Être semblable aux dieux : quelques réflexions sur la « similitude » entre divinité et animaux dans la culture romaine

Francesca Prescendi


This article explores the special relationship that certain deities had with certain animals in Roman religion. In sacrifice, certain victims were more appropriate offerings to one deity than another. This relationship is established because of a similarity based on four criteria: gender, age, color, and shape. On the basis of certain qualities (affordances) of animal's behavior, the Romans recognised the function of a deity. The garrulity of geese, for example, refers to Juno Moneta's divination function, the ferocity of wolves to the fury of the god Mars, and so on. Animal agentivity reveals divinity in action.

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