cult of standards

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cohortēs urbānae

Gaius Marius (c. 157 bc — 186 ad) Roman general and politician

signa militaria

Tertullian (c. 160—240) early Christian theologian

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Every permanent station of a Roman military unit, esp. legionary, and every camp regularly constructed contained a chapel, which, at least in imperial times, was in the charge of the first cohort. This cohort kept both the statues of gods worshipped by the troops and of the emperors and also the standards (signa militaria) of the unit and its component parts; all received divine or quasi‐divine honours. They were anointed and otherwise tended on feast‐days. A suppliant might take refuge at them; an altar was sometimes dedicated at least partly to them or at all events to the most important, the eagle of the legion; sacrifice was made to them esp. after a victory. Tertullian even says, rhetorically exaggerating, that the soldiers venerated them beyond all gods.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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