Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Rome’

h1

The Lupercalia Begins!

13 February, 2012

Welcome to another of the odd festival of Ancient Rome!  Today is the start of the Lupercalia, a purification ritual with very confusing origins.  (Purification was needed as February was considered ill-omened by the Romans.)

Palatine Hill, the cave is there somewhere

Palatine Hill

The ritual took place in a sacred cave, the Lupercal Cave, on Palatine Hill where two goats and a dog were sacrificed, to whom is still debated, but it was for purification and -as purification was linked to fertility- for fertility.  Two chosen boys, originally sons of the equestrian (aristocratic) order, who were marked on the forehead with the blood of the goats from the sword used to slain the sacrifice which was then wiped away with wool dipped in milk after which the boys must laugh(!).  The boys then took lashes made from the goat skin and run through the old boundaries of the city, dressed only in girdles of goatskin, striking people with the lashes.  Women would seek to be struck by these, offering their hands, as the touch of the lash was suppose to increase fertility, cure barrenness and ease the pains of childbirth.

Now, who exactly the sacrifices were to, where the ritual originated and many other details have been lost to the mists of time.  But a fascinating piece of history.

Notes: Photo by Rennett Stowe and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

h1

Cloacina’s Amulet – New Magic Item / A to Z Blogging Challenge [C]

4 April, 2011

The chosen of the goddess Cloacina serve a vital role, one that is often underappreciated by their fellow city dwellers.  By their tireless efforts, the sewers flow properly and the city is kept safe from filth and disease.

As the blessed of Cloacina, they are surprisingly clean in appearance (except when just coming off of underground work), in good health and their often have the happiest marriages, being blessed by their goddess in all areas that fall into her portfolio.

Cloacina’s Amulet

These amulets are made of silver but are always set with a sliver of simple stone, they show the goddess on one side and the symbol of the city on the other.  As long as their wearer is faithful to both Cloacina and their spouse, the amulet never need to be polished.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Through the Lens of History XVII: “By Jove!” Roman Religion and Superstition

13 December, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision XVII: By Jove! Roman Religion and Superstition

The thief who stole this, may you consume his blood and take it away, Lord Neptune.”
– Inscription on a Roman curse

The Roman World of the Republic and Empire was rife with gods, cults, rituals and superstitions. Few events were so unimportant that they did not need the blessing of the gods and the approval of the heavens. Seeking divine approval for actions taken – and yet to be taken – was an important part of Roman civic and personal life.

Equally, the Romans believed magic and spirits were everywhere and that everyday life was rife with tasks to avoid ill fortune and bad luck. This vision looks at how to incorporate these thoughts into play.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Through the Lens of History 15 – Latrones – Bandits in the Roman Republic and Empire

15 October, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision XV: “Latrones
Bandits in the Roman Republic and Empire

Looking back to the Roman Empire we usually imagine it to be an orderly and efficient place, untroubled by minor lawlessness. This was not entirely the case, though in central and northern Italy it came close. Bandits and banditry were a continual problem throughout the expansion of Rome to the collapse of the Empire.
Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Through the Lens of History – Vision 14: “You can’t get there from here” Maps in the West from the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

13 August, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 14: “You can’t get there from here”
Maps in the West from the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

Maps are more than ways to show how to get from place to place; they are tools to help us understand the world. Ancient Greek maps placed the Oracle at Delphi at the center of the world, and medieval European maps made Jerusalem the central point. Both illustrate important aspects of how these cultures viewed the world and their place in it. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Through the Lens of History – Vision 9: “Message for you, Sir!” – Part I Mail and Messengers from the Ancient World to the Early Middle Ages

15 March, 2010

Tis the ides of March (of which Caesar failed to beware) and time for more history:

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 9: “Message for you, Sir!” – Part I
Mail and Messengers from the Ancient World to the Early Middle Ages

Hand in hand with the development of writing was the use of writing for long distance communication.  Written messages did not need to be memorized by the messenger and they were almost guaranteed to be delivered without being accidentally changed. As literacy spread, so did letter writing and the demand for messengers.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Veles (Javelin Skirmisher) Prestige Class

12 March, 2010

In my never ending quest to make the historically well used weapons useful in games, I present a javelin-using ‘prestige’ class.  Prestige is in quotes as the barrier to entry to this class is very low.

Veles (Javelin Skirmisher)
Watch this throw.”

The velite (plural of veles) are young men, aiming to prove their bravery on the field of combat.  They are lightly armored at best and rely upon the javelin as their primary weapon.  Their role in the army is that of skirmisher and scout, keeping the enemies eyes from the army and in battle, shielding the heavy infantry from enemy skirmishers and weakening those who can not catch them.

A veles often wear a headdress made from a the head and skin of a wolf.  This makes them easy to spot and distinguish on the battlefield.  Their usual equipment is a short sword, light shield, whatever light armor they can afford and as many javelins as they can comfortably carry.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Through the Lens of History 1 – By the Gods!

15 July, 2009

Tis the ides of July, and time to journey back in time.  Welcome to:

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 1: By the Gods! The Faiths of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Ave and well met.  Welcome to the first installment of Through the Lens of History where I will take various pieces of history and show how they can be used to make compelling settings and scenarios for games.

The subject of this installment is Ancient Religion; focusing on those of Greece and Rome.  Modern religion in the West is heavily shaped by the success in the Western world of the various Christian denominations and the prevalent separation of Church and State but it was not always so . . . Read the rest of this entry ?

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: