NUMA POMPILIUS (/ˈnuːmə pɒmˈpɪliəs, ˈnjuː-/ ; 753–673 BC;
reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome ,
* 1 Genealogy * 2 Kingship * 3 Agent of the gods * 4 Institutions attributed to Numa * 5 Story of the books of Numa * 6 See also * 7 References
* 8 Sources
* 8.1 Primary * 8.2 Secondary
* 9 External links
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 , and Pompilii respectively traced their descent. Still other writers, writes Plutarch, believed these were fictional genealogies to enhance the status of these families.
After the death of Romulus, there was an interregnum of one year in
which the royal power was exercised by members of the Senate in
rotation for five days in a row. In 715 BC, after much bickering
between the factions of
According to Plutarch, Numa was a cunning and calculating person. At
first he refused the offer. 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, banded together to persuade him to
accept. In the account of
According to Plutarch, Numa's first act was to disband the personal guard of 300 so-called " Celeres " (the "Swift") with which Romulus permanently surrounded himself. The gesture is variously interpreted as self-protection in the face of their questionable loyalty, a sign of humility, or a signal of peace and moderation.
Based on Roman chronology, Numa died of old age in 673 BC. He was succeeded by Tullus Hostilius .
AGENT OF THE GODS
Numa was traditionally celebrated by the Romans for his wisdom and
piety. 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.
Numa was said to have authored several "sacred books" in which he had
written down divine teachings, mostly from Egeria and the Muses .
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 became a sacred relic of the Romans and was placed in the care of the Salii .
INSTITUTIONS ATTRIBUTED TO NUMA
Numa Pompilius, from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum
One of Numa's first acts was the construction of a temple of
Another, surprising, creation attributed to Numa was the cult of
Terminus , a god for 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. In a somehow comparable,
more moral rather than legal fashion, Numa sought to associate himself
with one of the roles of
Vegoia in the religious system of the
neighbouring Etruscans by deciding to set the official boundaries of
the territory of Rome, which
Recognizing the paramount importance of the
Ancile , 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 priests. Numa also established the office
and duties of
Pontifex Maximus and instituted (Plutarch's version )
the flamen of Quirinus, in honour of Romulus, in addition to those of
Jupiter and Mars that already existed. Numa also brought the Vestal
Virgins to Rome from
Alba Longa .
By tradition, Numa promulgated a calendar reform that adjusted the solar and lunar years, introducing the months of January and February.
In other Roman institutions established by Numa,
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 Vestals 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.
... with 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.
It is noteworthy that
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 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 augurs, 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 is ascribed to Numa too by ancient sources.
Numa was credited with dividing the immediate territory of Rome into pagi 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".
STORY OF THE BOOKS OF NUMA
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.
* ^ The Galileo Project, Rice University, note
* ^ Pompon in
* Unearthing Rome\'s king from the History News Network
* Mark Silk (2004). "
* Media related