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lustration


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Is the performance of lustrum, a ceremony of purification and of averting evil. The main ritual ingredient was a circular procession. The instruments of purification, such as torches and sacrificial animals (esp. the suovetaurilia; see mars), were carried or led round the person(s) or the place to be purified, often to the accompaniment of music, chant, and dance. See sacrifice, roman. The victims were sacrificed at the end of the ceremony, and their entrails inspected. Most important was lustrātiō of the Roman people as the concluding part of the census, performed on the Campus Martius by one of the censors. The deity primarily invoked was Mars. The ceremony excluded evil, and kept the pure within the circle, but it also denoted a new beginning, esp. for the Roman people at the census or for an army when a new commander arrived or when two armies were joined together.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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