Evocatio deorum : Historical and mythical interpretations of ritualised conquests in the expansion of ancient Rome

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The dissertation examines the historical evidence, and the historiographical and mythical aspects of the sources, of the evocatio-ritual of Republican Rome. According to some ancient sources, the tutelary deity of an enemy city was, just before a conquest, "called out", that is, asked to abandon the city and promised a new temple in Rome.From the examination of the historical evidence, it is concluded that there is no certain and undisputable evidence of a specific and well-defined evocatio-ritual, and that definitions in modern research have, in some cases, mistakenly started from the later sources. In defining the evocatio, one must instead, on the one hand, start from the earliest sources, which do not actually speak of a fixed ritual, and, on the other hand, regard any definition as merely provisional and not in any sense proven by the sources. Furthermore, it is suggested that a reasonable definition must have as its focus the elements of conquest and votum and not primarily the possible transfer to Rome.Against the background of the historical conclusions, the examination continues with an analysis of the complex relationship between historiography and myth in the presentations of the ritual and in the narratives about individual evocationes. From the point of view of a wide concept of myth it is concluded that these narratives not only include allusions to mythical stories about the time of Rome's foundation, but that certain aspects of their historical presentation and interpretative framework may be regarded as mythical in themselves. Finally, some aspects of the modem research on evocatio is discussed in relation to "the Myth of Rome" in European history of ideas and politics.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.