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Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second
king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two different meanings of magistrate have often overlapped and ...
, succeeding
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary foundation of Rome, founder and King of Rome, first king of Ancient Rome, Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus ...
after a one-year
interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...

interregnum
. He was of
Sabine The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; it, Sabini, all s) were an that lived in the central of the ancient , also inhabiting north of the before the . The Sabines divided into two populations just after the founding of Rome, which is described by Ro ...

Sabine
origin, and many of Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attributed to him, such as the
Roman calendar The Roman calendar was the calendar used by the Roman kingdom and Roman Republic, republic. The term often includes the Julian calendar established by the reforms of the Roman dictator, dictator Julius Caesar and Roman emperor, emperor August ...
,
Vestal Virgin In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lati ...
s, the cult of Mars, the cult of Jupiter, the cult of Romulus, and the office of ''
pontifex maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
''.


Genealogy

According to
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
, Numa was the youngest of Pomponius's four sons, born on the day of Rome's founding (traditionally, 21 April 753 BC). He lived a severe life of discipline and banished all luxury from his home.
Titus Tatius 300px, ''The Intervention of the Sabine Women'', by Jacques-Louis David, depicts Titus Tatius at the left According to the Foundation of Rome, Roman foundation myth, Titus Tatius was the king of the Sabines from Cures, Sabinum, Cures and joint-ru ...
, king of the
Sabine The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; it, Sabini, all s) were an that lived in the central of the ancient , also inhabiting north of the before the . The Sabines divided into two populations just after the founding of Rome, which is described by Ro ...

Sabine
s and a colleague of Romulus, gave in marriage his only daughter, Tatia, to Numa. After 13 years of marriage, Tatia died, precipitating Numa's retirement to the countryside. According to
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, Numa resided at Cures immediately before being elected king.Livy, ''
Ab urbe condita 300px, Antoninianus of Pacatianus, Roman usurper, usurper of Roman emperor Philip the Arab, Philip in 248. It reads ''ROMAE AETERANMIL ESIMOET PRIMO'', 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.' ''Ab urbe condita'' ( ...
'', .
Titus Livius Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...

Titus Livius
(Livy) and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
refer to the story that Numa was instructed in philosophy by
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
but discredit it as chronologically and geographically implausible. Plutarch reports that some authors credited him with only a single daughter, Pompilia. Pompilia's mother is variously identified as Numa's first wife Tatia or his second wife
Lucretia According to Roman tradition, Lucretia ( /luːˈkriːʃə/ ''loo-KREE-shə'', Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...
. She is said to have married the son of the first
pontifex maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
Numa Marcius Numa Marcius, son of Marcus, was the first Pontifex Maximus of Ancient Rome. He was appointed by the King Numa Pompilius who assigned to him the entire system of religious rites, which system was written out for him and sealed and included the ma ...
, also named Numa Marcius, and by him gave birth to the future king
Ancus Marcius Ancus Marcius (–617 BC; reigned 642–617 BC)"Ancus Marcius" in ''Encyclopædia Britannica, The New Encyclopædia Britannica''. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 379. was the Roman mythology, legendary fourth kin ...
.Plutarch, "The Life of Numa", 21.Plutarch, "The Life of Coriolanus", 1. Other authors, according to Plutarch, gave Numa, in addition, five sons, Pompo (or Pomponius), Pinus, Calpus, Mamercus, and Numa, from whom the noble families ''( gentes)'' of the Pomponii, Pinarii, Calpurnii,
Aemilii The gens Aemilia, originally written Aimilia, was one of the greatest patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Pa ...
, and Pompilii respectively traced their descent. Still other writers, writes Plutarch, believed these were fictional genealogies to enhance the status of these families.


Kingship

After the death of Romulus, there was an
interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...

interregnum
of one year in which members of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
exercised the royal power in rotation for five days in a row. In 715 BC, after much bickering between the factions of Romulus (the Romans) and Tatius (the Sabines), a compromise was reached, and the Senate elected the Sabine, Numa, who was approximately forty years of age as the next king. At first, Numa refused the offer of kingship. He argued that Rome, under the influence of Romulus's rule, was still a country of war. It needed a ruler who would lead their armies, not someone who lived a life of piety and reflection. However, his father and Sabine kinsmen, including his teacher and the father of Numa's son-in-law, Marcus, along with an embassy of two senators from Rome, together persuaded him to accept. In Plutarch and Livy's account, Numa, after being summoned by the Senate from Cures, was offered the tokens of power amid an enthusiastic reception by the people of Rome. He requested, however, that an
augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religiou ...

augur
should divine the opinion of the gods on the prospect of his kingship before he accepted.
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
was consulted, and the
omen An omen (also called ''portent'') is a phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis ...

omen
s were favourable. Thus approved by the Roman and Sabine people and the heavens, he took up his position as King of Rome. According to Plutarch, Numa's first act was to disband the personal guard of 300 so-called "
Celeres __NoToC__ The ''celeres'' () were the bodyguard of the King of Rome, Kings of Rome. Traditionally established by Romulus, the legendary founder and first King of ancient Rome, Rome, the celeres comprised three hundred men, ten chosen by each of th ...
" (the "Swift") with which Romulus permanently surrounded himself. This gesture is variously interpreted as self-protection in the face of their questionable loyalty, a sign of humility, or a sign of peace and moderation. Based on Roman chronology, Numa died of old age in 673 BC. After a reign of forty-three years, he was over eighty years. At his request, he was not cremated but instead buried in a stone coffin on the Janiculum near the altar of Fons.
Tullus Hostilius Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–642 BC) was the legendary third king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Histo ...
succeeded him. Rome had two kings in succession who differed in their methods. Romulus was a king of war while Numa was a king of peace, and thus Rome was well versed in both the arts of war and peace.


Agent of the gods

Numa was traditionally celebrated by the Romans for his wisdom and
piety Piety is a virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man" ...
. In addition to the endorsement by Jupiter, he is supposed to have had a direct and personal relationship with a number of deities, most famously the nymph Egeria, who, according to legend, taught him to be a wise legislator. According to Livy, Numa claimed that he held nightly consultations with Egeria on the proper manner of instituting sacred rites for the city.
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, ''
Ab urbe condita 300px, Antoninianus of Pacatianus, Roman usurper, usurper of Roman emperor Philip the Arab, Philip in 248. It reads ''ROMAE AETERANMIL ESIMOET PRIMO'', 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.' ''Ab urbe condita'' ( ...
'',
Numa then appointed the priests for each of the deities. Plutarch suggests that he played on superstition to give himself an aura of awe and divine allure in order to cultivate more gentle behaviour among the warlike early Romans, such as honoring the gods, abiding by law, behaving humanely to enemies, and living proper, respectable lives. Numa was said to have authored several "sacred books" in which he had written down divine teachings, mostly from Egeria and the
Muse In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and Cult (religious practice), cult practi ...

Muse
s.
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
Plutarch, "The parallel lives, Numa Pompilius, §XXII" (citing
Valerius Antias Numa Pompilius consulting Egeria (mythology), Egeria. Valerius Antias ( century BC) was an ancient Roman annalists, annalist whom Livy mentions as a source. No complete works of his survive but from the sixty-five fragments said to be his in the w ...
) and Livy record that at his request he was buried along with these "sacred books", preferring that the rules and rituals they prescribed be preserved in the living memory of the state priests, rather than preserved as relics subject to forgetfulness and disuse. About half of these books—Plutarch and Livy differ on their number—were thought to cover the priesthoods he had established or developed, including the '' flamines'', ''
pontifices A pontiff (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...
'', ''
Salii In , the Salii ( , ) were the "leaping priests" (from the verb ''saliō'' "leap, jump") of supposed to have been introduced by King . They were twelve youths, dressed as archaic warriors: an embroidered , a , a short red cloak ('')'', a sword, ...
'', and ''
fetial A fetial (plural fetiales) was a type of priest in ancient Rome. They formed a ''Collegium (ancient Rome), collegium'' devoted to Jupiter (mythology), Jupiter as the patron of good faith. The duties of the fetials included advising the Roman senat ...
es'' and their rituals. The other books dealt with philosophy (''disciplina sapientiae''). According to Plutarch, these books were recovered some four hundred years later (in reality almost five hundred years, i. e. in 181 BC according to Livy ) at the occasion of a natural accident that exposed the tomb. They were examined by the Senate, deemed to be inappropriate for disclosure to the people, and burned.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
hints that they were actually kept as a very close secret by the ''pontifices''. Numa is reputed to have constrained the two minor gods
Picus Picus was a figure in Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the ...
and
Faunus In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Roman religion and Roman mythology, myth, Faunus was the horned deity, horned god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with ...
into delivering some
prophecies A prophecy is a message that is claimed by a prophet In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanit ...
of things to come.Plutarch, "The parallel lives, Numa Pompilius, §XIV" and Ovid ''Fasti'' III. Numa, supported and prepared by Egeria, reportedly held a battle of wits with Jupiter himself, in an apparition whereby Numa sought to gain a protective ritual against lightning strikes and thunder. Once, when a plague was ravaging the population, a brass shield fell from the sky and was brought to Numa. He declared that Egeria had told him it was a gift from Jupiter to be used for Rome's protection. He ordered ceremonies to give thanks for the gift and quickly brought about an end to the plague. The
Ancile In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is ...
became a sacred relic of the RomansPlutarch, "The parallel lives, Numa Pompilius, §XIII" and was placed in the care of the
Salii In , the Salii ( , ) were the "leaping priests" (from the verb ''saliō'' "leap, jump") of supposed to have been introduced by King . They were twelve youths, dressed as archaic warriors: an embroidered , a , a short red cloak ('')'', a sword, ...
.


Institutions attributed to Numa

One of Numa's first acts was the construction of a temple of Janus as an indicator of peace and war. The temple was constructed at the foot of the
Argiletum The Argiletum (Latin ''Argīlētum'', it, Argileto) was the main route approaching the Forum Romanum from the northeast in the ancient city of Rome. It connected the Forum with the Suburra, Subura district of the city. Paths that were found in the ...
, a road in the city. After securing peace with Rome's neighbours, the doors of the temples were shut and remained so for the duration of Numa's reign, a unique case in Roman history. Another creation attributed to Numa was the cult of
Terminus Terminus may refer to: Places *Terminus, the unofficial original name of Atlanta, Georgia, United States **Terminus (office complex), an office complex in Atlanta *Lagos Terminus railway station, the main railway station of Lagos, Nigeria Art, en ...
, a god of boundaries. Through this rite, which involved sacrifices at private properties, boundaries and landmarks, Numa reportedly sought to instill in Romans the respect of lawful property and non-violent relationships with neighbours. The cult of Terminus, preached Numa, involved absence of violence and murder. The god was a testament to justice and a keeper of peace.Plutarch, "The Parallel Lives, Numa Pompilius, §XVI" In a somehow comparable, more moral rather than legal fashion, Numa sought to associate himself with one of the roles of
Vegoia Vegoia (Etruscan: ''Vecu'') is a sibyl The sibyls were female prophets or oracles in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark ...
in the religious system of the neighbouring Etruscans by deciding to set the official boundaries of the territory of Rome, which Romulus had never wanted, presumably with the same concern of preserving peace. Recognizing the paramount importance of the ''
Ancile In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is ...
'', King Numa had eleven matching shields made, so perfect that no one, even Numa, could distinguish the original from the copies. These shields were the ''Ancilia'', the sacred shields of Jupiter, which were carried each year in a procession by the
Salii In , the Salii ( , ) were the "leaping priests" (from the verb ''saliō'' "leap, jump") of supposed to have been introduced by King . They were twelve youths, dressed as archaic warriors: an embroidered , a , a short red cloak ('')'', a sword, ...
priests. Numa also established the office and duties of
Pontifex Maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
and instituted (Plutarch's versionPlutarch, "The Parallel Lives, Numa Pompilius, §VII") the
flamen A (plural ''flamens'' or ''flamines'') was a priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacti ...
of
Quirinus In Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the Latin literature, literature and Roman art, visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, ''Roman mythology'' may a ...

Quirinus
, in honour of Romulus, in addition to those of Jupiter and Mars that already existed. Numa also brought the
Vestal Virgins In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins ( la, Vestālēs, singular ) were Glossary of ancient Roman religion#sacerdos, priestesses of Vesta (mythology), Vesta, List of Roman deities, goddess of the sacred fire of ...
to Rome from
Alba Longa Alba Longa (occasionally written Albalonga in Italian sources) was an ancient Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication ...
. Plutarch adds that they were then at the number of two, were later augmented to four by Servius Tullius and stayed so through the ages. By tradition, Numa
promulgated Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final Enactment of a bill, approval. In some jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions, this additional step is necessary b ...
a
calendar reform Calendar reform or calendrical reform is any significant revision of a calendar system. The term sometimes is used instead for a proposal to switch to a different calendar design. Principles The prime objective of a calendar is to unambiguou ...
, which divided the year into twelve months according to the
lunar Lunar most commonly means "of or relating to the Moon". Lunar may also refer to: Arts and entertainment * Lunar (series), ''Lunar'' (series), a series of video games * Lunar (song), "Lunar" (song), by David Guetta * "Lunar", a song by Priestess f ...
course, but adjusted to be in accordance with the solstitial revolution. It was during this time that the months of January and February were introduced. Numa also made the distinction of the days being either profane or sacred. In other Roman institutions established by Numa, Plutarch thought he detected a
Laconia Laconia or Lakonia ( el, Λακωνία, , ) is a historical and administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it i ...
n influence, attributing the connection to the Sabine culture of Numa, for "Numa was descended of the Sabines, who declare themselves to be a colony of the
Lacedaemonians Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese as well as in Sicily, Epirus, Southern Italy, Crete, Rhodes, some i ...
." Livy and Dionysius give a largely concordant picture of the vast founding work carried out by Numa concerning Roman religion and religious institutions. Livy's account is concise: it occupies the whole chapters 20 and 21 of his first book. Livy begins with the priesthoods which Numa established. He created a residentiary flamen to Jupiter endowed with regal insignia, who could carry out the sacred functions of the royal office, which usually he himself discharged: he did so to avoid the neglect of the rites whenever the king went to war, for he saw the warlike attitude of the Romans. He also created the flamines of Mars and Quirinus, the Vestal virgins, who were salaried by the state treasury, the twelfth Salii of Mars Gradivus with their peculiar custom and ritual. Then he chose Numa Marcius as pontiff. To him he bestowed all the sacred ceremonies, his books and seals. The following words of this passage have been considered a systematic summary exposition of Roman religion:
quibus hostiis, quibus diebus, ad quae templa sacra fierent atque unde in eos sumptus pecunia erogaretur. Cetera quoque omnia publica privataque sacra pontificis scitis subiecit, ut esset quo consultum plebes veniret, ne quid divini iuris negligendo patrios ritus peregrinosque adsciscendo turbaretur. Nec celestes modo caerimonias sed iusta quoque funebria placandosque manes ut idem pontificem edoceret, quaeque prodigia fulminibus a Iove quo visu missa susciperentur atque curarentur.

ranslatedbr />... howingwith what victims, upon what days, and at what temples the sacred rites were to be performed, and from what funds the money was to be taken to defray the expenses. He also placed all other religious institutions, public and private, under the control of the decrees of the pontiff, to the end that there might be some authority to whom the people should come to ask advice, to prevent any confusion in the divine worship being caused by their neglecting the ceremonies of their own country, and adopting foreign ones. He further ordained that the same pontiff should instruct the people not only in the ceremonies connected with the heavenly deities, but also in the due performance of funeral solemnities, and how to appease the shades of the dead; and what prodigies sent by lightning or any other phenomenon were to be attended to and expiated.
Livy lists the '''', victims, as the first competence of the pontiffs: following come the days, temples, money, other sacred ceremonies, funerals and prodigies. The potential for classification inherent in this text has been remarked by modern historians of Roman religion, even though some, as Bouché-Leclercq, think of a tripartite structure, rather than a division into five (Turchi) or seven parts (Peruzzi). At any rate it is an important document of pontifical derivation that establishes a sort of hierarchic order of competences. Livy continues saying Numa dedicated an altar to Jupiter Elicius as the source of religious knowledge and consulted the god by means of auguries as to what should be expiated; instituted a yearly festival to ''
Fides Fides or FIDES may refer to: *Faith, trust, loyalty, or fidelity, or a religious belief *Fides (cycling team), an Italian professional cycling team in 1961 *Fides (deity), goddess of trust in Roman mythology *Fides (reliability), guide allowing esti ...

Fides
'' (Faith) and commanded the three major flamines to be carried to her temple in an arched chariot and to perform the service with their hands wrapped up to the fingers, meaning Faith had to be sacred as in men's right hand; among many other rites he instituted he dedicated places of the Argei.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
devotes much more space to Numa's religious reforms. In his account the institution of eight priesthoods is attributed to Numa: ''curiones'', ''flamines'', ''celeres'', augurs, vestals, ''salii'', fetials, pontiffs. However, the space he devotes to the description of these priesthoods and the official duties they discharged is very uneven. He says only a few words about the ''curiones'', who were in charge of tending the sacrifices of the ''curiae''; the ''flamines''; the ''tribuni celerum'', who were the bodyguard of the king but who also took part in some religious ceremonies; and the
augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religiou ...

augur
s, who were in charge of official divination. He devotes much more attention to the last four priesthoods of his list, particularly the vestals and the ''salii''. His minute prescriptions about the ceremonies and sacrifices were certainly written down in order to remember them correctly. Plutarch records some of these such as sacrificing an uneven number of victims to the heavenly gods and an even number to the nether gods; the prohibition of making libations to the gods with wine; the prohibition of sacrificing without flour; the necessity of making a complete turn on oneself while praying and worshiping the gods. The ritual of the ''
spolia opima The ''spolia opima'' ("rich The ring-imaging Cherenkov, or RICH, detector is a device for identifying the type of an electrically charged subatomic particle of known momentum, that traverses a transparency and translucency, transparent refractiv ...
'' is ascribed to Numa too by ancient sources. Finally
Arnobius Arnobius (died c. 330) was an early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christianity, Christian religion, Christendom, Christian countries, and the Christian Church, Church with its various Christian denomination, denominations ...
states the
indigitamenta In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are ofte ...
were attributed to him. Numa was credited with dividing the immediate territory of Rome into ''pagi'' (villages) and establishing the traditional occupational guilds of Rome:
So, distinguishing the whole people by the several arts and trades, he formed the companies of musicians, goldsmiths, carpenters, dyers, shoemakers, skinners, braziers, and potters; and all other handicraftsmen he composed and reduced into a single company, appointing every one their proper courts, councils, and observances. (Plutarch)
Plutarch, in like manner, tells of the early religion of the Romans, that it was imageless and spiritual. He says Numa "forbade the Romans to represent the deity in the form either of man or of beast. Nor was there among them formerly any image or statue of the Divine Being; during the first one hundred and seventy years they built temples, indeed, and other sacred domes, but placed in them no figure of any kind; persuaded that it is impious to represent things Divine by what is perishable, and that we can have no conception of God but by the understanding".
William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessaril ...

William Blackstone
says that Numa may be credited with "originally inventing"
corporations A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal ...

corporations
: "They were introduced, as Plutarch says, by Numa; who finding, upon his accession, the city torn to pieces by the two rival factions of Sabines, and Romans, thought it a prudent and politic measure, to subdivide these two into many smaller ones, by instituting separate societies of every manual trade and profession."


Story of the books of Numa

Livy narrates that, in 181 BC, while digging in the field of the ''scriba'' L. Petilius at the foot of the Ianiculum, peasants found two stone coffers, eight feet long and four feet wide, inscribed both in Latin and in Greek characters, one stating that Numa Pompilus, son of Pompon, king of the Romans was buried (there) and the other that Numa's books were inside it. When Petilius after the advice of his friends opened it, the one that was inscribed with the name of the king was found empty, the other containing two bundles each of seven books, not complete but looking very recent, seven in Latin dealing with pontifical law and seven in Greek of philosophy as it was in that remote past. The books were shown to other people and the fact became public. Praetor Q. Petilius, who was friends with L. Petilius, requested them, found them very dangerous to religion and told Lucius he would have them burnt, but he allowed him to try and recover them by legal or other means. The scriba brought the case to the tribunes of the plebs, and the tribunes in turn brought it to the senate. The praetor declared he was ready to swear an oath that it was not a good thing either to read or to store those books, and the senate deliberated that the offer of the oath was sufficient by itself, that the books be burnt on the ''Comitium'' as soon as possible and that an indemnity fixed by the praetor and the tribunes be paid to the owner. L. Petilius though declined to accept the sum. The books were burnt by the ''victimarii''. The action of the praetor has been seen as politically motivated, and in accord with the Catonian reaction of those years. It is relevant though that some of the annalists of those times or only a few years later, do not seem to show any doubt about the authenticity of the books. The whole incident has been critically analyzed again by philologist E. Peruzzi, who by comparing the different versions, strives to demonstrate the overall authenticity of the books. By contrast, M.J. Pena's position is more reserved and critical. Francophone scholars A. Delatte and J. Carcopino believe the incident to be the result of a real initiative of the pythagoric sect of Rome. The fears of the Roman authorities should be explained in connection to the nature of the doctrines contained in the books, which are supposed to have contained a type of ''physikòs lógos'', a partly moral and partly cosmological interpretation of religious beliefs that has been proven by Delatte to be proper of the ancient pythagorism. Part of it must have been in contradiction with the beliefs of fulgural and augural art and of the ''procuratio'' of the prodigies. Most ancient authors relate the presence of treatises of pythagoric philosophy, but some, as Sempronius Tuditanus, mention only religious decrees.Dumezil p. 447 n. 8.


See also

* Pompilia gens


References


Sources


Primary

*
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
, ''
Parallel Lives Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from a ...
'', Life of Numa Pompilius. *
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, ''
Ab urbe condita 300px, Antoninianus of Pacatianus, Roman usurper, usurper of Roman emperor Philip the Arab, Philip in 248. It reads ''ROMAE AETERANMIL ESIMOET PRIMO'', 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.' ''Ab urbe condita'' ( ...
'', Liber 1


Secondary


Unearthing Rome's king from the History News Network
*
Numa on the Ara Pacis Augustae


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Pompilius, Numa 8th-century BC births 673 BC deaths 8th-century BC Romans 8th-century BC monarchs Kings of Rome 7th-century BC Romans 7th-century BC monarchs 8th-century BC religious leaders 7th-century BC religious leaders Classical oracles
Year of birth unknown This category (and within its own specific purpose, the analogous :Year of death unknown) is intended for placement in biographical entries about deceased individuals, primarily from antiquity (although, in some cases, reaching into the 19th centur ...
Characters in Book VI of the Aeneid