Win honour for your whole tribe!

Many Gods West is an alarming invigorating three weeks away! As I’ve mentioned in one or two previous posts, I’ll be presenting a ritual in honour of Dea Roma and Divus Augustus. I say “presenting” advisedly, because I will not actually be presiding over the ritual …. That will be up to somebody we elect to act as sacerdos Romae et Augusti, or priest of Rome and Augustus.

This position is meant to echo that of sacerdos Romae et Augusti at the Council of the Three Gauls as a respectful homage, though it will not be the same thing. The annual ritual of that council, held at Condate from 10 BCE onwards, took place on August 1 just like ours will. For the people of Gaul all through the Roman period, this priesthood was the high point of a person’s career, conferring bragging rights not only on the priests themselves, but on their local tribes as well. It was the kind of thing people would inscribe on their tombstones (for which reason we have the names of thirty-odd such sacerdotes preserved) (the first was C. Julius Vercondaridubnus of the Ædui—a delightful mélange of Latin and Gaulish in the best old style).

Now, the attendees, of course, will just be self-selected conference goers, not duly commissioned delegates from the various Gallic peoples. Still, given that this is breaking new ground, this is an awesome opportunity to win fame and glory, venerate some truly venerable deities, and, who knows, maybe even help (re)found a tradition. So think about it! If you’d want to take on this role, or know somebody who’d be perfect for it, you’ve got three weeks to mentally and psychically prepare yourself or them.

Why honour Dea Roma? Well, y’know, Western civilization, the classics, the Renaissance, plucky little burgh on a few hills that overcame all the odds and ruled most of the known world already, countless sculptures of Praxiteles known only from Roman copies, Ovid, roads, arches, aqueducts, etc.

Why honour the divine Augustus? Peace, clemency, reconciliation, building things in marble that one finds in wood, blossoming of the arts and literature, religious revival, making Roman civilization work for the millions of people under Rome’s rule, etc. (Plus, if you loathe Antony as much as I do, giving that puffed-up bullying renegade what he deserved! Just sayin’. By the way, Augustus and his sister took good care of Antony’s kids after their father’s suicide.)

I’ll try to make it fairly easy on the first sacerdos Romae et Augusti at Olympia (doesn’t that have a great ring to it?). You’ll have cult images of the deities in question, gifts to offer them (pre-approved via divination), and a script to follow most of the way through. What you will bring is your own zing, pizzazz, and priestly razzmatazz.

Of course, I’m being rather flippant. To take on this kind of honour, candidates should feel sufficiently clean—physically, psychically, and mentally—to do so. I’ll allow candidates to be their own judge on this. However, it is recommended to abstain for a few days before the ritual from any contact with the dead, sexual intercourse, eating particularly rich foods—whatever would make you feel unfit for the position. If you’re thinking of presenting yourself as a candidate, you’ll want to make sure your mind is clear, pure, and pious: meditate; cleanse yourself; do divination to make sure you’re not crossing any boundaries you oughtn’t.

Also, if you have something bright and white to wear, preferably with a hood or scarf or flap that you can use to cover your head, please bring it! Otherwise I’ll have a comparatively lame-looking stole on hand.

Do it! Your whole tribe (Thracian? Dionysian? Celtic reconstructionist?*) will be able to brag of this forever.

By the way, since this post will be dated 13 July, happy Apollinaria (final day of the Ludi Apollinares) to one and all! Hail Apollo! (As in, the patron of Augustus … and perhaps his spiritual father as well—there’s an intriguing story there ….)
* Etc.

About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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12 Responses to Win honour for your whole tribe!

  1. Given the scheduling of your ritual, I’ll have to make a difficult choice…and will be choosing yours, for reasons I think you can imagine. 😉 It should be interesting to conscript a sacerdos for it, certainly!

    • DeoMercurio says:

      I am very, very happy to hear that — for reasons you can probably imagine! 🙂

      I actually have some background in parliamentary procedure (I used to have Robert’s Rules at my fingertips at meetings of my co-op and so on). So if the meeting turns in a parliamentary direction (as it could at Condate), I’ll be rather pleased than not.

      Is the schedule set to remain more or less as it was advertised, then?

      • I have to admit, I’ve never learned parliamentary procedure properly; I’ve never been on a student senate or anything like it long enough that it was required (or, they simply weren’t used very formally)…as a union rep., now I might have to learn them a bit, but thus far, it seems to be “motion, second; question (i.e. vote), second; vote, done.” A debating society in Ireland used some version of it, and likewise at a debate we had in the LGB Society there, to make it into the LGBT Society (and we won!), it was used. But, anyway…

        Yes, it should be very interesting indeed. I suspect it may be a small group (given what it is against), but don’t feel bad if it is, as you’ll know it will be a good and dedicated group that does show up! As far as I know, there have been some minor changes in the schedule, but you’re still on for Saturday afternoon.

  2. DeoMercurio says:

    That reminds me, I ought to refresh my memory on some of the finer points. But I doubt anything procedurally dramatic would come up. Robert’s Rules creates a notorious barrier between the select few who are literate in them and the baffled multitude who thought that motion was already decided on. Anything might happen, but I’m not anticipating a very elaborate debate at the end.

    And yes, both your points on the attendees are well taken! Technically speaking, the minimum attendance is two (one as a candidate, another to vote for them!). Anything more than that will just be cause for joy. 😉

  3. Pingback: And for those who don’t like Gaul … there’s Gaul! :-) | Deo Mercurio

  4. Fortuitously enough Bakcheion will be holding a ritual for M. Antonius (the rightful imperator of Rome) at the same time. Hope we don’t make too much noise and disturb you fine folks while you’re doing your thing. 😉

    • DeoMercurio says:

      Haha! Fortuitous indeed. Antony was such a jerk. However, our time slot got moved, so I intend to be at the Bakcheion event. 🙂 Looking forward to it!

      • Bakcheion will be holding a bunch of rituals over the weekend, though only the bebakcheunia is on the official MGW schedule. You’re more than welcome at any of them except the rite for Antony which is scheduled opposite whenever your ritual for Octavian is. 🙂

        I’m kidding, of course. As much as I despise the man I’d never do anything to disrupt his cultus, particularly since it’s paired with Roma, a goddess worthy of immense respect. After all, I’m not Octavian – I actually have proper regard for the gods and heroes:

        “After this Octavian viewed the body of Alexander and actually touched it, whereupon, it is said, a piece of the nose was broken off. But he declined to view the remains of the Ptolemies who were buried with him in the Sema, though the Alexandrians were extremely eager to show them, remarking, ‘I wished to see a king, not corpses.’ For this same reason he would not enter the presence of Apis, either, declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle. Thus was Egypt enslaved. All the inhabitants who resisted for a time were finally subdued, as, indeed, heaven very clearly indicated to them beforehand. For it rained not only water where no drop had ever fallen previously, but also blood; and there were flashes of armor from the clouds as this bloody rain fell from them. Elsewhere there was the clashing of drums and cymbals and the notes of flutes and trumpets, and a serpent of huge size suddenly appeared to them and uttered an incredibly loud hiss. Meanwhile comets were seen and dead men’s ghosts appeared, the statues frowned, and Apis bellowed a note of lamentation and burst into tears.” – Cassius Dio, Roman History 51.16-17


    • Yes, your main/big/on-the-program ritual is later, Sannion; I made sure that it was not opposite this one in the program…I also tried to get them not to put this one opposite the Coru, but that failed entirely for reasons I am still not certain about. In any case…

      • DeoMercurio says:

        So many things always go on off the schedule at these things! I feel like I need the codeword for the speakeasy. But maybe that’s the idea. 🙂
        Yes, I always thought that adventure with Alexander’s nose was a bit of a macabre detail. I can just imagine the scene when Augustus gets welcomed to Olympus: Mercury gives him a slap on the shoulder, Apollo folds him into a giant hug, Jupiter’s beaming, Venus has tears in her eyes … and then he gets to Alexander and is like, “Oh, Alexander, hi! Huge fan. Listen, umm, about that nose thing …”

      • Our secret password is “Brekekekex koax koax.” Sssssh! Don’t tell anyone.

        And man, I would pay good money to see that reunion. Especially if Octavian was all “Yoink! I got your nose!”

      • DeoMercurio says:

        HA! That would be hilarious. A practical joke to last an eternity. 😀
        I much appreciate the secret password, and will divulge it only at appropriate moments, e.g. getting coffee in the morning. “Room for cream and, y’know, maybe you could slip a little something in there. –Excuse me, sir? –You know, Irish it up a little. –Oh! Umm, we don’t have a bar in this facility, sir. And it’s 9 in the morning. –Oh, I understand. Brekekekex koax koax. –Excuse me? –You know: brekekekex koax koax. –Oh, you’re speaking another language. Here, let me find someone who speaks Spanish. Miguel?”

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