Magna Mater Project
The Magna Mater Project
is an official project of Nova Roma
. Contributions may be made to Magna Mater via the PayPal form
Magna Mater in Roma Antiqua
On Magna Mater, her adoption by Rome, her temples, her festivals, the books you may read on her and her cult, etc.
The history of the Project inside Nova Roma
M. Octavio L. Sulla (II) cos. ‡ MMDCCLV a.u.c.
The project of the Temple of Magna Mater is created under Aedilis Curulis Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus and continued under Aedilis Curulis Franciscus Apulus Caesar.
Honouring the Megalesia Ludi, they singled out, among others, the temple of the Goddess on the Palatine Hill of Rome, as a monument that Nova Roma could somehow adopt. They then began a project with the goal of restoration of the temple, and sought the collaboration of interested propraetors, former magistrates, priests and citizens.
A Joint Declaration was signed by those who supported the project:
- I. Senior Curule Aedile Caeso Fabius Quintilianus (Aedilian site, Thule site), Honorable Caius Cornelius Puteanus (Germania Inferior site), Honorable Claudia Cornelia (Germania Inferior site), Illustrus Franciscus Apulus Caesar (Italia site), Honorable Caius Curius Saturninus (Finnicae site), Honorable Emilia Curia Finnica (Finnicae site and Academia site), Illustrus Antonius Gryllus Graecus (Lusitania site), Illustra Iulia Cocceia and Illustrus Sextus Apollonius Scipio (Gallia site) have formed an alliance to further the correct restoration and care for the Temple of Magna Mater in Rome.
- II. Each of the above promise to place a picture of the Temple of Magna Mater in Rome on "their" Nova Roman web-site (Aedilian, Provincial or Regional) with an inquiry asking all that visit their web-site to contribute to the correct restoration and care of the Temple of Magna Mater in Rome. The web-site shall also have the address of the Propraetor of Italia, so that it is possible to contact him to send funds to him to enable Provincia Italia to execute this joint promise. This web-page shall be designed by Illustrus Franciscus Apulus Caesar and made available by him to all the co-signers of this declaratio.
Signed: a.d. VIII Id. Mar. ‡ M. Octavio L. Sulla (II) cos. ‡ MMDCCLV a.u.c.
The project continued under F. Apulus Caesar's Aedileship during this year, and he involved several citizens:
Their first goal was to try to restore part of the Temple, but it was soon realized that this kind of action would be very expensive, and absolutely out of reach with current NR financial means. M. Iulius Perusianus wrote two reports (the first being as Scribae Ad Historiam Provinciae Italiae M. Octavio L. Sulla (II) cos. ‡ MMDCCLV a.u.c.) about the history of the cult, the history of the temple, the current archeological situation of the Temple and the connections established with key persons in Rome.
He first met with the Sovrintedenza of Rome, thereby obtaining good collaboration with the local public institution whch manages the economic and beaurocratic business of the Palatine. At the same time, M. Constantius Serapio and K. Fabius Quintilianus proposed to the Nova Roma Senate a new feature for the Curule Aedile, which was the possibility of raising donations for a detailed project, by way of a Nova Roma bank account, under the authorization and control of the Senate.
The Sovrintedenza of Rome provided the name of the Director the Archeological Areas of the Palatine, D.ssa Irene Iacopi, who informed us that the University "La Sapienza" of Rome is directing the South West Archeological Park, where the Magna Mater temple stands. Scriba Perusianus met the Director of Staff working on this side of the Palatine, Professor Patrizio Pensabene, one of the most important scholars of the Palatine and of the Magna Mater. He has 25 years of excavation involvement on the hill to his credit.
The area is now closed to the public, being under a massive restoration, but Professor Pensabene allowed us to enter this restricted area to check the status of the Temple, visit other sites (Clivus Victoriae and Romulean huts) and take some unofficial photos. We presented this data and photos during the International Nova Roma Rally in Bologna to the Senior Consul Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus.
The most important development, at that time, is that close collaboration was obtained with Professor Pensabene and his assistant, Doc. Alessandro D'Alessio. Several suggestions were recieved regarding the goals of the project.
At the end of the year, the Senate approved Senior Curule Aedile Franciscus Apulus Caesar's proposal to use the Aedilician Fund to raise the donations for this project.
The text of the MM project website (later approved): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nova-Roma/message18177
Marcus Iulius Perusianus was the Magna Mater Project Coordinator for this year and the Collegium was composed of:
At a.d. IV Kal. Feb. ‡ a meeting between the representatives of the Magna Mater Project and University of Rome "La Sapienza" took place. There Professor Patrizio Pensabenne and his assistant Alessandro D'Alessio pointed out some aspects about project.
The work in colaboration with the software company Informa started in order to build the Magna Mater website structure:
- "Informa SCARL, the software company which will build the general structure of the website, is quite ready to start. The developer presented us with a detailed plan of the job. Once they begin (they are waiting for our 'go', say, before the end of this month) they could accomplish and test the database in 15-20 days.
- Informa will create a Content System Manager, able to insert news with images and comments in two languages (two articles published on two different pages), abstract with miniature on the homepage and detailed and a full-length article in the same layout.
- If we decide on different content or presentation, they could create a different graphic for each style. The articles will be modified and removed by a restricted administration plan. There will be a database for usernames and passwords. Further information will be sent to us the coming days.
- With respect to the graphics and infrastructure, a structure will be presented to Aedilis Perusianus later this week, in a meeting with Informa. In any event the website will be composed by a flash intro with double access for English and Italian users. The general and informative pages will be in HTML."
Lucius Iulius Sulla, Senior Aedilis Curulis and his cohors present Ludi Megalenses, celebrated from April 4th to April 10th.
At the end of this year Fr. Apulo C. Laenate cos. ‡ MMDCCLVIII a.u.c. Magna Mater website was created. This is the Magna Mater Project Coordinator Lucius Iulius Sulla message about the event:
- "It is my pleasure, and my honour, to do my last action as Aedilis Curulis this year: I'm informing you about the birth of the official Magna Mater website. The efforts of Illustri Viri before me (my friends Quintilianus, Apulus Caesar, Perusianus) gave me the chance of realizing this website, that was built up by the web society Informa, as from the informations and structure that me and my Cohors Sullana gave. Here is the link to the website: Magna Mater Project
- It took a lot of time to realize this website, that is still growing up; it will be probably ultimated by next Aedilis Curulis that will be in charge of coordinating the Magna Mater Project. Before letting you visit our website, please listen to my last words this year: I want to thank briefly, but sincerely, the great men of my Cohors Sullana that worked with me this year, and mostly among them: my optimus Quaestor L. Rutilius Minervalis, Pompeia Minucia Tiberia, T. Iulius Sabinus and Gn. Cornelius Lentulus. Thank you!"
Aedilis Curulis Titus Iulius Sabinus assumes the position of Project Coordinator for the Magna Mater project for the current year and the Magnae Matris Collegium members were appointed:
Ludi Megalenses are organized by Aedilis Curulis Titus Iulius Sabinus and his cohors. After the Megalesia, the Aedilis Cohors, Cohors Sabina, was rewarded with the cognomen Pia Fidelis.
The new logo and link for the Magna Mater Project support page were promoted. The Titus Iulius Sabinus message to novi romanii was:
- "Beginning in 2002, the Magna Mater Project was developed by the Cohors Aedilicia in collaboration with the provincial magistrates, webmasters, and dedicated citizens. One of the most important goals of the project, and the one that has allowed it to become a great success, is fundraising. We have had good results to date, in large part because you all have promoted the Magna Mater Project by placing the logo and donation link on your provincial websites and on personal webpages or blogs. As of December 2005, the new Magna Mater website is now online. With the help of donations, what was once a dream is now reality. We, the Magnae Matris Collegium, the present Aedilicia Cohors and those of the past, want to thank you for making this possible. It is a testament to your dedication to the ongoing development of the Magna Mater Project.
- I encourage your further participation in the promotion of this Project. For this reason, I ask you to continue your support for this important task by adding the new logo and link for the Magna Mater Project support page to your websites as soon as possible. I also ask that this message be forwarded by the propraetors to their provincial mailing lists, so that all citizens who wish to link the MM Project to their own website, personal webpage or blog may do so, adding their support to this wonderful undertaking.
- With my thanks in advance, I wish you all a good year in Nova Roma. I invite you all this spring to celebrate our Gods, our ancestors and our community by participating to the great festivals and ludi organized in a traditional way by the united aediles cohors."
The Magna Mater medallion was designed by Marcus Lucretius Agricola
Marcus Moravius Piscinus Horatianus seconded by Tita Artoria Marcella and Marca Sempronia Justina, started the Magna Mater latin inscriptions around the world researching sub-project.
- " I have gone through approximately 60,000 inscriptions covering all of the provinces except those in Greece and in Italia. Italia alone has another 75,310 inscriptions, and with time constraints I'll have to exclude Italia and concentrate on the frontiers. Thus far I have gathered about 150 inscriptions from the various provinces that relate to the Magna Mater or that mention one of the sodalitates of dendrophores and the like. An example article was written for provincia Britannia. An article is completed for Moesia superior and Moesia inferior, and I have started (three times) an article for provincia Dacia."
The first Magna Mater Project promotionals, business cards and t-shirts, were produced by Gaius Curius Saturninus and Insulaumbra.
L. Arminio Ti. Galerio cos. ‡ MMDCCLX a.u.c.
The situation at Fall 2007
The archeological area where the Temple stands is restricted but we may have unofficial admission authorization by Prof. Pensabene, though we seek a more official permission to visit the area from the Sovrintedenza Archeological of Rome.
We have all the information about the history of the building and some maps about it. We will continue to look for further information about the Cult of Magna Mater. As said before, it's quite clear that it is not possible to restore the Temple itself, because its structural platform is nowadays covered by a tree growth known as Little Wood, which is in itself protected as an historical structure, and is also currently conserved for environmental reasons. However, in future it will be possible to restore some of the outer parts of the building or material found there. These restorations have huge costs. We are encouraged, nonetheless, in that we have established a good rapport with the university, but plans must be well detailed.
We are working in hope of attaining Official Patronage of the University: in this way we could promote the project (and Nova Roma) to other universities in the world, thus creating a network. The collaboration with the University of Rome give us an important credit, as does access to the closed archeological area and current information about the Temple.
What is the purpose of the Magna Mater Project?
- The ultimate goal is the restoration of the temple, but this is honestly very long term, especially when one takes into account our current financial situation. But even having money, there are several other small, but necessary steps which are already under development to 'restore' the temple, in a wider significance of the meaning. To restore it also means to 'valorize' the sancturary, its historical and archaeological aspects, the significance of the cult of the Magna Mater. Put another way, 'enhancing' would be perhaps a better term for these first steps of the Project. Periodically, a bulletin such as this report is published to keep the citizenry appraised of project developments.
How are the donations from Nova Roma utilized in the Magna Mater Project?
- Consider this list of things to do in the near future (as part of the MM project):
- i. official website
- ii. material to promote this project (leaflets publications, DVD with topographical introduction to the location, archaeological remains and evidences, history of the Sanctuary of the Cult of Cybele in Rome
- iii. a six-month scholarship for a student of the University of Rome
- iv. multimedia CD Rom
What is the return on this investment? Why is the Magna Mater Project so important?
- It is important because it permits Nova Roma to spread its name into the academic world, and provides the mechanism by which we may be entitled to manage Roman monuments. It's an opportunity to make our name known in the macronational, physical world, after having done so much in the virtual, electronic world.
Will Nova Roma ever be allowed to hold ritual there to Magna Mater?
- A certain number of Nove Roma citizens were able to visit the proximity of the temple this past April, courtesy of a special pass by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma (the entire south-west side of the Palatine, the Germalus, has been closed for the past 5-7 years). We were accompanied by a guardian for almost the entire visit, and at our tour of the house of Augustus, I guess a very simple rite could have been held. I believe that a longer than 5 minute ceremony, with an attendance of more than 10-15 people, would hardly be tolerated. I am not talking about 'religious' intolerance; it is just a question of security. Soprintendenza is working in the Germalus areas, and it is not easy to attain permission to enter. Honestly, I think to have a ritual there is currently quite impossible. Mind you, I am only speaking of what I foresee during my Aedileship. (M. Iulius Perusianus)
What historical importance do the trees currently growing on top of the Magna Mater sanctuary hold? Why are they more historically important than then restoration of one of the more important temple sites of Roma?
- I have asked this of the manager of the Palatine ruins. Currently, it is deemed a useless effort to cut these environmentally and historically protected trees, as the only part of the structure remaining is the basement of the temple (not considering the short remains of a couple of columns). We won't have a better view of the bricks with the presence of these trees, which have been there for some centuries. The general guidelines of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma is to maintain the monuments as they are, unless there is original material of the structure to position in their respective places. And, even when these materials are found, it takes a lot of time to study exactly where they fit. It is a matter of academic official opinion that not a single reconstruction effort can be made without appropriate archaeological evidence to support such action. (Marcus Iulius Perusianus)