Flamen according to Vasro and Festus, from filamen, the band of white wool wrapped about the cap, was the title given to members of a college of Roman priests devoted severally to the service of a particular deity. " Divisque. alias Sacerdotes, omnibus Pontyflces, singulis Flamines sunto," says Cicero (De Leg. ii, 8). Each received his distinctive name from that of the god to -whose service he was devoted-" haorum singuli cognomen habent ab eo deo quoi sacrafaciunt (Varro, De Ling. Lat. v, 84). Therea were two classes of flamens,

(1.) those styled firmines majaores, and always patricians, viz. the fl. dialis, martialis, and quirinalis, instituted by Numa, according to Livy (i, 20), to take charge of those religious services which had hitherto been functions of the kingly office; and

(2.) the fiamines majores, who might be, and usually were plebeians, about twelves in number; and instituted at various times.

Definition of flame

The flamens were in the earlier times nominated by the Comitia Curiata (in the case of the dialis three being designated), but after the enactment of the Lex Dom/tIa (B.C. 104) they were named by the Comitia .Tributa, and when thus nominated were received (cap,I) and inaugurated by the pontifex maximus, who always claimed paramount authority over them. The office was for life, but forfeitable for a breach of duty, or on the occurrence of some accident of ill omen while engaged in priestly functions. Their official dress was the, apex, a sort of close-fitting cap, the laena, χλαῖνα. a thick woollen cloak (see Smith, Dict. A ntiq. s.v.), and a laurel wreath. The highest in rank and honor was the flamen dialis, or priest of Jupiter, who must be the son of parents united in marriage by the. ceremony of confarreatio (which rule probably applied to all thee majores), and who was himself married by the same form to his wife, officially styled flaminica, whose aid was so indispensable to him in the performance of his priestly offices that, in the event of her death, he was forced to resign, since the flamen dialis could not marry Again. He was subject to many restrictions-among others, was forbidden to leave the city for a. single night (though this rule was somewhat modified by Augustus and Tiberius), or to sleep out of his bed for three consecutive nights; to touch or mount a horse, or look upon an army drawn up outside of the pomeerium; nor could he take an oath, hence he could not be a consul or governor of a province, and was, it would appear, summo jure, excluded from all civil offices, and made Jove adsidusum sacerdotem (Liv. i, 20). Furthermore, he could not wear a ring nisi pervio et casso, whatever that may mean, or go out without his proper headdress, or allow a knot in his attire, touch flour, leaven, leavened bread, a dead body, a dog, a she-goat, ivy, beans, or raw flesh. Similar restrictions followed the actions of the flaminica. On the other hand, the flamen dialis enjoyed peculiar privileges, viz. exemption from parental control, an ex officio seat in the senate, a lictor, the right to use the sells- curslis and the toga proetexta, the seat next below the rex sacrificulus at banquets, and the right of sanctuary for his house. His distinctive dress was the albogalerus (see Hope's Costumes, pl. 266). Of the flamen martialis, or priest of Mars, and then flamen quirinalis, or priest of Quirinus, less frequent mention is made, and of the femisnes minores but little is known beyond the names. The municipal towns also had flamens, and after it became a custom to deify the emperors, flamens were appointed, both in Rome and the provinces, to attend to their worship.- Smith, Diet. Greek and Roman Antiq. S. v.; Ramsay, Man. Romans Antiq. s.v.; Livy, i, 20; v, 52; Epit. 19:27:8; 29:38; 30:26; 31:50; 37:51; Tacitus, Ann., iii, 58, 71'; 4:16; Plutarch, Numsa, 7, and Quest. Ross. p. 114, 118,, 119, 164-170 (ed. Reiske); Festus, s.v. Maximae dignationes and majores flamines; Aulus Gellius, 10:15, etc. (J. W. M.)

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.