bound together in priestly brotherhoods, the Benedictine monks conceived of themselves as priests bound together in military brotherhoods.
40 In this sense, the medieval monks were the legitimate heirs of
the traditions of the army of the frontier, and it was they who were able
to achieve what the army of the frontier had been unable to accomplish: the conquest of the Germans.
Certainly religious ritual within the legions was an ancient practice, with
many of the traditions apparently dating back to republican days. It is questionable, however, when these rituals were systematized for the permanent army and
what the function of these activities were.
Arthur D. Nock, "The Roman Army
and the Religious Year," Harvard Theological Review 45 ( October 1952): 194- 195, considers the assumption that it was Augustus who established the military
calendar of religious observances as being totally consistent with his entire policy
of creating a decent Roman order in which every segment of society had its
function, status, and duty. Augustus was convinced that the old virtues, one of
which was piety, had to be restored.
2. Robert O. Fink,
Allan S. Hoey, and
Walter F. Snyder, "The Feriale
Duranum," Yale Classical Studies, vol. 7: pp. 11, 28, describe the Feriale
Duranum as one of the Latin papyri from the archives of the Roman garrison at
Dura that were discovered in 1931-1932. It represents the only surviving military
festival list, and its place of discovery and contents substantiate its military connection. Although derived from an eastern post, it is most likely that the festivals
and observances listed in the Feriale Duranum were standard throughout the
army (see Fink et al., p. 31). The Feriale contains forty-one entries, covering
more than nine months of the year, not one of which bears any relationship to the
religions of the region in which the unit at Dura was stationed.
The festival list is somewhat late. The editors date it with certainty to the years
from 224 to 235 and with some probability to the period from 225 to 227 (pp. 23-24).
Eric Birley, "Religion of the Roman Army," Aufstieg und Niedergang der
römischen Welt (hereafter cited as ANRW), ed.
Hildegard Temporini and
, 2:16.2, p. 1509.
Pliny, Epistolae. Epistolae ad Trianum Epistolarum Libri Decem 10:100,
mentions a ceremony in which both the troops and the provincials joined.
The oath bound the individual soldier in loyalty to the emperor by both
legal and sacred sanctions. Anyone breaking the oath was cursed, and liable to
punishment by men and gods.
Pliny, Epistolae 68:2-4. Michael Grant, The Army of the Caesars, p. 79,
notes coins of the late first and early second centuries A.D. that commemorate the
oath-swearing scene. The emperor, clad in a toga, is shown clasping hands over
an altar with an officer in military uniform. A soldier in the background appears
holding a standard while another is armed with a spear and shield.
Grant, The Army of the Caesars, pp. 165-167. Among the celebrations
were those of the birthdays of Julius Caesar, Germanicus, and various deified
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome.
Contributors: Steven K. Drummond - Author, Lynn H. Nelson - Author.
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe.
Place of publication: Armonk, NY.
Publication year: 1994.
Page number: 212.
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