Prayers of the Republic
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
These prayers come from a number of Latin authors who lived during the Republican era.

L. Accius (c. 170-86BCE)

Aenead sive Decius fr. 4
Invincible Holiness, with venerating prayers I ask that You send good portents to signify a change for the better for the people of our nation.

Erigona fr. 4
What I wish for, Goddess: may it have been a sacrifice, the arching missile You enjoin to me.. By this then may we approach to the other side.

L. Afranius Emancipatus (c. 100 BCE)

Fabula Togata fr. 11
I pray by the Gods that everything will be made fortunate.

Caecilius Statius (d. 166 BCE)

Synephebi fr. 3
Aloud I call out, I demand, I implore, I beg, I bewail, I entreat you, Fides.

Q. Ennius (239-170 BCE)

Annales I 118-21:
Romulus, O Romulus among the Gods, divinely begotten guardian of his country. O Father, Father of our people, O descendant of the Gods, you have brought us into the Light, born us upon these shores. Romulus, may you eternally live in Heaven among the children of the Gods.

Annales I fr. 141:
And you Lares, care for our house that you established.

Annales VI 200-3:
Gods, listen to this for a while, on behalf of the Roman people, born of arms and here now fighting, with foresight this body I dispatch.

O great heavenly temples, conjoined with the splendid stars.

Hail, gods of Hades, whose high temples overlook the flowing Acheron.


FPR fr. 26; p. 292
Therefore adoring You as though You were nurturing Venus Herself, whether You are female, or whether You are male, even so, Illuminating the Night, You are a nurturing Moon.

Livius Andronicus (c. 240 BCE)

Odisia I 1:
Camena, in hot pursuit of clever men, come to me

Odisia 1.45
Our Father, son of Saturnus.

Equos Troianos
Grant me the strength, you whom I ask, to whom I pray; help me to arise.

Lucretius Carus (c. 99-55 BCE)

De Rerum Natura I 1-9
Venus Genetrix, charmer of gods and mankind, nurturing Mother, beneath the starry signs that glide through the night, You enliven the ship-bearing seas and the fruitful earth, since it is through You that all things are conceived and animated into life to behold the Light of Day. Goddess, for You the winds make way, the heavenly clouds open at Your coming, the miraculous earth greets You with sweet scented flowers, for You the surface of the seas laugh, and the peaceful heavens glisten in luminescence.

Pacuvius (c. 220-130 BCE)

Medus fr. 2
Sol, I call to You that You may guide me on my search for my parents.

Terentius (c. 185-159 BCE)

Andria 232
I pray, you Gods, grant an easy delivery to this girl, and assign to someone else the fate of when the midwife makes her mistakes.

Valerius Soranus

FPL fr.4 (August. Civ. Dei 7.9)
Almighty Jupiter, who both engendered and fathered kings, things, and gods, God of Gods, who are both One

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE)

In C. Verrem IV.72. 187-8

[187] O Ceres and Libera, whose sacred worship, as the opinions and religious belief of all men agree, is contained in the most important and most abstruse mysteries; you, by whom the principles of life and food, the examples of laws, customs, humanity, and refinement are said to have been given and distributed to nations and to cities; you, whose sacred rites the Roman people has received from the Greeks and adopted, and now preserves with such religious awe, both publicly and privately, that they seem not to have been introduced from other nations, but rather to have been transmitted from hence to other nations, [188] You, again and again I implore and appeal to, most holy goddesses, who dwell around those lakes and groves of Enna, and who preside over all Sicily, you whose invention and gift of corn, which you have distributed over the whole earth, inspires all nations and all races of men with reverence for your divine power;--And all the other gods, and all the goddesses, do I implore and entreat,

De Domo sua ad Pontifices 144-5

O Jupiter Capitolinus, to You I pray, I entreat You, who the Roman people have named Optimus after Your kindness and Maximus after Your great power. And to You, O Juno Regina, guardian of the City of Rome. O Minerva, You have always come to my aid with Your counsels, witness to the existence of my works; And most especially to You, Penates, who most of all has called me back, gods of my fathers and my family, recalling me for the sake of your stations; And You who preside over the City of Rome and the Republic, You I call to witness, You from whose temple precincts and shrines did I repel the heinous and destructive flames of impious duplicity; You also, Mother Vesta, I pray to You, whose most chaste Vestales I have defended against pillage and desecration by demented men; for their eternal flame I could not allow to pass, extinguished in the blood of citizens, or Your pure flame be intermingled with a conflagration sweeping the entire city.

To all of You I pray [145] if in that time near fatal to the Republic, if I exposed my head for Your sacred precincts and Your ceremonies against the furor and arms of the most desperate citizens, and this repeatedly did I do, while in my struggle was sought the ruin of all good citizens, I call You as witnesses, I place myself and my family in Your hands, in these struggles I devoted myself and my life, during my conselship and before, without regard for my own interests, or for profit, but strove in all my actions and thoughts with vigilance for the safety and health of all my fellow citizens, then, that someday I might bid to enjoy seeing the Republic restored at last. But if my counsel had not benefited my country, then in perpetual misery would I suffer, departed from my family, friends and all sustenance. When by Your favor my home is restored to me, may I at long last be allowed to consider it demonstrated that this devotion of my life has met with the approval of the Gods

Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BCE)

De Lingua Latina

VI 27
The first days of each month are named the Kalendae, because on these days the Nones of the month is announced (calantur) by the pontifices on the Capitolium in the Curia Calabra thus:
"Juno Covella, I announce You on the fifth day," or else by "Juno Covella, I announce You on the seventh day."

From Pompilius:
"Alas, Fortuna, why do You so aggressively press misfortune on me?"

In Hecuba (by Ennius):
O great heavenly temples, conjoined with the splendid stars.

In Andromacha (by Ennius):
Hail, gods of Hades whose high temples overlook the flowing Acheron.

The wording of the augural rite is not the same everywhere. Atop the Capitoline Hill, at the auguralium in the Arx, the words are as follow:
"May the boundary between temple precincts and wildness shrines be to me as I have formally declared them in the proper words of this rite. No matter what kind of fruitful tree that may be, may it be to me as I so chose to name it, may it be set as a limit, designating between my templum and wild land, to that point to my left. No matter what kind of fruitful tree that may be, may it be to me as I so chose to name it, may it be set as the limit, designating between my templum and the wild lands, to that point on my right. Between the boundaries that I have set for my templum and wilderness beyond, be mine to use for directing, viewing and reflecting, just as far as I have been most rightly aware and have set them within this limit in the proper fashion."

VII 17
O holy Apollo, who does hold the true and established umbilicus of the land.

VII 26
In the Carmin Salii:
"Arise, O Consus, arise. All things, truly, I entrust to Patulcium the Opener. Now You are Janus the Gatekeeper, now Cerus the Good Creator, now Janus the God of Good Beginnings. Come, now most especially, You who are the better of these kings."

VII 27
In the Carmin Salii: "Dance before the Father of the Gods, give thanks to the God of Gods."

Rerum Rusticarum de Agricultura

I 2.27

If your feet hurt: "I think of you; heal my feet. May Terra restrain plague. May health remain in my feet." Nine times must you recite this (charm), touching the earth, and then spit on the ground. This must be recited in due seriousness.

Sextus Propertius (c. 50-16 BCE)


O Venus, come quickly now to give succor to our sorrows; may love erupt in the hearts of those passionate limbs we continually desire.

O Jupiter, may You finally show compassion for this ill-stricken girl, the death of one so beautiful would cause Your reproach.

May I live if she lives; die if she is fated to fall.
If You assent to fulfill the longed for desires of my prayers I vow that I shall raise an altar in Your honor, inscribed with, ?By great Jove is a girl saved.? And at Your feet will she resolve to seat herself and tell the tale of her long suffered woes.

O Proserpina, may Your clemency remain merciful on the souls You keep, and may You Dis Pater, Proserpina?s consort, not desire to be stern.

Preserve one of Your own sons, Venus, let it be in this lifetime, may You perceive those remaining descendents of Aeneas. May there be plunder enough in this for them, that honest rewards are piled up from hard work. For me it shall be enough if able to dance along the Sacred Way in praise of the Gods.

3.17. 1-20
O Bacchus, humbly now I approach Your altar.
Grant tranquil seas for me, Father, and a fair wind in my sails.
You are able to tame even the rages of Venus; Your wine a cure for our sorrows.
By You are lovers bound to one another; by You are their bonds dissolved.
O Bacchus, cleanse my soul of fault.

Truly also You cannot attest to be ignorant of my sorrow
when it was your lynxes that carried Ariadne off to the stars,
like You there is an old flame still burning in my bones.
Only wine or death may rid us of our ills.

Truly an empty night alone and sober spent always torments lovers;
where hopes and fears churn in the mind of one or the other.
But if, Bacchus, Your gift could soothe my fevered mind and bring sleep to my wearied bones, then I?ll plant vines and fasten them in orderly rows upon my hills, and myself stand guard less wild beasts should pluck them.

When my vats fill foaming purple with must, and new wine presses have stained my feet with grapes, then it will be enough for me to live with Your vines and in Your horned presence, O Bacchus, I, Your poet, shall sing.

The stars themselves stumble and into Ocean fall. I try to sleep, searching for you in my dreams. May You come, o happy vision, standing before mine eyes as they lapse into kind slumber.

May the earth bring forth thorns to engulf your sepulcher, procuress, and may your shade, no longer animated by the power of life, experience only thirst. May the Manes besiege your ashes in the funerary urn, and may avenging Cerberus, hungering for your ghost, terrify you with a ravenous howling.

The prophetess performs sacred rites. Let solemn attention be respectfully given to the favorable prayers offered during the rites. May Roman garlands hang beside Philetan clusters, and urns pour forth Cyrenean wines. Grant me wafts of sweet smelling costus and fawning esteem with frankincense. May the wool fillets be wound three times around the altar. Asperse me with holy water and at newly erected altars may fresh psalms be sung accompanied by the ivory flute, as flasks of Phrygian wine are sipped. Go far away, you deceitful frauds; scatter your noxious rumors to the four winds.

I pray to You who amuse yourselves in this sacred grove, extend to a man the hospitality of Your sanctuary. I am thirsty; I wander in a land destitute of springs and hear the sound of water. Only so much as to fill my cupped hand is enough.

The Mater Alma, who fastened her hair with the red fillet of a priestess, spoke:
Spare your eyes, stranger, do not look! Depart from this sacred and venerable place; do as I say and flee from its boundaries. It is forbidden to men, punishable by a fearful law, that by its altar shall be claimed those men driven off from this place; (as when) Tiresias once looked upon the priestesses as they bathed Minerva after She had laid aside the Gorgon-faced Aegis. May the Gods give you other fountains from which to drink; this water is for women alone, its wandering waves flowing from a secret spring.

Because his hands had purified the Earth, the Sabines of Cures called him Sancus, "The Holy One." Hail Father Sancus, whom austere Juno now favors. O Sancus, may You wish to be with me and Your spirit be in my books.

Jupiter, today let these offerings fall in sacrifice to You.

Grant, Father, what I have asked for my gentle shade.
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