Antike Autoren, höhere Mächte und der Name Vatikan. Auf der Suche nach dem Gott Vaticanus

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

Ancient authors, higher powers and the name Vatican: Searching for the god Vaticanus” – The term Vaticanus is of substantial significance for understanding the ancient definition of the ager Vaticanus or Vaticanum, the territory of the “Vatican” area in antiquity. This article re-evaluates the texts of Roman authors, who write about the origin of the name Vaticanus; our testimonials are Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC), Marcus Verrius Flaccus (c. 55 BC – 20 AD), Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – after 180 AD), Sextus Pompeius Festus (later 2nd century AD) and Augustine of Hippo (354–430 AD). Some aspects, that are discussed in this study: Vaticanus has been described as a (birth) deity, who owes his name to the first sounds of newborn children and has been experienced as a higher power. The ager Vaticanus has been mentioned as the home of this deity, which manifested itself in actions and prophecies. Though we have not yet been able to encounter a deity Vaticanus outside the analyzed authors’ texts, neither in epigraphic nor in archaeological findings, it has been a religious reality for centuries.

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