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The Roman Regifugium. Myth and Ritual of the King's Journey Beyond the Boundary
ISBN: 978-2-87457-039-1
9,50 €

The Roman Regifugium. Myth and Ritual of the King's Journey Beyond the Boundary

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February 24 annually brings the archaic Roman ritual of the Regifugium, the ‘Flight of the King’. Little information survives concerning the rite in classical sources: Plutarch, for example, states simply that the rex offered a sacrifice in the Comitium and immediately fled away (Quaest. Rom. 63). In this investigation I argue that the Regifugium is a Roman ritual expression of a broader Indo-European mythic motif that concerns traumatic flight beyond the borderlands of society – a flight that introduces societal disorder; the figure whose retreat is marked, however, is a representative not of the sovereign realm but of the priestly. A second ritual realization of the motif is observed on March 14, when one designated as Mamurius Veturius ‘the crazed one of Mars’ is driven from Rome. The setting of the rituals at the boundary of the old Roman year is a temporal expression of the theme of a falling into disorder associated with the flights; order is restored with the onset of the new year and the celebration of associated rituals.