ROMAN SACRIFICE

INSPIRED BY The MASADA TELEVISION MINISERIES

The Romans believed that they had a deal with the Gods; special services were paid for in prayer and sacrifice. The relationships between the Romans and their deities were characterized by a pattern of sacrifice and exchanged acts. In order to win over the favor of the gods and goddesses, ancient Romans practiced rituals in which blood or non-blood offerings were commonly made. The sacrificial routine was a significant part of ancient daily life, and the worship of divine Roman beings was complicated, specific and admirable.

There were some specific types of blood sacrifice:

Suovetaurilla- The sacrifice of a sheep, bull, and pig.

Hecatombe- The sacrifice of 500 goats.

Now we are going to sacrifice this sheep!

Step One: Sanitize. Romans would wash their hands and feet. If anything "unclean" had been touched (such as a corpse) they would go through a special process to cleanse the body. Today we get to use hand sanitizer!

Step Two: Decorate. The victim would be decorated in wreaths or ribbon. I already did this.

Step Three: Dress. The people more directly involved in the sacrifice would wear wreaths.

Step Four: Lead. The victim would be led to the altar to be sacrificed. If the victim was more willing and bowed its head, it was considered a good omen. Sometimes the hair of the victim would be cut and burned.

Step Five: Music. After a short period of silence, flute music would be played...

Step Six: Prayer. The Romans would ask for a service from the gods and goddesses. Today our "prayer" will be for good grades on the next test. The victim would be prepared for the sacrifice as the priests sprinkle wine and crumbs on the head of the animal.

Step Seven: Kill. I have found eleven different Latin words that mean "to murder". The victim would first be stunned with a hammer and then its throat would be slit. Then a cut would be made from head to tail.

Step Eight: Examine. The entails of the animal would be examined by a Hauruspex (Diviner) and the omen would be told. If it was a bad omen, the Romans would sometimes redo the ceremony with a different animal.

Step Nine: Eat. The rest of the animal would be consumed by the participants of the ceremony. Let us eat cake!

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