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The Carmen Arvale is the preserved chant of the Arval priests or Fratres Arvales of ancient Romemarker.

The Arval priests were devoted to the goddess Dea Dia, and offered sacrifices to her to ensure the fertility of ploughed fields (Latin arvum). There were twelve Arval priests, chosen from patrician families. During the Roman Empire the Emperor was always an Arval priest. They retained the office for life, even if disgraced or exiled. Their most important festival, the Ambarvalia, occurred during the month of May, in a grove dedicated to Dea Dia.

The Carmen Arvale is preserved in an inscription of AD 218, but is in a more archaic stage of Old Latin, likely not fully understood any more at the time the inscription was made.It goes as follows:

enos Lases iuvate
enos Lases iuvate
enos Lases iuvate


neve lue rue Marmar sins incurrere in pleoris
neve lue rue Marmar sins incurrere in pleoris
neve lue rue Marmar sins incurrere in pleoris


satur fu, fere Mars, limen sali, sta berber
satur fu, fere Mars, limen sali, sta berber
satur fu, fere Mars, limen sali, sta berber


semunis alterni advocapit conctos
semunis alterni advocapit conctos
semunis alterni advocapit conctos


enos Marmor iuvato
enos Marmor iuvato
enos Marmor iuvato


triumpe triumpe triumpe triumpe triumpe


While passages of this text are obscure, the traditional interpretation makes the chant a prayer to seek aid of Mars and the Lares (lases), beseeching Mars not to let plagues or disasters overtake in the fields, asking him to be satiated, and dance, and call forth the "Semones", who may represent sacred sowers. (Cf. Semo Sancus, a god of agriculture and fidelity.)

See also



References

  1. Frederic de Forest Allen, Remnants of Early Latin (Boston: Ginn & Heath 1880 and Ginn & Co 1907).



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