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A Place at the AltarPriestesses in Republican Rome$
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Meghan J. DiLuzio

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169576

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169576.001.0001

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Salian Virgins, Sacerdotes, and Ministrae

Salian Virgins, Sacerdotes, and Ministrae

(p.79) Chapter Three Salian Virgins, Sacerdotes, and Ministrae
A Place at the Altar

Meghan J. DiLuzio

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at sacerdotes (priestesses), particularly those associated with the public cults of Mars, Fortuna Muliebris, Bona Dea, Liber, Magna Mater, and Ceres. It also discusses the female support personnel. Without these women, many of whom were libertae (freedwomen) and servae publicae (public slaves), the ritual system would have ground to a halt. As a group, these priestesses and cultic assistants further complicate traditional accounts of Roman “priesthood” and confirm that women were involved in official religious service at nearly every level. Of all the priestesses under consideration in this chapter, the enigmatic saliae virgins (Salian Virgins) may be the most intriguing. The chapter analyzes how these priestesses dressed, where they sacrificed, and with whom they were associated in the ritual sphere.

Keywords:   sacerdotes, priestesses, Fortuna Muliebris, Bona Dea, Magna Mater, public slaves, freedwomen, cultic assistants, Salian Virgins, religious service

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