inscriptions of this imperial cultus also appear to have been for a limited duration, in the second century alone.

So, I am wondering, when you say that the Magna Mater is your patron Goddess, which Goddess do you really mean, or which cultus do you follow? The Roman patrician cultus, or the Hellenistic one? There is quite a difference between the two.

Vale optime

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:58 am
by Titus Iulius Nero
Salve Horatius Piscinus

very interesting, I have never come across those patterns before of 2 possible cultus.

I would like to say the Roman cultus, however now I am not quite sure as to how to differentiate the two, unless you have more info or sources that I could look into.

Most of the information out there, that I have come across, speaks of the the Galli cultus.

I wonder then, if there existed different rites between the two possible cultus? All the rites I know about are the Megalensia and the Spring Festival which involves Canna Intrat, Arbor Intrat, the Lamentations, Dies Sanguinis, Hilaria, Requetio and Lavatio.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:19 am
by Titus Iulius Nero

Just this week I got my hands on MJ Vermaseren's Cybele and Attis, the Myth and the Cult

And I just began reading it today, but I found a part that somewhat supports a State Cult vs an Oriental Cult.

In ancient Athens, when the Official State Cult of Cybele was established Her shrine was located in the Agora whereas later a sanctuary was also set up as a private institution in Piraeus, the port town of Athens, by a group of foreignors (most likely the Asiatic Galli) in the fourth century BCE.

Though not directly proving the possibility of the Roman State vs Oriental Cults, it does give us some background making it all the more logical.[/u]

Another quote from the same book:

"Herculaneum has yielded an inscription dated 1 January 76, in which the emperor Vespasian announces that he has rebuilt the Cybele temple after the earthquake of the year 62 (templum Matris deum terrae motu collapsum restituit). Here the emperor is acting as the official representative of the Roman State cult."

You are right on track! :D

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:16 am
by Titus Iulius Nero

Despite this new revelation in the cultus of the Magna Mater, my question still stands. Though my interests are now turned to the Roman Cultus, I'm afraid that the Phrygian one holds more available information and therefore must remain at the forefront of my practices if and until more information becomes available concerning the Roman Cultus.

So how can the Taurobolium be reconstructed for today?

A person on a different list mentioned that animal sacrifice in relation to religious activities is supposedly legal, in the US that is. He referred to when Santeria was brought into political question due to animal sacrifice. But in all honesty, I have no idea how much a bull would cost to obtain or what to do with its lifeless carcus, and not sure I'd want to perform such an act.

So how can this bull-slaying rite be modified to fit a less bloody rite as it was.

In Pax Deorum

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:29 am
by Titus Iulius Nero

I received another book on the Magna Mater and Cybele cults. From glancing through it it does have sections about the Roman State Cult. I should start reading soemtime next week.

Hopefully it has some good ifno that can be gleamed from it.

In Pax Deorum,
Titus Iulius Nero