Terminus

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Terminus is the god of boundary stones and markers. According to traditionwhich?, a new temple was being built to Jupiter on land dedicated to several gods and goddesses. In the view of the augurs, Terminus and Iuventas were the only ones who refused to vacate the site. Another explanationby whom? (though somewhat similar) holds that Tarquinius Superbus wanted to remove a stone dedicated to Terminus by Titus Tatius. Again, the augurs refused to allow a sacred area to Terminus to be moved. The augurs in both accounts viewed this as a sign of the permanence of Romecitation needed.

A festival to Terminus was held on a.d. VII Kal. Mar. . Terminalia was especially celebrated between owners of neighbouring properties. Statues of Terminus (which was simply a boundary stone) were garlanded and offerings of cakes, corn, and honeycombs were made on an altarcitation needed.

Ovid, Fasti II

"When night has passed, let the god be celebrated
With customary honour, who separates the fields with his sign.
Terminus, whether a stone or a stump buried in the earth,
You have been a god since ancient times.
You are crowned from either side by two landowners,
Who bring two garlands and two cakes in offering.
An altar's made: here the farmer's wife herself
Brings coals from the warm hearth on a broken pot.
The old man cuts wood and piles the logs with skill,
And works at setting branches in the solid earth.
Then he nurses the first flames with dry bark,
While a boy stands by and holds the wide basket.
When he's thrown grain three times into the fire
The little daughter offers the sliced honeycombs.
Others carry wine: part of each is offered to the flames:
The crowd, dressed in white, watch silently.
Terminus, at the boundary, is sprinkled with lamb's blood,
And doesn't grumble when a sucking pig is granted him.
Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast,
And sing your praises, sacred Terminus:
`You set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms:
Without you every field would be disputed.
You curry no favour: you aren't bribed with gold,
Guarding the land entrusted to you in good faith.
If you'd once marked the bounds of Thyrean lands,
Three hundred men would not have died,
Nor Othryades' name be seen on the pile of weapons.
O how he made his fatherland bleed!
What happened when the new Capitol was built?
The whole throng of gods yielded to Jupiter and made room:
But as the ancients tell, Terminus remained in the shrine.[1]

Further Reading

Notes

  1. Ovid Fasti. II, 639-670.whose translation?

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