Re: [tied] ancilae salii and archaic roman religion

From: CeiSerith@...
Message: 17299
Date: 2003-01-01

In a message dated 12/31/02 3:43:53 PM Pacific Standard Time, MrCaws@... writes:

priesthood with associated with both Rhea and
the infant Zeus.

The Salii also carried the ancilae,or figure eight-shaped shield, and
similarly beat their swords or spears against them while dancing,
playing flutes and singing the hymn "Carmen Saliare". This song was
in Latin that was considered archaic in Republican times. The Salii
were especially associated with Mars and the time of his birth on
March 1, also the date of the old Roman new year. The Salii were
considered a priesthood, and only patricians could participate.
    There was an obscure myth about the ancilae invoving King Numa
and a shadowy figure called Mamurius, who is thought to be a form of
Mars or a blacksmith involved in the production of the shields. The
myth is unclear, but Mamurius apparently constructed 11 ancilae
imitating an original shield that fell from heaven, and the real and
fake shields became confused. There was some ceremony involving the
flagellation of Mamurius with hide-strips

Ceremonial/decorative ancilae were discovered on Minoan Crete in
Final Palatical times, associated with the Mycenaean-style warrior
graves, as well as being found on mainland Myceneaen Greece. It may
be worth noting that in Final Palatial Crete there is the first
definite evidence for trade with Italy.

Both the Salii and Curetes were thus forms of priesthoods/religious
functionaries that  carried the ancilae, and beat them with staves or
spears while singing and dancing. Both were also associated with the
birth of an important god

   The fact that the shield(s) of the Salii fell from heaven is, I think, significant.  It is my theory the original pairing of a PIE god of the bright sky with a god of the dark (stormy) sky has been broken up in Greece and Rome, so that lightning becomes the weapon of a god who was originally the god of the bright sky.  With this, the previous thunder god dwindles into relative insignifance.  I suspect that this is what is going on here, except that in Rome the original thunder god (Mars) got to keep his shields thrown from heaven, while in Greece Zeus got them.  (Or did he?  Could the Curetes be the mannerbund of the original thunder god protecting the god of the bright sky?)  I think that the equation of Mars with the PIE thunder god clears up the mystery of why he is associated with fertility (cf. Thor, Indra, and Perkunas), and also sheds light on his role in the the October Equus, generally considered to be cognate with the Vedic ashvamedha, originally dedicated to Indra.
   This is a work in progress, but I think it shows some promise.

David Fickett-Wilbar