Monday, June 13, 2011


More on the Arval Brethren and Tree-Cutting

Thanks to Karl Maurer for the following email, to which I've added references to Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum numbers, etc.:
Michael, this apropos of your note on Friday, about the Arval Brethren making expiatory sacrifice for the fig they dug up. They were guardians of the grove of the Dea Dia; and it looks as if they used to make expiation for any damaged tree of hers, no matter what the cause. If you go to the splendid online “Epigraphik Datenbank” ( and type “arbor” in the search window, you get stuff like this (here the headings are mine; these are excerpts from 8 or 9 longer inscriptions):

CIL 06, 02023a (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32339a = AE 1888, 00111 = CFA 00002 = D 05042
TREE FELL FROM OLD AGE: quod] / [Cn(aeus) Corneliu]s Cn(aei) f(ilius) Lentulus augur mag(ister) in locum [3] / [factus ad] fratres Arvales rettulit arborem / [in luco d]e<ae=EM> Diae vetustate cecidisse q(uid) d(e) e(a) r(e) f(ieri) p(laceret) d(e) e(a) r(e) i(ta) c(ensuerunt) / [cum arbo]r vetustate in luco deae Diae cecidisset ut / [in luc]o ad sacrificium consumeretur neve quid / [ligni] exportaretur / [adfuerun]t L(ucius) Domitius Cn(aei) f(ilius) Ahenobarbus L(ucius) Calpurnius / [Piso p]ontifex Paullus Fabius Q(uinti) f(ilius) Maximus /

CIL 06, 02053 (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32360 = CFA 00042
TREE FELL IN STORM: [piaculu]m factum [in luc]o deae Diae ob arborem qua[e] / [a] tempestate d[eciderat] per calatorem et publicos / C(aio) Licinio Mucia[no II]I T(ito) Flavio Sabino II co(n)s(ulibus)

CIL 06, 02044 = CIL 06, 32355 = CFA 00030
TREES HURT IN SNOWSTORM: IIII K(alendas) Apr(iles) in luco deae Diae piaculum factum / per kalatorem et publicos eius sacerdoti ob arbores quae a tempestate nivis / deciderant exp[i]andas porcam et agnam opimam

CIL 06, 02075 (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32372 = CFA 00064 = D 05046 = IDRE-01, 00005
LAURELS HIT BY LIGHTNING, THEN CUT DOWN: in aedem Conco[rdiae fratres Arvales convenerunt] / ibique referent[e M(arco) Valerio Trebicio Deciano mag(istro) ad] / collegas de arbor[ibus lauribus in luco deae Diae quod] / a tempestatibus per[ustae essent placuit piaculo fac]/to caedi adfuerunt in co[llegio M(arcus) Valerius Trebicius (etc.)

CIL 06, 02099 (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32386 = CFA 00094 = D 05047
TREE PULLED UP TO REMAKE TEMPLE: M(arco) Herennio Secundo M(arco) Egnatio Postumo co(n)s(ulibus) III Id(us) Mai(as) / in luco deae Diae Q(uintus) Licinius Nepos mag(ister) operis perfecti causa quod arboris / eruendae et aedis refectae(!) immolavit suovetaurilibus maioribus

CIL 06, 02107a (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32390a = CFA 00105b
TREE HIT BY LIGHTNING AND PULLED UP: VII Id(us) Nov(embres) / fratres Arval(es) in luc(o) d(eae) D(iae) via Camp(ana) apud lap(idem) V conv(enerunt) per C(aium) Porc(ium) Priscum / mag(istrum) et ibi imm(olaverunt) quod vi tempestat(is) ictu fulmin(is) arbor(es) sacr(i) l(uci) d(eae) D(iae) attact(ae) / arduer(int) ear(um)q(ue) arbor(um) eruendar(um) ferr(o) <f=P>endendar(um) adolendar(um) commolendar(um) / item aliar(um) restituendar(um) causa

CIL 06, 02107a (p 864, 3261) = CIL 06, 32390a = CFA 00105b
TREES HIT BY LIGHTNING AND PULLED UP TO PLANT OTHERS: IIII Id(us) Dec(embres) fratres Arval(es) in luco deae Diae via Campana apud lap(idem) V convener(unt) / per C(aium) Porc(ium) Priscum mag(istrum) et ibi immolav(erunt) quod ab ictu fulminis arbores luci / sacri d(eae) D(iae) attactae arduerint earumq(ue) arborum adolefactarum et coinquen/darum et [quod] in eo luco sacro aliae sint repositae et arae temporal(es) refectae ferri / effer(endi) <h=R>uius oper(is) perfe[c]ti causa lustrum missum suovetaurilib(us) maioribus / et cetera q(uae) s(upra) adfuer(unt) P(ublius) Ael(ius) Se<c=I>undinus T(itus) Fl(avius) Arc<h=R>esilaus (etc.)
See also the useful list in George N. Olcott, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae Epigraphicae: A Dictionary of the Latin Inscriptions, Vol. I (Rome: Loescher, 1904), pp. 430-431 (s.v. arbor).

There doesn't appear to be an English translation of the entire Acts of the Arval Brethren, but I did find some translations of excerpts illustrating expiatory sacrifices for tree-cutting. In the following translations, I've added underlining and omitted footnotes.

Mary Beard et al., Religions of Rome, Volume 2: A Sourcebook (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998; rpt. 2003), p. 151 (CIL VI.2107, lines 2-13; ILS 5048; 224 A.D.):
Seven days before the Ides of November <7 November>, the Arval Brothers assembled in the grove of Dea Dia on the Campanian Road <via Campana>, at the fifth milestone, on the instructions of Caius Porcius Priscus, the master. And there they made sacrifice because in a violent storm some trees in the sacred grove of Dea Dia were struck by lightning and burnt; and in expiation for uprooting those trees, striking them with iron and consuming them in fire, for grinding down their remains and then for replacing them with others, and for initiating the work and rebuilding altars for the occasion, sacred to Dea Dia — in expiation for these things a purificatory sacrifice was carried out with the offering of a full-grown pig, ram and bull <suovetaurilia>. Then in front of the temple cows, their horns bound with gold, were sacrificed to Dea Dia — total 2; then at the altars built for the occasion sacrifices were made to the gods as listed below: to Janus Pater, rams — 2; to Jupiter, wethers — 2; to Mars Pater Ultor, rams — total 2; to deity, male or female, wethers — 2; to the spirit of Dea Dia, sheep — total 2; to the virgin deities, sheep — total 2; to the attendant deities, wethers — total 2; to Fons <the god of springs>, wethers — total 2; to Flora, sheep — total 2; to Summanus Pater, black wethers — 2; to Vesta Mater, sheep — 2; to vesta of the gods and goddesses, sheep — 2; likewise to Adolenda and Coiquenda, sheep — 2; and before the shrine of the Caesars, to the spirit of our lord, the emperor Severus Alexander, a bull with gilded horns; likewise to the divi, totalling 20, wethers — 20.
Naphtali Lewis and Meyer Reinhold, Roman Civilization, Volume II: Selected Readings, 3rd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 518 (CIL VI.2065, lines 15-40; ILS 5037; 87 A.D.):
In the consulship of Gaius Bellicus Natalis Tebianus and Gaius Decenius Proculus, May 19, in the grove of Dea Dia, during the mastership of Gaius Nonius Bassus Salvus Liberalis, the Arval Brethren made a sacrifice to Dea Dia. Gaius Salvus Liberalis, acting master in place of Gaius Julius Silanus, before the grove sacrificed on the altar two expiatory sows for the pruning and the work done in the grove; then he sacrificed a white honorary cow to Dea Dia. Gaius Salvius Liberalis Nonnius Bassus, Lucius Maecius Postumus, Aulus Julius Quadratus, Publius Sallustius Blaesus, Quintus Tillius Sassius sat down in the tetrastyle and dined from the sacrifice, and assuming their purple-bordered robes and wreaths with ears of grain and fillets, they ascended the grove of Dea Dia to the retreat, and through Salvius Liberalis Nonius Bassus, acting master, and Quintus Tillius Sassius, acting flamen, they sacrificed a fat lamb to Dea Dia, and when they had completed the sacrifice they all offered incense and wine. then, after the wreaths were brought in and the images were anointed, they made Quintus Tillius Sassius annual master from the coming Saturnalis to the next, likewise Tiberius Julius Celsus Marius Candidus flamen; then they descended to the tetrastyle and there, reclining on couches, they dined in honor of[?] the master Gaius Julius Silanus. After the banquet, veiled and wearing sandals and a wreath plaited with roses, he ascended to the retreat above the starting point and sent a signal to the charioteers and acrobats, who were supervised by Lucius Maecius Postumus; he honored the victors with palms and silver wreaths. On the same day at Rome at the home of Gaius Julius Silanus the same persons dined as had dined in the grove.
Jesse Benedict Carter, "Arval Brothers," in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. James Hastings, Volume II (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), pp. 7-11 (at 10, translating CIL VI.2014; ILS 5039; 218 A.D.):
Likewise on the fourth day before the Kalends of June (May 29), in the grove of the Dea Dia, Alfenius Avitianus, the vice-magister, sacrificed at the altar two young sows, an offering of expiation for the cutting of the grove and the work thus done, and then he sacrificed a heifer in honour of the Dea Dia, and going to the Tetrastylum he sat in his chair. Then returning to the altar, he offered the exta of the young sows.


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