Talk:Carmen Arvale

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Need a Translation[edit]

Is there a scholarly translation of this somewhere out there? - Christopher 00:22, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Frederic D. Allen's translation[edit]

Help us Lares; (x 3)

And let not, O Mars, plague and destruction come on the multitude. x3

Be satiate, fierce Mars, *** *** *** *** (x 3)

Call ye, in turns, on all the Semones. (x 3)

Help us, Mars. (x 3)

Huzza! (x 6?)

This translation was published by Frederic De Forest Allen (1844 - 1897), a professor at Yale College, in his "Remnants of Early Latin" Boston: Ginn & Heath 1880 and Ginn & Co 1907. The meaning of the asterisked half verse was controversial: he provisionally interpreted it as "enter thy temple (cross the threshold) and stay thy scourge." Who the "Semones" were is also obscure: most took them to be gods of husbandry, but Mommsen said they were divinities in general.

H. W. Garrod's version[edit]

H. W. Garrod of Merton College, Oxford, gave a similar orthodox explanation in "The Oxford Book of Latin Verse" (1912). He noted that the three-beat half-lines of the Saturnian verses correspond to the three-stepped dance or "tripodatio" performed by the brotherhood, the halves corresponding to the forward swing and the recoil of their dance.

His endnotes propose an entirely different interpretation, the standard account being suitable for the god of war but inappropriate for the farmers' god. The words as inscribed are mostly non-classical, may not have been understood when carved in 218 AD, and in fact the inscribed lines are not repeated identically, though they are usually printed as such.

"satur, fu, fere Mars: limen sali, sta berber" appears once as "satur fu, fere Mars: limen saii sia berber."

He suggests as the original version *"sator fu: sere Mars limen Saii, sia berber" which he translates as:

  • "Be thou the sower: sower Mars, sow the soil, moisten the loam."

He also suggests that the mysterious first word of the hymn, "enos," instead of meaning "us," could mean something like "harvests."

Garrod considers the hymn to be appropriate for Seedtime (in March, the month of Mars), and suggests that it was transferred to a harvest festival in May after the meaning of the words had been forgotten. As the Fratres Arvales entered on their duties at the Saturnalia, their worship may originally have been connected with Saturn, the god of sowing.

I don't know what modern scholars make of all this.NRPanikker 16:10, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Wiccan chant?[edit]

This chant doesn't appear in any traditional Wiccan documents or teachings, and is fairly obscure amongst modern Eclectic Wiccans as well. Lady Sheba's book, from which this reference has been drawn, is almost entirely a work of plagiarism: somehow she obtained a Book of Shadows, probably an Alexandrian one) and published it (with numerous errors) along with a fairly random assortment of charms and chants lifted from other sources. This chant doesn't derive from Wicca, nor has it been taken up by any more than a handful of Wiccans. Her work is not representative of Wicca, either traditional or mainstream. I'm therefore removing the reference to this as a Wiccan chant on the basis that it's not notable. Cheers, Fuzzypeg 01:49, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


Carmen arvale can be decomposed into two separate texts. limen sali, sta ... is obviously an instruction for the dancing priests saying jump over the barrier, stand ... It doesn't belong to the remaining agricultural filling. limen means threshold, but in racing barrier which should be jumped over. Its words are standard Latin. Other instruction for the dancing priests is incurrere, incurre in other version, standard Latin too. It is not understandable why linguists involved the words in translations. The original text is visualized in [1]. The visualizations contain the word alternei. Hence alterne i ad duo might be an instruction too. The remaining archaic words are as follows.

   enos Lases iuuate
   en nos Lares iuvate
   neu elue rue Marmars ins in pleores
   neu elue neu rue Marmars iens [cubitum] in {flores}
   satur fu, fere Mars berber
   sator fuit, fert Mars {verber}
   semunis cadit conctos
   semones {caedit} cunctos
   enos Marmor iuvato
   en nos Marmor iuvato
   triumpe triumpe triumpe triumpe triumpe 

-- jn (talk) 13:58, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 30 July 2010 (UTC) 

There are several readings of Carmen arvale, for example sins and sinis, alterni and alternei, pleores and pleoris, cadit and capit.
File:Caditconctos.jpg File:Capitconctos.jpg
It would be useful to present a clear image of the original, which is certainly preserved somewhere. Who knows where should inform us. Without it is any discussion about nothing. Unclear image of the carving can be found in Baldi[2].

-- jn (talk) 12:51, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

It is necessary to add newer references, in particular about the results of archaeological research in Magliana. -- jn (talk) 13:20, 2 August 2010 (UTC)


Restored text and interpretation[edit]

An editor has advanced an interpretation which considers parts of the text to be instructions to the performers of the ritual. I do not wish to discuss the merit of such an opinion, but it cannot be presented here, both in the reproduction of the text and in its interpretation (but especially in its reproduction), without giving authoritative references.Aldrasto11 (talk) 05:50, 17 March 2013 (UTC)