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EXAMINATION OF THE LEMURES AND THE LEMURIA
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
For my past, present, and future teachers and students,
who continue to inspire and to challenge me to dream
I would like to thank my family, particularly my parents and brother, for their
continuous and generous support over the years, especially the last two. I would also like
to thank my close friend and fellow warrior, Rebecca, whose patience and wisdom
rescued me from many of my mischievous adventures. Finally, I would like to thank the
professors and staff of the Classics Departments (both at the University of Florida and at
Xavier University) whose guidance and knowledge made this thesis possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKN OW LEDGM ENTS................... ................................................... iii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS...................................... ................... ......... vi
ABSTRACT.................................. .......................... ix
1 LEMURIA, DEATH, AND THE DEAD............................................ 1
2 TERMINOLOGY OF THE DEAD...................................................8
M odem Scholarship............. ....................................................... 9
A ancient Scholarship............ ...... ................................ .......... 12
3 OVID'S REMUS: A GHOST STORY..............................................25
4 RITE OF THE LEM URIA ................................. ........... .................44
The Tim e ............. ............................. ................... .... ......... 44
Barefoot and Binding............ ... ................................ ...........46
The Averting Gesture........... .................................... ...........47
W ater................................. ..... ............................. 48
Beans, Redemption, and the Number Nine........... ............................49
Temesean Bronze...................................................... ........... 53
The Right Thing to Say.................................. .............. .... ..... 55
5 EVOLUTION OF THE LEMURES....................... ........................58
A PASSAGES ON THE LEMURIA AND THE LEMURES ..............................60
B PASSAGES ON REMUS AND THE REMURIA ................................... 64
INDEX OF PASSAGES CITED................ ................ ........................ 65
LIST OF REFERENCES ....... .... ............. ........................... 67
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................. ..................... .. .......... 72
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Greek and Latin Authors
De Deo Socratis
Apollonius Rhodius (Argonautica)
Augustine of Hippo
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Sextus Pompeius Festus (De verborum significatu)
Lucius Annaeus Florus (Rerum Romanarum Epitome)
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Titus Livius (Ab Urbe Condita)
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus
Pharsalia (Belli Civilis Libri)
Titus Lucretius Cams (De Rerum Natura)
Aurelius Macrobius (Saturnalia)
OGR Origo Gentis Romanae
Ov. Publius Ovidius Naso
Paus. Pausanias (' EXX6opog 7rspitryriCtg)
Pers. Persius Flaccus (Saturae)
Petr. Titus Petronius Arbiter (Satyricon)
VA Vita Apollonii
P1. Titus Maccius Plautus
Plin. Gaius Plinius Secundus
Nat. Naturalis Historia
Quaest. Rom. Quaestiones Romanae
Plb. Polybius (' Io'opact)
Prop. Sextus Propertius (Carmina)
Sen. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Serv. Servius Danielis (Commentarii in Vergilium)
Sil. Silius Italicus (Punica)
Stat. Papinius Statius
Suet. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
Tac. Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
De Anim. De Anima
Verg. Publius Vergilius Maro
AJA American Journal ofArchaeology
AJPh American Journal ofPhilology
ARW Archiv fir Religionswissenschaft
CGL Corpus Glossariorum Latinorum
CPh Classical Philology
CR Classical Review
CQ Classical Quarterly
DA Daremberg, C., E. Saglio, and E. Pottier, eds. Dictionnaire
des antiquities grecques et romaines d 'apres les
textes et les monumentes. 5 vols. in 10. Paris:
GLOTTA Glotta: Zeitschrfit fir die grieschische und lateinische
JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies
OLD Oxford Latin Dictionary
RE Wissowa, G. et al., eds. Paulys Real-Encycloptdie der
Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. 34 vols. and 15
supplemental vols. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1893-
TLL Thesaurus Linguae Latinae
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
EXAMINATION OF THE LEMURES AND THE LEMURIA
Chair: Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Major Department: Classics
Treatment of the dead is one of the fundamental acts that separate human beings
from other creatures. Human beings, at least since the time of the Neanderthals, have put
a great deal of effort and energy into the burial of the dead and remembering and
honoring them. Humans treat the dead as though the dead were in some way still alive by
establishing and adorning cemeteries, offering gifts, saying prayers, and participating in
funerals and holidays; while the remainder of the creatures on earth want nothing to do
with their dead. This treatment is not socially inscribed but rather something innate
stating that human life ought to be cherished, and that death is not the end.
All cultures have different ways of treating the dead, but the most common forms
of treatment tend to be funerals/burial rites and holidays. Ancient Rome was no
exception. The Romans honored the dead with great monuments in cemeteries and along
roads. They held elaborate funeral processions that ended in extravagant burial rites.
They also had several festivals for the dead, during which special libations and sacrifices
were offered, and during which people would place gifts on graves. Some festivals had
components that were not so much for honoring the dead, but rather for protecting one
from them, since there were some dead who would haunt and sometimes kill the living.
The Lemuria was a Roman festival, in which the dead were both honored and
guarded against, and it occurred on May 9th, 1th, and 13th. The best description of the
festival comes from Ovid's Fasti, in which he explains that that Romulus established the
Lemuria at the request of his dead brother Remus. During this festival, lemures (or
ghosts) are said to run amuck throughout the land. There has been debate as to whether
the lemures and their counterpart larvae are mischievous, sinister spirits of the dead
whose goal is to wreak havoc on the living; or if they are the protective, beneficial spirits
of the dead, whose goal is to assist the living. There is also a third group of spirits of the
dead, the manes; and it is difficult to see whether manes, lemures, and larvae are
interchangeable names, or if there are distinct differences among them.
According to the Roman calendar, the days of the Lemuria are considered dies
nefasti, which means that no marriages can take place, businesses and temples are closed,
and the government is not in session. The festival ends at midnight on the last night,
when the paterfamilias goes through the house performing the ritual necessary to expel
any lingering ghosts.
This thesis examined the Lemuria in the surrounding contexts of the dead at
Rome, such as funeral and burial rites, religious and philosophical views of the afterlife,
and necromancy. An attempt was made to distinguish the three types of spirits of the
dead. It is hoped that this thesis will add to the continual discussion and further
exploration into the sacredness of life and death.
LEMURIA, DEATH, AND THE DEAD
The Lemuria is a Roman festival of the dead held on May 9th, 11th, and 13th. The
primary source for the Lemuria is Ovid's Fasti, which describes a rite handed down by
the ancestors to expel ghosts, attempts an historical explanation of the festival by writing
a ghost story starring Remus, and ends by mentioning the superstitions that govern these
days. Lemures, the ghosts who are exorcised from the household, are only attested as far
back as Horace. The Lemuria itself can be dated to somewhere between 84 and 46 B.C.E.
(it is recorded in the calendar Fasti Antiates Maiores, the oldest calendar of the Roman
Republic that has survived).1
The calendar works like this. There were three days that one particularly needed
to remember: the Kalendae, the Nones, and the Ides.2 The Kalends was the first day of
the month, the Nones were the fifth day, and the Ides were the thirteenth. During certain
months (March, May, July, and October), the Nones occurred on the seventh day while
the Ides happened on the fifteenth. On the Kalends, the people assembled at the Curia
Calabra on the Capitoline Hill to hear when the Nones would be. They needed to know
this because they would have to return on the Nones to hear when the festivals for the
month would be celebrated. Finally, there were also the nundinae (days during which
1 Scullard 47.
2 The following information on the calendar comes primarily from Scullard pp. 41-48. See also Boyle &
Woodard xxxii-xxxv, Hallam xx-xxii, and Sidgwick 10-12. For an alternative understanding of the
nundinae and their relation to the calendar, see Johnson 133-149. For a thorough study of the Roman
calendar, see Michels, A. The Calendar of the Roman Republic. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
farmers could sell their produce) which occurred every eighth day and were labeled with
the letters A-H. By the first century B.C.E., the nundinae andfasti became synonymous,
though comitia and contiones could not be held. The Romans tried to ensure that the
nundinae never fell on the first Kalends of any year, or on the Nones of any month, lest
they be cursed.
In addition to the nundinae, there were also the holidays/festivals feriaee) and
games (ludi).3 The ludi originally served as an offering for Jupiter Optimus Maximus
from a successful general having returned from his victory. However, over time, more
and more games came to be established for various reasons.4 Ludi but notferiae could be
celebrated before the Nones of the month. Thus, this makes the Lemuria, a festival for
the dead, the first festival the Romans would celebrate in the month of May, which makes
sense, since May is arguably one of the months for the ancestors (maiores).
Feriae were subdivided intoferiae private (holidays observed by individual
families) andferiae publicae (holidays provided by the State). Theferiaepublicae were
further divided into three categories: stativae, conceptivae, and imperativae. Feriae
stativae were holidays whose date remained fixed on the calendar, like modem
Halloween. Feriae conceptivae were holidays celebrated annually, but their date was
assigned by priests or magistrates, similar to modem Easter. Feriae imperativae were
impromptu holidays given in honor of a victory or during times of crisis. Since the
Lemuria was always on May 9th, 1 th, and 13th, it was considered one of theferias
3 The following information on theferiae and ludi is from Scullard pp. 38-41. For a more detailed
discussion onferiae, see Michels, pp. 69-83.
4 Scullard reports that the Ludi Apollinares (212 B.C.E.), Ludi Megalenses (204 B.C.E.), and Ludi Ceriales
(202 B.C.E.) were used to increase public morale during the wars with Hannibal, p. 40.
Every odd day in the Roman calendar had a label (F, C, N, NP, EN) that
proscribed what could or could not be done on that day.5 Some even-numbered days had
this as well, but little was done on these days, since they were considered unlucky. The
letter F stood for diesfasti, days on which one could carry on legal business. During the
dies comitiales (marked with a C), the Senate or the People could be assembled. During
the dies nefasti (N) no legal business could occur, and comitia could not be enacted.
Days designated EN, endotercissus, (interrupted days) were days on which the morning
and evening fell under the guidelines of the nefasti, while the middle of the day was
governed by the rules of the fasti. No one knows for certain what NP marked. In
addition, some days were labeled dies religiosi and atri, though they were not marked
these terms in the calendars. These days were considered extremely unlucky, and no one
should begin anything on them or do anything unnecessary. Some festivals were
celebrated on these days, but it seems that legal business was either not performed or was
shied away from. During dies atri (the days after the Kalends, Nones, and Ides) not even
the State cults could perform ceremonies. The Lemuria, labeled as nefastus and dies
religiosi, shared in the superstitions for these appellations. Ovid mentions a couple of
these, such as the fact that temples were closed (fana tamen veteres illis clausere diebus, /
ut nuncferali tempore operta vides; Ov. Fast. 5.485-86) and that no one ought to be
married then. If a marriage took place, the woman would not live much longer (nec
viduae taedis eadem nec virginis apta / tempora: quae nupsit, non diuturnafuit. Ov. Fast.
5 For a more thorough discussion of these labels, see Michels, diesfasti and comitales, pp. 36-60, nefasti,
The purpose of this thesis is to examine and attempt to ascertain what the Lemuria
is. To do so, one must inspect three characteristics that govern the Lemuria. The first is
that the Lemuria is a festival to expel ghosts from the home (at least in the private rite -
we have no knowledge of the public rite, let alone if there was one). On encountering
this fact, one is faced with a dilemma of terminology there is more than one term for
ghost in the Latin language, and Ovid uses at least four (umbra, imago, manes, and
lemures). The common assumption among both ancient and modern scholars is that each
term denotes a different class, quality, or category of the dead. Confusion ensues because
each term can still be used in the same manner despite its possible differentiation. That is,
when the paterfamilias performs the rite, is he exorcising his grandparents, unruly
chthonic phantoms, or the spirits of the untimely dead? Thus, I attempted first to
discover what the lemures are by examining the terminology and interpretation found in
the primary (ancient) and secondary (modern) sources.
Next I examined Ovid's story of Remus' apparition and its connection to the
Lemuria (Ov. Fast. 5.451-480). Ovid claims that the Lemuria is actually the Remuria, a
festival held in honor of Remus; however, no such festival by that name (Remuria) exists.
Instead, the Remuria is tied in with the story of Remus' death and the foundation of
Rome as a possible alternate position for Rome's establishment, a place where Remus
was ritualistically sacrificed and buried, and as the headquarters for plebeian interests.
Analysis of Ovid's ghost story (the only author to write a ghost story regarding Remus)
helps to determine the types of ghosts dealt with during the festival (thereby possibly
better defining the Lemuria).
Finally, I give a brief commentary on the rite itself, which exudes an archaic and
superstitious quality. The rite is chthonic in that it occurs at night, deals with the dead,
and includes several items associated with chthonic rites (fountain water, a gesture that
wards off the evil eye, beans, etc.). Assessment of the rite reveals more about the
characteristic of the ghosts of the Lemuria and perhaps leads to a better insight into how
an ancient Roman dealt with the dead.
The Lemuria is a festival regarding the dead, and as such deals with the
fundamental mystery of human life death. Death is the one constant for all mortals in
this reality. It has long been the belief, however, (among various tribes, nations, and
peoples, both ancient and modem) that death is not the end. There is an existence for us
after this one, a different reality, a different place; perhaps better or worse than this one.
On account of this, death represents the greatest transition a human will ever experience.
At the same time it should be noted that those who are left behind in this realm
experience the second greatest transition humans make (that is, continuing to live despite
the loss of a loved one). Is there any greater pain, any greater shock to the human psyche
than the passing of a loved one? The ancient Greeks and Romans conscious of these
transitions took great care by creating methods to handle their grief, and we today still
use their models and have added some of our own, such as counseling. It is important to
remember that their solutions (although they physically, mentally, and spiritually appear
as though they are for the dead) psychologically are for the living. Hence, since this is
the only existence a human can have knowledge of, the methods presuppose an afterlife
existence similar to this one.
The primary method of dealing with the dead for the ancients was the burial rite.
Great effort was made to ensure that the ceremony, rituals, and interment and/or
cremation happened accordingly so that the dead person could have an easy journey to
the next realm of existence.6 The slightest mistake could injure or hinder that person's
journey, causing them to remain in this realm (where that person was not supposed still to
be). Thus, if burial did not take place, a person was stuck in this dimension (a most
uncomfortable and painful situation for that person). The burial, at the same time, is the
beginning of the grieving process, and offers the chance for those left behind one last
moment to take care of, to honor, and to say good-bye to the deceased. However, the
ancients were aware that once the funeral is over, the grief does not end. Thus, there
were special days set aside for the dead. On these days, the dead were permitted to return
to visit the living, and the living were encouraged to visit the dead.7 For this reason,
these days had the same liminal tone as the time of burial, and, therefore, superstitions
regarding them arose, causing great caution to be taken during them as mentioned above.
When the dead pass from the other world to this realm, creatures from that world,
harmful to humans, could potentially follow behind, or even the dead themselves could
possibly injure the living. Hence, there was a general fear of these days, but it was
coupled with a solemn time for dealing with grief and reminiscing lost loved ones.
Visiting the tombs of the ancestors, moreover, is a way of keeping a connection with
them, and this connection was reinforced by the ancients through offering gifts to the
6 For further discussion regarding ancient and modem perspectives on death and burial, see Davies' Death,
Burial, and Rebirth in the Religions ofAntiquity, Denning's Iloii, i,,i:, Real-Life Encounters with
Troubled Spirits, Kiibler-Ross' Death: The Final Stage of Growth, and Peck's Denial of the Soul.
7 Such days and festivals would include the (for the Greeks) Agriania, Nemesia, Genesia, and Anthesteria,
(for the Romans) Lemuria, Parentalia, Larentalia, and the mundus patet.
dead, such as flowers and food, things which one would normally do if the dead person
While the Lemuria may originally have not been a festival regarding the dead, it
had, by Ovid's time, acquired this perception. Thus, one must remember that we are
dealing with ghosts, with the living dead, creatures that have existed in our minds since
we have been conscious of ourselves. Ghosts are not limited by culture, time, or society,
and serve as a testament that the human race will not give up hope on a life after death.
Ghosts and spirits, however, if such beings exist, belong to a realm science has yet to
penetrate. Our scientific instruments still measure only according to a quantitative
analysis, and our reasoning is limited to interpretation of only tangible evidence. Thus,
we can only examine accurately the beliefs and the views of the Romans and other
peoples regarding the dead. Investigating these beliefs can only lead to a better
comprehension of them in our own lives. Thus, it remains that a life after this can only
be "proven" by faith and revelation. But if the frustration of the lack of knowledge has
not put you off, read on. Una enim quid significet humanum esse porro inveniamus.
TERMINOLOGY OF THE DEAD
Anyone knows that when trying to name the religion of the Romans they will fail
since the Romans ascribed to many forms of various religions and philosophies. The
same can be said about their belief regarding the afterlife and the dead. As the Roman
Empire spread, it assimilated the beliefs about the dead into its pre-existing
understanding. Thus, the Latin terms for ghosts or spirits or souls, like in English,
multiply over time and acquire new meaning as the Romans met other cultures. The
words for spirit or ghost include animus, anima, imago, simulacrum, effigies, lemures,
manes, larvae, and umbra. Each of these words is used by respective authors to denote
ghosts. The focus of this study will be primarily on the lemures in an attempt to figure
out what type of dead they are. The terms manes and larvae in particular are associated
with the lemures to the extent that there is confusion as to what each term means. This is
explicitly seen in Ovid's version of the Lemuria, a festival in May to honor the lemures,
in which the terms manes, lemures, imago, and umbra appear as if there is no difference
between each term. On account of this, scholars can be at a loss as to the original Roman
concept of the dead and how other contact groups, such as Etruscans and the Greeks,
changed that concept. Thus, this section is dedicated to seeking an understanding of the
lemures versus the manes and larvae by examining the occurrence of the term in
literature and scholarship. Modern scholarship will be examined first followed by the
various ancient literary references.
Many scholars, both ancient and modern, have commented on the confusion of
the terms for the dead. Dumezil writes the disjunction of the lemures and manes as
necessary to fit meter and interprets, the ghosts of the Lemuria as stealing the living back
to Hades if the rites were not performed.1 He claims that the term manes is ancient, since
it is always found in the plural, even when Dii Manes become synonymous with the
individual soul of a person through the influence of the Greek understanding of
daimones.2 Dumezil also says that many believe the term manes is derived from the
word manis meaning "good." Hence, the manes or the Dii Manes are the "Good Gods."3
Rose believed that the confusion of manes and lemures was just a "blunder" on
Ovid's part.4 He indicates, moreover, that no word which would define a person's
individual soul/spirit exists before the Augustan era since the formula dis manibus can
only be traced to the time of Augustus.5 He says further that a ghost for early Italians
was an "animated corpse," citing the fact that larva can mean phantom and skeleton,
while manes can mean ghost or corpse.6
1 Dumezil 367.
2 Dumezil 365. Examples where manes is used as one's individual ghost include Liv. 3.58.11, Prop. 3.1.1,
quin etfacto per Magos sacro evocare Manes et exorare temptavit. Suet. Nero 34, and ante lectum iacens
per omnia piaculorum genera Manes Galbae, a quo deturbari expellique se viderat, propitiare temptasse.
Suet. Otho 7. It is interesting to note that Suetonius uses manes for the ghost of Nero's mother and of
Galba, but he uses umbra for Caligula's ghost haunting the Lamian gardens.
3 Dumezil 365.
4 Latte 99 n. 2.
5 Rose (1930) claims that it is likely that the early Italian believed he had three indwelling forces: breath,
shadow, and blood, p. 129. Cumont also mentions this idea but says that it is an influence of the Egyptian
religion on the Alexandrian Pythagoreans. He gives the following key for the terms: soul vuzxi, anima;
shade CTKt, eiSco)ov, umbra, simulacrum; body C76 oa, corpus, p. 167.
6 Rose (1930) 133. Modems classify the tales of revenants (reanimated corpses) as ghost stories. Lawson
disagrees with this and says further that the Greeks recognized a difference between revenants and ghosts, p.
412. Haining claims that the original meaning of revenant was that of any being that came back from the
dead, p. 207. Both Lawson and Haining are citations in Felton p. 108, who points out that tales of
revenants have different characteristics from the stories of "unsubstantial apparitions," p. 26.
Knight renders manes as "the good people" pointing out that the belief of the dead
as an endless throng precedes the beliefs of the dead in Egypt and Sumer.7 To show this,
he offers the example of how, in Pre-Roman times, after the dead were cremated, they
were placed in urns that were deposited in "urn-fields" positioned outside the settlement
as a defense against enemies. Individuality begins to be allotted to the dead around 1000
B.C.E. indicated by the graves in the Forum. Knight feels that these conditions could
have provided for a "soul cult," though evidence for this is lacking.8 Knight
demonstrates how the process of individualization of the term manes (with the plural
being retained) did not completely alter its meaning but added to it quoting Cicero, "to
assuage the spirits of the dead conspirators" (coniuratorum manes mortuorum expire
Cic. Pis. 16), Propertius, "0 spirit of Callimachus" (Callimachi manes Prop. 3.1.1), and
Livy, "the ghost of Verginia" (Verginiae manes Liv. 3.58.11).9
Wissowa suggests that the term lemures came from the Lemuria as a poetic
possibility for ghosts.10 From the ancient sources, Fowler felt Nonius and Porphyrio
(besides Ovid) were the most authoritative on the lemures, while Apuleius and Martianus
Capella were the least trustworthy. He notes that while the Lemuria was marked nefasti,
another Roman festival for the dead, the Feralia, which was included within the
Parentalia, was labeledfasti. This may indicate that the dead of the Lemuria are
specifically of a hostile nature. Fowler also thinks that either Ovid was mistaken or that
the final address (manes exitepaterni) could be a polite and courteous way to speak to
such spirits. From these facts, he interpreted the lemures as a horde of demons, part of a
7 Knight 108.
8 Knight 108-09.
9 Ibid. 110.
10 Wissowa 1931-33.
primitive culture that predated a civilized Rome, yet nevertheless remained in civilized
Rome despite their triviality.1l Frazer believed that Ovid was correct and that the
lemures were family dead, while Bomer disagreed, thinking that Ovid was modeling his
formula after the Athenian Anthesteria.12 Cumont says that the lemures and manes were
shades of the dead who lived underground in a throng indistinguishable from those that
roamed around the tomb. Both groups along with the larvae were feared and looked
upon as being evil since they "endeavor to tear the living from the earth and draw them to
themselves."13 Latte thinks that there was a distinction between lemures and manes and
that Ovid is to blame for confusing later scholars through mixing the terms.14 Wright
says that the lemures are the terrifying and malicious larvae appeased by beans. The
manes, likewise, were terrifying but immense.15 Fay offers linguistic information on
manes stating that its root in Sanskrit *magx- forms lt6Kaps6 in Greek and Magha in
Sanskrit, the Indo-European name of the month equivalent to the Roman Maius, also
dedicated to the dead.16 Thaniel says that since lemures and larvae are sinister spirits
1 Fowler 106-09.
12 Frazer 424. Bomer supplement I ofARWas cited by Dumezil, p. 365. The Anthesteria was a Dionysian
festival in Athens held on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of the month Anthesterion (February) to welcome the
spring. On the third day, called Chytroi, an offering ofplankarpia, made of mixed fruits, was offered to
Chthonic Hermes. Ghosts, having arrived the night before, were roamed the lands. The festival ended by
commanding the ghosts to leave, with the words "Leave, Keres, Anthesteria is over" (Q6pace Kfipeq,
O1K f AvOrsoTrpta). The phrase, like the Ovidian manes exite paterni, has also caused much debate
among both ancient and modem scholars in that it is not agreed what the keres are. Some think they are
slaves, while others believe they are ghosts.
13 Cumont 63-64, 72. Both Cumont and Frazer describe the dead for all peoples as sciiinsi\ c" beings who
must be taken care of lest they become angry and injure the living (Cumont 63, Frazer 425).
14 Latte 100, as quoted by Dumezil 364.
15 Wright 156. Wright quotes only from Nonius Marcellus. Regarding the manes, he says that the
adjective immanis describes them perfectly and that it was hoped that by using the term manes their
character would not be so horrific.
16 Fay 13-14. The word for ancestor in Sanskrit is pit5mah5-s, which Fay identifies as manes, p. 12.
during the Augustan age and that they are not found "in higher poetry," it must have been
the case that to write of them was taboo.17
The evidence from the ancients does little to solve the problem and if anything
has only confused modem scholars more. Lemures do not occur in epitaphs or higher
poetry, and the first instance of them is found in Horace (nocturnos lemuresportentaque
Thessala rides Hor. Ep. 2.2.209). The Horatian passage does not explain what the
lemures are, merely calling them nocturnos, but it does group them with things that
inspire fear such as Thessalian portents.18 Strangely enough another satirist, Persius, has
a very similar line calling the lemures black (turn nigri lemures ovaque rupto Pers. 5.185).
The context for both authors is stating how one should live free of care. They both list
superstitions that obstruct one's happiness in life, and the belief in the lemures is one of
those hindrances. This could be interpreted in two ways: either the lemures exist, but
they cannot harm anyone, or the lemures simply do not exist. Thus, the only things one
can learn from these authors are that the lemures belong to the realm of superstitions, that
they were feared, and that they were black.
Being described as nocturni and nigri is not necessarily saying that the lemures
were evil. It indicates, rather, that they were associated with chthonic powers. Chthonic
powers themselves are not always bad, but they do have the connotation of being
connected with impure and frightful things, and, therefore, they are labeled evil.19 There
17 Thaniel 187. For additional references to lemures, larvae, manes, and lares, see Anthon 724, 730;
Daremberg 950-53, 1100-01,1571-76; Ernout 342, 351, 383; Latte 99-100; Lempriere 320-21,325, 351;
Smith 30; Wissowa 878-79, 806-14; CGL. v. 6. 626, 635, 676; TLL. v. 7. 977-80, 1137-39, v. 8. 293-99.
18 It should be noted that Ovid uses the same adjective to describe the Lemuria (nocturna Lemuria Ov. Fast.
19 Regarding black and the dead, Winkler writes, "It is not simply black skin colour which is frightening in
ominous circumstances but other visible features unkempt hair, squalor, a ferocious look," p. 162.
may be more information acquired from the discussion of color of the dead than realized.
In antiquity, there were three primary ways to "paint" the dead: black, white, and
transparent. The shadowlike usually appeared in low lighting or dreams, while black and
white describe physical ghosts.
Winkler's article has treated this phenomenon in depth, noting some amazing
conclusions. All of the black ghost stories he cited are late, reaching even into the non-
canonical gospels such as the Acts of Peter and the Acts of Thomas.20 Even the
explanation that the dead appear black due to cremation from Statius and Silius Italicus is
late.21 Winkler, however, notes two important observations: a) lemures are commonly
described as black, and b) there are no Greek texts that contain instances of the
Underworld or its residents as white.22 Such an observation could support Rose's theory
that a ghost for the Romans was an animated corpse. This could further support the
notion that the lemures are not spirits of the dead but rather merely chthonic spirits. There
is evidence of black ghosts, particularly on stage, for the Romans but this is after the
effects of Hellenization.23
Hence, by looking at just these authors, Horace and Persius, one can only judge
the lemures as sinister via assimilation. Only their commentators have made the case that
they were evil and, moreover, that they were a certain type of evil. Porphyrio, writing on
the Horatian passage, claims that the lemures roamed at night, had died untimely deaths,
and ought to be feared (umbras vagantes hominum ante diem mortuorum et ideo
20 Ghosts, as in there is a specific reference to a person who is dead. Thus, there is no vague term like
umbra or manes used to describe them but rather something like niger vir .
21 Sil. 13.447, Stat. Theb. 8.5. Statius marks the beginning of the Silver Age, while Silius is dated to 25-
22 Winkler 162. Felton disagrees citing Lucian. Philops. 25 and Plin. Nat. 7.27.13, p. 16.
23 Winkler 164.
metuendas).24 Acro in the scholia for the Horatian passage defines them as the terrible
shades of those who suffered violent death (umbras terribiles biothanatorum).25 The
scholia on Persius only obscures the terminology further claiming that the lemures were
the manes, which the Greeks call guardian spirits, being certain shades that have the gift
of prophecy (Lemures dicuntur dii manes, quos Graeci 6aif ovu vocant, velut umbras
quasdam divinitatem habentes. Lemuria autem dicuntur dies, quando manes placantur).26
It should be noted that all three commentators have described the lemures using
either Greek terms or Greek imagery. The class of spirits that died before their time was
called &opot, and they often preyed upon the living, jealous of their lost opportunities.
The piatoOevarot, a subcategory of &opot, were soldiers, murder victims, suicides, and
executed criminals.27 Pliny notes that nothing is more pleasant than a timely death (ex
omnibus bonis quae homini tribuit natural nullum melius esse tempestiva morte, Plin. Nat.
28.2.9). Thus, for both the ancient and the modern Greek and Roman, few things are
scarier and more frustrating than an untimely death. The opot, are trapped in this realm
clinging and desiring to a life in a world that, despite all their hopes and wishes, they can
never possess. Their desperate desire for this and their refusal to accept their fate
separates them from the Underworld as well. All they know is fear, anger, and self-pity,
and the only way they can channel these emotions is by killing others, that is, by creating
more acpou;. Johnston explains this well when discussing the opot, stating:
24 This is the way Wissowa cites it, although he writes in (=&copot) after mortuorum (1932).
25 Wissowa 1932.
26 Ibid. 1932.
27 See Felton p. 25 and Ogden (2002) p. 146. For an in depth discussion including ancient references, see
Rohde's appenidices 6 and 7, pp. 590-95. Johnston notes that throughout most of antiquity, &ompog was
used to denote either male or female untimely dead, but, later, a specifically feminine form &opi came into
existence and is found especially in magical papyri, pp. 164-65.
It exiles the aore not only from the upper world, as all deaths do, but also
from the Underworld, leaving her stranded betwixt the two. For, bereft of
the only sort of honor that women could normally earn the honor of
having successfully borne and nurtured children the aorj is excluded
from the society of the dead just as is the warrior who is treacherously
slaughtered instead of dying nobly on the battlefield, or the murder victim
whose relatives have not avenged him. Like these biaiothanatoi, the aore
can only wander between the worlds of the living and the dead causing
The terribleness of the untimely death is that one does not get to fulfill one's role in life.
For women, this is primarily limited to marriage and bearing children as expressed by
Polyxena before she is condemned to such an existence (&vu[tlog &vuitvauoto
T(v tL' Xp#lv cuXEiv. Eur. Hec. 416).29 Hence, &copot will often kill newly-born children
or a wife in the pangs of childbirth or young girls before their marriage. Sometimes
deities or the women themselves will render their untimely death because they have
performed something unfit according to their role in society. Often the act is sexual in
nature, either rape or consensual. If females were limited to marriage and childbirth,
masculine roles included everything else. The first and primary duty a male had was to
the State, true for both Greeks and Romans. This would include politics, military service,
business, religious rites, and others, and their goals are personal glory and glory for the
State. For the male, however, the military was the most common form of life and the
28 Johnston 175.
29 Archaeological evidence reveals that these females were buried with items, such as spindles and the doll
a woman dedicates before marriage, that symbolize the feminine role they could never acquire, Martin-
Kilcher p. 70-3. Whether these items were thought to be used in the afterlife or if they are just tokens
belonging to the person is unclear. Several amulets have been discovered in these graves, and there is a
debate whether they are there to protect the living from the dead. Priscianus may be mentioning these
amulets when he tells of how the lack of jasper caused a place to be haunted regiono quaedam generate malos
lemures quodpellit munus, iaspim, nocturni manesfugitant quam membra tuentem, Pris. periheg. 691).
Martin-Kilcher thinks that it is "highly improbable" that these amulets were employed as protection from
the dead, but she offers no argument, p. 73. The idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Other cultures bury
the dead in ways that the dead cannot escape to harm the living. For example, the African tribe Ovambo
cut off the head and limbs of the dead to ensure that there are not too many spirits flitting about in this
realm, according to Mascetti, p. 196.
most familiar form of death. Hence, males tended to be more ptatoO0varot, having
died on the battlefield. Thus, while females provided the legitimate instruments for
civilization to exist, males ensured that civilization existed. Therefore, anything that
damaged the chance for such glory to be obtained, anything that damaged the "order" of
civilization as the ancients knew it was the most heinous and unimaginable thing. Thus,
one can understand the force and power behind the fear of the untimely dead.
Why would the Romans have a festival to celebrate these classes of ghosts? The
usual answer is that the ghosts needed to be propitiated lest they do harm to the city or
other humans. Roman law, however, interceded on behalf of citizen ghosts as long as
they did not get in the way.30 The foreign dead were not feared, nor were they respected
or recognized as legitimate by Roman authority, and, therefore, no Roman citizen had to
fear or observe the foreign dead.31 While Roman law may not have protected against all
&copot, it did protect against executed criminals, murder victims, and soldiers. Soldiers,
even if the body was not recovered, were given a proper burial (the burial of a Roman
citizen).32 Criminals who were executed could not be citizens to begin with. Also,
anyone who committed suicide was not given burial, and, therefore, like the rest of these,
had no authorized permission of the state to haunt!33 Thus, the dead still fell under the
statutes of Roman law and had no voice with which to defend themselves. Hence, it does
not seem likely that the Romans would have celebrated a festival for these creatures and,
therefore, that the lemures must be another class of being.
30 Rose (1930) 135.
31 Ibid. (1930) 135.
32 Dig. 3.2.25, as cited by Rose (1930) p. 135.
33 Serv. A. 12.603, as cited by Rose (1930) p. 135.
In Fasti 5. 444, Ovid sings the formula, manes exite paterni, which has caused
uncertainty regarding the classification of ghosts since the festival is for the lemures.
Ovid's song is even more confusing in that he states that the dead in general are called
lemures, whereas this is often how one defines manes (mox etiam lemures animals dixere
silentum: Ov. Fast. 5.483). This understanding would extradite Ovid from the
manes/lemures issue since it implies they are the same. He adds that obsequies are
brought to the graves of ancestors at this time (illam, quapositis iustaferuntur avis. Ov.
Fast. 5.480). This would imply that these ghosts lie in peace and return only during the
Lemuria and the other festivals of the dead and, therefore, cannot be &cpot or
ptatoOavarot, as other authors have suggested. In fact, the only implication from Ovid
that these dead could be &opot or ptatoOavarot is the fact that he uses Remus, who
died an untimely death, as an example.
Another reference to the lemures comes from Varro who says that the lemures are
the same as the larvae and that beans are thrown to them during the Lemuria (quibus
temporibus in sacrisfabam iactant ac dicunt se lemurios domo extra ianuam eicere. Var.
fr. 18 De Vita Populi Romani). Paulus also remarks that beans are thrown to the larvae
during the Lemuria (nam et Lemuralibus (faba) iacitur larvis).34 Nonius Marcellus also
defines lemures by calling them larvae (larvae nocturnae et terrificationes imaginum et
bestiarum). Nonius identifies them as nightly, as Horace does, but he also calls them
imagines. Cicero, Vergil, and Ovid utilize this term for ghost as well.35 Its usage should
come as no surprise since imagines is the term employed for "death masks" at a Roman
34 Wissowa 1931.
35 Ille autem: "Tua me, genitor, tua tristis imago Verg. A. 6.695; itaque eis occurruntplerumque imagines
mortuorum, Cic. Div. 1.63; nunc sum elapsa rogiflammis et inanis imago: Ov. Fast. 5.463.
funeral. These masks, likenesses of previous family members, were usually set up in the
atrium, but during a funeral, they were displayed alongside a mask for the recently
deceased. Often these masks were worn by actors or mimes, some of which were
employed to study and impersonate the characteristics of the person whose mask they
Nonius also describes lemures as bestias, a term found with no other description
of lemures. Although there are modern ghost stories of animals, there are next to none in
the ancient world. Instead, there are stories in which ghosts transform into various
animals, particularly dogs and snakes since these two creatures had chthonic
associations.37 The notion of the ghost in these stories, however, is more a description of
a demon from Neo-platonic philosophy, such as found in Plotinus. Plotinus, unlike other
Neo-platonic philosophers believed in metempsychosis. Plotinus, however, mentions that
the souls of those who have committed sins are those that inhabit animals. Thus, animals
do not necessarily always have their own souls which may indicate the lack of animal
ghosts. Also, the fact that souls can be reborn as animals may imply one reason why
ghosts can transform into animals.
The passages from Varro, Paulus, and Nonius correspond to Ovid's ritual of bean-
throwing during the Lemuria to exorcise ghosts; however, it causes a new problem since
it introduces a different class of spirits that the lemures are, that is, larvae. Unlike
lemures and manes, the term larva includes adjectival, participial, and verbal forms
36 See Plb. 6.53-54 for Roman funerals and imagines.
7 For dogs, see Philostr. VA. 4.10, Luc. Philops. 22-24, 30-31. Hecate, goddess of the dead, was often
accompanied by dogs. Dover claims that dogs were special to Hecate because they were sacrificed to her
citing Sophron fr. 8, p. 102 n. 12. See also Rohde's discussion on this, pp. 589-90. Furthermore, within the
first five lines of the earliest author in Greek literature, Homer, there is already a connection between dogs
and the dead (Hom. II. 1.3-4). When Canidia and Sagana raise the souls of the dead, both snakes and dogs
are swarming about (Hor. S. 1.8). For snakes, see Plu. Cleom. 39, Plin. Nat. 10.56, and Serv.A. 5.95.
(larvalis resembling an evil spirit, specter-like, deathly; larvatus possessed by evil
spirits, demented; larvare to possess with evil spirits, bewitch).38 Larva is the term for
the skeleton set up during a Roman banquet (Potantibus ergo nobis et accuratissime
lautitias mirantibus larvam argenteam attulit servus sic aptatam, Petr. 34.8). Larva can
also mean a ghostly theater mask, though it is not clear when this usage came into
being.39 In addition, larva is used in the singular which contradicts the belief that the
Romans believed only in the dead en masse. Plautus uses the term to refer to evil spirits
who infect men with mental illness and as a creature, unwanted and unwelcome, that
lingers.40 Winkler notes that larvae are generally described as being white.41 If Rose's
animated corpse notion is correct, this observation on color could imply that larvae are
the spirits of the dead. In Seneca, however, the larvae are separated from the dead as
tormentors of souls (almost Furies).42 Perhaps this is an earlier meaning of larva since
there is no record of any ghosts whose role it is to torture the dead, or it could be an
attempt at Romanizing the Greek creatures called keres.43 Thus, there is nothing
conclusive about the larvae as yet other than that they are harmful and chthonic. They
could be either spirits of the dead, following Rose's reasoning and Winkler's color
observation, or they could be underworld spirits, not necessarily the dead, who are
38 OLD. sv.
39 nil illi larva aut tragicis opus esse cothurnis Hor. S. 1.5.64. It should be noted that an alternate reading
for larva in this passage is barba.
40quid esse illi morbi, dixeras? narra, senex. / num larvatust aut cerritus?fac sciam. Pl. Men. 888-9; Viso
huc, amator si aforo rediit domum / qui me atque uxorem ludifcatust, larva. Pl. Cas. 591-2.
41 Winkler 162.
42eum dedi Larvis etproximo munere inter novos auctoratos ferulis vapulare place. Sen. Apoc. 9.3. The
line directly says nothing about the larvae, but it is inferred from the comments on gladiators that they are
punishers. There is a derogatory sense in this line as well. Another instance where larva is used insultingly
and with a reference to men in contests is in Petronius (similia sicilia interiors et larvas sic istos
percolopabant Petr. 44.5). Rouse notes that interiors are "racers who try to hold the inner position of a
curving track," p. 85.
43 Ker is a Greek goddess of death often mixed with the Erinyes and the Fates. Keres are the daughters of
Nyx in Hesiod (Th. 211-12). Paus. 5.19.6 is responsible for giving the Keres their descriptions of being
fanged and taloned. Such a description lends aid to their function as bringers of death.
released at certain times upon the world. They can inflict damage which is why they
would need a festival for protection from and for propitiation. They do not fall under the
authority of the Roman law and therefore must be dealt with in such a magical manner.
Both Ovid and the scholia of Persius, however, indicate that the lemures and
manes are the same, making no mention of the larvae. It is Apuleius who differentiates
the three terms, remarking that lemures is an archaic term for the dead in general. When
such dead watch over and protect their descendants, they are called lares. If they lived a
life of evil, conversely, they are evil in the afterlife as well and called larvae. When
one's fate is uncertain, the term manes is used.44 Apuleius mentions the lemures two
other times, once in The Golden Ass and once in The Apology. In The Golden Ass, he
describes thieves as dressing up like lemures in order to scare any travelers (et ecce nocte
promote latrones expergiti castra commovent instructique varie, partim gladiis armati,
partim in lemures reformati concito se graduproripiunt. Apul. Met. 4.22). Later on,
however, when the robbers capture Charite at the crossroads, they do not use the term
lemures but rather manes and larvae (quorsum istam festinanti vestigio lucubratis viam
nec noctis intempestae manes larvasqueformidatis? Apul. Met. 6.30). Apuleius has been
influenced by a thoroughly hellenized Roman culture, and he himself is called "The
Platonist," being well versed in Greek philosophy. He is consistent in what he writes in
44 Hunc vetere Latina lingua reperio Lemurem dictitatum. Ex hisce ergo Lemuribus qui posterorum suorum
curam sortitus placato et quieto numine domum possidet, Lar diciturfamiliaris; qui vero ob adversa vitae
merita nullis (bonis) sedibus incerta iol i~,., i,.. ceu quodam exilio punitur, inane terriculamentum bonis
hominibus, ceterum malis noxium, id genus plerique Larvas perhibent. Cum vero incertum est, quae cuique
eorum sortitio evenerit, utrum Lar sit an Larva, nominee Manem deum nuncupant. Apul. Soc. 15.
Martianus Capella says something somewhat similar, except that he notes that lemures are spirits
specifically who have remained in their bodies after death only to be changed into lares, larvas, and manias
later (manes ... cum his (corporibus defunctis) manentes appellati lemures postea et in lares et in larvas
ac manias conversi. Mart. Cap. 2.162).
that his fiction reflects his factual writings on the dead, though his reputation as a novelist
makes him untrustworthy.
Thus, with each successive author, a new class of spirits arises, or a different
understanding is attached to an older class. If one assumes that originally the dead for the
Romans were a general mass, then with the further influence of Greek culture, which
could not live without classification, more elaborate explanations arose and reflect
influence from the Greeks. Thus, it is easy to see why scholars today are so confused on
the subject of classification of the dead since the ancients themselves were confused
about it, and they confused it themselves.45
Apuleius' argument, particularly about the good lemures as lares, however, may
not be far from the mark. There is evidence that the lares were seen as spirits of the dead,
particularly family dead, and there is a further connection with the dead through their
mother, the goddess Mania.46 Based on the types of sacrifices given to her, the Mater
Larum appears to be an earth goddess, making her children, the lares, chthonic spirits.47
During the Compitalia, images of Mania were hung at the crossroad shrines and on the
house doors (Macr. 1.7.34-35), and Festus claims that the term was used to scare children
into behaving better (Fest. p. 115 L).48 Martianus Capella claims that the lares were
benevolent spirits and that they hold a natural position in the Arval brotherhood whose
rituals' purpose was to make the fields fertile.49 A sacrifice was offered to Mania during
45 For example, Augustine misinterpreted Apuleius' ghostly distinctions claiming that lemures and larvae
are evil (Dicit quidem et animals hominum daemonas esse et ex hominibusfieri lares, si boni meriti sunt;
lemures, si mali seu larvas; manes autem deos dici, si incertum est bonorum eos seu malorum esse
meritorum. August. C.D. 9.11).
46 Powell claims that the word lares is derived from the Etruscan word for spirit of the dead and that their
role was to protect the household, p. 645.
47 Taylor 300.
48 Taylor 301.
49 Ibid. 301.
the Lemuria on May 11th, but Ovid makes no mention of it.50 It seems odd that Ovid
would make no mention of Mania or her sacrifice during a time when it would be so
appropriate to do so. If one examines, however, Mania, one may find that Ovid actually
does mention her. Ovid called Mania Lara and said she mothered the lares via Mercury
(Ov. Fast. 2.583-616).51 Mania was honored at the Larentalia under the name Acca
Larentia, and she was also associated with the Junii family who honored their ancestors
during the Larentalia instead of the Parentalia.52 The connection came through Junius
Brutus, who, while consul, deleted the human sacrifices in honor of Mania during the
Compitalia.53 More importantly, perhaps, Acca Larentia, having been associated with
Mania through the Arval brotherhood, made her the foster mother of Romulus and
Remus.54 Thus, Ovid does mention Mania during the Lemuria, not as a goddess but a
dutiful wife who with her husband performs the proper burial ceremonies for their son
Remus. As a result of their parentage, Romulus and Remus are sometimes regarded as
the lares, and since their mother is a goddess of the dead, this makes them chthonic
deities as well. Thus, the significance ofMania is that she is a goddess of death, the
mother of the lares, and also the mother (or foster mother) of Romulus and Remus. Since
both lares and Romulus and Remus are revered by the Romans and on account of the
benevolent nature of the lares, it is not difficult to see how a belief that the favorable
dead became lares.
50 It is possible that the inscription could read that the sacrifice goes to someone other than Mania, such as
the manes themselves as the TLL offers ma
found on the calendar (FastiAntiatesMaiores). Scullard lists the other possibilities but believes it to be
51 The lares were born to Mania and Mercury as he led her to Hades.
52 Plu. Quaest. Rom. 34; Cic. Leg. 2.54 as cited by Taylor, p. 302.
53 Macr. 1.7.35 as cited by Taylor, p. 302.
54 Taylor 302. Mania was also construed withMaia and the Bona Dea as goddesses of the Underworld, see
Macr. 1.12.23, 1.12.20-1.
Having examined the terminology of the dead, the following things should be
noted. The first is the number of the terms, (if the term is singular like umbra or plural
like lemures). It has been noted that the plural forms indicate older ideas. This would
imply a quasi-evolution for the understanding of the dead from communal to individual
to communal (though with a small amount of individuality recognized within the
community).5 This is not surprising since this mirrors the evolution of living humans,
that is, humans begin to survive by living in a communal environment. Once a
communal environment is established, the characteristic of independence through the
understanding that each person has a unique role to play within the community arises
among the members. Each member, however, cannot exist without the community, and,
thus, a coexistence is established between the community and its individuals.56 Thus,
under this notion, the terms manes and lemures seem more archaic than the terms that are
singular such as larva and umbra.
The dead have also been described as nightly, though they are not bound to the
night alone. This description implies the color black, which along with white and
transparent, are the colors that befit a ghost. Ghosts are also black through the
association of ashes after cremation. But even before cremation, they are black because
they are dirty from living in a dark place (earth). Their food is not the normal food of the
living but the rotten scraps left behind and even dirt itself. Black is also the fitting color
for the dead since it is a color that denotes a sinister morality. While not all ghosts are
sinister, there was the idea that they brought death and were often used for mischievous
55 It should be noted that this evolution is not as linear as it is described here. The process of the creation of
an afterlife is on going, even today, as various cultures and religions interact and share their beliefs and
ideas. In the West, the common formula has been the general to the more specific and then a combination
56 Clarke 7a.
purposes. Black, furthermore, is the color of impenetrability and immensity. The dead,
as already noted, are a huge group, and, as a rule, cannot be penetrated, or at least are not
supposed to be, that is, once one crosses the Great River, one stays. The mixing of the
realms of the dead and the living would only bring chaos to the cherished order of the
White, on the other hand, is the color of the dead on account of bones. White
often has the connotation of goodness and purity, and, hence, it is found as the color of
angels and other higher beings. On the other hand, white, as Winkler pointed out, is the
color associated with the menacing larvae. The transparent is simple to interpret if one
understands or believes that the ghost is a copy of the real person, and such a belief for
the Romans might have come from their funereal practice of death masks.
While Rose's animated corpse idea has merit for an original understanding of the
dead, it seems based on flimsy evidence and work better as a general notion of what the
dead looked like. As Winkler points out, white cannot be a description of the lemures
since they are black. Thus, we can say with assurance that lemures are black chthonic
creatures, perhaps the dead, which feed on either humans or beans.
OVID'S REMUS: A GHOST STORY
The following discussion will focus on Ovid's tale of Remus as a ghost story and
how this may or may not contribute to the understanding of the lemures. In order to do
this, it is necessary to have a grasp of the myth of Remus.1 While today a historian would
be unorthodox to incorporate a ghost story as part of an historical account, in ancient
times it was perfectly normal. Thus, it should be noted that no ancient historian ever
discusses or mentions Remus' apparition or any rites dedicated to him. It, therefore,
seems that either Ovid made up the story; or the tradition was known, and Ovid wrote it
in the form of the ghost story genre. While the ancients did not classify genres as
moderns do, there were certain motifs for the ancient ghost story that include the
terminology used to describe ghosts, the context of the ghost's appearance, and the
reason for their return.
According to Ovid, the Lemuria comes from the fact that Remus, after his death,
requested a festival in his honor. Romulus granted the request and established the
Remuria. Over time the "r" in Remuria became an "1" making it the Lemuria (aspera
mutata est in lenem tempore long / litter, quae toto nominee primafuit. Ov. Fast.
5.481-2). If one attempts to find Remuria in other works, one will encounter Remoria
instead. The Remoria was either the Aventine hill itself, or it was the spot where Remus
1 To date, Wiseman's study is the most thorough, though his arguments barely mention the festival of the
wanted the city built where Romulus later buried him.2 This allowed some scholars to
think that Remoria was a nearby settlement the Romans conquered.3 The Remoria shares
in the same derivation as Remus' name (from remorari). Remus was called so because
he possessed tarditas, and, thus, people who had this were called remores according to
the OGR.4 One could further interpret remores as "those delayed" (those who having
died are still trapped in this realm).5
The story of the Remuria is a ghost story, and Ovid sets the stage by calling upon
Mercury. Mercury is an appropriate choice for the invocation since he is the
psychopompos, that is, the one who escorts the dead to the Underworld. He is the correct
one to inspire Ovid with the tale since he is familiar with the underworld, visiting it on a
regular basis (saepe tibi est Stygii regia visa lovis. Ov. Fast. 5.448). He also would have
escorted Remus at his death to the underworld.
Mercury has other associations with Remus. Augustus had the temple of Quirinus
rebuilt and dedicated in 16 B.C.E. after it had been destroyed by lightening during the
war between Caesar and Pompey. The pediment sculpture contains a series of doors in
the central position above which are birds that fly to the left. On the left is seated
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ao6TiO Ka i Tpa(i4rvat 7fapcZe 'PipFT6 65e 656Keit ZlV KaLOUpivrlv viv a~' iKAiVOU 'Peptopiav
oiKiE Vt. D.H. 1.85.6; rvv 6e 'Pco6jiiL iv oiovitozrptov, eveOa l iou trlv 7toitKi ta i6SpUoat, T6
HcOaL vtiov, 'PCp 6'56 6 7tpoCTeX iKEiV 1k6o og AEvZTivog KCakOgLvog, 6g 6e ZinvE iCT0opoUCTyV
i 'Pepopia D.H. 1.86.2; h&to0av6zog 6' iv zT p.dcX 'PCtpou ViKrTV OiKtiCrV 6 'Pmorliog d76 te
To &6eL)o Ka1i 71oltZKi &XriLOKTOviaaq a&vEk6avog T6v piv P6tov iv Ti- 'Peptopiafg 0d71t,
i71tei1 Kai 6Ov Toy Zoipiou zri KTziCTosc 7pteifero D.H. 1.87.3; Festus (Paulus) 345L; 6O
' Pcp.6Log iv zT Pep.opfa 0dVaqg Tzv 'TPOpov 6pou Kai TzOig zposeig OKtIS ZrIv 716kt, Plu.
Rom. 11.1; OGR 23.1 as cited by Wiseman p. 203 n. 53, 54.
3 Wiseman cites Niebuhr's Lectures on Roman History, p. 40.
4 Wiseman 102 and 110, and he also cites OGR 21.5.
5 Kretschmer 294, as cited in Wiseman p. 174 n. 81, indicates that the archaic spelling of lemures is
lemores to which Wiseman adds "(from remores?); visible ghosts, especially of murder victims, might be
thought of as 'delaying (remorantes) in this world because not yet received into the next (Plautus
Romulus with four deities standing near him, all facing him: a goddess holding a
cornucopia, Jupiter, Mars, and Victory. On the right is Remus, but in his line is Mercury,
Hercules, Bona Dea (possibly), and Murcia, goddess of slowness and cessation, the only
one facing Remus.6 There is also the possible alternative story in which Mercury is the
father of the twins. Within this tradition, Romulus and Remus become the Lares. Since
the father of the Lares is Mercury, and their mother is Lara, Mercury and Lara become
the parents of Romulus and Remus,7 giving the twins chthonic qualities.
Remus' ghost is described as a transparent image of him at death just as many
ghosts are.8 The terms used were umbra and imago. Both terms seem to be
interchangeable since they denote a transparent entity.9 There is also a strong support for
an alternate reading in the textual transmission in which Remus calls himself a manes.
The alternate reading occurs in line 472, replacing in meafata with manibus ille.10 This
would then indicate that imago, umbra, manes, and lemures are interchangeable for a
transparent spook, and, therefore, imply similarity, if not equality. To further emphasize
Remus' insubstantiality, Ovid describes his voice as speaking in a low whisper (exiguo
murmure). More importantly he is a ghost that appears as he did when he died cruentaa).
Many ghosts had who died violent deaths were often seen as they appeared when they
died, as if the violence surrounding their death was so horrific, so incredible, it could
6 Wiseman 147-8.
SWiseman 128, 139.
8 umbra cruenta Remi visa est assistere lecto, / atque haec exiguo murmure verba loqui,Ov. Fast. 5.457-58;
lubrica prensantes ettirrit umbra manus, Ov. Fast. 5.476.
9 Felton 24. She notes that Pliny used umbra, imago, simulacrum, i. iir,.- and manes (Plin. Nat. 7.27.5-
11), while Vergil used simulacrum, umbra, and imago (Verg. A. 2.772-3,793). Lucretius used umbra,
manes, and animals when he was discussing the ridiculousness of believing in ghosts (Lucr. 4.37-40, 6.762-
66) but used simulacrum and imago to explain what they actually were (Lucr.4.29-53). Cicero used manes
when explaining the three parts of equality, one pertaining to men, the other to gods, and the third to the
dead (Cic. Top. 90.8). Manes occurs only one other time in Cicero, that being in a letter to Atticus (Cic. Att.
10 Alton cites the following in the Teubner: 11 472 in mea fata Cc: manibus ille Uco ob 422 11, p. 128.
never be taken away. For example, Sychaeus appeared to Dido revealing his battered
body (ora modis attollens pallida miris; / crudelis aras trajectaque pectoraferro nudavit,
Verg. A. 1.354-55) and, later in the Aeneid, a mutilated Hector visits Aeneas in a dream
(raptatus bigis, ut quondam, aterque cruento / pulvere, perque pedes trajectus lora
tumentis Verg. A. 2.272-73). Dido appeared to Anna with a gory figure (squalenti Dido
sanguinulenta coma Ov. Fast. 3.639), and Tlepolemus visited his wife in a dream (umbra
illa misere trucidati Tlepolemi sanie cruentam etpallore deformem Apul. Met. 8.8).11
The unifying elements of these stories are that every one of these characters died
violent deaths, that the ghosts appeared in dreams, and that ghosts are insubstantial, just
like Remus. Because they died violent deaths they are regarded as having died
prematurely. How the equation of violent, premature death equals insubstantial shade
visiting only in dream came about is not clear. Under this observation, however, one
could argue that since Remus falls into this category of ghosts, the festival celebrates this
particular category of ghosts. Porphyrio's commentary on Horace would confirm this
Et putant lemores esse dictos quasi Remulos a Remo, cuius occisi umbras
frater Romulus cum placare vellet, Lemuria instituit, id est Parentalia, quae
mense Maio per triduum celebrari solent, ante additum anno mensem
Februarium. (Por. Hor. Ep. 2.2.209)
And they think that lemures are called Remulos from Remus somewhat,
When his brother Romulus wanted to appease his unfortunate shades, he
established the Lemuria, that is the Parentalia, which they are accustomed
to celebrate in the month of May for three days, before the month of
February was added to the year.
A clue to understanding the equation may come from a fragment of Plotinus in which he
begins his discussion by quoting the Chaldaean Oracles, "You will not dismiss your Soul
11 These examples are all taken from Felton.
lest it go forth taking something with it" (Plot. Enn. 1.9).12 The understanding seems to
be that a) humans have control over their death and b) if one permits himself to die by a
violent means (murder, suicide, war) the soul will carry away some form of corporealness
(evil) with it.13 Plato has Socrates say something similar in that souls, impure on account
of evil behavior in life, are still attached to corporeal things and, therefore, still remain
flitting about in this realm:
Ep3pti~ 6i9 y, 6 ifs, (s, Toi)To oisogac t Xp sJivat Kai p3apb Kai
ys66sc; Kai 6pa-c6v 8 6 1 Kac i ouoa T0 ota6Crwuqxi pap6vewra
-C Kai WiKsCat tcO^Iv sij 'WV 6pac6v c67tov, 4)6f3p toi) &si6oii$ C;
Kai "At6ou, 6oxTnSp ys'cCat, 7rspi -C L vvCtaz TS Kai -covb Tc6c0out)
KIAuiv6ou0eVrL, 7Trspi & 6r] Kai S)90r 6-C-Ca vuX jv CYKtioEsi6
4xav'c&Yta'cca, oia 7tapgeovr'at ai cotaicdat ic)uXai si'6o2a, ai [t]
KaOapiccq &tO touOiCoat &kk,& 'Coi 6opaucoi [s'czoutCat, 616 Kait
6pCvra't. (P1. Phd. 30c-d).
It is necessary, friend, to think that the [corporeal] is heavy, earth-like, and
visible. Such a soul as this is burdened and enticed again into the visible
realm, by fear of both the incorporeal and of Hades, as they say, lingering
around the monuments and tombs, where the insubstantial phantoms of
souls have been observed, the sort of images that are souls which were not
released in a pure manner, but maintain something of the visible, causing
them to be seen.
The problem with both of these understandings is regarding morality. Not every person
who dies an untimely death led an evil life. One may argue that souls become impure
because they experience an untimely death and then must suffer the fate of the untimely
dead, however, Socrates seems to be arguing that evil people suffer the same fate as the
untimely dead. Thus, is Plato incorporating a cultural belief into his statements, or is he
modifying it to explain his moral philosophy?
12 The translation comes from Mackenna's edition. According to him, Michael Psellus identified the line
from the Chaldeaen Oracles, p. 71.
13 The interpretation comes from Mackenna, p. 71.
Additional evidence for Remus being an &copog comes from the observations of
Wiseman, who, in the course of his book, mentions the possibility that Remus was a
sacrificial victim for the sake of defending the walls of Rome.14 Wiseman argues that the
stories preserved by Propertius and Florus contain the original version of the Romulus
and Remus myth, a story created in 296 B.C.E. as a way to assuage the guilt of the
Romans for performing a human sacrifice in that year.15 A human sacrifice in the ancient
world was interpreted in two primary ways: a) as a necessary death for the protection and
survival of others and b) as a murder. It can be seen in the fact that those who performed
the ritual had to be spiritually cleansed, almost punished afterwards. Human sacrifices,
moreover, are offered to the gods below (parentare in Latin, ivayiCtiv in Greek).16 As
such, their rites are different from the sacrifices to the gods above. Rohde explains the
rites well, saying:
Sacrifice was made to the gods in broad daylight, to Heroes towards
evening or at night; and not on raised altars, but on low, and sometimes
hollow, sacrificial hearths close to the ground. For them were slain
animals of black colour and male sex, and in sacrificing, the heads of the
animals were not turned upwards towards heaven as they were when
offered to the gods, but were bent down to the ground. The blood of these
animals was allowed to run down into the ground or into the sacrificial
hearth, that the Heroes might have their "appeasement of blood." The
carcass was completely burnt, for no living man might taste of it.17
In the ancient world, there is one human sacrifice that often comes to mind,
Iphigenia. Iphigenia is sacrificed by her father Agamemnon in order to appease Artemis
or in accordance with the will of Zeus or both. Most know that some versions hold that
14 Wiseman 125.
15 caesio moenisfirma Remo (Prop. 3.9.50); prima certe victimafuit munitionemque urbis novae sanguine
suo consecravit (Flor. 1.1.8) as cited by Wiseman p. 208 n. 116.
16 Hardie 44. While there is no one specifically mentioned, Iphigenia is sacrificed in a chthonic manner.
Polyxena is sacrificed to Achilles, and heroes are appeased through chthonic rites.
17 Rohde 116. See also Hardie pp. 44-45.
Iphigenia died or that she was saved by Artemis and then became her priestess. There
was another tradition, however, which stated that upon being sacrificed, Artemis changed
Iphigenia into the goddess Hecate, the goddess of witches, crossroads, and the patroness
of the dead, particularly the untimely dead.18 Iphigenia as the prototypical
ao pog/3tpatoO6va'co became the leader of such beings. If Remus was also sacrificed,
that would make him an &opog or ptatoO6vaccog and possibly, a leader similar to
Hecate. No such tradition, conversely, is ever established around the figure of Remus as
there was with Iphigenia and Hecate. Instead, he is passed over and almost forgotten.
Why does Iphigenia as Hecate become the patroness of the dead, while Remus remains a
silent shade? The answer may lie in an argument based upon information from Wiseman.
The Romans looked down upon human sacrifice, but knew there were certain
times, particularly in a crisis, when it became necessary, as Livy indicated:
Interim ex fatalibus libris sacrificia aliquot extraordinaria facta; inter quae
Gallus et Galla, Graecus et Graeca in foro bovario sub terram vivi demissi
sunt in locum saxo consaeptum, iam ante hostiis humans, minime Romano
sacro, imbutum. (Liv. 22.57.6) 19
From those fatal books several extraordinary sacrifices were performed;
among which a Gallic male and female, a Greek male and female were sent
alive under the earth in the forum bovarium in a place enclosed by a rock,
tainted with human enemies by that least Roman of customs.
The Romans did not outlaw human sacrifice until 97 B.C.E. (DCLVII demum anno urbis
Cn. Cornelio Lentulo P. Licinio Crasso cos. senatus consultumfactum est ne homo
immolaretur, Plin. Nat. 30.3.12). The sacrifice of 296 B.C.E. was to help the Romans
achieve victory over an alliance between the Samnites, Etruscans, and Gauls. To justify
and offer proof for the success of the sacrifice, the foundation story, which incorporated
18 Stesich. fr. 215 PMG as cited by Johnston p. 241.
19 Wiseman 125. The information in the following two paragraphs comes from Wiseman, pp. 124-126.
Remus as a sacrifice for the protection of the city, was created. Due to both the passage
of time and the disgust towards the act, the myth was rewritten into the current forms.
The moral behind the original myth (safety of the city) is retained in them, but the
methodology is different. Although this argument is (rather) conjectural, it does provide
an excellent connection between Remus and the lemures as defined as ptatoOvaCrot.20
The story could also be supported by a line of Ennius who has Remus on Mt.
Murcus offer himself to the gods below (Remus se devovet) during the augury contest.21
Since the Remoria is believed to be the place where Remus was buried and is associated
either with the Aventine, then perhaps the Remoria was the spot where Remus was
believed to be sacrificed. The Remuria could then be the festival set up to honor the
sacrificed Remus. Over time, the day became associated with all those who were
murdered or died untimely deaths (remores), and eventually the term remores included
all the dead. This may even indicate a possible starting point for the Lemuria (c.a. 296
Remus appears after Faustulus and Acca have laid down to sleep which is a
common occurrence in many ghost stories as mentioned above. Sleep was seen as a time
when the soul could connect with the spiritual realm.22 Cicero discusses the potency of
the soul at death and in sleep in De Divinatione, saying the following:
Cum ergo est somno sevocatus animus a societate et a contagione corporis,
tum meminit praeteritorum, praesentia cernit, future praevidet; iacet enim
corpus dormientis ut mortui, viget autem et vivit animus. Quod multo
magis faciet post mortem, cum omnino corpore excesserit (Cic. Div. 1.63).
20 Wiseman 119.
21 Ibid. 13.
22 Felton 19.
When therefore during sleep the soul is separated from the association and
contamination of the body, then it recalls the past, perceives the present,
and foretells the future; for though the body lies sleeping as if dead, the
soul flourishes nevertheless and lives. It will do after death, when it will
have departed entirely from the body.
Felton notes that ghosts who appear in dreams are often the spirits of the recently
deceased.23 The terminology used to describe Remus' appearance coincides with the
terminology used in dreams and with ghosts, including those ghosts who appear to
people awake (adsisto, fioi TrYlt).24 Aristotle discussed briefly why people witness
what they experience in dreams in De Somniis. According to him, apparitions often
appear during sleep or around sleep because the mind is in a depressed state of
consciousness. In such a state, the mind does not have the ability to distinguish between
true and false impressions. Residual impressions, impressions which remain in the sense
organs, furthermore, can appear causing one to believe one is witnessing an actual person
or object. Thus, while asleep, the mind cannot accurately interpret the impressions,
causing hallucinations or dreams.25
People returned from the dead for several reasons.26 They return to seek revenge
for their death just as Verginia's ghost would not rest till her murderers were punished
(manesque Verginiae, mortuae quam vivaefelicioris, per tot domos ad petendas poenas
vagati nullo relicto sonte tandem quieverunt, Liv. 3.58.11). In Euripides' Hecuba,
Achilles' ghost would not permit the army to leave Troy until Polyxena was sacrificed
upon his grave (ai'si 6' &68Xs4il cilv T itV v HIo/uovrv / c6iptpq) iov
23 Felton 19. The examples noted above from Vergil, Ovid, and Apuleius would support this.
24 Felton 19; cf. assistere in footnote 8. Felton also cites Plin. Nat. 3.5; Lucian. Philops. 25, 30-31; Plg.
25 Ar. De Som. 461b5-10, 25-30, 462a10-15 as found in his Parva Naturalia.
26 Felton outlines three primary reasons for the dead to return: warning and revenge, comfort and reward,
and burial, Felton pp. 8-12. This discussion will focus on the first and the third reasons, and will repeat
some of her examples as well as use stories that appear in other parts of her book that fit these categories.
rTp6o aytca Kai yepaq Xapsiv. Eur. Hec. 40-1). Nero's mother, after he had her killed,
haunted him to such an extent that he summoned the magi to have himself exorcised
(quin etfacto per Magos sacro evocare Manes et exorare temptavit. Suet. Nero 34), just
as Galba would not let his assassin, Otho, sleep, keeping him up through the night (ante
lectum iacens per omniapiaculorum genera Manes Galbae, a quo deturbari expellique
se viderat, propitiare temptasse. Suet. Otho 7). Plutarch tells how Pausanias accidentally
killed the maiden Cleonice who haunted him almost until he died () 6' sig 6ytv
eOoiCUoa zaC6coX 7iira 6Ci uxCoocat zTCv KaK6i v ac 6zv ev Yi-7cpz'r ysv6tLgvov,
aivtzzot-vr zCt v TC~V i ouoav ag OIKSv ac)iT TsZ 'cU jv. Plu. Cim. 6.6)
The dead return to warn or advise the living. Tlepolemus returns to warn his wife
to stay away from Thrasyllus (modo ne in Thrasylli manum sacrilegam convenias, Apul.
Met. 8.8). The ghost of a father returns to his daughter to warn her that her stepmother
committed the crime (eique totum novercae scelus aperuit, Apul. Met. 9.31). There were
also oracles of the dead, places thought to be closer to the underworld and therefore more
opportune for contact with the dead. Ogden recognizes three types of such oracles. The
first consists of places one goes to have someone conjure the dead.27 The second
consisted of oracles of dead heroes. The third were places that led to the Underworld
such as caves or birdless lakes. Like other oracles, messages were often acquired
through incubation performed by either the priest or the pilgrim.28 Ironically, the
message from the dead may have been thought to have been more "down to earth" and
less open to interpretation in comparison to the other oracles such as Delphi as indicated
27 Ogden (2001) feels that the Romans received these from the Greeks and names the four major ones:
Acheron in Thesprotia, Avemus in Campania, Heracleia Pontica near the Black Sea, and Tainaron on the
Mani peninsula, p. 17. Pausanias summoned the spirit of Cleonice at Heracleia in the story above (Plu.
28 Ogden (2001) 23-28.
by Lucan's Erictho (Tripodas vatesque deorum / sors obscure decet: certus discedat, ab
umbris / quisque vera petit duraeque oracula mortis Ifortis adit. Luc. Phars. 6.770-73).
One, however, need not travel far to consult the dead since the local necromancer could
reanimate a corpse with its spirit or could summon a spirit itself.
The most popular reason for ghosts to return is to request proper burial.29 Burial
and funerary rites were among the most important religious rituals in the ancient world.
He who was left unburied or was buried but did not have the necessary funerary rites
could not enter or rest in the afterlife. As such, he was stuck in this life as an abnormality,
a "glitch in the matrix," as it were. The earliest Greco-Roman example is in the Iliad
where Patroclus asks Achilles to get over his death and bury him since he cannot cross
into the afterlife until his funerary rites are carried out (0 67TTs -ts 6nct C6Xtio'ca,
7ir6kac 'Ait6o 7rspilyco. / Tcflk ts si'pyoucyt vuxai, si'6oka Ko .ti6v'cov, / oi69
[Cg 7ito [tifYSCot 7 i t0 p 7To'cc!.toio 6Cyoiv, / &ak' a&6coc &kfrjlttait &v' spuiKtru2k
"A'6So 66b. Hom. 11.23.71-4). The sibyl explains to Aeneas that souls whose bones rest
in the tomb rest in the Underworld, while souls whose bodies are left unburied roam the
shores of the Styx for a hundred years until they are finally permitted to cross (Haec
omnis, quam cernis, inops inhumataque turba est; I portitor ille Charon; hi, quos vehit
unda, sepulti; / nec ripas datur horrendas et raucafluenta / transportare prius quam
sedibus ossa quierunt. Verg. A. 6.325-30). Caligula haunted the Lamian gardens until his
sisters buried him (satis constat, prius quam idfieret, hortorum custodies umbris
inquietatos; in ea quoque domo, in qua occubuerit, nullam noctem sine aliquot terrore
transactam, done ipsa domus incendio consumpta sit. Suet. Cal. 59). Plautus'
29 Felton 9.
Mostellaria tells of a ghost, Diapontius, who was killed by his host and was buried
beneath the house which he now haunts (TR. "ego transmarinus hospes sum Diapontius.
/ hic habito, haec mihi dedita est habitatio. / nam me Acheruntem recipere Orcus noluit, /
quiapraemature vita care ... ." P1. Mos. 497-500). Pliny's Athenodorus figures out
that a house is haunted because someone's body was hidden below the house. Once the
bones were discovered and properly buried, the haunting ceased (P1. Nat. 7.27.5-11).
Likewise, Arignotus, one of Lucian's philosophers in the Philopseudes, exorcised a
haunted house by having a body that was discovered below it properly buried (Lucian.
The act of burial rites says something about being a living human being and that
being's struggle with death. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer captures
this well stating:
This special human dimension is the in-built capacity of man to think
beyond his own life in the world, to think about death. This is why the
burial of the dead is perhaps the fundamental phenomenon of becoming
human. Burial does not refer to a rapid hiding of the dead, a swift clearing
away of the shocking impression made by one suddenly stuck fast in a
leaden and lasting sleep. On the contrary, by a remarkable expenditure of
human labor and sacrifice there is sought an abiding with the dead, indeed
a holding fast of the dead among the living.30
Thus, since burial is so vital to the human character (perhaps more so for the ancient than
the modern?) it should come as no surprise that there is so great a fear about not being
buried. This fear is a deep psychological one in that at least in life one could do
something to help oneself should one find oneself in a bad situation, but, in death, one
had to completely rely on who was left behind to ensure one's security and happiness. In
the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle mentions the belief that the behavior of one's
30 Gadamer 75.
descendants could affect the state of happiness of the dead. He argues, however, that it is
ludicrous to believe that the behavior of the living affects the dead to such an extent, but,
at the same time, it is just as ridiculous to believe that the behavior of the living has no
affect on the dead. Thus, Aristotle concludes that the happiness of the dead, like the
unconscious living, can be enhanced or hindered by the fortunes of their descendants, but
their happiness or unhappiness can never be transformed by the learning of these
things.31 In addition, like the ignorant living, there exists a tradition in literature that the
dead are unaware of the present, yet familiar with both past and future.32 Aristotle also
seems to imply that the dead suffer (6Sti4psti 6& TCv 7rc006v EicCao rov 7rspi '6(vr-c f'
TssCuTzoavT-ca outl3paivitv oV Cjat&lXXov, Arist. EN 1101a30). He, however, never
offers any explanations as to what the sufferings of the dead are since that would be
irrelevant to the topic at hand, but, for the living, he later in this section states that death
is the greatest fear for the brave man to endure.
The Romans had elaborate funerals that had proper imagery and symbolism for
the Roman funereal agenda. The funeral in any culture is supposed to do two things: a)
reveal how the person lived a meaningful life and b) reveal how death is not the end (the
person lives on either through memories, monuments, religious beliefs, etc.). The
31 Arist. EN 1100a-1 10b. An example of unconscious living would be if someone went on a trip, and
while away, there was a death in a family. That someone is ignorant of the death until the voyage back.
According to Pritzl, there are several different interpretations on this passage, though most agree that
Aristotle himself did not believe this but was using it as an example to discourse on happiness, pp. 101-03.
32 When Odysseus consults Tiresias, he encounters several other shades, among whom is Achilles who asks
him how Peleus, Neoptolemus, and the other Myrmidons are (sir 6 p6 ot firoikfog a pjipovog,
re Zt n uucuatU / if tZ' ZErIt Ztilv ToLEcGtv Lt& MupJL6veccltv, /
1l p.tv (<,C ouGtv av'' EL S6ca Zr Of9irlv Zr / ovVEKd .iUv Kacr Y)Zpac tEi yEipti Z-re n66ac -re.
Hom. Od. 11.494-97). Pritzl offers this example from Pindar's Odes 14, in which Asopichos wants his
dead father to know of his victory. The translation, he says, comes from Bowra. Go now, Echo, to the
black walls / OfPersephona's house lAnd bring the fine news to his father; / See Kleodamos and tell him /
How his son / In the famous valleys ofPytho / Has crowned his young hair / With the wings of a glorious
triumph, p. 107.
Roman funeral consisting of the display of death masks (imagines) and the recitation of
the deeds of both the recently deceased and the previously deceased fulfill these
characteristics. The Roman funeral, moreover, not only is a celebration of the
immortality and the exploits of the individual Roman himself but also of Rome in
general. As Polybius further notes, the ritual can only inspire the future generations of
Romans to aspire to the same glory (c6 y&p "c&qg Tcv Et &psg'cz I 66oSuctvcov
&v6p6ov siK6vac i 6siv 6Loio 7caoaGc oiov gi C()oacg Kait rvusLevacg tv'
o0K av 7rapaCToCioat; z 6' av Kdlkltov Oacla Tcot'ou Qavsirl; Plb. 6.53). Hence,
anything that would rob one of the opportunity for such glory not only robs individual
life but also the life of Rome, its future, and the future of every Roman.33 Thus, one can
see the importance of burial and funereal rites for the upper-class Romans.
Remus has received burial and funereal rites, but, for whatever reason, this time it
is not enough. Remus' request is more in tune with a divinity, although Remus is
described as a shade, not a god. There is no mention of his deification and nothing
suggests he retains immortality or the glory that comes with immortality and
deification.34 When Augustus first was elected to the consulship, he identified himself
with both Romulus and Remus, enabling Remus the possibility to acquire a glorious
status.35 Augustus gradually became identified with Quirinus, while his friend, Marcus
Agrippa, on the other hand, may have become identified with Remus. Both men's
personal histories resembled the stories regarding Romulus and Remus. In fact, Servius
3 For further information on Roman burial and funerals, see Granger & Fowler. "Roman Burial." CR 11
(1897) 32-35; Halliday. "Roman Burial." CR 35 (1921) 154-55; Rose. "Orientation of the Dead in Greece
and Italy." CR 34 (1920) 141-146; Rose. "Nocturnal Funerals in Rome." CQ 17 (1923) 191-4. Walker, S.
Memorials to the Roman Dead. London: British Museum Publications. 1985.
34 The information contained in this paragraph comes from Wiseman, pp. 144-150.
35 D. C. 46.2-3, as cited by Wiseman p. 215 n. 89.
claims that the prophecy in the Aeneid refers to them as such (vera tamen hoc habet ratio,
Quirinum Augustum esse, Remum vero pro Agrippa positum, Serv. A. 1.292-3).36
Several poets during this period, like Vergil and Propertius, speak of Remus as symbolic
of Rome itself, never mentioning the murder, but going to the extent of claiming that
Romulus and Remus ruled together. The fulfillment of the prophecy came crashing to a
halt when Agrippa died in 12 B.C.E. At this point, the mention of Remus began to cease,
and if he was mentioned, it was never in the blissful manner that occurred in early
Unlike Romulus, Mars does not swoop down and take Remus back to Heaven by
the process of apotheosis. Remus even says, "Alas, where is my father Mars?" (heu ubi
Marspater est? Ov. Fast. 5.465). This is more significant than one may realize. The
change of the escort indicates the importance of status, that is, Mercury comes for
ordinary people, while the Sun, or in this case Mars, takes heroes to heaven.37 Thus, by
invoking Mercury, Ovid reveals that Remus never acquired any status of glory and is
therefore not someone for a Roman to emulate. Rather, a true Roman will take Romulus
as his model and hopes someday to be taken to heaven in his own chariot.
Ovid tells us that Romulus consented to Remus' request out of loyalty (pietas) for
his brother. Remus recognizes that Romulus never meant him to be killed. The fault
rests on Celer. Celer, whose name means "swift," killed Remus with a spade when
Remus jumped over the wall (or a trench in some stories) to prove that it was an
unsuitable defense. Depending on the author, either Celer was being too arrogant and
hasty or Remus was, and some versions have Romulus himself doing the deed. After
36 As cited by Wiseman p. 215 n. 96. The line is cana Fides et Vesta, Remo cumfratre Quirinus / iura
dabant; Ver. Aen. 1. 292-3.
37 Cumont 164.
Celer killed Remus, he either went to Erturia or was awarded the title tribunus celerum,
who acted as the personal guards of the king.38 The fact that Celer kills Remus with a
digging instrument and the fact that the wall was built too low or the trench not dug deep
enough in the ground suggests a chthonic quality to Remus' death. Celer's name and the
fact that Remus was murdered mark Remus as someone who died before his time (an
&copog or piatoO0varoto). As such, he can be enslaved by a magus and/or has the
ability to become a horrific haunting creature to both Celer and other Roman citizens.
Remus would surely want to haunt Celer, and based upon other ghost stories, one would
expect him to do so. Remus, however, chooses a better, more fitting revenge for his
killer by cursing him to suffer the same fate, "Fierce Celer, through wounds may you
give up your cruel spirit, and just like me, may you being blood-stricken travel to the
realm below (saeve Celer, crudelem animal per volnera reddas, / utque ego, sub terras
sanguinulentus eas. Ov. Fast. 5.469-70). In a sense, Remus' curse is etiological in
nature in that celeres, the guardians of the emperor, the essence of Rome, give their lives
to ensure the emperor's safety. In addition, the curse also tells where Remus resided
after his death (the underworld).
Why is Remus never given a celestial abode, and why is he never deified? One
possible explanation comes from York who argues that Romulus and Remus represent
the "divine duality" concept found in the divine twins, a notion which transcends Indo-
European cultures. Romulus represents the celestial while Remus represents the
terrestrial. He states:
But the connection of Remus with the Aventine in the canonical version of
Rome's founding suggests the Aventine as the physical symbol of the
38 Wiseman 9.
'other world' hidden and contained within the manifest Rome of 'this
world.' In essence, Rome is founded by both Romulus and Remus: the
city represents the union or juncture of the visible world with the timeless
and invisible otherworld.39
York feels that this fact is significant, not that one twin killed the other, but that one of
the twins is associated with the netherworld, a common motif of the divine duality
throughout Indo-European cultures.40
A different explanation is that Romulus and Remus are symbolic of the struggles
between the patricians and the plebeians. For example, the decision about who should
rule Rome reflects such the struggle for representation in government. Each twin
climbed one of the seven hills and waited for the birds to determine who should be ruler.
Romulus went to the Palatine, "headquarters" of the patricians, while Remus stood on the
Aventine, "headquarters" of the plebeians. Romulus saw twelve birds, whereas Remus
saw six, and, thus, Romulus claimed the throne (Ov. Fast. 4.807-818). This explanation
comes from Wiseman who states that the myth of both Romulus and Remus establishing
Rome indicates the existence of a 'double community' in which both units share equal
status.41 As so often noted, however, history can only be written by the victors, and, thus,
Wiseman points out that the myth can hold power only once the plebeians achieved their
political victories between 367 and 342 B.C.E. Thus, just as Remus was slow in
achieving prominence, so were the plebeians.42
If the lives of Romulus and Remus are symbolic of the lives of the patricians and
the plebeians, then it follows that the post mortem existence of Romulus and Remus
39 York 241.
40 York 242. Wiseman devotes an entire chapter as to why Romulus and Remus are not to be characterized
as a divine duality like the Dioscuri andAsvins, pp. 18-30.
41 Wiseman 126.
42 Wiseman 126.
should reflect the post mortem existence of the patricians and plebeians. This can be
seen in contrasting Romulus' post mortem apparition with Remus' post mortem
apparition. Romulus returns to Proclus informing him that he is now the god Quirinus.
The description of Romulus is not a transparent shade but a larger than life human.
There is no cruentum, no exiguus murmur but rather a solid, firm entity dressed in a
purple toga (trabeaque decorus Ov. Fast. 2.503). His description humano major) is a
common description of deities and of certain phantoms. These phantoms are often
women who appear during times of crisis.43 In Latin, they are called species muliebris as
in Tacitus (species muliebris ultra modum humanum Tac. Ann. 11.21), or they are
referred to as "larger than normal" such as in Vergil notaa major imago Verg. A. 2.773),
which resembles the Greek yuvil Ctig LiScov f~ Kica& &vep(0ou 6GlIV.44 Romulus
appeared while Proclus was walking on a road, Remus appeared in a dream. Both
appeared at night; Remus in the middle of the night, Romulus with the moon shining (Ov.
Fast. 2.500) Remus merely stands by the bed and does not move until Acca and
Faustulus grab for him. There is more movement in Romulus' account, and the
movement is not qualified by such words as subito motu, adesse, and evanuit as with
Remus (fugiens or effugit). Remus curses Celer and requests the celebration of the
Lemuria. Romulus' message commands the people not to mourn his death but celebrate
his divinity as Quirinus. While Remus identifies himself as an empty shade, Romulus
indicates his greatness as a god. Remus' message is borne to Romulus, while Romulus'
message is taken to the Roman people. The Lemuria is established for Remus, while
temples, rites, and a hill were dedicated to Romulus. It is quite obvious which story is
43 Felton 24. Vergil also, in this case, calls Creusa simulacrum and umbra (Verg. A. 2.772)
44 Felton 24, 31.
the one considered by the Romans to be more glorious and more positive. While Remus
is Roman, he is not as Roman as Romulus. The irony is that although, these stories are
about the dead, they say more about the living especially about the qualities that make up
a good Roman. A Roman ought to be larger than life. Other cultures are secondary. A
Roman is quick to act because speed implies decisiveness necessary for survival. A
Roman acquires glory for Rome and her people. The opposite of these characteristics is
the way in which patricians viewed plebeians. Plebeians should not hold as much power
as patricians. Plebeians were slow to come to power, and all plebeians want is more
power for themselves.
Having examined Ovid's rendition of Remus' apparition, there are some
important things to mention. The Remoria refers to a place sacred to both Remus and the
plebeians. It is possible that this place is regarded as the spot on which Remus was
sacrificed for the defense of the city or where he was buried or both. Remus possessed
the characteristics of a ptatoOvvarcog, and the only irregularity of his return was that he
asked for a festival to be celebrated for him. Based on these observations, one may
conclude that the Remuria may well have been a festival to honor Remus and other
RITE OF THE LEMURIA
It is the purpose of this section to examine the rite during the Lemuria to ascertain
whether it can reveal anything about the nature of the ghosts that are expelled during it.'
The rite performed during the Lemuria could be seen as a quasi-exorcism. If an
exorcism's purpose is to repel ghosts, then a necromantic ritual would be its opposite.
Yet, often both exorcisms and necromantic ceremonies have similarities. This is so
because a necromancer must protect himself from the spirits, and, thus, those same things
that protect a necromancer can be used to protect an exorcist and can repel ghosts. Hence,
there are certain tools of the trade that enable one to handle, repel, and control the dead.
nox ubi iam media est somnoque silentiapraebet,
et canis et variae conticuistis aves (5.429-30)
The rite during the Lemuria is old according to Ovid and is handed down by the
ancestors (qui partem prisci nunc quoque moris habet Ov. Fast. 5.428), occurring in the
dead of night. The middle of the night is the appropriate time for the dead to be active
since the rest of creation, as Ovid points out, is asleep, itself in a state of quasi-death.
There are other times appropriate for the appearance of the dead. One time is the
opposite of media nocte, that is, medio die. Both Pliny and Tacitus write of ghosts that
appear at this time as well as Lucian, Phlegon, and Apuleius.2 In Greek culture, the
1 Ov. Fast. 5. 429-444.
2 Felton cites Plin. Nat. 7.27.2, Tac. Ann. 11.21, Luc. Philops. 22, Pig. Mir. 3.4, Apul. Met. 9.29-30, p. 6.
Empousa and the heroes (both chthonic entities) rise at this time to acquire the sacrifices
due to them.3 Furthermore, midnight and noon were, and still are, regarded as temporal
thresholds during which creatures, such as ghosts, may cross over into opposing or
adjacent realms. Another possible time when the dead appear is not so much a time but
an aspect of the setting, that is, dim light. For the ancients, this would be lamp light,
candle light, moonlight, or the setting sun. This would make sense if one considers the
description of ghosts as white, black, and transparent. During full light, the transparent
would barely be visible. During complete darkness only the white might possibly be
seen. However, in dim light all three are visible. Felton notes that often, whenever a
ghost appeared, there was a lamp nearby or the area was dimly lit.4 The process of
putting lamps in graves in Greece increased in the fifth century B.C.E. when cremation
increased.5 A burning lamp reflected an eternal spirit and lit the way to the Underworld.
Even when Vestal Virgins were caught disobeying their laws and punished by being
buried alive, they were buried with a lighted lamp.6 Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft
and the dead, furthermore, was usually pictured carrying torches.7 Thus, since it is the
middle of the night and Ovid claims that the ghosts are visible during the Lemuria, one
must assume that the celebrant, in order to see to perform the ritual, walks about holding
a candle or lamp, or has a servant hold it.8
4 Felton 55. Both Pliny's Athenodorus and Lucian's Arignotus read and write by lamplight in haunted
houses (Pliny Nat. 7.27.5-11, Lucian. Philops. 30-31).
5 Felton 55.
6 Powell 631.
8 This is not so difficult an image to imagine because of finger lamps. Finger lamps would be small and
easy enough to handle while trying to deal with everything else. To see a possible example of such a lamp,
see Knopf, p. 162.
Barefoot and Binding
habent gemini vincula nullapedes (5.432)
The concept of binding is prevalent in both ancient and modem magical practices.
By binding someone, that person is under your control. There is a tremendous amount of
evidence for binding since there have been so many curse tablets found. So many have
been discovered because once a spell is cast (often in lead), it must be hidden lest
someone attempt to undo it. Also, from the amount found, curse tablets seem to have
been a very ordinary part of ancient life. Fritz divided them into the various categories:
defixiones iudicare (judicial spells), defixiones amatoriae (erotic spells), defixiones
agonisticae (agonistic spells), and defixiones against economic competitors.9 Gager
divides up the way in which the spells are pronounced: direct binding ("I bind X!"),
prayer formulas ("Restrain X!"), and persuasive analogies ("As this lead is cold and
useless, so may X be cold and useless!").10 As one may notice, rarely are curse tablets
employed to kill another person. The association with the dead, however, along with the
few instances where murder actually was sought, made them a sinister force, a taboo for
the Romans (hence the expulsion of magicians from Rome several times).11 On the other
hand, being bound is a way to protect someone from outside forces. Thus, by being
unbound, one opens oneself to all possibilities of the universe. In all sacred rites nothing
can be bound.12 Theflamen dialis could have no knots on him and could not even wear a
9 Fritz 120-1.
10 Gager 13.
1 The story that probably ensured the taboo was not forgotten is the one found in Tacitus' Annals regarding
the death of Germanicus. (saevam vim morbid augebatpersuasio veneni a Pisone accept; et reperiebantur
solo ac parietibus erutae humanorum corporum reliquiae, carmina et devotiones et nomen Germanici
plumbeis tabulis insculptum, semusti cineres ac tabo obliti aliaque malefica, quis creditur animals
numinibus infernis sacrari. simul missi a Pisone incusabantur ut valitudinis adverse rimantes. Tac. Ann.
12 Serv. A. 4.518 as cited by Burriss, p. 158.
ring unless it was broken or without a stone.13 Helenus removed his fillets to receive the
full inspiration of Apollo when he went to Apollo's temple (Verg. A. 3.370). Also, a
pregnant woman could not even bind her hair or cross her legs or fingers lest she block
the child from birth.14
Thus, since the celebrant of the Lemuria cannot be bound, he must perform the
rite barefoot. Going barefoot is a common practice for any ancient spiritualist, for those
who are considered positive such as Apollonius, those considered sinister such as Medea,
as well as the normal, average, everyday magician.15 By going completely unbound, the
celebrant enables himself to perceive and handle the spirits of the dead.
The Averting Gesture
signaque dat digitis medio cum police iunctis,
occurrat tacito ne levis umbra sibi (5.433-34)
The celebrant makes a symbol with his hand to ward off ghosts. Frazer calls this
"the fig" from the Italian lafica or manofica to avert the evil eye.16 The bulla worn by
the Roman child was used to ward off the evil eye.17 Medea killed Talos with the evil
eye (A.R. 4.1635-90).
13 Gellius 10.15.6 as cited by Burriss, pp. 157-58.
14 Burriss 157.
15 For Apollonius and the average magician see Fritz, pp. 114-115. Canidia walked and performed her
sinister rites barefoot (Canidiam, pedibus nudis passoque capillo, Hor. S. 1.8.24). Before Dido begins her
ritual to kill herself, she takes off a sandal and loosens her robe (unum exuta pedem vinclis, in vesta
recincta, Verg. A. 4.518).
16 Frazer 292. Pliny claims that the statue of an unnamed goddess was set up on the Capitoline as
protection against the evil eye (cur ett.\c inarionihu,. adoratione peculiar occurrimus, alii Graecam
Nemesin invocantes, cuius ob id Romae simulacrum in Capitolio est, quamvis Latinum nomen non sit? Plin.
17 Burriss 153.
cumque manus puras fontana perluit unda (5.435)
Water is one of the ingredients common to Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern
religious and necromantic practices. The ironic thing about water is that although it is the
source for life, it is chthonic in nature.18 According to Aeschylus, certain liquids were
chosen for a necromantic rite since they were calming and propitiating, while Euripides
claimed they were used because they could summon the dead.19 The ancients actually
recognized two forms of water (rain and earthly water). Rain water would be used in
celebrations for celestial deities, while earthly water would be used for chthonic
worship.20 The chthonic quality of water affected the Romans in a humorous way as it
made the baths become haunted since they were fed by underground water sources.
Hence, the water used in the rite for the Lemuria comes from a spring (fontana).
Water is also the substance for purification. Purity implies a sense of order, a
sense that something exists as it ought to exist.21 Hence, that which is impure is
deformed. All sorts of things can render someone or something impure, such as dirt,
blood, or corpses. Because humans value purity to such an extent, it is necessary to
guard it, cherish it, and attempt to transform anything impure into something pure. While
it is man's desire that all be always pure, this does not happen. Pure people and pure
objects, however, become impure, sometimes purposefully sometimes accidentally, and
thus, certain rituals and ceremonies have been created to nullify the impurity and restore
18 Odgen (2001) 170. For further discussion of water as chthonic, see Ninck pp. 1-46, as cited by Ogden
(2001), p. 170 n. 23.
19 A. Pers. 609-10. Eur. IT 159-66, as cited by Ogden (2001), p. 169 n. 20.
20 Ogden (2001) 192.
21 The following discussion on purification is a brief summary from Redfield p. 161. See also Rohde's
appendix 5, pp. 588-90.
order. There was a major purity issue with corpses in ancient times. Burial sites were
labeled religiosa, that is, they were to be avoided except during the proper times, such as
the Parentalia.22 Theflamen dialis was not permitted near graves or corpses.23 The
Pontifex Maximus avoided houses that had cypress trees outside since this signified that a
member of the house had died.24 Old women applied spit using their middle finger on the
forehead and lips of children on their day of purification (dies lustricus).25 Similarly,
after a Roman funeral, the attendees were sprinkled with water.26 Any magician
intending to cast a spell would have to purify himself with water either through a
sprinkling or a bath. For example, Mithrobarzanes requires Menippus to bathe for 28
days in the Euphrates and then once in the Tigris before he begins his journey to the
Underworld (Lucian. Nec. 7). Thus, it is not surprising that the pater families washes his
hands during the rite particularly when he is about to handle an impure substance (black
beans). Nor is it surprising that he must wash his hands again near the end of the rite,
right before the vocal exorcism.
Beans, Redemption, and the Number Nine
sed dum iacit, 'haec ego mitto,
his' inquit 'redimo meque meosquefabis.' (5.437-38)
Then he takes up the black beans and with his face averted, never looking back,
he hurls them saying nine times, "These I cast! With these beans I redeem me and mine."
Ovid claims that the shade is thought to collect the beans and to follow the celebrant
22 Cic. Leg. 2.57, Ulp. dig. 22.214.171.124, Paul. dig. 11.7.44, as cited by Burriss, p. 157.
23 Gellius 10.15, as cited by Burriss, p. 157.
24 Serv. A. 3.64, as cited by Burriss, p. 157.
25 Burriss 152.
26 Fest. 2, as cited by Burriss, p. 156.
without being seen.27 The common items used to assuage the dead are milk, water, honey,
wine, and blood. These items can be found in any of the other chthonic rites, yet water is
the only one of them found during the Lemuria. Ovid includes wine but also adds a few
others such as bread and salt that appease the dead during the Parentalia (tegulaporrectis
satis est velata coronis / et sparsae fruges parcaque mica salis, / inque mero mollita
Ceres violaeque solutae: Ov. Fast. 2.537-39). Vergil adds lilies which is in line with the
twice a year ritual in which Romans laid flowers on the graves, such as roses during the
Rosalia (Manibus date liliaplenis / purpureos spargamflores, Verg. A. 6.883-84). Yet,
suddenly, here in May, beans are the gifts ghosts want. Why? Many know that a taboo
on beans, particularly black beans, existed, but no one knows for certain as to why.
Cicero claims that the Pythagoreans did not eat beans because of the gastric problems
they cause the body. A soul must have a sound body in order to function properly (Cic.
Div. 1.62).28 The Flamen Dialis was not permitted to touch any beans.29 Beans are also
mentioned during the Parentalia. The beans, however, are not given to ghosts. Instead,
an old woman in performing the rites for Tacita chews seven beans while roasting a fish
(Ov. Fast. 2.576-78). Here again, there is nothing in the ritual, itself one of protection,
that would indicate why she must chew the beans or how the beans affect the ritual. In
addition, the Romans threw beans into graves so that the dead would not bother them.30
27 Varro and Paulus both mention the beans during the Lemuria. Varro: quibus temporibus in sacrisfabam
iactant ac dicunt se lemurios domo extra ianuam eicere. Paulus: nam et Lemuralibus (faba) iacitur larvis.
28 See also Plut. Sypos. 9.10, Plin. Nat. 18.12, and Tert. De Anim. 48.
29 Frazer 424. Wright offers the following explanation: "So K6uacog derives from KUgco, to be pregnant,
and the meaning given by Pollux, 'the swelling of the breasts with milk,' traces back to its original sense.
K6uagog, bean, is properly 'the thing big with life'; and anyone who has watched the rapid and mysterious
pushing forth of the young bean from the parent womb will understand why the bean was a symbol of
sexual fertility .." pp. 154-55. A few lines later, Wright states that it should be obvious from the above
observation why a ghost would want a bean. If he had only incorporated the obvious!
30 Frazer 424.
To redeem something means to buy it back from whomever it was sold. It would
seem that the celebrant was bargaining with the ghosts, and therefore, one must ask how
the ghost came to own the pater and his family every year and why the pater must buy
himself and the family back. Hallam merely states that the celebrant must redeem
himself from "the power of the ghosts."31 Frazer says that the ghost would have carried
away the family members if they did not receive the beans.32 What is more likely,
particularly if these are family dead, is that the beans are an offering for protection for the
rest of the year until the next Lemuria, or they are to free the household from the powers
of the previous year.
The fact that the celebrant cannot look at the shade seems odd. One must assume
that if he did, he would perish. This assumption, however, is not in sync with the
appearance of other ghosts. In fact, there is no record of anyone dying because one saw a
ghost. If someone dies in the presence of a ghost, it is due to an injury inflicted upon
them by the ghost. Thus, either the assumption is wrong, or there is a special reason why
seeing the dead at this time is deadly.
Along similar lines is the notion that ghosts do not like to be seen. Philinnion fled
when her parents saw her.33 One must turn oneself around after offering a meal to a
vengeful ghost according to Selinus.34 Jason could not turn around to confront Hecates
as she rose from the pit.35 Statius, in a humorous fashion, has Tiresias, the blind prophet,
"look at" Laius' ghost.36 Ogden places the ghosts of the Lemuria in this category, but I
31 Hallam 295.
32 Frazer 424.
33 Pig. Mir. 1, as cited by Ogden (2001), p. 172.
34 Ogden (2001) cites this as the lex sacra, p. 172.
35 A.R. 1036-41, as cited by Ogden (2001), p. 173.
36 Stat. Theb. 4.619-20, as cited by Ogden (2001), p. 173.
believe he is wrong in doing so.37 There is no evidence that lemures do not wish to be
seen or that they will disappear once seen. If looking at them could make them go away,
there would be no purpose in having beans, bronze, or any other part of the ritual. One,
moreover, should notice that the act of looking back (respicit) after the final command
signifies the completion of the ritual. The celebrant has no fear because he knows that
the rites have been performed properly (respicit etpure sacraperactaputat. Ov. Fast.
5.444). This is actually not as typical an ending as it may seem. Often such rites end
with the celebrant or magician walking backwards to his next destination.38 Mennipus,
after his last bath, had to walk home backwards (tnrav6yst sig T'iv oiKcav, cg si;'ov,
&vanTo6ifov'ca Lucian. Nec. 7).
Three is the perfect number for almost all ancient civilizations. Odd numbers in
particular to the Romans were seen as being more potent (cur inpares numerous ad omnia
vehementiores credimus, idque infebribus dierum observation intellegitur? Plin. Nat.
28.5.23). Many prayers and incantations are recited in sets of threes. The Lemuria itself
is a three day festival. Lease lists pages upon pages of instances of the number three,
such as trinities of deities, a triple offering of honey, milk, and wine for the dead, and
sacrifices three days after a funeral.39 Trowbridge notes the following examples of
foretelling death with the number three: three trees falling, a dying woman calling one's
name out three times, a vision three days before the event itself.40 During the Lemuria,
the celebrant commands the ghosts nine times to leave. The power of nine is that it is
SOgden (2001) 172-73 n. 31.
38 Fritz explains, saying, "Walking backward could be the sign the magician has definitely left the human
norm ..." p. 115. He cites the following examples from the Greek magical papyrus of Paris in his footnote:
PGMIV, 26-51; 2442-95; XXXVI, 264-74, p. 271.
39 Lease, E. "The Number Three, Mysterious, Mystic, Magic." CP 14 (1919) 56-73.
40 Trowbridge 85. She cites the following from the Scriptores Historiae Augustae: Alex. 60.4, Maxim. 31.1,
thrice three, that is, it is the perfect number perfected. By repeating the command nine
times, one can rest even more assured than if one had said it three or six times, that the
desired wish will come true.41
rursus aquam tangit, Temesaeaque concrepat aera (5.441)
The celebrant washes again, clangs Temesean bronze, and commands the spirits
to depart from the house repeating the words "manes exitepaterni" nine times. What is
significant about Temesean bronze, let alone bronze itself, and what are the bronze
instruments being clanged? Temesa is a town in southern Italy known for its copper
mines. It has no supernatural significance except for a ghost/werewolf story which takes
place there.42 Bronze was preferred for ceremonial purposes on account of its pristine
nature. Bronze first became prevalent in Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization during
the third millennium B.C.E. and slowly worked its way into the West around the
beginning of the second millennium B.C.E.43 Etruscans only used bronze plowshares,
and, later, the Romans harnessed a white cow and a white ox to a bronze ploughshare
when they established a colony or city. The Sabine priests of the Etruscans could only
use a bronze razor, and, likewise, the Flamen Dialis had his hair and nails cut with
bronze.44 It would have been the only metal around when Lemuria's rites began, if what
Ovid tells us is factual. Also, since the beings that one is exorcising are themselves old, it
follows that they would have to be dealt with by archaic means. Bronze may also have
41 Lease agrees, but states that this idea was late and found primarily in magic, p. 73.
42 According to Pausanias in the Description of Greece, a daemon haunted this town. The townspeople
offered a virgin to him every year until Euthymus, a famous boxer, happened to visit Temesa and fall in
love with the intended virgin. He wrestled with the daemon, won, and married the girl. The daemon
jumped into the sea never to be seen again (Paus. 6.6).
43 Derry & Williams 7,14.
44 Burriss 159-160.
been preferred due to its composition, since certain stones had particular powers. Pliny
claims that there were four types of bronze made from different alloys: white, silver, gold,
In addition, there was a taboo on iron. Burriss argues Frazer's belief that the
conservative nature of religion with its fear of new things provided the taboo on iron. It
is more likely, however, that iron had a late start (c.a. 1200 B.C.E. in the West) because
the only iron used originally came from meteorites and because iron was so difficult to
handle.46 Iron began to be employed first for decoration, and then became used for
weapons and finally tools.47 The Arval Brothers were forbidden to engrave with iron and
would have to perform apiaculum if they had to do such an engraving. Apiaculum also
had to be performed when the iron was extracted from its source.48
The instruments that are beaten seem to be swords. Swords generally, despite
their tangibility, were still believed to be able to ward off the dead. Both Odysseus and
Aeneas protect themselves using a sword when surrounded by ghosts. There is a debate
as to whether their swords are bronze or iron. What is most likely is that bronze was the
original metal used during the time in which the stories of Odysseus and Aeneas are set,
but as time went on and iron became easier to handle, it became used more often,
gradually loosing its taboo. As it began to be used more often, authors would not
distinguish nor feel the need to distinguish the bronze from the iron, unless there was a
45 Eius tria genera: candidum argento nitore quam proxime accedens, in quo illa mixture praevaluit;
alterum, in quo aurifulva natural; tertium, in quo aequalis omnium temperiesfuit. Praeter haec est cuius
ratio non potest reddi, quamquam hominis manu est; atfortuna temperature in simulacris signisque illud
suo colore pretiosum ad iocineris imagine vergens, quod ideo hepatizon appellant, procul a Corinthio,
long tamen ante .i, g ,. ii atque Deliacum, quae diu optinuere principatum. Plin. Nat. 34.3.8.
46 Derry & Williams 121.
47 Ibid. 121.
48 Burriss 159.
unique reason to do so, such as to emphasize the archaic quality of something. Thus,
Odysseus, Aeneas, and the celebrant of the Lemuria all wield bronze swords.
The Right Thing to Say
cum dixit novies 'manes exite paterni' (5.443)
Numbers again play a role here in that the command consists of three words, and
it is said nine times. The command has a parallel, as already stated above with the Greek
Anthesteria. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that the Lemuria is a Romanized
Anthesteria for several reasons. First, the Aini\iet ia is a Dionysian festival to welcome
the spring. Each individual day of the festival had a name which coincided with certain
rituals that went on that day.49 Any elements of the dead do not appear (possibly) until
the evening of the second day.50 There is no evidence that any particular god was
attached to the Lemuria or that any individual rituals of this sort happened during the
Lemuria. Second, it is uncertain whether Kares (or Keres) are ghosts or Karian slaves,
stemming from the debate as to whether the word is spelled with an alpha or an eta.51
Also, if they are ghosts, the Greeks merely try to defend themselves, by the smearing of
pitch on the doors and the chewing of buckthorn. Furthermore, there is no concept of
49 The first day was called the FTri,. ,,g,, during which wine was drunk out of jars called pithoi and libations
were poured to Dionysus. The second day is called the Choes which consisted of a public drinking contest
in which one drank a jug of unmixed wine in silence. Buckthorn was chewed and pitch was smeared on the
doors as defenses against ghosts. It is unclear, however, whether this was done during this day or the
falling day. The third day was called ( /j i,. ,, during which an offering of plankarpia, a mixture of fruits, to
Chthonic Hermes. Honey cakes were thrown into a cleft in the earth in the temple of Ge Olympia. A third
offering, eudeysnos, was made to Erigone, an girl who died an untimely death. In addition to these
offerings during this day, temples and businesses closed. The festival ended with the dismissal command,
though there is no indication what time of day this took place nor is there any specification as to who said
50 According to Hamilton, the term Anthesteria is not found in the sources until the second century B.C.E.
Beforehand, each day is referred to individually, p. 5. This may indicate that the days were celebrated
individually at first only to be grouped collectively later as the official festival for the monthAnthesterion.
51 Farnell p. 221 does not see how it was possible for Karians to be in Attica, while Pickard-Cambridge
does not believe that the festival was for the expulsion of ghosts, p. 14. Parke, however, does not think that
it makes sense to expel slaves from the household, p. 117.
redemption with a substance like beans in the Ainlih, it i, as there is in the Lemuria.
Third, the Anllhtei\ it is a festival that lasts three subsequent days, Anthesterion 11th, 12th
and 13th, the equivalent to February. If a culture assimilates a festival or a holiday, it
stays in the same season and on or close to the same days. Hence, if the Romans were
trying to assimilate the Anll/itei' it, it would be more logical to argue that the Parentalia
is the Ain/iteici it, not the Lemuria.
While it is true that there is a dismissal command at the end of the Anthesteria
that corresponds to the Lemuria's, through similar reasoning, one may inquire if such a
thing occurs elsewhere. One such place to look is curse tablets and binding spells. Upon
examining the curse tablets in Luck's and Gager's books, one will find that the most
common way to end the spell is to command the daemons to "go now quickly." From the
spells in Gager's book, the spells that end in this way most often are spells used in the
circus.52 While the command itself is similar, it is not repeated any number of times. If
any portion of the spell is repeated, it is the invocation of the gods or the daemons.53
Hence, the dismissal of the Lemuria seems unique to itself.
The rite of the Lemuria can be described as archaic, chthonic, and magical. It is
archaic in that bronze is the metal of choice. Whether the festival itself actually was
archaic makes little difference. The fact that the Romans of Ovid's era believed that the
52 "Let him perish and fall, just as you lie (here) prematurely dead. Now, now, quickly, quickly, because
they drive them off, the Typhonic Daimones!" (Gager 64-65). "I invoke you. .. so that they may not reach
victory tomorrow in the circus. Now, now, quickly, quickly," p. 67. "Let him not come from behind and
pass but instead let him collapse, let him be bound, let him be broken up, and let him drag behind by your
power. Both in the early races and in the later ones. Now, now! Quickly, quickly!" p. 74. From a picture
of one of the curse tablets, one can make out: HAHHAH / TAXYTA, p. 66.
53 "Proserpina Salvia, I give over to you the head of Plotius. / Proserpina Salvia, I give over to you the
forehead of Plotius. / Proserpina Salvia, I give over to you the eyebrows of Plotius. / Proserpina Salvia, I
give over to you the eyelids of Plotius. / Proserpina Salvia, I give over to you the pupils of Plotius. /
Prosperina Salvia, I give over to you the nostrils, ears, nose, tongue and teeth of Plotius. .. ." (Gager 241-
rite was archaic on account of the bronze is the important fact. The rite is chthonic in that
it is performed at night, fountain water is used, and the dead are commanded. There is
nothing to indicate that a particular group of the dead was controlled. One might be
inclined to argue that since the dead were controlled, then the class of dead must be
p3atoOavarot since only they could be controlled. However, one must remember that
all the dead were released at various times throughout the year such as during the opening
of the mundus to roam the lands for a few days. The rite is magical on account of the
celebrant's dress, gesture, the beans, and the repetition of terms. It is important, however,
to remember that water and bronze also fit the category of magical ingredients and that
many of these items can be of a religious nature. Thus, the necessary qualities for
handling the dead (archaic, chthonic, and magical) all exist in the rite of the Lemuria, and,
maybe even more importantly, it must be contended that the examination of the rite alone
can only yield a conclusion that it is unknown what type of dead (if they are the dead)
roam about during the Lemuria.
EVOLUTION OF THE LEMURES
Lemures are older than Ovid realizes, evident from the ritual used to expel them,
and they most likely predate the founding of Rome and, therefore, the mythology of
Romulus and Remus. It does not seem that they were originally the dead but rather
chthonic spirits along with the larvae. Manes must have been the original and
appropriate term for the dead in general as indicated by its use in literature and especially
on tombstones. The primary reason for this judgment is that the lemures are pacified by
beans, not by the normal offerings for the dead, and, moreover, the use of beans indicates
a notion of redemption not inherent in dealing with the dead in any other festivals or
necromantic rites. While the dead can and do threaten during such festivals and rites,
"normal" means (water, prayers, etc.) satisfy them.1 As Rome became established and
encountered the Greeks and other cultures, the lemures acquired the additional definition
of daemons. Since daemons could be the dead, the lemures likewise came to be known
as the dead, specifically the untimely dead. By this time the distinction between lemures
and larvae had been forgotten and each became a synonym for the other, as seen in the
definitions given by various ancient commentators. Also, since the lemures were now
identified with the dead, manes, imago, and the other words for ghost could be applied to
them. At the same time as or shortly after the lemures acquired these characteristics, the
patricians and the plebeians began to struggle over power and control. The lemures then
1 Compare Ovid's version of the Parentalia, where once the Parentalia was neglected, and the dead burned
the city (Ov. Fast. 2.547-556).
had the story of Remus grafted into their mythology such as it may have been. The false
etymology of Lemuria from Remuria came with the assimilation. Since the original story
had Remus as a human sacrifice and, therefore, dying an untimely death, the lemures
were further emphasized as daemons of the untimely dead. But, because of the tragic and
divisive associations of Remus' story, the lemures may rarely have been mentioned and
in later times, consequentially, virtually forgotten.
They were not completely forgotten, however, since some of their characteristics
remained in various European cultural notions of the vampire. If the lemures still exist,
they can be found in the dark places of psyche. They are perhaps the sins we fear to
confess, the fears we fear to face, the skeletons in our closets. It will take more than
beans to bargain for ourselves with such beings and more than bronze to battle them, but
the one fact that has never changed about the lemures after all this time is that if we do
not exorcise them from our lives, the cost will be our souls.
PASSAGES ON THE LEMURIA AND THE LEMURES
Ovid Fasti 5. 419-92
Hinc ubi protulerit formosa ter Hesperos ora,
ter dederint Phoebo sidera victa locum,
ritus erit veteris, nocturna Lemuria, sacri:
inferias tacitis manibus illa dabunt.
annus erat brevior, nec adhuc pia februa norant,
nec tu dux mensum, lane biformis, eras:
iam tamen exstincto cineri sua dona ferebant, 425
compositique nepos busta piabat avi.
mensis erat Maius, maiorum nominee dictus,
qui partem prisci nunc quoque moris habet.
nox ubi iam media est somnoque silentia praebet,
et canis et variae conticuistis aves, 430
ille memor veteris ritus timidusque deorum
surgit (habent gemini vincula nulla pedes),
signaque dat digitis medio cum police iunctis,
occurrat tacito ne levis umbra sibi.
cumque manus puras fontana perluit unda, 435
vertitur et nigras accipit ante fabas,
aversusque iacit; sed dum iacit, 'haec ego mitto,
his' inquit 'redimo meque meosque fabis.'
hoc novies dicit nec respicit: umbra putatur
colligere et nullo terga vidente sequi. 440
rursus aquam tangit, Temesaeaque concrepat aera,
et rogat ut tectis exeat umbra suis.
cum dixit novies 'manes exite paterni'
respicit, et pure sacra peracta putat.
dicta sit unde dies, quae nominis exstet origo 445
me fugit: ex aliquo est invenienda deo.
Pliade nate, mone, virga venerande potenti:
saepe tibi est Stygii regia visa lovis.
venit adoratus Caducifer. accipe causam
nominis: ex ipso est cognita causa deo. 450
Romulus ut tumulo fraternas condidit umbras,
et male veloci iusta soluta Remo,
Faustulus infelix et passis Acca capillis
spargebant lacrimis ossa perusta suis;
inde domum redeunt sub prima crepuscula maesti, 455
utque erat, in duro procubuere toro.
umbra cruenta Remi visa est adsistere lecto,
atque haec exiguo murmure verba loqui:
'en ego dimidium vestri parsque altera voti,
cernite sim qualis, qui modo qualis eram! 460
qui modo, si volucres habuissem regna iubentes,
in populo potui maximus esse meo,
nunc sum elapsa rogi flammis et inanis imago:
haec est ex illo forma relicta Remo.
heu ubi Mars pater est? si vos modo vera locuti, 465
uberaque expositis ille ferina dedit.
quem lupa servavit, manus hunc temeraria civis
perdidit. o quanto mitior illa fuit!
saeve Celer, crudelem animam per volnera reddas,
utque ego, sub terras sanguinulentus eas. 470
noluit hoc frater, pietas aequalis in illo est:
quod potuit, lacrimas in mea fata dedit.
hunc vos per lacrimas, per vestra alimenta rogate
ut celebrem nostro signet honore diem.'
mandantem amplecti cupiunt et bracchia tendunt: 475
lubrica prensantes effugit umbra manus.
ut secum fugiens somnos abduxit imago,
ad regem voces fratris uterque ferunt.
Romulus obsequitur, lucemque Remuria dicit
illam, qua positis iusta feruntur avis. 480
aspera mutata est in lenem tempore long
littera, quae toto nominee prima fuit;
mox etiam lemures animals dixere silentum:
hic sensus verbi, vis ea vocis erat.
fana tamen veteres illis clausere diebus, 485
ut nunc ferali tempore operta vides;
nec viduae taedis eadem nec virginis apta
tempora: quae nupsit, non diuturna fuit.
hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt,
mense malas Maio nubere volgus ait. 490
sed tamen haec tria sunt sub eodem tempore festa
inter se nulla continuata die.
Horace Epodes 2.2.208-09
Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas,
nocturnos lemures portentaque Thessala rides?
Porphryio on Horace
Umbras vagantes hominum ante diem mortuorum et ideo metuendas; et putant lemures
esse dictos quasi remulos a Remo, cuius occisi umbras frater Romulus cum placare vellet,
Lemuria instituit, id est Parentalia.
Persius Satires 5.185-88
tum nigri lemures ouoque pericula rupto, 185
tum grandes galli et cum sistro lusca sacerdos
incussere deos inflantis corpora, si non
praedictum ter mane caput gustaueris ali.
Scholia on Persius
Lemures deos manes dicit, quos Graeci daemonas vocant quasi umbras quondam
habentes divinitatem; Lemuria autem dicuntur dies, quando manes placantur.
Apuleius De Deo Socratis 15
Est et secundo significatus species daemonum animus humanus emeritis stipendiis vitae
corpore suo abiurans. Hunc vetere Latina lingua reperio Lemurem dictitatum. Ex hisce
ergo Lemuribus qui posterorum suorum curam sortitus placato et quieto numine domum
possidet, Lar dicitur familiaris; qui vero ob adversa vitae merita nullis (bonis) sedibus
incerta vagatione ceu quodam exilio punitur, inane terriculamentum bonis hominibus,
ceterum malis noxium, id genus plerique Larvas perhibent. Cum vero incertum est, quae
cuique eorum sortitio evenerit, utrum Lar sit an Larva, nominee Manem deum nuncupant:
scilicet et honors gratia dei vocabulum additum est; quippe tantum eos deos appellant,
qui ex eodem numero iuste ac prudenter curriculo vitae gubernato pro numine postea ab
hominibus praediti fanis et caerimoniis vulgo advertuntur, ut in Boeotia Amphiaraus, in
Africa Mopsus, in Aegypto Osiris, alius alibi gentium, Aesculapius ubique.
Apuleius Apology 64
At tibi, Aemiliane, pro isto mendacio duit deus iste superum et inferum commeator
utrorumque deorum malam gratiam semperque obuias species mortuorum, quidquid
umbrarum est usquam, quidquid lemurum, quidquid manium, quidquid larvarum.
Apuleius Metamorphoses 4.22.5
et ecce nocte promote latrones expergiti castra commovent instructique varie, partim
gladiis armati, partim in lemures reformati concito se gradu proripiunt.
Augustine City of God 9.11
Dicit quidem et animals hominum daemones esse et ex hominibus fieri lares, si boni
meriti sunt; lemures, si mali, seu laruas; manes autem deos dici, si incertum est bonorum
eos seu malorum esse meritorum. In qua opinion quantam uoraginem aperiant sectandis
perditis moribus, quis non uideat, si uel paululum adtendat? Quando quidem quamlibet
nequam homines fuerint, uel laruas se fieri dum opinantur, uel dum manes deos, tanto
peiores fiunt, quanto sunt nocendi cupidiores, ut etiam quibusdam sacrificiis tamquam
diuinis honoribus post mortem se inuitari opinentur, ut noceant. Laruas quippe dicit esse
noxios daemones ex hominibus factos. Sed hinc alia quaestio est. Inde autem perhibet
appellari Graece beatos. eudaimonas, quod boni sint animi, hoc est boni daemones,
animos quoque hominum daemones esse confirmans.
Martianus Capella 2.162
manes cum his (corporibus defunctis) manentes appellati lemures postea et in lares et
in larvas ac manias converse.
Varro frg. Non. p. 135.16
in sacris fabam iactant noctu ac dicunt se lemures domo extra ianuam eicere.
Nonius on lemures
Larvae nocturnae et terrificationes imaginum et bestiarum.
Paulus p. 87M
Nam et Lemuralibus (faba) iacitur larvis.
regio quaedam generate malos lemures quod pellit munus, iaspim, nocturni manes fugitant
quam membra tuentem,
PASSAGES ON REMUS AND THE REMURIA
caesio moenis firma Remo
Remus montem Aventinum, hic Palatinum occupat. Prius ille sex vulturios, hic postea,
sed duodecim videt. Sic victor augurio urbem excitat, plenus spei bellatricem fore; id
adsuetae sanguine et praeda aves pollicebantur. Ad tutelam novae urbis sufficere vallum
videbantur, cuius dum angustias Remus increpat saltu, dubium an iussu fratris, occisus
est: prima certe victim fuit munitionemque urbis novae sanguine suo consecravit.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.85.6
Tc6 copfov evoa |ts ~ov i6pcystiv Tciv rT6tiv oi Tc aTo 6 psi'co ~iK'crpog.
' PomC6ou &etv yap Ijv yv(t)rl z6 Hnaldvztov oiKicStV Tz v CVSK &ov ~va Kai zr if
Tiz6T5 Tzoi z6ctou, q TO CComOvafi cS aczoig Kai zpaL(4vat rcapoXEs Ppcj)i 68 ~66Kst
zCiv KakLoubivrlv vuv &7r' EKciVou 'PELPopiav oiK(tIv.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.86.2
rjv se 'PcWt6 lq |tjv oiovito']ptov, evca i ifou TCilv &rotiKiav i6picat, T6
Hnal Ivntov, 'Pjq) 6' 6 rpooCYgSlg ei;sivq) M6og Ai6gv'civo Kako5gavog, 6g 6e
ctvsg icozopoiCotv r Pegopia-
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.87.3
&7Toeav6Tog 6' ev Tci ClbXr, P)Loou vilcrv oiKctiorv 6 Porl6og &r76 Ts Tcg
&6sg)oi~ Kai 7io titKrig & krlkoKCoviac &vsg6stgvog zv t iv 'PiOtov v zT
'PEstopfi OdcuaCs, ie7ti6S Kai r (v TzoU ompfiou -cr Kz~CToSEO rsptsisXro
Plutarch Romulus 11.1
O 6 Pc l6kog &v '; Psaopi e 6O C6 'v PiJov 6[0toi Ka&i -obg TpoEsig KIt(s
INDEX OF PASSAGES CITED
Aeschylus, Persae 609-10 Gellius, 10.15.6
Apollonius Rhodius, 3.1036-41, 4.1635-90 Hesiod, Theogany 211-12
De Deo Socratis 15
Metamorphoses 4.22, 6.30, 8.8, 9.29-31
De Somniis 461b5-10, 25-30, 462a10-15
Nichomachean Ethics 1100a-110 1b
Augustine, Civitas Dei 11.9
De Legibus 2.54, 2.57
De Divinatione 1.62-63
Epistulae adAtticum 5.13.3
Dio Cassius, 46.2-3
Dionysius of Halicanarsis, 1.85.6, 1.86.2,
Hecuba 40-1, 319-20, 416
Iphegenia in Tauro 159-66
Festus, 2, p. 115 L, 345 L
Florus, 1.1.7-8, 1.18
Iliad 1.3-4, 23.71-4
Satires 1.5.64, 1.8, 1.8.24
Livy, 3.58.11, 22.57.6
Lucan, Pharsalia 6.770-73
Philopseudes 22-24, 25, 30-1
Lucretius, 4.29-53, 6.762-66
Macrobius, 1.7.34-35, 12.20-23
Martianus Capella, 2.162
Origo Gentis Romanae 21.5, 23.1
Ovid, Fasti 2.500, 2.503, 2.537-39,
2.547-56, 2.576-78, 2.583-616,
3.639, 4.807-18, 5.419-492
Paulus, Digest 11.7.44
Pausanias, Description of Greece
Petronius, 34.8, 44.5
Philostratus, Life ofApollonius 4.10
Pindar, Odes 14
Plato, Phaedo 30c-d
Mostellaria 497-500, 498-503
Plegon, Mirablia 1, 2, 3.4
Pliny, Natural History 3.5, 7.27.2, 7.27.5-11,
7.27.13, 10.56, 18.12, 28.2.9, 28.5.22,
28.5.23, 30.3.12, 34.3.8
Plotinus, Ennead 1.9
Quaestiones Romanae 34
Romulus 9.4, 11.1
Polybius, Histories 6.53-54
Propertius, 3.1.1, 3.9.50
Scriptores Historiae Augustae
Seneca, Apocolcyntosis 9.3
Servius, Aeneid 1.292-3, 3.64, 4.518,
Silius Italicus, 13.447
Sophron fr. 8
Statius, Thebaid 4.619-20, 8.5
Stesichorus fr. 215 PMG
Tacitus, Annals 11.21, 69
Tertullian, De Anima 48
Ulpian Dig. 126.96.36.199, 11.7.44
Varro De Vita Populi, fr. 18
Vergil, Aeneid 1.292-3, 1.354-55,
2.270, 2.772-3, 2.793, 3.370, 4.518,
6.325-30, 6.883-84, 6.695
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The author was born to Jerry and Carol Lux and grew up in Union, Kentucky. He
has a younger brother, Jason, who is one of the best baseball players ever to live (next to
his father). The author attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio where he received
an Honors Bachelors of Arts degree in Classics and Philosophy. His personal legend is to
assist others in discovering their own personal legends, and he feels that he can best do
this by teaching classics at the secondary level. He also desires to write fictional tales
that inspire people to further their understanding of love and that encourage people to
explore the sacredness of life and death.