Prayer Requests to gods had to be made in prayer A prayer should follow a set ritual
The right god Calling a god by name meant they had to listen to you The right name ensured that the god didn’t get angry and try to harm you Unsure who to call to help you? – “To whatever divinity, whether you be a god or goddess...” Nothing could be left to chance, especially on a state occasion – Many lives were at stake – In case of error the whole ritual would have to be repeated at great expense – So prayer might mention other gods in case they had some responsibility
The right god A prayer used when war was declared: ‘Listen, Jupiter, and you, Janus Quirinus, and all the gods of heaven, of earth and of the underworld, I call you as my witnesses that [the enemy] are in the wrong’. Livy
The right god Study Materials, passage 5, THE RIGHT GOD, by Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights II 28 1-3 -Who did the Greeks believe were responsible for earthquakes? -What was the Roman view on the cause of earthquakes? -What did the Romans do when they felt an earthquake or received a report of one? -How did they avoid naming the wrong god?
Extra identification Parentage Precise titles Send the prayer to the figure’s home (a haunt or dwelling place)
Extra identification Study Materials, passage 6, NAMES AND FUNCTIONS, by Catullus, 34 -Read the explanation of this passage on p. 21 of your textbook. -As you read the passage underline and label the following: -Diana’s parents -Where she is from -Her other functions / roles -How Catullus ensures one last time that the prayer reaches the right goddess
Extra identification Study Materials, passage 7, THE AVERTING OF EVIL, by Horace, Odes I 21 -Read the explanation of this passage on p. 22 of your textbook. -As you read the passage underline and label the following: -The god and goddess who are being addressed -The deities’ parents -The 3 addresses of the goddess -The 2 addresses of the god -How else the god is identified
A clear request In passage 7 Horace is asking Apollo to keep war, plague and famine away from the Romans, and if these disasters must occur, inflict them on peoples far away from Rome Read the prayer by Cato on p. 22 of your textbook and list the requests he makes to the agricultural god Mars
And how to get it granted Praise / gain favour Emphasise that is was a reasonable request Emphasise is was within the gods capabilities due to their power or their previous experience in granting such requests Make an offering of some kind – Sacrifice Remind the god of previous offerings
And how to get it granted Study Materials, passage 8, RELEASE FROM TORMENT, by Propertius, III 17 Read the explanation of this passage on p.24 to help you answer the following questions: -Who is Propertius praying to? -What is his request? -How does he emphasise the god’s power? -What does Propertius promise to do if the god grants his request?
Summary General outline of what a prayer might contain (although this could vary) The right divinity addressed -Area of influence Further identification -parentage, address, past activities The request -General or precise Reasons why the god should help - power, experience, past offerings The offer - Sacrifice or gift
Task: Imagine you are an ancient Roman Select one of the following state gods: Jupiter, Juno, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Minerva, Bacchus, or Neptune. Think about what you might request from that god or goddess and write him/her a prayer. Incorporate as many of the features of a Roman prayer as you can