Roman Paganism: Capitoline Triad (1)
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Jul. 29th, 2011 | 10:15 am
The Capitoline Triad: Introduction
In ancient times, the Capitoline Triad watched over the Roman people and their nation. From the founding of Rome, this Triad represented the ideals of statesmanship, liberty, and the arts for the Romans. Although there is no “official” Capitoline Triad today, I believe that these three Gods would oversee the affairs of nations when asked. They are willing to work in partnership with our leaders, as They did with the ancient Romans.
At the founding of Rome, the original Roman Triad was Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus (three males). As Etruscan influences grew on Romans, so the composition of the Triad changed. The Capitoline Triad that is known today is Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Best and Brightest), June Regina (Queen of Heaven), and Minerva (two females and one male). What is unusual about this Triad is that is it is a mixture of female and male Gods, with the females outnumbering the male. This combination is rare in Indo-European triads.
Archaic Triad (Original Triad)
During the times of the Roman Kings, the original Triad (now referred to as “Archaic”) was Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. As the Roman God of Thunder, Jupiter was the Supreme Ruler of the Heavens. He offered governance to the Roman people. As the Guardian of the Fields, Mars was the Protector of the People. Meanwhile, Quirinus was the God of the Roman People.
Jupiter is discussed more in depth in the section on the Capitoline Triad
Mars was originally was a God associated with the promotion of agriculture. As Mars Silvianus, He watched over the fields. Only later did He become associated with the Greek god, Ares as a protector of crops. When Rome expanded its boundaries, Mars became a God of War. One of the original guardians of Rome, Mars was a member of the Archaic Triad with Jupiter and Quirinus.
Because of his importance to Rome, Mars was honored with the Suovetaurilla, the triple sacrifice of a bull, ram, and boar. In addition, He is only one of three Gods (Neptune and Apollo) to whom the Romans sacrificed a bull. Mars had an altar (Ara Martis) on the Campus Martius served by a single priest – the flamen Martialis.
As One of the original Capitoline Triad (which included Mars and Jupiter), Quirinus watched over Rome. Romans regarded this God in two ways. One is that He is the deified Romulus (who was taken into the heavens, by Mars, his rumored father). Quirinus is also a God of the Sabines, who was worshipped on the Quirinal Hill in Rome. Either way, He is served his own Flamen (priest). In their civic sense, Romans are often addressed “Quirites”.