Monday, June 26, 2017


A Sanctuary

Cicero, On His House 41.109 (tr. N.H. Watts):
What is more sacred, what more inviolably hedged about by every kind of sanctity, than the home of every individual citizen? Within its circle are his altars, his hearths, his household gods, his religion, his observances, his ritual; it is a sanctuary so holy in the eyes of all, that it were sacrilege to tear an owner therefrom.

quid est sanctius, quid omni religione munitius quam domus unius cuiusque civium? hic arae sunt, hic foci, hic di penates, hic sacra, religiones, caerimoniae continentur; hoc perfugium est ita sanctum omnibus ut inde abripi neminem fas sit.
John Bodel, "Cicero's Minerva, Penates, and the Mother of the Lares: An Outline of Roman Domestic Religion," in Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, edd. John Bodel and Saul M. Olyan (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), pp. 248-275 (at p. 269, n. 14, with my correction):
A law code promulgated by the emperor Theodosius in 392 CE explicitly prohibited private veneration of the Lares, Penates, and the genius (of the head of the household): Codex Theodosianus 16.10.12. For earlier Christian polemic against traditional domestic worship, see, e.g., Tertullian, Apology, 13.4; Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 2.24.12–13; Jerome, Against Isiah [sic, should be Commentary on Isaiah], 16.57.7.
Clyde Pharr's translation of the edict from the Theodosian Code, followed by the Latin:
No person at all, of any class or order whatsoever of men or of dignities, whether he occupies a position of power or has completed such honors, whether he is powerful by the lot of birth or is humble in lineage, legal status and fortune, shall sacrifice an innocent victim to senseless images in any place at all or in any city. He shall not, by more secret wickedness, venerate his lar with fire, his genius with wine, his penates with fragrant odors; he shall not burn lights to them, place incense before them, or suspend wreaths for them.

Nullus omnino ex quolibet genere ordine hominum dignitatum vel in potestate positus vel honore perfunctus, sive potens sorte nascendi seu humilis genere condicione fortuna in nullo penitus loco, in nulla urbe sensu carentibus simulacris vel insontem victimam caedat vel secretiore piaculo larem igne, mero genium, penates odore veneratus accendat lumina, inponat tura, serta suspendat.

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