( Some borrowings from the book The Great Eclipse )

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Did the Anglo-Saxon word "circe" and the Latin word "carcer" come from the same Indo-European "ANCESTOR WORD"?


Join me in taking a close look at the word "CARCER." Our definition for the word will be fully explained momentarily. Please note what the question I just asked does NOT say: It does not say, "Did church/circe come from carcer?" Nor does it say, "Did carcer come from church/circe?" It asks, Did both of these words anciently COME FROM the same word? There is reason to wonder. Let's start to take a look: Carcer is called a "Latin" word. While it definitely ended up in the "Latin" language, we cannot say positively that it was "BORN" there. Why are we interested in this word? Because there is very reputable scholarship that compares the "Latin" word "carcer" to the Germanic word "kark" in connection with the study of the word "church." We believe there is very good reason for the association. Indulge us as we expound.

But in order to enter upon the matter of carcer, we must consider for a moment the people group with which the word was in use.


Frankly, for this present treatise, it is not very important WHO the ancestors of the "Latins" and/or the "Romans" were. I have studied "Roman" origins somewhat, and discuss aspects of those studies eleswhere, but I give the question a quick glance HERE only because I wish to discuss the possible ORIGINS OF THIS SINGLE WORD (carcer), the "parent" word of which may have been shared by the Germans and the Latins. And that calls for a little "detour" into the ancestry of the Latins.

Calling them "Romans" would be inaccurate, for they were not "Romans" until they eventually founded the city of Rome and dwelt therein. We are here considering this people in centuries EARLIER than that. The people we call the "Romans" inhabited "Latium," a region in central Italy. Hence they are designated "Latins" and their language is likewise called "Latin." But the "Latins" were NOT "natives" of Latium. NEITHER were they natives of Italy. They migrated TO the area we call "Latium" from "ELSEWHERE."

But scholars are divided over just where the "Latins" came FROM, and who their ancestors were. Today you will find sources defending the classic legend that the "Romans" were refugees who fled from ancient Troy. You will find the belief that the Etruscans were the ancestors of this group. However, in the field of LINGUISTICS (which is more pertinent to our present undertaking) the "Latins" are the "Italic" language branch, which in turn arose from the "Proto-Italic." Linguists generally take the "Latins" to have been Indo-European, and, in fact, that they were among the many "Celtic" tribes who emerged in the region of the upper Danube, and that in the age of migration came westward as so many other migrating bands did, and that these in particular entered Italy from the north, and descended southward eventually to "Latium" and settled there.

As for the "Etruscan input" most linguists feel simply that after the "Latins" arrived in "Latium" they began to borrow culture from the Estruscans, who for centuries invaded the shores of the Italian peninsula. This would make the "Romans" essentially "Celtic/Italic" and (only eventually) also partly Etruscan. This certainly disturbs the "pro-Etruscan" believers, and pains the "Troy refugee" party. Yours truly, the author of this treatise has no "dogma" on the matter, not even a strong "leaning." But when involved in philology or the etymologies of words, I must turn naturally to linguistics, and to scholars in that field whose expertise, frankly, is beyond my own. In so turning, and, finding those scholars of the opinion that the "Latins" came west across the continent, I "settle" with that. Or, at least I intend to raise no argument against it, right here.

Rather, I am here only seeking to draw what I can from their linguistic knowledge. Therefore I am writing what follows as though they are correct, and as though it is a "given" that the "Latins" came west in overland migration. If we want to "dissect" that belief and explore it, let us agree to do it elsewhere at some other time, and here simply see what we MIGHT be able to learn from what these men have to tell us about WORDS.

Remember, I speak now as though they are correct:

The Germanic and the Italic and the Celtic languages of course were all Indo-European. That is, they had a common ancestry. But for our purpose just here we are contemplating a time after their "divide" from the "parent" language.

Linguistic authorities tell us that the "Latin" language developed OUTSIDE of Italy, that is, in the lips of its speakers BEFORE they migrated to Italy.

The 1963 Britannica on the Latin Language says,

"Precisely whence, at what date and by what route THIS TONGUE was BROUGHT TO the banks of the Tiber is not known, although IT MAY BE CONJECTURED THAT IT CAME FROM SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE ACROSS THE ALPS AND APPENINES, and CERTAINLY BEFORE the Etruscan invasion of Italy by sea in the 8th century B.C. More exact definition cannot be given. Spoken contemporaneously with it IN Italy, about the 5th century B.C., were other more or less closely related Indo-European languages ... (including) ... Ligurian, linguistically as well as geographically intermediate between Italic and Celtic, in the northwest. ... (and) ... Indo-European Celtic, brought in by the invading Gauls, and Greek of Magna Graecia. LASTLY there was Etruscan. ... OUTSIDE Italy, the Italic group of dialects, including Latin itself and its closest congeners like Faliscan, is MOST CLOSELY LINKED TO CELTIC, and next to Greek and GERMANIC, but the historical implications of their similarities are clear only in the case of CELTIC and Italic. In this case, striking phenomena ... make it certain that the linguistic ancestors of the CELTIC and Italic-speaking peoples must have lived for a long period in close community. INSIDE Italy itself Latin was subjected to ... influence from ... Etruscan and ... Sabine. ... Greek influence became important only LATER."

Referring back to the period of influence when "the linguistic ancestors of the CELTIC and Italic-speaking peoples must have lived for a long period in close community" the article gives a couple of actual words from the CELTIC that were preserved in the Latin vocabulary from the "Celtic influence," .. "e.g., petorritum, 'four-wheeler'; gaesum, 'spear.'"

Lord says, "Like the Goths, Vandals, Franks, Burgundians, Lombards, and Heruli, the SAXONS belonged to the same Teutonic race, whose remotest origin can be traced to Central Asia, - kindred, indeed, to the early inhabitants of ITALY and Greece, whom we call Indo-European, or Aryan. ... These Saxons ... lived, before the invasion of Britain, in that part of Europe we now call Schlesvig ... these tribes - called Engle, Saxon, and Jute." (John Lord, Beacon Lights, Vol. II, pg 95).

Likewise referring to the "PRE-ITALY" phase of Latin, the 1953 Collier's Encyclopedia (under "Latin") says,

"The oldest Latin documents-to which may be added the fibula praenestina, perhaps of the sixth century B.C., in a half-Latin dialect-reveal an extremely archaic and conservative Indo-European language, which is very close to the parent 'Indo-European,' as that language is usually reconstructed. In the Praeneste fibula, for example, occur the words Manios med fefaked Numasioi, in which only the f-f of fefaked can be considered an innovation. STARTING with the fourth century B.C., however, a far-reaching revolution, in part at least under Umbrian and Greek influence, took place in the Latin language and TRANSFORMED IT ENTIRELY. BY THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA, spoken Latin had so CHANGED that it was very similar to modern Italian."

Allow me to distill the above: Latin underwent a complete transformation BETWEEN the fourth century B.C. and the first century B.C. That is when its "Greek borrowings" began. But BEFORE that CHANGE, Latin had remained "VERY CLOSE TO THE PARENT INDO-EUROPEAN" language as it was in its "PRE-ITALY" phase when the speakers of Latin were probably "across the Alps and Appenines" and when their tongue was "MOST CLOSELY LINKED TO CELTIC." And entire words from the Celtic were carried over into Latin.

In considering the phase in which the Britannica says Latin was "MOST CLOSELY LINKED TO CELTIC" it is referring of course, NOT to "Insular" Celtic (as in the British Isles, later), but to the CONTINENTAL Celtic, the language spoken by such tribes on the continent as the Keltoi and the Galatae.

There are some scholars (not myself) who have used the commonalities between ancient Latin and continental Celtic to develop a theory of them having even been at one time a single people. The Britannica (under "Celtic Languages") says "J. A. Meillot went so far as to speak of a period when an Italo-Celtic nation existed." How far the "Italo-Celtic unity" can be taken has been hotly debated and is IRRELEVENT to our point. We are only interested here in a SIMPLE matter, which is NOT contested by anyone: that there was a pre-historic stage on the continent in which LATIN AND CELTIC LANGUAGES SHARED WORDS. If others make more of the fact than yours truly does, please exempt me from the debate. I am merely showing that it is known that numerous words were common to their vocabularies. Then this people who would eventually become known as the "Latins" began to make their way over the mountains and to descend into "Italy." The Britannica (under "Celtic Languages") says of the Keltoi and the Galatae, "in Gaul and NORTHERN ITALY are inscriptions found" that were made by the CELTS. But the immediate point there in the article is that some men have used the inscriptions presumptuously to translate names of places and persons. We do not indulge in that, nor are we interested in it. We would just have you note "northern ITALY" in connection with the Celts. That is the route whereby the "Latins" entered Italy. The Britannica shows the Keltoi in "NORTHERN ITALY" (the Alps). It may be useful to envision the border of northern Italy, which it shares with Austria and Switzerland (so read very loosely "Germany" if you will). The Britannica (under "Celtic Languages") continues, "The Continental Celt found themselves NEIGHBORS of the Germanic peoples and were often confused with them by classical writers. ... it is permissible to infer that the Celts had attained a higher stage of social organization than the Germans from the existence of words like Gothic reiki and andbahts (modern German Reich) which appear to be borrowed from CELTIC rigion, 'kingdom.'" After citing such "borrowings" by the GERMANS into their language from the Celts, it says the same of the LATINS in "categories such as war (lancea 'lance') transport (carrus 'baggage wagon,' carpentum 'carriage') and agricultural products (cervesia 'beer:).' But the last stronghold of Continental Celtic fell with Caesar's conquest of Gaul (58 - 51 B.C.), where it was rapidly replaced with Latin, though it probably lingered on in remote places. J. U. Hubschmeid advanced strong arguments for believing that Alemmanic (German) directly replaced Celtic in the territory of the Helvetii. The EXTENT to which the Celtic subtratum influenced the Latin spoken in Gaul ... is a much disputed problem" (note, NOT the fact that the influence existed, but merely its EXTENT).

Allow me to reference one concise statement from "Story of the Celts" by John Patrick Parle: "History students are taught that Caesar conquered Gaul in the Gallic Wars, but it usually isn't made clear that the people he conquered there were Celts." People often construe "Gaul" with the territory of modern "France." But the Romans gave the name "Cisalpine Gaul" to the region of NORTH ITALY that lies between the Apennines and the Alps, denoting "Gaul this side (i.e. south) of the Alps" and the name "Transalpine Gaul," or "Gaul beyond (i.e. north of) the Alps" to those parts. They gave the name Galli (or Gauls) to the CELTS who occupied THAT region. These Celts originally came from the Upper Danube, moved westwards across Europe in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. and passed into north Italy around 400 B.C. Their savage bands terrorized the whole region and in 390 B.C. even captured Rome.

I would have you ponder a bit "Latin" as it existed in the three centuries between its "rise" on the continent, east of Italy, and during its migration toward Italy, and even in its descent into Italy, even up to its arrival in Latium. This early stage was a "Celtic-associated" background (which is an understatement). Tradition places the founding of the city of Rome by Romulus and Remus in 753 B. C. If we were to only consider (arbitrarily) a mere three centuries before that as a "marker" for starting the Latin language's long march to Italy, we'd be at around 1,000 B.C. So I'd have you ponder the period roughly between say 1000 BC down to 700 BC. That is where the eventual "Latins" may be seen in their ancient Indo-European context, and in association with Celts and Germans.

Next we must move forward to when they occupied Latium in Italy, and when they are what we think of as "Romans." But in the first century or so of "Rome" they were heavily influenced by (and some would say completely shaped as a civilization by) the Etruscans. Beginning around 616 BC with the "kingship" of Tarquinius Priscus the Etruscan, and for about a hundred years, "Rome" was essentially "Etruscan." And it was then that the city we know as "Rome" began to take shape (although the city did not bear the name of "Rome" yet, but another name).

Note: In 197 B.C. following the second Macedonian War, Rome took over Macedonia's hegemony over Greece, and continued subjugating Greek city-states. And in this new era Latin culture and language started borrowing from the Greek. So, realize that the "Latin" language had perhaps a thousand years of development before it started borrowing from the Greek. And for our purposes here I would draw the focus back to the "Proto-Latin" and "Indo-European" stage of it.

It may help the reader looking at "Italy" on a present day map, to see its entire northern border region, touching "France" and "Switzerland" and "Austria" as having once been "CELTIC." That entire northern crown of Italy may be considered both "CELTIC" and at the same time may be seen as the frontier with "GERMANY." Not only do we need to think "CELTS" when we read "Gaul" but remember the Britannica above saying "The Continental Celts found themselves NEIGHBORS of the Germanic peoples and were often confused with them by classical writers." Actually "neighbors" is a monumental understatement and can set a person up for misconceptions. Take look at a map of present day "Germany." Well, the Celts lived in the very heart of it, east of the Rhine, for centuries. The very CENTER of "Germany" was Celtic.

My POINT however is that if we are seeking a "LINGUISTIC MELIEU" or "philological incubator" in which Indo-European WORDS were "hatched" and "SHARED" by CELTS, GERMANS and LATINS then there is perhaps no more likely a region than Italy's Celtic "borderland" with "Germany." It may have been from HERE (in that "borderland") that Germans got their word Reich from the Celts, and the Latins their word for beer, etc., as we learned above, that they did.

Many words of course have a greater antiquity than words that might have been born in such a time and place as that. The actual "origin" of a word like "father" is lost in the mists of antiquity. In Proto-Germanic it was "fader", in German "vater," in Old English "faeder," in Old Irish (Celtic) athir (pronounced "ah-her), in Old Norse "fadir." In Indo-European it was "pater" as survived in Latin and Greek.

Our point is that while we might speculate that a certain word went in three directions FROM the "Alps" (into Celtic, Latin and German), that is not to say that it did not come TO the Alps more anciently, that is, from Indo-European. To put it differently, one single ancient Indo-European word (with its original meaning of course) may have been carried from the Alps by three different people groups.

We have much more to say in that regard, farther on.

As stated, the SPECIFIC WORD we are interested in at present is the word "CARCER."


In a quick "look-up" of the word one is likely to just see it claimed or asserted by some that "carcer is the Latin word for prison." It is true that there a came a time in history when the word carcer began to be used to denote a prison in the Romantic languages. Indeed our word "incarcerated" derived from that usage. But it is a mistake to only say that "carcer is the Latin word for prison." It is absolutely true that some of the Romantic languages (French, et al) took over "carcer" from the Latin, and that they applied it to what we now call "prisons." Make no mistake. You can find countless reference materials essentially saying "carcer = prison." But you need to realize that this is only telling you what the word eventually CAME TO MEAN, how it eventually came to be USED. It is NOT (as one could hastily assume) referring back to the "origins" of the word and saying that the ANCIENT Latin word for prisons was "carcers." If a source suggests that, reject it, for that is simply not the case. Bear with me here a bit as I (awkwardly) set up some framework for understanding this: Once upon a time, men designed and unveiled to the world the very first "monorail," an ultra fast train, suspended above the earth on a type of a bridge, that sits astride one steel rail instead of a double "track." If you refer back to say 500 years before the first "monorail," it would be nonsensical to ask, "In 1400 AD, what was the Russian word for a monorail speed train?" There simply was no word for that. The monorail would have to wait for the era of its conception and invention before a "regular" name could be affixed to it. Again I ask you to bear with me: We are faced with the same thing with "cellphones" or "laser beams" or "tazers." There was a time when those things did not exist in our society, and hence there were not regular words in our vocabulary for them. Once upon a time society got their first "hot air balloons," before which time they had no use for terms like "blimps, air ships, or derigibles." Today we know what a "Guillotine" is. It chops off heads. But, until it was introduced, of course there was no name for the thing. It didn't exist. Going farther back into antiquity, naturally the same thing was true in every society at the time of the first invention or implementation of a thing. There was the first "catapult" known to a society, and I could go on. Well it just so happens that CARCER was one of those "FIRSTS" that did not have a name, for it did not have an existence. The ancient Romans DID NOT USE, AND DID NOT HAVE PRISONS. Like the ancient Greeks, the Romans were prone to implement the death penalty, even for slight offenses. The notion of providing criminals with special buildings, wherein they would be given three square meals a day and be supported by the state for years, was unthinkable. Summary execution was the norm, perhaps swift and brutal beatings for lesser offenses, and perhaps banishment from the land. But never "housing for criminals." Feel free to research it to see if what I am saying here is true, and you will find that it is. The Romans had never had a "prison" before and hence didn't have a common WORD for one in their society.

In short, this word "carcer" existed in their vocabulary BEFORE they had "prisons" or even such a concept. And so it was not the word for that.

What then was it?

This word we are discussing, "carcer," was applied to a "thing" at Rome that was actually a spring that people drew water from. There was a natural spring running through the underground rock layer, and the running water could be seen from a few feet above it.

Note: When we say "Rome" here, and the "Romans," we are actually discussing "PRE-Rome." We are discussing the location or site that the "Romans" eventually took over and occupied, and which the city of "Rome" eventually covered. But the "thing" associated with the word "carcer" in that location had a more ancient, a "PRE-Roman" existence.

Below, we explain at some length why we believe this natural spring may have been called "carcer" by the ancient inhabitants of the place, long before the spring was turned into an enclosure.

Eventually the "pre-Romans" simply enlarged the hole so they could more easily get down to and draw water from it. That made somewhat of a "pit" in the ground. The next move, was, in order to preserve one of the town "wells" in times of possible attack, they hewed heavy stone slabs and stacked them over the pit in a vaulted formation, in order to make it easier to seal it shut when necessary. The result of narrowing it at the top was a sort of small "chamber" under the stone slabs. And at the lowest part of this chamber was a hole with the natural spring running through it.

Let's review a couple of things:



Before "Rome" came to be built, there "it" was, a natural spring of water issuing out of the northeast base of the Capitoline Hill. This "thing" or this "spot" that men eventually came to call by the word "carcer" was simply a natural spring.

The site was anciently occupied by groups other than the Romans (for instance the Sabines). When the settlement we call "Rome" later took over these fabled hills, its neighborhoods eventually took in this spot, and this spring of course came to be a handy water source for the Romans.

How anciently was it called by the word "carcer?" It is difficult to ascertain positively what the word "carcer" ORIGINALLY meant. I have shown (in other parts of the Ekklesia treatise) why I believe this spring was anciently an important LANDMARK which served as the BOUNDARY LINE MARKER of a sacred area. While it is possible that the word "carcer" was not attached to this spring that early on, it would be reckless not to admit that it MAY have been. We know the meanings it later PICKED UP over centuries. That is, we know what it eventually CAME TO MEAN to people. But what did it mean ORIGINALLY? Today we commonly call a certain type of armored military vehicle a "tank," and it never crosses our minds that "tank" once upon a time only meant a "water container." That is what people do with words. They apply them to new things, and then the new meaning is eventually taken to be the "definition" or "meaning" of the word! We commonly call a small lake a "pond," never suspecting that this word once had the same "ancestor" as the term "pound" which refers to the place animals are kept confined, the one usage envisioning animals being penned up, while the "water" usage envisioned water being DAMMED UP or contained, in the same way. Both pond and pound literally meant an ENCLOSURE. But most people will go all their lives hearing about dogs and cats down at "the pound" and will never dream they are saying the same thing when they talk about diving into a "pond" to swim. In EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, "carcer" may have had a meaning associated with this particular spot back then, when it was a natural spring. I have suggested why I think that it did. I believe the spring was considered a corner boundary marker, most anciently of the Area of Saturn, and the spring may even have been a Sacred Spring, that is, sacred to the god Saturn. Elsewhere I treat of other various deities or spirits or even symbolic religious "meanings" that the spring may have been sacred to, but for simplicity's sake, here, let the corner boundary of the Area of Saturn suffice to give the idea.

The carcer as a "RELIGIOUS RITUAL" site:

An interesting comment occurs in the (expensive to obtain) 2001 treatise the Age of Ancient Monuments by Means of Building Stone Provenance by authors Karner, Lombardi, Marra, Fortini and Renne. The authors state that a certain analysis of the carcer "suggests a UNIQUE HISTORY for this building, perhaps tied to ANCIENT RELIGIOUS RITUALS." Scholars in the past (whom we have cited above, and elsewhere) had already concluded that the carcer was indeed a religious ritual site, or that, at the least, the word "carcer" originally referred to such a thing, that is, a boundaried religious enclosure, and I have said likewise in this treatise, for additional reasons besides theirs. But the Age of Ancient Monuments authors were brought to this point by an entirely different route. I (yours truly) have not studied the entire Age of Ancient Monuments treatise, but merely extracts of it and some quotes out of it. But it appears in any case that only one brief comment in it touches on this "RELIGIOUS" suggestion, and so I was not inclined to purchase the whole written work, being sold by an institute in France. The study is in general a scientific treatise on dating the age of stone used in ancient monuments. From what I could ascertain from the exerpts, the several authors have theories differing one from another on the age of the stone used in the construction of the carcer. One thinks it younger than do all the others. The exerpts however make it plain that even the "younger" age could be as old as 400 BC. The other authors appear to hold to the view of most authorities that it is centuries older. But apparently it was one or another of the aspects of the age of the carcer's stones that "suggests a UNIQUE HISTORY for this building, perhaps tied to ANCIENT RELIGIOUS RITUALS." What those reasons were was not explained in the exerpted parts that I read. A hint in the text suggests to me that it may have something to do with where different kinds of stone were believed quarried from for religious ritual structures. But a different member of their number seems to focus on the fact that the carcer was additionally a spring, a well, a cistern, and the excerpt said "This (younger) age conflicts with the architectural style of the Tullianum, which matches that of ancient cisterns, believed to date to the 7th or 6th centuries BC." They seem to leave the matter in the status of an unsettled "puzzle" (at least to their team). For reference sake, again, this is Age of Ancient Monuments by Means of Building Stone Provenance: a Case Study of the Tullianum, Rome, Italy 2001. The contributing authors were Daniel B. Karner, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, CA., Leonardo Lombardi, Fabrizio Marra, Istituto nazionale di Geofisica, Rome, Italy, Patrizia Fortini, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, Rome, Italy, and Paul Renne, Berkeley Geochronology Center, and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley, CA, and the article is available for purchase through the Institut de l' Information Scientifique et Technique - www.inist.fr - . I would comment on the line above that refers to "the architectural style of the Tullianum, which matches that of ancient cisterns": If that is true, I assume that the writer means cisterns in other places in the Mediterranean world besides Rome, because all authorites that I know of state unequivocally that the carcer is among the three oldest structures in Rome, and is quite possibly THE oldest, and, of the other one or two structures possibly as old, neither is a cistern or anything like one. Frankly however, the only "use" I have for their study (Age of Ancient Monuments) is this one single isolated quote from it, that analysis "suggests a UNIQUE HISTORY for this building, perhaps tied to ANCIENT RELIGIOUS RITUALS." It has been said already by others, and I strongly think it myself, and I just thought I'd add this 2001 comment to the chorus of voices saying likewise. And beside their suggestion that the carcer was for "religious rituals" I appreciate their correct recognition that the carcer had a "UNIQUE HISTORY," that is, "unique" from the rest of the nearby structures in vicinity of the Roman Forum, and, "unique" from the rest of Rome. It is older by far, and "different" in every respect. It has a "unique history" indeed. And recognizing that can help the reader appreciate our giving so much attention to it, and to the word it is called by (carcer).

And, again, the carcer spring was the corner boundary marker of the Roman Forum. Saturn was anciently a BOUNDARY god and I think this spring was his boundary marker as it were. I have shown my reader associations between the word "carcer" and "boundary" meanings. Also, we have seen that the word "carcer" is associated with meanings such as "enclosure." There is no escaping the fact that the carcer well at Rome was BOTH an "enclosure" AND situated on a BOUNDARY or, the "LIMITS" of an important area (actually two overlapping areas). Not only was the WELL ITSELF later remodeled INTO an enclosure, but, the AREAS THEMSELVES (the Forum and the Area of Saturn) may be considered "enclosures." A man might have spoken of the "Forum enclosure" with the SPRING as its boundary marker, and just as easily the Area of Saturn may have been referred to as "Saturn"s Enclosure" (especially when one considers Saturn being a god of BOUNDARIES). In Rome Explorations: The Early Christian Rome Walking Tour, Alan Zeleznikar, states concerning the word "carcer" "The Latin word, apparently derived from Etruscan, originally meant AN ENCLOSED SPACE or pen." - Page 42, in the section titled "The Mamertine Prison, Rome Explorations: The Early Christian Rome Walking Tour, by Alan Zeleznikar, 2005, Trafford Publishing, UK, Ireland, Canada & USA. I have given sources elsewhere that tell us the rectangular-shaped sacred "Area of Saturn" had a LATTICE-LIKE RAIL FENCE AROUND ITS PERIMETER (like a "pen"), marking its sacred boundary. And I have shown in some detail that the CARCER SPRING was ON that line, marking the north-west corner of it. A person stepping past the carcer spring was SIMULTANEOUSLY stepping into the Saturn ENCLOSURE. By understanding that the water spring marked the BORDER or BOUNDARY of an ENCLOSURE, it is easier to understand why "IT" became associated with an "ENCLOSED SPACE" long before "IT" (itself) was actually remodeled INTO an "enclosure." It was once the primary marker OF an enclosure, and then eventually BECAME one.

But returning to the evolution of the structure itself, two (2) different practices resulted in water wells at Rome being stone enclosures: One was the fact that when the ancients quarried stone, they quite often used the deep empty chamber that was left as a water cistern. The other was the simple fact that when a spring or a well was receiving regular use, they would dig steps down to it to make access more convenient and clean, or, would set paving stones in place around it, for the same purpose.

That was the next stage in the development or EVOLUTION of the carcer. They dug down around it, and set stonework in place, making it a more easily accessible community well.

This is discussed at more length in the section already mentioned, but in times of war when settlements came under attack from without, it was of vital importance to secure their water supplies against capture or poisoning. In a time of siege, if a fortress city has a fresh water supply within its walls, it makes all the difference. Placing large stone slabs over a well that is sunk in the ground can have the double benefit of (1) concealing it from the enemy, and (2), making it difficult for an enemy in a quick raid to get at the well to harm it. Those kinds of precautions were taken for THIS well, the carcer. It was remodeled and given strong stone walls that could support large slabs being drawn over it for protection. Theodor Mommsen refers to this water spring as "the stronghold-spring, the carefully enclosed "well-house" (-tullianum-)." The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen, Book I Chapter 7 Section 7 titled "Enlargement of the City Of Rome -- Servian Wall." It should be observed that Mommsen consistently in his works refers to the carcer as "the stronghold-spring" and "the well-house" as at Book I Chapter 15 Section 13 in the section titled "Earliest Hellenic Influence" in The History of Rome. Mommsen has more to contribute on this, below in this treatise.

Archaeological studies of this spot and the surrounding geology (rock) and the strata of man-made layers on top of the rock layer, showed that the first or oldest large stones that were set in to surround the well itself were only stacked up to the level of the natural "bedrock" surrounding the pit. That is, they built a wall about four or five feet high. This means that if a man were five or six feet tall and were standing in the pit right next to the waterhole, his head would be above the stone wall. It seems obvious that the large stones of the wall were not originally intended to be for a "room" for people to stand in. But it makes perfect sense that these huge stone walls be used to support great flat stone slabs drawn across the well to close it. That is, a "lid." The fact will be discussed in a moment, that much LATER, in yet ANOTHER remodel, that changed: The ground around the well was built up higher, and the old well chamber got its ceiling heightened. But at THIS stage, the wall of huge stones surrounding the well reached only as high as the NATURAL GROUND LEVEL. Let's call it "shoulder height."

One of the most important things to know about the architecture of the carcer is that its oldest and lowest walls are MYCENAEAN ARCHITECTURE! That is, they were built in the Mycenaean MANNER. I am no more than an amateur, but I have spent some time attempting to DATE this "Mycenaean style" carcer stonework. I do not have it settled, but I will give my reader some food for thought, so that you may at least grasp the "antiquity" of it: Below is a photo of nearly identical Mycenaean style stonework, suggesting possibly the same period. This picture displays only a small section of an enormous tholos tomb at Mycenae, Greece, the section selected and cropped because it has the stonework most pertinent to us, and, because the entire structure, after centuries of overgrowth, looks like a grassy hill. None of the stonework is visible other than the entrance, and here we have a crop of the part of the entrance that most interests us.

Archaeologists call this tholos tomb a "Bronze Age" structure. Now, the "Bronze Age" when considered globally and taking in all people groups, was roughly 3300 BC - 2500 BC. But the dates fluctuate when studying any given culture's own "Bronze Age" or when that people engaged in metalworking. Thus the "Bronze Age" of China will differ from the "Bronze Age" of Greece, etc. But we might track it a bit closer in that here we have only to consider those Mediterranean cultures that used the Mycenaean style architecture. And logic concerning our topic narrows it down to to the world that spanned from Italy to Greece, and of course the islands. It needs to be noted that this "Mycenaean style" existed with the Mycenaeans BEFORE they are officially noted as a large and flourishing "civilization, and, continued to be implemented, AFTER that cultural "heyday." But for another reference, the official "Mycenaean period" was from about 1450-1200 BC. The middle of that is 1325 BC. This is really unscientific, but observe: The middle of the "global" Bronze Age is 2900 BC. Midway between that and the official "Mycenaean period" would be 2113 BC. Now I admitted this is unscientific. Some scholars have guessed that the tholos tomb in these pictures was constructed between 1350 BC to 1250 BC. My "unscientific" leaning, using the general "Bronze Age" and "Mycenaean period" is that we should lean toward the earliest of those. In otherwords, their "1350 BC." There are other and better reasons for an earlier date than my unscientific speculation. Other examples of Mycenaean architecture, for one, but I was unable to compile graphics with corresponding dates, so I let it go. But further, the opinions of other historians move me. In example, in his excellent book Ancient Greece by Thomas R. Martin, page 19, Martin says the earliest period of this kind of tholos tomb construction "was from 1500 BC - 1450 BC." I am the most comfortable with his "1500 BC" but I would at least urge a compromise between his "1500 BC" and the "1350 BC" of the others. So, can we say 1425 BC is a possibility for the construction of the foundation walls of the carcer? Now, just for perspective, consider: As stated, tradition places the founding of "Rome" at around 750 BC, roughly 675 years AFTER that! And, 800 years before "Romulus" if we go with my preferred 1500 BC! Now I said "just for perspective" because I do not mean to say we must positively exclude "Romans" as the builders of these walls, but it DOES mean that if anyone wishes to associate the building of these walls with broadly an "early Roman period" it can only be with their VERY EARLIEST presence here. Historians, topographers and archaeologists alike are unanimous in dating the carcer walls as among the very earliest of structures at what can be called the site of "Rome." But, as discussed elsewhere, the SABINES held this location before the Romans did (and had a fort at the site), and yet others held it before the Sabines. Whichever group built the oldest stonework around the carcer spring, they built it while the Mycenaean building method was in use. That (Mycenaean) method under discussion is called "corbel vaulting." Centuries before the development of the Roman arch, and even before they began to set stones with mortar, the Mycenaeans used this "corbel vaulting" method, of basically "stacking" huge stones, one atop the other, without mortar.

This is a photo of the interior of the roof of the Mycaenian tomb shown above. It exhibits how in the Mycaenian style, a conical roof is achieved by the stacking of stones. Farther down on this page you will see the conical roof of the carcer indicated in the diagram by a dotted line marked G. To keep the well safe and viable, they gave it a "vaulted" support ceiling. They laid layers of slabs of stone upon the older "base" wall of large stones. Each new slab layer projected inward farther than, or overlapped, the slabs just beneath it. In this way, as the ascending layers were added, a "vault" effect was achieved, narrowing toward the center point at the top. Only, for the carcer spring, a hole was presumably left at the very top, so that workers, slaves, servants, etc., could still be lowered in to the well, either for servicing it, or, in times of war, actively using it for a water supply. We might even speculate that a ladder might have been permanently kept in it, so that people could get in and out of it to fetch water without assistance. It is possible however, that in that early stage of its development a doorway existed at the front of it for access, much as depicted by the Mycaenian tomb entrance above. Whatever means of entrance they used, that part of the structure was demolished in the NEXT huge remodel.

Our natural spring on the Capitoline Hill was located on what (fatefully) became "prime real estate." It is PRECISELY ON THE BORDER of what eventually became the Roman Forum, the great "mall" at Rome. When the Mycenaean, or the Etruscans, or the Sabines or even the later Romans needed to develop on hillsides, they simply built terrace walls on the downward side, and filled in hillward. When they did this at this location, adding "landfill" and then topping it with a stone plaza, the "ground level" around the well was raised to far more than twice its original height (about 60% higher). In other words, what above here we called "shoulder height" of the pit, or original ground level, was about five feet above where the water comes out from the ground, at the bottom of the pit. The new surrounding landfill and plaza stones in this next remodel raised the ground about an additional seven feet.


Try to keep joined the issue of what period is discussed, as well as who occupied the site. Anciently, we do not know who to say were the "aborigines" of the place, as historians sometimes call them, the earliest or "indigenous" occupants. Numerous tribes and people groups held this site before the eventual "Latins" or "Romans" came and took over. But when the eventual city of "Rome" grew up, and swallowed up this neighborhood, the city developed numerous wells, cisterns, pools, baths, aquaducts, and systems for water delivery all over the city, not to mention that they felt MORE SECURE militarily. Thus the old highly secured (and difficult to access) well called the "carcer" apparently fell into relative disuse. That is, it fell into disuse as either a "well" and/or a "religious ritual" site.


This bears constant repetition: Rome had no jail. There was no such thing as a "prison" in Rome. Swift execution was the norm.


Eventually someone had that brainstorm. Perhaps some man had been nabbed by an angry mob and they wanted to put him to death. But they had to wait for some official to arrive who was out of town, before they could legally kill him. They needed to hold him for a couple of days until his trial. Suddenly someone yells from out in the crowd, "LET"S PUT HIM DOWN INSIDE THE OLD CARCER WELL OVER THERE!"

And so they DID.

This thing we call "precedence" always has to have a BEGINNING. After having once used the old carcer to keep a criminal contained, it sprang to mind as a solution again, and then again, in future situations. However, I have not found a source that confirms whether or not the old carcer well got used as a "holding tank" for criminals even once BEFORE its next remodel, or only AFTER it. The scenario I just gave paints a picture of them tossing a man into it BEFORE it was chosen to be used "normally" as a holding cell. But I don't know. That scanario might not have happened actually until AFTER the NEXT REMODEL, of which we must now speak:

There is disagreement about what king of Rome performed the NEXT remodel, and when. However, the remodel was performed ABOVE and UPON the earlier carcer well. And, it is known that the new upper addition was built by the time of the Republic. The architecture itself however has a great deal more to say: The walls of the lower chamber we have been discussing up to this point, as stated, were built in the ancient style of the Mycenaeans. And the slabs that were laid upon that base to rise into a "dome" shape or "vaulted ceiling" were themselves subsequently added, albeit likewise BEFORE the period when the Romans built "arches" and "arched" ceilings and used mortar between stones. The next remodel however, added on top of all of that, was plainly in the Roman "arch and mortar" period, and, as we have said, by the start of the Republic (I leave it to fans of culture studies to narrow down the time-window).

But whenever it ocurred, a "second story" or an "upper chamber" was built directly OVER the old carcer well. And, the new "upper story" project MAY have been purposely intended to serve as a JAIL. The upper portions, being of the Republican period, are in the same period when the first references to the place in the sense of a place of confinement appear. However, being thus built ABOVE the old carcer well chamber, this resulted in the new "jail chamber" having below it a very OLD "basement" level. See the diagram directly below.

The Romans made full use of the resulting architecture: The NEW upper facility was dubbed what we would call the "jail" or the "prison," while the ANCIENT "carcer," the water well chamber directly under it, was thought of as a miserable pitch black "pit," a hideous dank, dark hole in the floor of the "jail," a "lower level" in every sense of the word, a pit into which the damned were cast to die, or, most probably, to languish until being pulled out simply to be executed. In other words, much like our modern prisons having the "regular" prison area for "lifers," and a "worse" area for those sentenced to die, known as "death row," the Romans now had a "two-tier" penal facility, with an upper and a lower chamber. And by the common reference to the PLACE, (metynomy), the entire "JAIL" now took on the name of "the carcer." The old "well house," the "carcer," was now the name applied to the whole jail. Or, if "carcer" was even the term for the original natural water spring, still, now, the whole "jail" structure took on (or kept) the name "carcer."

What "carcer" anciently meant is probably forever lost, although I hope that this present book might contribute in some small way toward recovering it. As soon as they began "jailing" the condemned at the place commonly known as the old "carcer" the word "carcer" started to BECOME synonymous with the "jail." Way back when the first person yelled, "Put him down into the old carcer well," it (carcer) had, till then, meant a certain thing. But as soon as the "old carcer well chamber" was "remodeled" into a "jail," the "carcer" was now thought of as a "jail."

The diagrammed structures depicted below were all BELOW GROUND (or below "plaza level") after the remodel we have just discussed. Yet ANOTHER six or so feet of height in LANDFILL and plaza have been added. The first "chamber" was about 5 feet in height. next, the "slab dome" addition to it (shown with a dotted line marked as G ) raised the ceiling to about 12 feet above the "water hole" in the floor. Thirdly, the "Roman arch" styled chamber above this is at least another 6 feet, with the latest plaza being at that level. Now the plaza where people walk overhead is between 18-20 feet above the original water hole, the natural spring.

The graphic is from Ancient Rome in 1885 by J. Henry Middleton, page 79. Please note that when the new chamber was built on top of the old, they dug down and into the level of the highest remaining large "Mycenaean style" wall stones (shown in black) to utilize that level as a supporting "foundation" for the new upper work. The "slab dome" architecture above that point was removed, and is represented in Middleton"s diagram by the dome-shaped dotted line marked as G. This is further demonstration of the fact that the lower "Mycenaean style" stonework of the old structure was more substantial and durable, being capeable of providing a solid "FOUNDATION" for an upper "story." Thus was made the "two-story" jail facility. It bears repeating that you should especially note the upper "Roman mortared arch" architecture in contrast with the older ancient "Mycenaean style" stonework.

Let me reiterate; and follow with me carefully: This "thing" was a community "water well," a spring. It had nothing to do with a "prison." We must naturally assume that, since it was a known spot, and, important enough to protect, and, since heavy hewn stone construction was being performed on it, it was certainly REFERRED TO. It was certainly SPOKEN ABOUT in conversations. It had to be CALLED something.

Everyone who looks into the matter of the "carcer" will immediately encounter (even in this very work) references to it as the "Mamertine Prison" and references to the lower (dungeon-like) chamber of the place often called the "TULLIANUM." So I should say something regarding that word, before going farther:

Many early attempts to explain the name “tullianum” led to theories that it may have been derived from one or another early Roman king, such as Tullus Hostilius or Servius Tullius. Those theories were eventually discarded. In example, Middleton (who we partially cited already above) insisted that that is a “mistake” and called the theorists flat out “wrong.” He states of the "tullianum" that, rather, “It’s name is derived from an archaic word tullius, meaning a jet of water” (referring to the natural spring the entire structure was built over); page 80, Ancient Rome in 1888 by John Henry Middleton. So also Festus: Sextus Pompeius Festus (cited by etymologists of Latin usually simply as “Festus”) was a Latin grammarian and, importantly for us here, an etymologist of Latin words. He wrote a Latin lexicon of the Roman imperial period known as De Verborum Significationibus (“On the Meaning of Words”). He is cited as an authority by many, and quoted as stating that the Old Latin tullii, tullius, etc, meant a gushing spring. More precisely perhaps would be “spurting forth.” Middleton approximates Festus in giving us “a jet of water” as the translation. Festus applied the word not only to water “spouting forth” but to blood “spurting out” when a vein is cut. But primarily it meant a spring. Other scholars of Roman antiquity, such as Peck, concur with all of the above: “It is NOW AGREED that it is from THE TULLII, OR SPRINGS for whose waters it formed a reservoir; that it was built in the first instance simply TO PROTECT THE WATER SUPPLY OF THE CAPITOL; and was only in LATER times used as a part of the prison. ... The NAME THEREFORE ORIGINALLY MEANT 'WELLHOUSE'" (page 278, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, Harry Thurston Peck, 1898).

Was the word "CARCER" ALSO used to speak of this "water hole" at that early stage? We do not know. I have researched it. It becomes complex, because in LATER generations, as just stated above, different PARTS of this "thing" got named. We simply do not know what this "water pit" was called FIRST, nor SECOND, nor, "other." Was it called SEVERAL different things? Was "carcer" in use for it, while it was only a community well? I simply cannot tell you.

But a simple principle might help explain my personal "leaning": Simply, "keep oldest before newest" Keep the chronology in mind. Certainly the natural "spring" existed anciently before any manmade structure was added to it. And the best authorities all agree that this spring was very important to the inhabitants of the place. And as already stated, scholars theorize that the spring was the site of "religious ritual." That is, that it was a "sacred spring," with religious significance to the inhabitants. I simply suggest that logically it had to be CALLED something, at that stage (before any stonework was done). Only SECONDARILY (when stonework was eventually done around it) could it be considered a "WELLHOUSE," the translation that you just read above that Harry Thurston Peck gave to "tullianum," or spring-house.

What, after all, is a "housing" but an ENCLOSURE? All through this treatise we speak of the "carcer" as either, itself, a "sacred enclosure" or as indicating the boundary OF a sacred enclosure, marking the perimeter of a sacred space. Just above, we heard from Middleton that "tullius" was "an archaic word" denoting a spring or "jet of water."

- January 2013, a portion of text here is out for editing. -

However, it IS known that for many long years this particular spring or "well" was considered strategic to the town or fort's defence. It is mentioned in histories as having been specifically targeted for attack when Rome was assaulted. As just mentioned above, they built fortifying stone slabs over it, to protect it, possibly even to conceal it. It is difficult to know just precisely how they sealed it at the top. The layers of stone slabs were put over the chamber in such a way that each layer stacked on top made the opening more narrow than did the slabs immediately beneath. In other words, the opening was made to narrow as it went up. But I do not know how the final opening at the top was sealed. Did they, to defend the well, place one final stone over it during times of attack? Was that presumed stone protective due to its weight? Or, did it "hide" the well by creating the appearance of ordinary stonework, with the "secret" stone being just one among many so that raiders would not notice it? I don't know. But, it has crossed my mind that, since it is known that it was an important water source deemed vital to the town's defence, MIGHT it not have received "carcer" as an appellation because it was "out of BOUNDS" or "off LIMITS?" Perhaps preserved for emergencies, and accessible to "authorized personnel" only? Since we do know so many ways in which carcer and carceres denote "bounds, boundaries, borders, limits, and lines of demarcation," might it not in an early time have been the "off limits" well, at least in times of "military tension?" If the fort was expecting an assault, and was on guard against spies sneaking in to poison or destroy the well, they certainly may have made access to it "FORBIDDEN" or "out of BOUNDS" or "off LIMITS" during their "yellow alert." They could slide the "closure" stone over, and set a soldier on guard, and tell anyone approaching, that it was, until further notice, "carcer," or "off LIMITS."

Admittedly, what we don't know, we don't know. But, we do know THIS: At some point, the day eventually came that the Romans decided to PUT someone down inside IT, for the first time. In my mind, I speculate that they were using the word "carcer" for this particular water pit at the time, no matter what that word meant, and, someone came up with the brilliant idea, "Put the guy down into the CARCER! He can't climb out of THERE!" And they did.

It was at THAT POINT that this "thing," the "carcer," got USED for the very first time, as a hole they could keep someone confined in until they got everyone rallied to watch his execution. It is generally believed by historians that the offender was going to be executed, because, again, the Romans had NO such thing as an "imprisonment" system or practice. They simply hit upon the idea that they knew of a nearby pit where they could keep a lid on the offender until it was time to haul him out and kill him. Perhaps they had to wait for some official to return to Rome to approve the execution, and they just needed to confine the criminal until his arrival. In any case, historians are unanimous in affirming that the Romans had NO prison at this time, neither the practice OF imprisonment. But, someone's brainstorm was, "Put him down into the carcer!", that is, that particular well.

If you follow what I am saying, there was no PRECEDENT. The Romans had no prison, and so naturally there was no word for a "Roman" prison. But, for whatever it meant, the word "carcer" WAS associated with this particular water pit.

"To the CARCER with him!" Or maybe it was something like "carcer him in the well!" or "Let's pronounce 'carcer' upon him, and, confine him down in the water pit!"

But it would be an ERROR to think that "carcer" by "dictionary definition" was "Latin for Roman prisons," for no such things EXISTED in their culture. It requires a different understanding: "Carcer" was not the word for "Roman" prisons or "prisons in Rome." Rather, AFTER they started putting men down into the town water hole that they associated with the word "CARCER" they began thinking of "carcer-izing" men (if I can use poetic license). By saying "To the CARCER with him!" or "Carcerate him!" the WORD for this particular water pit came to be used for "inCARCERating" people. InCARCERation.

So, simply "prison" is a wholly inadequate definition or translation of this word. Only AFTER that PROCESS, only AFTER this ONE particular water hole began being used to "contain" or "enclose" or "separate" people till their execution, did "carcer" begin to be thought of that way. Furthermore, after the Romans eventually DID get around to adopting imprisonment as a punishment, and, to the building of prisons, OTHER words were used for those facilities, and NOT "carcer!" "Carcer," in ancient Rome, had NO other identity or definition to the Romans than that one specific water pit! They did not refer to OTHER "jails" as "carcers"! There was only ONE place called the Carcer. Other prisons had THEIR OWN names, and had THEIR OWN words for denoting them. "Carcer" strictly and ONLY applied to that one specific water hole or water pit "facility."

Why then do other European languages have words, based on the Latin "carcer" that refer to "prison?" Simply because the water pit called "carcer" did eventually become Rome's FIRST and MOST FAMOUS (or rather infamous) place of confinement. Being as it was the FIRST such "confinement place" it was, by necessity, the ONLY one, for a time. Ponder it a moment. THAT fact gives birth to the new definition, "prison." Since the ONLY place of imprisonment that Rome had, went by the name of carcer, then carcer becomes known as THE prison at Rome. And the fame of it spread. That hole was an awful place. Historians say it stank, and was pitch black, a nightmarish pit to be thrown down into. And so the fame of that pit went abroad. It was an awful thought indeed, to imagine being put in the "carcer" at Rome. And so Rome's first "death row holding cell" that carried the word "carcer" from its town water hole days, became symbolic of a dark prison pit in general. That is why sources will ignorantly say that "carcer" is Latin for a "prison." No it is not, and never was. As distinctly as "the Bastille" was a famous imprisonment place in Paris, so was the one and only "carcer" in Rome. So, when non-Roman Europeans whose cultures DID have prisons, sought for a Latin word to say "prison" with, they naturally implemented the famed "carcer." But "Bastille" is NOT "French for prison." It is the name of only one facility. There used to be, in California, in the San Francisco Bay, the famous prison island, Alcatraz. But "alcatraz" as a word certainly does not mean prison. Like "carcer" at Rome it was only the name of one specific place. Actually the word "alcatraz" is the Spanish word for a pelican. My point is that saying "carcer is Latin for prison" is as wrong as saying "Alcatraz is English for prison" or "Spanish for prison" simply because that one place bore that name. True, in later times Romantic languages styled their prisons "carcers," but only because that one famous "pit" in Rome had worn that label. Metynomy and misnomer are what passed the word into the Romantic languages.

Furthermore, the process of METYNOMY itself transformed the original "carcer" into "the prison" in the language of the Romans THEMSELVES, but only in PROCESS OF TIME. A word eventually comes to "mean" what it is most frequently USED for, and its original meaning fades away. It is a sad fact, but much of language is deformed and destroyed by metynomy. Witness our day, living in the electric (and now digital) age, and our MEDIA-drenched society. Metynomy can now wreak havoc on language almost overnight. Teenagers might call a new video game "wicked cool!" Alright, but in time the word "wicked" will have its meaning watered down. "Cool" of course does not denote low temperature to the speaker. Words lose official definition. The new game can be called "hot" as easily as "cool" and no one minds. Once upon a time a communist revolutionary might have been called a "radical," and decent people knew that an unhealthy and undesireable worldview was intended. But now a new generation of young people may say, "Radical, dude!" when they see some skilled moves on a skateboard. "Radical" now becomes a compliment. "Awesome" has all but been destroyed. Once upon a time, our God, the Almighty, had "awe" and "awesomeness" ascribed to Him, and it clearly and plainly denoted how rightly His Majesty and Omnipotence and Glory inspired reverence and even dread. Only such things as powerful thunderstorms that shook the earth beneath our feet were called an "awesome" display of power. Now, a teen's favorite cola is "awesome" or his favorite band, and "awesome" is reduced to nothing more than another slang word like "cool." Thus, if young people attend religious services and someone refers to "our awesome God," there are youths whose minds will not think of Him being high and lifted up on His throne of glory, where six-winged seraphim cry "Holy! Holy! Holy!" and the temple fills with smoke and thunders. No, they will think they have just heard someone say "God's cool. He's an awesome guy." A speaker with a large American audience today will probably not want to say that the celebrants at a happy occasion were "gay" (by which he intends to say their spirits were joyful and carefree). How many cultural treasures in the way of classic poems and songs and quoteworthy passages out of books have fallen out of use because that word, meaning "happy and festive" cannot be used without it bringing a jarring disruption to the speaker's "flow." And thanks to millions of Americans using profanity, crude speech, and slang terms, passages in the King James Bible referring to a "donkey" as an "ass" are being avoided by some pulpit speakers. One needs to gauge the calibre and maturity of his audience. And so, yes, by common use, by process of metynomy, "carcer" evolved and came to be used as a "prison" word. And from its use in that sense at Rome, it passed into other European languages, German, Goth, et al. But "carcer" at Rome was one of those words that "came to MEAN" something new (prison), over time, and LOST its original meaning.

The word "prison" itself, in many languages, can come about by a variety of means: Jellies and jams are "preserved" so that they will "keep," and, a kitchen pantry is a "keep." And yet so is the prison tower in a castle a "keep." We refer to a "cell" and to a "dungeon," a "jail, a penitentiary, a reformatory," and even to "the clink." Colloquial terms for "it" range from "the big house" or "lock up," to "the slammer." "Solitary" is now the term for isolating a prisoner in "solitary confinement." Some just call it "the hole." Just take "solitary" as an example, of how a word that denotes one person being alone, as in playing a game of "solitary," is changed into a word for a "chamber" called "the hole."

And so, if "carcer" was not ORIGINALLY "Latin for a prison," then WHAT might it have meant to the ancient Romans? I have already discussed why I think one possibility is that "carcer" may have carried some sense of "out of bounds" or "off limits" for military and strategic reasons. I do suspect that the overall meaning of the original word had connotations of such things as a "line of demarcation" or a boundary. There are many ways that could be. You "separate" a criminal from the company of society by putting him away, by putting him on the other side of a LINE, by putting him "over there." You relegate him to "out of here" status. You draw a line of division. Good citizens are on THIS side of that LINE and offenders are over there on THAT side of it. A BOUNDARY LINE is drawn between the offender and society. It matters not if that is achieved by a wall or an island or a pit or by chains or by an electronic ankle bracelet. The criminal is made distinctly separate by that division line. The idea is "put him away" from regular society. He is "there" but we are "here."

Think of drawing a line on the ground. A simple line on the ground can serve a thousand functions. Most of us are familiar with the scene in which two individuals are faced off in a quarrel, on the verge of a fight, and one person draws a line in the sand and says "I dare you to cross this line." This is where the proverbial "line in the sand" expression comes from. What device does the line serve in this scenario? If the other party stays on the other side of the line, he is not engaging in a fight. If either of them crosses it, it is the signal to fight. Another line drawn on the ground has become a familiar image in Hollywood movies on magic and the occult: In ritual magic described in medieval grimoires a sorcerer was said to draw a magic circle on the ground when conjuring up spirits. In some scenarios the wizard himself stood within the circle, and as long as he was within the circle, he was safe from the malevolent spirits he had summoned up for his arcane purposes. In another scenario the magus is outside the circle and the spirits are summoned up inside the circle, and they are unable to break out of it, they are unable to cross the drawn line, to do any harm to the sorcerer. The circle drawn on the floor, a mere two dimensional drawn line, constitutes a "prison" that contains or restrains the evil. Another instance of a mere "line" constituting something important, is in ancient boundary markers. A tribe might set up a stone marker, and place another one a half mile away. It is declared that the "line" existing between the stones constitutes the "border" of their territory. Outsiders are warned to not tresspass across the invisible "line" indicated by the boundary stones. I could go on with examples.

"Demarcation" perhaps expresses it: the setting or marking of boundaries or limits, a separation; a distinction, a boundary line that sets one thing apart from another thing. Consider some wider types of "jail" or "imprisonment" if you will: Consider "exile" or "banishment." Men have been "set apart" from society by being "banished" and told that they cannot come back and cross over the "city limits" ever again, or come back across the country's boundary line, or it's "border." But whether exile on an island, or banishment from a terrirtory, or, being thrown into the dungeon, the primary idea is setting the man apart from the society. A "line of demarcation" is established that identifies and distinguishes "over there" from "over here." An exiled or banished man, or, an imprisoned man, is "separated." He is "over there" and the others are "over here."

If you are following with me, so far, I am speaking of "a line of demarcation that separates," or forms a "boundary." In the very word "boundary" is found the word "bound" as in "bound" with ropes. And yet it is used of a country's "border" line, its "boundary." Geographically we say that the U.S. is "bounded" on the north by Canada and "bounded" by Mexico on the south. Men "set bounds around" a property, and men are "bound" not to violate the legal "force" of those "bounds."

Carcer did not actually "mean" a jail or a prison. It only CAME to be USED that way, albeit quite logically. The actual original "dictionary definition" if you will, is "AN ENCLOSED SPACE." That is, put a "line" around a space that designates or demarcates it as "separated," and you have "an enclosed space," a space or area enclosed by a line. Use a wooden FENCE as the "boundary" around the space, and again, it forms "an enclosed space," a "carcer." Let's shorten the term "an enclosed space" to simply an "ENCLOSURE." Prisoners inside a dungeon may naturally be said to be in an "enclosure," or, separated, put away in "an enclosed space." And so actually a "carcer" is not a jail by definition. Rather, a jail is by its structural design, purpose, and function, a "carcer" because it is "AN ENCLOSED SPACE." Dogs pent up in a kennel are in a "carcer," but we do not mean to say to people that we keep our animals in "prison." Our horses are in a "carcer" if they are in a corral, or in a stable, but our meaning is not a "jail" or a "prison," but an "enclosure."

Before the recent innovations and modifications of the children's playground game "dodgeball," in this game there was usually a LINE painted on the ground to form a CIRCLE. "In BOUNDS" was inside the circle and "out of BOUNDS" was outside of it. The association there between a CIRCLE formed by a mere LINE and its designation as the BOUNDS, almost perfectly shows the meaning I am trying to bring across.


One of the other definitions you find of "carcer" in a lookup, at first seems quite different. But if you think it through, it really comes back to being the same thing: You will find references that say that "carcer" (besides being an area within bounds) also was used as the "starting line" of the chariot races in the Roman circus. This too becomes logical under consideration. Again taking liberty, let me suggest some thoughts for the approach to it: Say that you are a dog owner, and that one day you and several other dog owners go out into a field, each one with his dog on a leash. The plan is to have a race. You will all hold your dogs back on their leashes at one end of the field, until the signal is given. On the signal, the dogs will be released from their "bonds" to race across the open field. If you grasp the fact that the starting line is a line of demarcation that constitutes a "boundary" behind which the dogs are held in "constraint" or "restricted" by their "bonds," then you can readily see the connection between "carcer" as a boundary line and "carcer" as the starting line at the chariot races. Not only were the charioteers at the starting gate held back as if on leashes, kept restricted, or "in bounds" until the signal, but, it is known that just as we see in modern horse races, there were actual "enclosures" at the starting line in the Roman circus. Picture today's races in which there are individual "pens" at the starting gate. At the signal the pens are flung open. And so, the starting line at the Circus at Rome was not only a "carcer" in the sense of the all important LINE that cannot be crossed until it is lawful, but the "line" itself was a row of "enclosures." Combine it in a synthesis: At the races the "carcer" was the "LINE OF ENCLOSURES." Where is the issue of staying on the right side of the LINE or BOUNDARY until you have permission to cross it any more critical than at the start of a race?

Below is a model of the Circus showing the row of arches of the carceres in the foreground:

The CARCERES or the "LINE OF ENCLOSURES" at the Circus Maximus are not some obscure crumb of trivia snatched out of history. It is an interesting fact that they became quite famous all over the Roman Empire. The row of carceres even became a well known icon to people groups who might not have actually been within the empire, but who merely conducted TRADE with Roman coinage. The Romans emblazoned the CARCERES LINE on their COINS!

Emperor Trajan performed extensive remodling on the Circus, paying special attention to the line of carceres. The work was celebrated by new coins being struck in 103 AD, prominently showing the CARCERES LINE. For association with the religion of the Germans the discerning reader might wish to make note that just to the left of the obelisk (plundered from Egypt) is visible the statue of Cybele ("Magna Mater," the "Great Mother" goddess) mounted on a lion, and, at the far end can be seen the Sun blazing above a temple. The Circus was dedicated to the deified Sun. It cannot be underestimated how extensively the distribution and use of Roman coinage throughout the ancient Pagan world served to "advertise" or "trumpet abroad" much of the goings on in the city of Rome itself.


One can easily imagine non-Roman Pagans examining these coins, and asking "What is this?" and being told, "The CARCERES!" It would not be difficult to confuse CARCERES with the whole complex, the CIRCUS. If it is explained to one person that the "circus" is the word of the Romans for a "circle" and that ALL of these images are at the "circle" or "circus," it is not difficult to see that in tales passing from person to person, things could get "blended." The TEMPLE OF THE SUN is in view, and the great MOTHER GODDESS. "Tell me again, what is this called?" "The CARCERES!" But another man interjects, "No, it is the CIRCUS at Rome." To which another asks, "What is this word 'CIRCUS' again?" "CIRCLE! It means CIRCLE!" Even if some Pagan listener were to put the idea of a line that "draws" a "circle" around the entire "circus" complex and to WRONGLY think of the entire ENCLOSED complex as the CARCERES, he would still be "in the ballpark" etymologically speaking, for ALL of those things (circle, circus, carceres, and carcer) may be associated with a BOUNDARY LINE indicating an ENCLOSED SPACE. It's funny, but the person could arrive at the same "destination," whether he took the right "bus" to get there, or took the wrong "bus!" Having the words right, or having the words confused, he could still RIGHTLY conclude (etymologically) that whether carcer or carceres or circle or circus are on the coins, there is a boundary line, and there is an enclosure, and ALL of the "goings on" at that place transpire WITHIN it.

Again, the above coin was distributed in 103 AD. We see the same thing STILL being done over one hundred years later! The following coins were struck during the reign of Caracalla in 213 AD. It is easy to see how the CARCERES LINE of the CIRCUS would become familiar imagery all over the Pagan world.

Perhaps some support for the carceres referring to the entire "start LINE complex" in general, and not merely to the stalls, is evidenced by some Roman writers not calling the actual stalls themselves "carceres" but by other words:


In his treatment of the Circus Maximus and particularly of the "carceres" on page 48 of the book The Remains of Ancient Rome, John Henry Middleton informs us that the actual stalls themselves were called "crypta" in "Sidon. Carm. xxiii. 319 and claustra in Stat. Theb. vi. 399." And "fauces; Cassiod. Var. Ep. iii 51."

Crypta: Interestingly, the Online Encyclopedia Britannica agrees with this ancient source: Under "crypt" the Encyclopedia says among its other definitions, "the stalls for horses and chariots in a circus, ... or a long gallery known as a cryptoporticus, like that on the Palatine Hill in Rome." Naturally though, this word would seem to speak for itself. The stalls of the chariots were "crypt-like." The latin "crypta" comes from words meaning "hidden" and is oft used of any STONE "vault-like" structure, which is why a mausoleum is called a crypt. But if the keen student will make cross reference in this treatise to my discussion of the circular Germanic BURIAL mound made of piled up stones, called the horg or horgr, he may find a certain Webster's tidbit interesting: The Merriam-Webster online Dictionary in the entry for "crypt," besides the expected first meanings, adds this: "perhaps akin to Lithuanian krauti to pile up." The Germanic horg was a rounded piling up of stones, and was a burial place. The same source also says under "grotto" that grotto is the Italian of the Latin crypta, a grotto being "an artificial recess or structure made to resemble a natural cave." However, even a hasty lookup will inform the student that crypta refers to a room with vaulted stone ceilings.

Fauces: Middleton vaguely refers to fauces as "openings," and others as "narrow passages." But the word fauces is also translated "throat, gullet" or even "jaws" (from the Latin into Spanish). But, one might speculate that a writer intending that was using poetic license to liken the "launch" of the chariots out of the stalls to them being vomitted or disgorged suddenly from the "throat" of the start complex, or simply, that before the race the chariots were hidden in the chambers (or throat) of the start-line structure. However, in the entry for "fauces," the Dictionary of Classical Antiquites by Oskar Seyffert (1894) translates fauces as "houses" and, in the entry for "house," refines fauces to "corridors." It may intend a long corridor within a house. I can see the idea of "housings" being intended, as well "corridors" in the sense of "chutes" that the chariots "launched" through. The stalls were open on both ends, like a short tunnel. The chariot came in one end and waited for the race, and then shot out through the gate that opened into the Circus. Perhaps we could use Seyffert's renderings to think of the "start LINE complex" in the Circus as one long "house" or "housing" line, and each tunnel-like "chute" as a "corridor" through that long "house" or "housing" structure, one long housing with twelve tunnels through it. It is interesting to note however that while the Dictionary of Classical Antiquites thus renders fauces, it says "openings" as Middleton does in a mention of the "carceres" on page 138 in the "Circus" article, when it says "twelve openings (carceres) from which the chariots issued." And so we not only have a case of carceres called fauces, but we see both fauces and carceres rendered as "openings." I might point out the difficulty one might have in reconciling "prison" to "openings." But my immediate point here is only that antiquity did not uniformly apply the word carceres specifically to the stalls.

Claustra: This one is quite interesting. It lends strength to our other suggestions: "Claustra," as well as related Latin words (such as claudo, claustra, claustrum, claudeo, clatra, clausula, clausus, and clausum), all have the basic connotations of an "ENCLOSURE" or BORDER LINE or BARRIER. Reference: An Elementary Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Kingery, American Book Company, 1890, 1915, 1918). Lewis and Kingery were Charlton P. Lewis, Ph.D, author of A Latin Dictionary for Schools" and editor of "Harper's Latin Dictionary, and Hugh M. Kingery, Ph.D, Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at Wabash College. Their Latin Dictionary says of "clausum" that it is from "claudo" an "ENCLOSURE." I have spoken at length in its place in this treatise of "ENCLOSURES." Further, Lewis and Kingery say of "claustrum" that it is "a form of claustra, A BARRIER ... A FRONTIER FORTRESS, KEY POINT OF CONTROL." (which I would point out means a "BORDER" point. Lewis and Kingery say of "claustra," a "lock, bar, or bolt," but, notably, "A BARRIER, BOUNDS," and MOST notably, "the BARRIERS of a race course." And they go on to add, "a barricade, defence, key defence, fortess wall, or a bank," and, "L. claustra contrahere, i. e. the LINE of circumvallation." And finally, again, "A BARRIER." I will just add that in the entry for "clatra" it has "a lattice" (as in a fence) and that for "clausus" as the adjective, it means "RESERVED" as in "closed" or set apart, "reserved" for a specific purpose. This too, agrees with what I have said of the Germanic "sacred spaces" set apart by "barrier" lines, boundaries, or "lines of demarcation."

Professor David Morgan of Furman University states in his Lexicon Latinum that claustra is also used of "a hurdle in races." This agrees with the references we have seen to fences, lattices, barriers, bounds to be crossed, etc. A runner jumping a hurdle may be seen to be leaping over a barrier or fence, line, or marker.

Allow me to accentuate the point here: the book The Remains of Ancient Rome, by John Henry Middleton informs us that the carceres were were also called claustra in Stat. Theb. vi. 399" and that claustra denotes a BORDER LINE, as in a country's frontier border, denotes a BARRIER LINE or the BOUNDS of a controlled area. This is what I have said elsewhere, that the "carceres" actually meant the START LINE, or BOUNDARY LINE behind which the contestants were kept until the signal was given. All of these things speak to us of "reserved" or set apart "enclosures" or places with boundary lines, or set limits.

The same definition is revealed inadvertently in A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography by William Smith in the entry on "Corinthus" (page 684). He refers to "the BOUNDARY LINE between the territories of the Turks and Venetians. The Isthmian wall formed with the passes of the Geraneian and with those of the Oneian mountains three distinct LINES of defence, which are enumerated in the following passage of Claudian (de Bell. Get. 188): 'Vallata mari Scironia rupes, Et due continuo connectens aequora muro Isthmus, et angusti patuerunt CLAUSTRA Lechaei.'"

Likewise the great Roman wall of defence, the "Claustra Alpium Iuliarum" or "Juliarum" is variously translated as the "Barrier of the Julian Alps," the "Boundary of the Julian Alps," the "Border-line of the Julian Alps," the "Line of the Julian Alps," etc. This great boundary line was all of these things. The Claustra Alpium Iuliarum was formed by the natural barrier afforded by the mountains, with the passes or vulnerable points filled in with long sections of wall, and with the wall itself supplemented with forts, ramparts, and lookouts along its length. The entire frontier line was at once a "barrier" and a "boundary line" as well as a "wall." The Cambridge Ancient History by Bowman, Garnsey, and Cameron, page 260, opts for the combination translation "barrier wall" describing the Claustra Alpium Iuliarum as a system of "forts linked with barrier walls (claustra) and towers." Claustra is simply the word for a "barrier" in the Epitome of Roman History, by Florus (translation by John Selby Watson, 1889, Book 2, and chapter 2, The War Between Caesar and Pompey. A passage with "claustra" is given with the Latin and the English; "Cato was not at the battle, but, having pitched his camp on the Bagrada, guarded Utica, as a second barrier of Africa - Velut altera Africae claustra."

I will save space here and not expound on this at length, but the student of the matter will have no difficulty verifying the fact, that "carcer" and "carceres" also survived (because of the Roman "church" perpetuating Latin) and were in fact applied to Catholic architecture, BUILDINGS: One survival of carcer is that it was retained as the term for the monk's living quarters, his, bedchamber, or his "cell" if you will, in the monastery. Another survival in Catholicism is in carcer's synonym just now noted, "claustra," in that this is where the expression "cloistered" comes from, as in "cloistered monks" and "cloistered nuns." Even the most brief investigation will also yield the interesting fact that, contrary to what one might assume, "cloistered" does not denote "closet-ed" or locked away in a closet, so to speak, but actually refers to the "courtyard" located in the center of a monastery or convent. It is literally an "open space enclosed" by the surrounding architecture of the place. It is an open plaza or an open space separated from the outside world by the surrounding monastery buildings. Just as a "town square" can be seen as the hub of a town's activity, so was the plaza or courtyard of the monastery representive of the living going on in the place. A "cloistered" monk might not think of himself as locked in a closet, as much as separated unto the full life of the monastery as displayed in the courtyard. Here again, the generic idea of "an ENCLOSED SPACE" or "an ENCLOSURE" is possibly the most accurate interpretation. Also, the "Claustra Alpium Iuliarum" just mentioned can provide further support for that, if researched deeply, in that some scholars go beyond making the "Claustra Alpium Iuliarum" the frontier boundary, or border, and add that the term also bespoke the territory WITHIN the boundary. Thus a territory's border, as well as the space it encloses. This thought could be expressed neatly by the word "borders" in a sentence about our country, like "This is the law within our borders," or, "on THIS side of the border," and so on. Not merely the border, but what it encloses.

But lest we wander too far afield, let me just gather the thought of the preceding several paragraphs: It is simply that in antiquity the "start-line structure" of the Circus was referred to by different terms, such as the carceres, crypta, claustra, fauces, etc., and, we find support in ALL of these terms, for the things we are suggesting regarding "carcer" in this study. It is clear that when the Romans looked at, or thought about, or spoke about the long carcer/carceres complex at the Circus, it was perceived as A BOUNDARY LINE (claustra), the starting LINE, from which the race would be entered. And every race has such a line. That the LINE was comprised of a row of HOUSINGS (fauces) or ENCLOSURES (claudo) is merely descriptive of the construction of that LINE.


A study titled Welsh Words Borrowed from the Latin, Thomas Rowland Powel, Donald Moore, published in Archaeologia Cambrensis, the Journal of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, VOL. IV. Fourth Series (London, 1874) stated on page 356 that the word "carchar" (from South Wales) is from the Latin "carcer" and means "STRICTURE." "Stricture" means "a contraction" or "to draw in," as when muscles constrict or contract. A parent wishing to set perimeters on how far away from the house the children may play might make them adhere to certain "strictures," by which they mean BOUNDARIES. The parents' "strictures" are set LIMITS.

Upon seeing this Welsh meaning of carcer/carchar as "strictures" I looked into it. In the first place, the afore-mentioned WELSH definition of "STRICTURES," it should be noted, was in an 1874 LONDON reference work, NOT a 2013 American one. For our reference, and its context, we belong in the 1800s and archaic usage. And so I compared "strictures" in the 1874 Cambrian Archaeological Association article against Webster's 1828 Dictionary (the closest dictionary to the period, that I had access to). And I believe it has some helpful tidbits: There I concluded that if the word intended "tightly bound ropes" as in the modern American thought, a DIFFERENT Latin word might have been used. The 1828 dictionary reveals under the word "strict" that the Latins had another word, "strictus" from which comes "strict." "Carcer" would not have been used. Furthermore, the 1828 Webster's has NOTHING under "stricture" denoting ropes or being tied up tightly with ropes. What is my point? That the South Wales word meaning "stricture" probably does not mean precisely what the Latin "strictus" does, else they could have based their "stricture" word on "strictus" rather than "carcer." A surprising volume of material is in the 1828 Webster's on all the Latin words deriving from the Latin "strictus" (enough to fill an entire page of text). But none of them apply. For instance, the English word "strike" as when factory workers go on strike is from that Latin word, as is "stroke" as in the stroke of a paintbrush. "Stroke" and "strike?" Think "stricken" and "strict." And so, what I am pointing out, the South Wales "carchar" with its "STRICTURES" definition in the 1874 reference does not denote what would come from the Latin "strict" or "strictus." Rather it is from "carcer," and I believe that the reason is because they saw in "carcer" a meaning different than the (modern American) thought of "tightly bound ropes." I believe that "strictures" in 1874 London meant something more like "parameters" or "limitations." The children's mother "set strictures" on their wanderings. She set limits and imposed boundaries. Or, we might say, "restrictions." In fact the 1828 Webster's offers, EVEN UNDER "STRICT" itself, the meaning of "limited" and of "governed or governing by exact rules." And that connotation brings me full circle back to what I have already suggested; that at Rome the water-pit called the "carcer" was "off limits" or "out of bounds." It was a "restricted" facility. Interestingly (although one could wander too far afield and be lost in such a swamp) the 1828 Webster's informs us in those entries that "stronghold" is (as we would suppose) first from "strong" but that also "strong" harks back to the Latin "strictus" and "stringo." In the entry for "strict" it says it is from Latin "strictus from stringo." It is perhaps also interesting that the word "strain" can mean quite the opposite of fetters or bonds, and indicate rather that type of "straining" when an animal "strains" AGAINST its leash. A leash is naturally a restraint, whereas to "strain" AGAINST it is to seek freedom, to attempt to overcome the thing. The 1828 tells us that "strain" is likewise from "stringo" and relates to "stretch." It says "as to strain a rope or to strain the shrouds of a ship." That, of course is depicting a sail, so filled with the wind as to strain it to near bursting. And so one could derive the sense, again, of set "limits" at the point of being burst or broken through. Hence, limits or boundaries that are the line not to be crossed. To "strain" is to strain the limits. And we learn under "strong" that it is likewise from the same words. "Strong" in my thinking is in the sense that something of "strength" or "force" attended the "carcer" at Rome. It was under guard. It was kept by strength of arms. The "synthesis" that I recommend to my reader is that a "stronghold" can represent an "off-limits" or "out of bounds" or "restricted" facility. In summary I am suggesting that the South Wales "carchar" (from carcer) intended something with set bounds or boundaries, limits, something restricted, or, a restricted place, or, the very restrictions referred to, OF that place. But at least the reader should recognize that the word "strictures" is not identical to a "prison," but may have much to do with set limits and restrictions. Remember, even "strict" may mean "governed by exact rules." Strict - stricture.


English "b" words, just as an EXAMPLE: This may help tie together my point: In the sections following, I suggest that a number of "k sound" words found in Celtic, German and Latin such as carcer, circe, kirika, krika, etc. may have anciently come from the same word as each other, that is, had a common Indo-European "ancestor." Here, with early English words such as "boundary, border, bind and boards," etc., we can see HOW such words with such diverse present-day meanings arose out of an ancient COMMON meaning. I am only using these English "b" words as an EXAMPLE OF THE PROCESS, not connecting these "b" words to the "k sound" words just mentioned. But it can help to show in English, the IDENTICAL PROCESS that happened with the "k sound" words, including "carcer."

OBSERVE: Bosworth/Toller, in the entry for the word "and," mentions in passing the word "BOUNDARY," as follows:

"boundary, limit, border, which is probably derived from the Sansk. root ant, and to bind." In the entry on the word "bord" (that is, "board" as in a wooden plank) Bosworth/Toller says "with the prepositions innan and útan governing the genitive case, at home and abroad; domi et foris :-- Hie sibbe innan bordes gehióldon they preserved peace at home [lit. inside the boundary], Past. pref; Hat. MS. Man útan bordes wísdóm hieder on lond sóhte one from abroad [lit. outside the boundary] sought wisdom in this land." Source; pp 39 and 116 of An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by Bosworth and Toller (1898).

Note Bosworth/Toller saying that "boundary, limit, border" probably anciently derived from "to bind." Bind, bound, boundary, border, bords, boards, fence-boards, enclosure. To bind, indicating to restrain or keep in bounds. "Bord" associates with "boundary."

Remember in South Wales carcer/carchar meant "stricture." I am saying, "boundary or border" as in the boundary of an enclosure or special "restricted area." The perimeter line or limit.

Webster's 1828 may help illuminate the "fence-boards" to "boundary" aspect of this: In Webster's entry for "BOARD" (as in a "plank") it gives "n. Sax. bord" and "Sw. bord" and "D. boord, a board, a HEM, BORDER, MARGIN; Ger. bord ... BORDER and a board or plank," and so on. It is an extensive entry. But please note the "HEM, BORDER, MARGIN" aspect. Webster's also gives the VERB, "to board" meaning "to lay or spread with boards; to cover with boards." It makes no difference if the "boards" being used to "board" something are set horizontally, vertically or on a slant. You could "board" the mouth of a well so that people won't fall in, or you could "board" a roof, or, considering board/bord in its "HEM, BORDER, MARGIN" sense, you could use "bords" to form a BORDER around an enclosure, i. e. a "fence." Notice that Webster is taking in the western European languages, and the Bosworth/Toller reference appeals clear back to Sanskrit, and sees it having arisen from a meaning like "to bind." Perhaps this helps you see why I referenced the use of "stricture" in the sense of setting "borders and perimeters" and why I referenced the South Wales "stricture" translation of the word carcer. All of this is about "word origins." And I think we are here possibly discovering the "ancestors" not only of "carcer," but of "circe" as well.

The "to bind" and "border" and "boundary" and "fence" correlations may be helped a bit further by another aspect of "BIND," i. e. "BAND." Think of the metal bands around the outside of a wooden barrel. The Webster's 1828 entry for "BIND" says "Sax. bindan, gebindan, pret. band, bund or bunden; Goth. bindan, gabindan ... a band; Hindu, bandna; Gypsey, bandopen; Persian, bandan." (see there where we derive the headscarf, the "bandana"). This usage is going to come up again, a bit farther along in the study, so please retain the "association" between a "border" and a "bandana." As with "board" Webster's entries for "bind" are extensive. I am here passing over what would probably strike the reader as obvious meanings, and giving some that might not so readily spring to mind: Websters also gives "To gird, inwrap, or involve; to confine by a wrapper, cover or bandage. ... To restrain in ANY manner 'He bindeth the floods from overflowing.' Job xxviii. ... To constrain by a powerful influence or persuasion. 'I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem.' Acts xx. ... TO FORM A BORDER."

Let me add some other senses of both "board" and "bind" here, that while I worry they may "busy" my reader and distract slightly from the present PERTINENT thoughts, I think them useful. They would probably fit better in my sections on "religious sites" or "sacred spaces" such as the "circe" as "hearg" (anciently pronounced kerk), but I fear that if I place this there it will seem too "detached" from the present Bosworth/Toller and Webster references, so please permit it here. I hope it will all coalesce properly soon to form one clear thought:

Think if you will of Pagan religious sites in their role as the place where SACRED OATHS were made. And they were. The Pagan Germanic worship sites were DISTINCTLY and SPECIALLY places where sacred BLOOD OATHS were performed. But details and references to that effect can be given in another place. For now, please take my word, that the "hearg" (anciently pronounced kerk) which was the shrine of the Pagan gods, was PROFOUNDLY important as the PLACE OF OATHS. AND, I would ask my reader to imagine one of the open-air Pagan "sacred spaces" of the Germans, a large circle in a field, with a fence forming the outer ring or BOUNDARY of the place. Remember all of the above references to BORDERS and BOUNDARIES, with BOARDS. Now let me pull the remaining tidbits on "board" and "bind" out of the Webster's 1828: Remember the Webster's gave us "To restrain in ANY manner 'He bindeth the floods from overflowing.' Job xxviii. ... To constrain by a powerful influence or persuasion. 'I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem.' Acts xx." It goes on to give the following: "to bend the mind ... to close ... make fast ..." and "To oblige by a PROMISE, VOW, stipulation, COVENANT, law, duty or any other MORAL TIE" and gives, "If a man shall SWEAR AN OATH to BIND his soul with a BOND. Numbers xxx" and "Whatsoever thou shalt BIND on earth shall be BOUND in heaven. Matth. xvi" and "To oblige to serve by CONTRACT ... to BIND is to CONTRACT; as, to BIND one's self to a wife." And for "Binding," it gives "the binding FORCE of a MORAL DUTY or of a COMMAND."

My reader probably already sees what I would suggest: The Pagan shrine, the "hearg" (anciently pronounced kerk), was set apart for things "sacred" by the BORD, BORDER, BOUNDARY, FENCE, BOARDS. But it was ALSO the PLACE OF OATHS AND COVENANTS, moral and religious BONDS, i. e. all things BINDING, including being BOUND by OATHS to the gods of the place, and all that the religion COMMANDS. The hearg (kerk) entails both SACRED "BOUNDARY" and all things "BINDING" such as sacred oaths.

But there is even more to it: Still under "Bind" the Webster's gives, "To oblige by BOND to appear at COURT." Do not hastily think we are straying to distant fringes here. With the notion of "COURT" I will now draw in some of the residual entries the Webster's 1828 provides on the word "BOARD": Let me help with some background: Think of the term "room and BOARD." "Board" of course is a reference to dining, to one "taking their meals." But there is a REASON the word is BOARD. It was LITERAL. A "board" or "plank" laid horizontal is what constitued a TABLE. "Room and BOARD" referred to having both a room and TABLE provided, much as today we think of "bed and breakfast" inns. And a renter being called a "BOARDER" actually meant the renter took his MEALS there as part of the deal. A "BOARDER" came to the TABLE. Under "Board" the Webster's 1828 gives (besides the foregoing), "A table. The table of our rude ancestors was a piece of board." But as another definition of "board" it gives, "A table at which a COUNCIL or COURT is held; hence A COUNCIL, CONVENED for business, or, any AUTHORIZED ASSEMBLY or meeting; as a board of directors. ... A BODY of men constituting a quorum IN SESSION; a COURT or COUNCIL; as a board of trustees; a board of officers." I deliberately prefaced these "ASSEMBLY" and "SESSION" and "CONVENED COUNCIL" references for "board" with the reference under "BOND" ("To oblige by BOND to appear at COURT"), because I think that invoking the imagery of "appearing in COURT" can help explain "BOARD" having come to mean all of these "OFFICIAL SESSIONS OR ASSEMBLIES" connotations. The reason WHY is SIMPLE: Think of our term for where a JUDGE officiates: We call it "the BENCH." That's right, think "BOARD" or "PLANK." The Webster's says of "Bench," "1. A long seat, usually of BOARD or PLANK ... 2. The seat where JUDGES sit in COURT." Reduced to the base thought, the Judge's BOARD or PLANK. Both the "BOARD or PLANK" upon which he sits, and the "BOARD or PLANK," if you will, forming the "desk" or "bench" in front of him, constitute that "bench" or "board" before which men are summoned to stand. Such "planks" or "boards" performed the same function anciently. Literal "boards" were set to establish a spot for judgment or for official councils to meet and hold sesssion. Thus, being "summoned before the board" was really half literal: One was literally coming before a wooden plank, as well as before the officials using it. In time, metynomy named the officals after the wooden plank.

But what would I extract from this, and offer as useful to our subject? I am of course associating all of this with our understanding of "CARCER." Simultaneously I am drawing correlations with Pagan Germanic religious sites, those places created by BOUNDARIES and BORDERS. And I have spoken of them as also the PLACES OF OATHS, and all things "BINDING." But now I would add this dimension of official ASSEMBLIES and official SESSIONS of courts. I'll tell you plainly that what I am seeking to shine a light on is that the Pagan Germanic sites were ALL of these things: I think the "BOUNDARY" aspects of "CARCER" apply as well to CIRCE, and that such special PLACES set by official BOUNDS held (to the people) ALL of these meanings we have been examining. I am saying that the circe, "hearg" (anciently pronounced kerk), the horg (horgr), hov or hof, meant ALL of these things to the ancients. All of these "bond" and "boundary" and "board" meanings factor in. I am suggesting that the "ANCESTOR" word or words that eventually produced the so-called "Latin" word "carcer" as well as the Germanic word "circe" was possessed of such meanings as these.

It would be severely misplacing this topic to treat of it here in any length, because we do so elsewhere in its place in this work, but, here I would draw my reader's attention to what the Pagan Germanic peoples called the

"TING" (written with the "thorn" character, as "þing").

The "ting" or "þing" will also be found in numerous resources written as "thing" because of the fact the "thorn" character (þ) expresses the hard "th" sound as in "thank." However, it usually comes off the lips of Germanic people with the "T" sound, hence, "Ting."

The ancient Pagan Germans naturally had CIVIL assemblies as well as RELIGIOUS ones. Suppose there was a threat of invasion and war from a foreign army, and it was necessary to call all of the chieftains of the people to an emergency conclave or convention. Naturally such a gathering is not about a religious ceremony. It's about war. An ASSEMBLY of this sort was called a "ting" or "þing." Along the same lines, suppose a great assembly needed to be called for the passing of laws, or for the judgment of and punishment of criminals. Here the assembly takes on the nature of a LEGAL body. This too, was the "þing." In the span of centuries, this "official public session" or "people's assembly" actually evolved into law courts and even "parliaments" in German countries.

That is why I had to raise the matter here: While my main focus is on the Pagan RELIGIOUS sites, set apart unto their gods, a well-rounded apprehension of all of this requires realizing that the Germanic peoples ALSO had "conventions" and "assemblies" of a somewhat "NON-religious" nature, all through the same centuries we are discussing. That fact should probably be qualified, for in antiquity NO people separated their "laws" from their gods and religion. The assembly known as the "ting" or "þing" was certainly NOT a "secular" affair as we might think of courtroom proceedings or government assemblies in say, present day France. No. In fact the "laws" of the people DERIVED from the religion, and were deemed the will of the gods. Not only so, but across Germanic lands, quite often the PLACE of the þing was also WHERE some high RELIGIOUS festivals were held. The rules for why it was "secular" or "religious" at one place at one time but not at another are difficult to ascertain. But when we understand that an agricultural society marked their years with solstices and such, and that these same factors figured into their religion, a measure of "cross-pollination" is understandable. So when I distinguish between the "non-religious" nature of the "þing" and the functions at the RELIGIOUS sites, it is primarly a difference of exactly that, FUNCTION, as well as the fact that the RELIGIOUS site was the god's own space, a "shrine" or "temple" of sorts, where the deity is due his sacrifices and ceremonies, and so not the place to hash out criminal law or hold a council of war. Thus we must distinguish between the religious CEREMONIAL sites and the assemblies known as the "ting" or "þing."

In a different chapter of this book I bring out the fact that in the "Nazi era" in Germany when there was a cultural movement to bring back ancient German Paganism and all things anciently "German" (called the "Volk" or "Volkish" or "Volkisch" movement), they actually restored the ancient "ting" or "þing" sites, and held solstice and even sun worship ceremonies in the restored sites. That the Nazis changed their minds and eventually allowed the Volkisch þing rallies to dwindle from neglect is rather telling of Hitler's paranoia. Anciently the þing had produced a "democratizing" effect in the German people, and had even led to the development of "parliaments." Hitler most likely came to think that this was one ancient Germanic custom best forgotten. And so, while the Nazis otherwise loved restoring "pre-Christian" customs and traditions, the þing's tendency to teach democracy doomed it as a program in Hitler's Reich. Lest the German populace should notice the program too abruptly ended, they simply began using the þing sites less, simply demonstrated a waning enthusiasm, and cut back on funding and on scheduling þing rallies, and so forth. Thus they let the þing program die a death by dis-use, rather than by sudden cessation.

But, keeping on topic, if you can pull it all together and make it "coelesce" as I said, you can see how all of the above meanings of "BOARDS" and "BENCHES" and "BOUNDARIES" and "BORDERS" apply. There were anciently PLACES of religious CEREMONY and WORSHIP set apart by BOUNDS, "sacred spaces" created actually BY those BOUNDARIES. And, our "BORD, BOARD, BORDER" applications carry right on over into PLACES of LAW and judgment, COURTS, and COUNCILS.

Do not misread my intent: I am NOT suggesting that the English words (such as "boards, boundaries," etc., developed from the same ancestor word as carcer or circe. I have not even investigated any such avenues. I am, RATHER, suggesting three (3) things here with these words: Firstly I am attempting to show how that meanings seemingly quite diverse from one another, such as "boards" (as in fence boards) and "boundary" came up from the same ancestor words as each other (at least in the case of these ENGLISH words). Something as diverse as a "BOARD of directors" and the "BOUNDARY" of an enclosure are "relatives" of one another, and shared (anciently) common denominators. Secondly (and this is shown better in the sections following, on Proto-Celtic words) I am suggesting that the SAME SORT OF THING may have been true of certain "K - SOUNDING" words (some of which I list below) in Proto-Celtic, Indo-European, and other ancient "ancestor" words that led up to both "carcer" and "circe." Thirdly, I am showing how that (in ANY language) the meanings of border lines, fences around enclosures, boundaries, and even boards, may have related to "sacred enclosures" or ancient "religious sites." For I AM INDEED suggesting that anciently the words for such sites carried such meanings (as out of bounds, off limits, sacred, set apart by lines of demarcation, sacred ENCLOSURE, etc.). Thus, with these English "bound" and "bord" words I am in essence showing the etymological PROCESS of such things.

There is a another scholarly reference I sought to relocate before publishing this section of this material to the Web, but it has eluded me. I have some notes taken regarding it, but not the original exact quotes that one should have for his readers. Perhaps another student of this matter will have success in obtaining the exact and full quotations. I am almost certain that the linguist's name was "Skutsch" and that he was probably "F. Skutsch" who comes up in searches. And a certain "Hofmann" is another linguist whose name comes up in connection with both Skutsch and the topic. That topic is this: Apparently Skutsch and/or Hofmann believed that anciently the word "carcer" signified something akin to a casing, an encasement, or, a protective "shell" along the lines of the shell of a TURTLE or the SHELL of a CRAB. Numerous articles have cited this elusive reference, saying that this scholar or scholars asserted that the zodiacal sign of the "crab" or "cancer" derived from this same word "carcer," and that the enclosure of the crab's "SHELL" was what the word indicated. Some tie-in was also made to the word "cancri" and the word "barriers." I am going out on a limb here and speculating a "shell" as a protective "enclosure" constituting a protective "barrier." I have searched in vain for the piece I originally read on this. However, there is a service online known as JSTOR (jstor.org). They preserve scholarly articles, and publish them in a periodical "Journal." In online searches with the right searchwords, JSTOR "hits" appear, frustratingly showing only enough "Skutsch" fragments to confirm that the references are "out there." Up come words and sentence fragments such as "Latin diminutives ... Hofmann ... who, after Skutsch ... proposed that cancer, crab ... is a dissimilated form of carcer(es). ... CARCER, ENCLOSURE ... See Thes. Ling. ..." One of the "Skutch" fragments that comes up seems to suggest that "carcer" as a protective "barrier" is used in medical language. As I said, perhaps someone else will have more success in nailing down the originating source. JSTOR articles can be accessed by the public via some public libraries and institutions that suscribe to the service. Alas, my local libraries are not signed on for it. But there it is, for what it's worth. My reader can easily see the part of the matter that I wished to extract and present. A turtle's shell, or a crab's shell is most certainly its ENCLOSURE. But, it is the creature's HOME, and certainly not its "prison." It's ENCLOSURE is its DEFENSE and PROTECTION, its BARRIER against harm, not a place of punishment. And so, if Skutsch (or Hofmann) could be cited to help bring out these senses of the words carcer or carceres, it would be beneficial.


The "cancer" and "carcer" relationship appears elsewhere as well: Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary in the entry for the word "cancel" gives:

1399, from Anglo-Fr. canceler, from L. cancellare "to make resemble a LATTICE," which in L.L. took on a sense of to "cross out something written," from cancelli pl. of cancellus "lattice, grating," dim. of cancer "CROSSED BARS, LATTICE," a var. of CARCER "prison."

Allow me to exercise a pinch of liberty here. I see commonality in ALL of these. Simply exchange Douglas Harper's phraseology of "cross out something written" with mine, "strike a LINE through." I am sure that is Harper's intent. But if I may be technically precise, "cross out" can be less clear, for it can be taken to put a big "X" over something, or even to scribble over it. His term is just fine if the reader takes "cross" in the sense of a horizontal "cross-bar line."

That is how I take it, and thus, "strike a LINE through." Thus you see the correlation with the connecting "CROSSED BARS" in a fence, or lattice. Likewise in a "grating" the imagery is really a "hatchwork" design of bars or lines crossed by other bars or lines. And he tells it is both from a diminutive of cancer, as well as a variant of carcer. By now my reader probably already expects what I will extract from this: Cancer goes at once to the shell of the zodiacal crab, his ENCLOSURE. And so do the associations with fencing, lattices or their connecting cross bars. And likewise a LINE drawn across or struck through written words. All of these elements can work with the idea of a LINE, which can be drawn to demarcate an enclosed space, or a border representing a perimeter.

In support of the above, An Elementary Latin Dictionary, Charlton T. Lewis, for "cancelli" gives, "cancelli cancelliorum, m dim. [cancer (late), a lattice], a lattice, ENCLOSURE, grating, grate, balustrade, bars, RAILINGS, bar in a court of justice: THE BARRIER IN PUBLIC SPECTACLES.--Fig., BOUNDARIES, LIMITS: extra hos cancellos egredi: forenses." And it adds "2. Meton., THE SPACE ENCLOSED BY BOUNDARIES, Auct. B. Afr. 15 fin."

A Latin Dictionary, Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, has for "carcer":

1. an enclosed place.

Only after definition 1., of "an enclosed place" does it add "hence, a prison."

My commentary: "an enclosed place" can indicate "an enclosed area, an enclosed space, any area enclosed, an enclosure," etc. And I would point out that "hence, a prison" simply expresses that it is DUE TO the meaning, an enclosed space, that a prison may have gotten called by that word, as a prison is just one of hundreds of things in this world that may be called an enclosed place. Think of it this way: While a definition of the word "automobile" might be "a vehicle" the definiton of "vehicle" is NOT "automobile" for a horse drawn chariot is a vehicle, but a chariot is not an automobile. Rather, chariots and automobiles are examples of vehicles. And, in the same way, prisons and children's playpens and sheepfolds, corrals and courtyards are all "carcers" or "enclosed areas." That is what may be drawn from the Lewis & Short "an enclosed place" and "hence."

Notice in "An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language" by Alexander MacBain, Gairm Publications, 1982, that in carcair (carcer) the meaning of a BARRIER is noted:

Stay on track: The only reason we are examining the "carcer" spring at the edge of the Forum in Rome is because philologists have said (and I think they are right) that the word "circe" or "cirice" etc. (which became "church") and the word "carcer" arose from the same Indo-European "root" or "ancestor" word. And I am showing why I believe that ancient (Indo-European or Proto-Indo-European) word originally signified something like a special (sacred) "bordered enclosure" or "an enclosed space within sacred bounds" or sacred "enclosure border." Keep that FOCUS. All of the study material found here regarding the "carcer" at Rome is for no other purpose than to show WHY I think these things about the word "carcer." All this "carcer" material is only intended to serve the more important study, the word "circe." The reader should aim to merely pick up the carcer at the Forum in Rome info as "helps" and proceed on with our treating of circe.


Did the Latin word "carcer" eventually come to mean a line drawn with chalk, or for that matter, the chalk itself?

In the book, Seekers after God, by Frederic William Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., Canon of Westminster,

the author is writing about the life of the philosopher Seneca. In Chapter 2 he is discussing Seneca's education, in which Farrar tells us that school lessons sometimes contained useless boring trivia, such as what the word "carcer" came to mean. Or rather, what word used to be "carcer."

Farrar writes,

"... it is not easy to form a very vivid conception of the kind of education given to a Roman boy ... A few facts, however, we can gather from the scattered allusions of the poets Horace, Juvenal, Martial, and Persius. From these we learn that the schoolmasters were for the most part underpaid and despised, while at the same time an erudition alike minute and useless was rigidly demanded of them. We learn also that they were exceedingly severe in the infliction of corporeal punishment; Orbilius, the schoolmaster of Horace, appears to have been a perfect Dr. Busby, and the poet Martial records with indignation the barbarities of chastisement which he daily witnessed.

"The things taught were chiefly arithmetic, grammar--both Greek and Latin reading, and repetition of the chief Latin poets. There was also a good deal of recitation and of theme-writing on all kinds of trite historical subjects. The arithmetic seems to have been mainly of a very simple and severely practical kind, especially the computation of interest and compound interest; and the philology generally, both grammar and criticism, was singularly narrow, uninteresting, and useless. Of what conceivable advantage can it have been to any human being to know the name of the mother of Hecuba, of the nurse of Anchises ... Yet these were the dispicable minutiae which every schoolmaster was then expected to have at his fingers' ends, and every boy-scholar to learn ... For this kind of verbal criticism and fantastic archaeology Seneca, who had probably gone through it all, expresses a profound and very rational contempt. In a rather amusing passage [in Ep. cviii.] he contrasts the kind of use which would be made of a Vergil lesson by a philosopher and a grammarian. Coming to the lines,

"Each happiest day for mortals speeds the first,
Then crowds disease behind and age accurst,"

"the philosopher will point out why and in what sense the early days of life are the best days, and how rapidly the evil days succeed them, and consequently how infinitely important it is to use well the golden dawn of our being. But the verbal critic will content himself with the remark that Vergil always uses fugio of the flight of time, and always joins "old age" with "disease," and consequently that these are tags to be remembered, and plagiarized hereafter in the pupils' "original composition." Similarly, if the book in hand be Cicero's treatise "On the Commonwealth," instead of entering into great political questions, our grammarian will note that one of the Roman kings had no father (to speak of), and another no mother; that dictators used formerly to be called "masters of the people;" that Romulus perished during an eclipse; that the old form of reipsa was reapse, and of se ipse was sepse; THAT THE STARTING POINT IN THE CIRCUS WHICH IS NOW CALLED CRETA, OR CHALK, USED TO BE CALLED CAIX, OR CARCER; that in the time of Ennuis opera meant not only "work," but also "assistance," and so on, and so on. Is this true education? or rather, should our great aim ever be to translate noble precepts into daily action? "Teach me," he says, "to despise pleasure and glory; afterwards you shall teach me to disentangle difficulties, to distinguish ambiguities, to see through obscurities; now teach me what is necessary." Considering the condition of much which in modern times passes under the name of "education," we may possibly find that the hints of Seneca are not yet wholly obsolete."

End of passages from Farrar.

This says that "the STARTING POINT" in the circus formerly called "CARCER" or "CAIX" is presently called "CRETA, or CHALK" (used for making lines on the ground). Of course there is an association: I read one source saying that when the chariots came rumbling out of the "carceres" there WERE sometimes chalk lines on the ground, much like our highway "lanes" today are indicated by painted "lines." The charioteers had to stay in their "lanes" which guided them into the raceway. Likewise, it is known that the "FINISH LINE" was marked on the ground with chalk. The great "Circus" at Rome was duplicated in race-tracks all over the empire. And where the "carcere" starting line was not a line of arches built of stone, it was often nothing more than a starting line drawn on the ground with chalk. In other words, the "carceres" at the Circus Maximus was a line of stone enclosures, but "carcers" elsewhere were simple chalk lines. But the wording of this line in the passage from Farrar could also be read to mean that a simple "line drawn with chalk," or even the very "chalk" used, was earlier expressed as "carcer."

My synthesis of the above: Carcer, a line of demarcation, or, the "in-bounds" space indicated by said line. So once again, I suggest "carcer" denotes an "enclosed space," even if only "enclosed" by a mere chalk line on the ground, or, a "line" of demarcation or boundary so drawn.

The chalk finish-line and the start-line find mention in the entry for "carcer" in The New College Latin & English Dictionary, 1966, revised 1995, Bantam Books. What it reads after the obligatory reference to prison is noteworthy:

"carcer -eris m prison; prisoners; (coll) jailbird II mpl starting gate (at race-track); ad carceres a calce revocari to start over from scratch (literally, to be called back from the chalk line, i.e., finish line, to the starting gate)".

It says that "ad carceres a calce revocari" is "literally, to be called back from the chalk line, i.e., finish line, to the starting gate." Perhaps the editor did not "literally" mean "literally." If his "literally" means "literally," then "carceres" is "literally" the "chalk line." But I am being unfairly "literal" just to accentuate my point. The New College Latin clearly only intends to say that the phrase means the charioteer is called back to WHATEVER the "carceres" was. But MY point is that the entry gives us a glimpse of the mind of the dictionary's editors: Without hesitation their minds thought "line" or "the starting gate" when they read "carceres" in that latin phrase. And to a first time student looking up this word in their dictionary for its "meaning," while yes, reading also that one meaning is associated with "prison," nothing in "starting gate" communicates anything remotely "prison-like" or even akin to a closed stone vault. It gives the first time reader an impression that it refers to a starting gate like any race track's starting gate as we might see today. I am suggesting that this may be a hint that the editors may have known the same facts that I am bringing out here throughout this section, that, meanings associated with "lines of demarcation" attach to carcer and carceres.

A Dictionary of Architecture and Building, Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive , by Russell Sturgis provides some assistance with "carcer" and "carceres". I would draw your attention in particular to two of this dictionary's observations:

1. The wording "ANY ROOM OR BUILDING."

Put it together: Although the wording is "ANY ROOM OR BUILDING answering the purpose of a prison," it is clear that the editor understood that merely saying "a prison" would not accurately give the word's meaning. He wishes the reader to understand that "ANY ROOM OR BUILDING" can achieve the purpose of "carcer" if it ENCLOSES, ENCAPSULATES, CONTAINS, OR KEEPS IN BOUNDS, and so yes, IMPRISONS, but it does not necessarily have to be a structure formally built to be nothing but a prison. In other words, "ANY ROOM OR BUILDING" can "encarcerate." Townspeople could imprison a person in a wood shed if need be, if it is a sufficient ENCLOSURE for the PURPOSE, which is, to ENCLOSE someone within BOUNDS. The dictionary makes it CLEAR that we should understand this, by going on to assert that carcer was "IN THE ORIGINAL LATIN MEANING, AN ENCLOSED or confined SPACE." And that is WHY it naturally got applied to a prison, for a prison or a jail cell is the epitome of "AN ENCLOSED or confined SPACE."

This same process (of a "more recent" word having derived anciently from words and meanings that the present use does not even RESEMBLE) is common to more words than could possibly be reckoned up.


You will be in company with the average modern American if when you hear the word "dungeon" your mind immediately thinks of a dark, damp, subterranean prison, a jail, deep down in the basement of some castle. And modern dictionaries may appear to agree with you: For instance, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1975, says of dungeon, "a DARK, usually UNDERGROUND PRISON or vault." And so with the Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary, "a DARK, UNDERGROUND room to keep PRISONERS in," and The American College Dictionary joins the chorus, saying "usually UNDERGROUND." That is about as "deep" as most folks are interested in digging. They want the most recent so-called "definition" or the "modern" usage of a word, and that's it. They usually aren't interested in the "etymology" of a word, that is, to conveniently use one of the dictionaries just cited (The Amer. Colleg.), "The study of historical linguistic CHANGE, especially as applied to INDIVIDUAL WORDS." The average person looking up "dungeon" in a modern dictionary, most likely won't even pay any notice to the etymological "fine print" (or rather, "clues") right there in most dictionaries for "dungeon" most of which actually do say that it has the Latin "dom" (for lord or dominion) in its background. But even if they do notice that, their imagination is likely to cook up the wrong reason for "dom."


Sounds strange, doesn't it? Jupiter's towers? But the fact is, as etymology reveals, countless words have quite surprising backgrounds.

I will here give, faithfully and precisely, the full entry on "dungeon" from The American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828, Noah Webster, only putting in bold full CAPS what I would emphasize:

"DUNGEON, n. [Fr. dongeon, or donjon, a TOWER or a PLATFORM in the midst of a castle, a TURRET or closet on the TOP OF a HOUSE. In one Armoric (Celtic language of Brittany) dialect it is DOMjou, and Gregoire suggests that it is compounded of DOM, lord or chief, and JOU, JUPITER, JOVE, an elevated or chief tower CONSECRATED TO JUPITER. In Scottish, it is written doungeoun, and denotes the keep or strongest tower of a fortress, or an inner tower surrounded by a ditch. Jamieson. It was USED for confining prisoners, and HENCE its APPLICATION to prisons of iminent strength."

Now my commentary: Webster himself found Gregoire's expertise worthy enough to include, to wit, that "dungeon" derived from "DOM" and "JOU," who is the god JUPITER, and the explanation that this "thing" was "CONSECRATED TO JUPITER." Tell me if you can, how my suggestion that the word "carcer" came from a boundaried enclosure devoted to a pagan god, is any different in nature than what WEBSTER, with his sources, provides for you on the word dungeon. If you think my reasoning and my approach flawed, at least know that I am in pretty good etymological company. Tell me this is not precisely what I'm saying occurred with "carcer": Webster said "It was USED for confining prisoners, and HENCE (therefore, for this REASON) its APPLICATION to prisons"! There you have it. The "Jupiter tower" ended up eventually being USED for prisoners, and FOR THIS REASON, or THEREFORE, or BECAUSE OF THIS, that is, HENCE, the DOM-JOU (Lord Jupiter) got APPLIED to holds for prisoners, in general. Let me also point out Webster's repeated illumination of the fact that the "thing" was the exact OPPOSITE sort of structure as the picture given us by most dictionaries. They, just as most of us would probably expect, define a "dungeon" as "a DARK, UNDERGROUND room," while Websters belabors it's being an ELEVATED PLATFORM or a TOWER! The modern dictionaries would put it down in the bowels of a castle, while Webster puts it "on the TOP OF a HOUSE." What is my point? Simply that finding out the background of a word can often mean discovering that once upon a time the thing was quite DIFFERENT than the USAGE it eventually gained. And, I'd point out one last intriguing tidbit: Webster cites Jamieson to tell us the "thing" was sometimes "surrounded by a ditch." Now, that strikes me as probably "later" in "castle fortress times" and perhaps not back when these enclosures were FIRST things "consecrated to Jupiter," and so we probably can't hope for a "pomerium-type" origin for this ditch (Pomerium is discussed a bit further on), but, wouldn't that be something? Remember that the Romans (whose god Jupiter was) often devoted (consecrated) an area with a ditch dug by a plow. The "ditch" marked the "sacred area," and was its boundary.


I would like to suggest the possibility that a single early Indo-European "k-sounding" PARENT word eventually became "carcer" to the Latins, "circe" and "kirik" etc. to the Germans, and similarly some "k" sounding word to the Celts, such as perhaps the Celtic word "krika."

Look at the following two Proto-Celtic words, "krikwa" (boundary, border) and "kwerkwt" (hedge):

A lookup of other Proto-Celtic words reveals some interesting similarities:

kagi ------------ a fence around an enclosure, or simply fence.
klitra ---------- a fence or a lattice-work partition.
kerk-injo ----- a circle.
kerkinn ------- a circle or circles.
kerk ----------- to approach or draw near, possibly an approach to a circle.
kuro ----------- a circle.
krundi --------- round.
kuno-tero ------ roundness.
krouka -------- a mound.
krakko --------- a small hill, possibly also used for a scab.
kelbmv -------- a pillar.
krako --------- a stone.
klugga --------- a stone.
kassrik --------- a fort.
kwistro -------- a grove.
kaxto ---------- one who is caught, restrained, held captive, a slave.
kaxto-nato ---- captivity.
kom-rigo ------- chain.
krineo ----------- separate.
krabidu --------- religion.
kruwos ---------- blood.
kadjo ------------ sacred.
kailjako ---------- an augur, fortune-teller, shaman, priest.
klawjeo ---------- close.
komakusa ------- close.


Below is an actual aerial photograph taken in 1991 of an ancient site in Germany, much like the one I have depicted above. Archaeologists have named the one in the aerial, the "Goseck Circle."

Here is a professional rendering of how the above-mentioned Goseck Circle was constructed:

There are no fewer than 200 of these archaeological sites in that part of the world. Many have been unearthed and studied already, and many are only now beginning to be excavated and studied. In Heldenberg, Austria a small one has been thoroughly studied by archaeologists and painstakingly reconstructed so we may see what one of them looked like:


Yes, these were Pagan religious sites. I believe it is possible that right here in this photograph we are looking at what a "CIRCE" was to the ancient Angles & Saxons. A "sacred" space, set apart by bounds, an ENCLOSURE just like "CARCER" in the Latin, or in some cases a mere line of demarcation, separating unto the god his "sacred space."

Below, you will see that I am not alone in the opinion. Scholars of far greater depth than my own, assert the same thing. And new discoveries in archaeology and other fields of research are NOW adding new weight to their views.

A NOTE OF ADVICE: Because some of the following information about J. Wilhelm Frädersdorff is supplied in the form of scans (GRAPHICS) of text, the author of this treatise (yours truly) strongly urges his readers to COPY THE GRAPHICS (as well as the accompanying text) in this section. Merely selecting the text may fail to copy the text that is in GRAPHIC form. If you wish to be able to CITE this information as a SOURCE to someone in the future, having the text that is here as graphics OF text will be critical. If you are unable to copy the graphics, then I urge you not to move on from reading this section without TYPING OUT the info FROM the images. In any case, do not LOSE this Frädersdorff information as a reference. In the future you may be very glad that you carefully kept track of it.

Note: Because the “a” in Frädersdorff was written with the German umlaut diacritic (two dots above it) it can affect results via some search engines in English references, and he appears in references variously as Früdersdorff, Frudersdorff, Fraedersdorff, Fradersdorff or Frædersdorff.

J. Wilhelm FRÄDERSDORFF of the Taylor Institution of Oxford, was one of the most respected scholars of his day, of GREEK and of the ancient GERMANIC languages. The Taylor Institution is Oxford University's centre for the study of European languages and literature, in Oxford, England. Frädersdorff was the author of The First German Book (1846) and Reading Companion to the First German Book (1848) and A Copious Phraseological English-Greek Lexicon (London: Rivingtons, 1856), and A Practical Introduction to Danish or Norwegian (1860, Williams & Norgate publishers, London England & Edinburgh Scotland). After Frädersdorff's decease his English-Greek Lexicon was re-published as Frädersdorff's English-Greek Lexicon, revised and enlarged by Thomas Kerchever Arnold and Henry Browne" (London, Rivingtons, 1860,1875, 1882). Respectively Arnold and Browne were "Thomas Kerchever Arnold, M.A. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge," and "Henry Browne, M.A., Vicar of Pevansey and Prebendary of Chichester."

For our immediate purpose we are particularly interested, not in the Lexicon, but in something Dr. Frädersdorff provided in his book on Danish/Norwegian.

Below is a scan of the publisher's announcement-advertisement for Frädersdorff's Introduction to Danish or Norwegian which called it "A collection of useful phrases and sentences, arranged in grammatical order, with references to Rask's 'Danish Grammar' and extracts from Danish or Norwegian historians, with explanatory notes and vocabulary at the foot of the page; By J. W. Fraedersdorff, of the Taylor Institution, Oxford."

The following contains the original text, scanned from page 96 of the book:


For those who are unable to capture (copy) and use the scanned image of the original page, here it is as text:

"Templer der kaldtes Hov (which temples were called Hov), Germ. Hof (a yard, court); so the temple and court were synonymous notions. This agrees with the Greek; the superior gods having temples, and the inferior simply a (sacred) place enclosed for them. Now the English word church is identically the same (etymologically speaking) as the Northern word Kark originally meaning a place enclosed or set apart (comp. Lat. carcer); but Kark to this very day is the word for High Germ. Kirche (church), used as far as the boundaries of Jutland. Church then (being = Kark) conveys or expresses etymologically nothing else but the original Low German or Danish notion of a place with a boundary to it, as were the old original places of worship; and the visible church, in the present sense, was a subsequent thing only, just as the later temples in Greece were subsequent to the enclosed sacred spots devoted to a deity. This and similar derivations of words from the Northern languages will, it is hoped, do away with etymologies so erroneous, as for instance deriving church (Scotch, Kirk), as some do, from Kuriake oikos (the Lord's house), which derivation, although engenious, is very fallacious."


I EXPOUND THROUGHOUT THIS SECTION ON "CARCER" WHY THE EMPHASIS IS PROPERLY ON THE BOUNDARY LINE OR MARKING ITSELF, THAT IS, MORE THAN THE AREA IT BOUNDS. It is difficult to explain the subtle difference between the boundary and what it encloses. It may be helpful to consider a phrase like "a circled area": Its meaning falls apart if you only focus on the "area" inside and lose sight of the fact it is "circled." If there are 2 areas, one in the shape of a square and one "circled" or "encircled" or within a "circle," and someone directs you to go to the "circled" area, it is completely distinguished from the "square" (or any other) mere "area." In just that way, these words speak of a specifically "BOUNDED" area, or "BOUNDARIED" area. The emphasis is on the "BOUNDS" that designate the area, NOT the area itself. I am convinced this meaning must be kept clear. In the children's game of "dodge-ball" the expression "out of bounds" has this emphasis. While it is true one has left the playing "area" when he goes "out of bounds," the emphasis is on the "BOUNDARY LINE" itself, which marks and "polices" the "border" of what is "out there" versus what is "in here." When we speak of a "BOUNDED AREA" therefore, we must not lose sight of the actual "BOUNDS" and mistakenly look merely at the "area."

As a bit of an aside, another valuable comment (this one from T. J. Buckton) appeared on the same page (page 359) of that issue of Notes & Queries:

"DERIVATION OF CHURCH (3. rd. S. iii. 267.) ? The. Moeso-Gothic uses aihklesjon (or aikklesjo) from ekklesia (Phil. iii. 6; A. Mai's Additions to Zahn,. ii. 69), and does NOT adopt kuriakon. _ T. J. Buckton"

I place the Buckton comment here only for the sake of grouping the "Notes and Queries" material together. But the SUBJECT MATTER of the comment is addressed elsewhere in this treatise as well, That being that the Goths that did eventually "pick up" a Greek word from the east, did NOT pick up "kuriakon" nor any of the kyrios words proposed by the kyrios theorists. They picked up EKKLESIA, which in the Goth is AIKKLESJO.

T. J. Buckton is supported in that fact by the Oxford English Dictionary. I mentioned this reference once above, but here again to show its agreement with BUCKTON. I reproduce the Oxford here exactly, only putting in all CAPS or in bold those words in the Oxford passage I would EMPHASIZE:

"The ordinary name for 'church' in Gr. was ekklesia, and THIS (or BASILICA) was THE name which passed into Latin and ALL the Romanic langs.; ALSO, into ALL the CELTIC langs., OIr. eclais, Ir. and Gael. eglais, Manx agglish, OWelsh ecluis, W. eglwys, Cornish eglos, -es, -is, Breton iliz. Hence an a priori UNLIKELIHOOD that ANY other Greek name should have passed into the Teutonic languages. Moreover ekklesia was actually adopted in GOTHIC, where as aikklesjo it occurs in the (Gothic) N.T. many times."

From the article on "Church," page 199 of the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989, Clarendon Press, Oxford).

The Oxford article does however go on to appease the kyriakists by saying that while it is KNOWN that the Goths definitely and primarily used ekklesia, there is no proof that they might not have additionally picked up kyriakon, but, that if they did, kyriakon would have been ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY used by them for a BUILDING, or place, and absolutely NEVER applied to the body of Christ, the believers, the people of Christ (as the word "church" is so tragically used in the KJV). For, in EVERY Goth literary source referencing any of the New Testament's uses of ekklesia, the Goths PROPERLY used aikklesjo (the Goth ekklesia) for that. THAT is what is KNOWN. Mere CONJECTURE (or theory) is ALL that can be put forward by those who would like to ADDITIONALLY insert kyriakon into the Goth language. And since the main argument of this treatise is that in our BIBLE no word should be put in place of ekklesia whose definition is something OTHER than the definition of EKKLESIA (the called out), then T. J. Buckton and the Oxford are showing the Goths likewise to be this author's allies. They did NOT put a kyrios word in place of ANY ekklesia appearance in the Word of God! To put it another way, a GOTH Bible would agree with me, and REJECT "kyriaka" (kyriakon, etc) in all of the 113 places where ekklesia was the Greek. In fact ALL sources agree with the Oxford Dictionary in admitting (even if they sympathize with the kyrios theory) that the ONLY conceivable use that ANY of the kyriakists can be theoretically granted is a possible application of kyrios-based words for a BUILDING, and NEVER, by ANY stretch, an attachment to any of the 113 verses of the Bible wherein ekklesia is found. In fact, if one's focus is the SCRIPTURES, then since there ARE no Christian buildings in the New Testament, the kyrios theory is locked out, as pathetically defending an utterly NON-Biblical or "extra-biblical" issue. It is worth weighing the fact that if the kyrios theory were someday proven 100 percent correct (which it can't be, for it is dead wrong), it would STILL leave us with the fact that "church" should not be used in place of ekklesia in any of those 113 verses in the New Testament! If the kyrios theory were to fully TRIUMPH and RULE, and every kyrios theorist's fondest wishes be granted, it would still ONLY be on matters OUTSIDE OF THE BIBLE! Their greatest victory could only be (in a fantasy world) that the English word church only meant a building, and came from an earlier word that only meant a building, and, that ekklesia still means the called out ones (the faithful believers), and does NOT mean a building, and so, church or kyriakon would STILL mistranslate 113 verses of Scripture, and COVER OVER and HIDE the meaning of God's Word! What a very strange "accomplishment" for them to dream would be a victory! If they "won" it still would remain that "church" should not have been put in the Bible, for it meant something that the Bible did not. But, the fantasy here entertained of the kyrios theory being found true, is an utter impossibility. It is UNTRUE.

Let me spotlight a little irony on that matter: Numerous Bibles have REJECTED covering over "ekklesia" with "church": William Tyndale's Bible (1526) and the Coverdale Bible (1535) the Matthew Bible (1537) and The Great Bible (1538 and 1569), the Bishop's Bible (1568) and Martin Luther's German Bible (uses "gemeinde" to translate ekklesia, and NOT the German word kirche) and "Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible" (available from Baker Book House), and the Darby translation, and "The Simple English Bible - New Testament" (International Bible Publishing Company, NY) and the Concordant Literal New Testament, and others. Some, like the Concordant, actually KEEP "ekklesia" as "ekklesia" (or ecclesia), leaving it to the reader to render its proper meaning. Here is the "irony": There are kyrios theorists who try to enlist the Goths in their theory, trying to make the Goths an intermediary stage between kyrios words in south-eastern Europe, and northwestern Germany, to make them the messenger-boys who carried the kyrios words that supposedly eventually replaced ekklesia in the Bible. But the opposite is manifestly the fact: The Goths were CLEAR on the matter. The irony is that the attempt to enlist the Goths as a support to the kyrios theory actually militates AGAINST the kyrios theory. In fact we now know that the Goth BIBLE could be added to the partial list of Bibles in this paragraph, as yet one more Bible that does NOT utterly ruin the 113 ekklesia verses.


Oxford, England began with the foundation of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century. As it developed into a town it retained its nature as a RELIGIOUS community. Numerous important religious houses were founded at Oxford, such as Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order, and the houses of the Franciscans, the Dominicans, Trinitarians, Augustinians, and the Carmelites. When the first colleges came into being at Oxford these religious institutions established houses for students closely affiliated with themselves. The colleges at Oxford were SUPPORTED ($$$) BY THE CHURCH. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" is how the saying goes. The primary motive behind Church support was that the Church hoped to monitor and keep a reign on "Greek philosophy" and keep it in line with the established theology of the Church. At times Oxford University was in fact the epicenter of the force exerted by the High Church. Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer were burned at the stake upon being tried as heretics at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the official church of Oxford University. Most certainly the Reformation freed Oxford University to shed its Scholastic shackles and embrace Renaissance education, and it would be sheer ignorance for me, or anyone, to portray Oxford academics as mere "lackeys" of the High Church or anything even approximating that. But it would be a mistake to think there has been no factor of loyalty to the High Church and to Tradition and to the Establishment in general among Oxford scholastics. History declares that there has been. The "curia" party at Oxford was Wycliffe's chief scholastic opposition, and the "Constitutions of Oxford" were Tyndale's opposition. Even in the translation of the "King James" Bible, Oxford scholars (along with Westminster and Cambridge scholars) demonstrated submission to the wishes of the High Church in not correctly translating the 113 "ekklesia" verses of the Bible into English. In fairness, of the no fewer than fifteen of the KJV project men who were Oxford University scholars, the ones most culpable for that compromise were probably only eight primaries; Ralph Ravens, John Harmar, Giles Tomson, Sir Henry Savile, John Peryn, Thomas Ravis, George Abbot, and Richard Eedes. I realize that they had little choice, and they doubtless did not deem right translation of ecclesiastical words worth suffering for (as men like Wycliffe and Tyndale had). But the point is, Oxford has a very long history of instances and cases wherein "Oxford scholars" parrot the party line of the High Church and the English Establishment on sensitive religious matters, rather than "rocking the boat" as they say. In "Oxford" resources don't expect to find scholarship as unhinged from the party line of the High Church as you'd find in the academics of the French "Enlightenment." In Paris they threw off the yoke of the Church entirely, and so the element of "pleasing the High Church and Tradition" went right out the window. In England, on the other hand, the king himself was the Head of the Church of England. In many instances, displeasing the High Church was little different than opposing the king. Even today, if one scrutinizes some of the subtleties and nuances in entries on religious topics in various Oxford resources, that "tiptoeing" or "walking on eggs" can be seen. Perhaps it is as much an "English" trait as it is an "Oxford" one, a hesitancy to appear too non-traditional, and a tendency to pander to the Establishment and to Tradition. "Society" and "dignity" and "respectability" are often times at odds with "raw truth." Sometimes "raw truth" needs a Nathan the prophet type or John the Baptist type who will openly say the king is wrong (2 Sam 12:7, Mark 6:18). Of course that is not a thing to be done frivolously, but when it is a matter of "what saith the Lord." But I ask, what is there upon this earth that is more of a "thus saith the Lord" than His written Word, and the right reception of it? If there is a contest between the king or the establishment and the right reception of God's Word, then we must stand for the Word. I hasten to qualify my remarks by saying that there are innumerable exceptions to the "tiptoeing" type among published Oxford scholars and reference works. My own readers will find that I myself cite confidently from Oxford sources in things that I write. In fact a couple of them are cited in this present treatise. My own learning and understanding has so often been helped by Oxford materials that I could not count them. So I certainly mean no "broadbrush" characterization. Rather, I mean only to say that sometimes that "tiptoeing because of the establishment" is there. It is something to watch for. If you are aware of it, it can even enhance what you pull from the material. Sometimes due to a slight "tiptoeing" an Oxford academic, although trying to "admit" a thing or "acknowledge" a thing is true that is perhaps out of step with established views, will practice "understatement" or will "minimize" the thing, or give it only the slightest mention. By so doing, he can have the best of both worlds: He does not go against convention, and yet he lets it "leak out" that he knows the truth, the position of the "non-conformist party." His pride remains intact, of not being ignorant of the dissenting body of knowledge, but he has not broken with the establishment. In articles that display this trait, if you know how to glean what they let "leak through" it is sometimes significant enough of a hint or tidbit that it will at least put you on the trail of the matter, and you can follow it like a "lead" and actually find the facts elsewhere, boldly and plainly expounded. And it may be thanks to an "Oxford" source that you found your way there. So I acknowledge the value of the scholarship, and I mean no slight. If anything, I am suggesting that you pay MORE attention to their materials, and read them more KEENLY, being alert to things minimized or understated. That's all.

Neither would it be right to single out Oxford works for this observation. A great many reference works bear the same traits. We have more to say on the matter in the "Commentaries" chapter of this work. Many religious commentaries owe their acceptance and success to pandering to whole denominations, or the Institutional Church at large. Sometimes if you need information beyond the "party line" you are simply going to have to dig deeper than some of these resources that are committed to the status quo.

Do we seem too skeptical of religious convention, too distrusting of the traditions of men? I would ask, Have you not learned that very caution from our Lord himself? The very men who raised against Christ the plot to kill him were the conservatives of their day, those devoted to religious tradition, convention, the status quo. They were loyal to and trusting of the tradition of their elders (Mt 15:2, Mk 7:3). Were dead religious tradition merely dead, we might not need to be so earnestly vigilant against it. But "dead" religious tradition is not passive. It does not stand idle. It strangely carries with it a "living" force or vitality that actively opposes Christ the Living Word of God. Religion sees this disruptive Christ come into the temple with a whip and begin to overturn the traditions it has become comfortable with, and it instinctively knows it is threatened, and it rises up to fight. It does not stay passive. Its instinct is to squash every uprising, and to stifle every dissent. It rose up to kill Christ. In the middle ages it burned dissenters and nonconformists at the stake. If it is unable to physically kill such in the western world today, it seeks to "kill" their voice "religiously" in the arena of Christian opinions, with "theological" or "religious" weapons. But the "drive," the "hostility," the "opposition" animating them is today the same force that moved the Pharisees and that moved the Inquisition. Neither is dead religious tradition merely another "way" that men can "settle for" instead of the living vital truth of God. It does actual HARM to God's truth. Jesus said that by their tradition they "made the commandment of God of NONE EFFECT" (Mt 15:6). That is not "passive." Something is actually fighting the effectual working of God's Word. And he said "ye also TRANSGRESS the commandment of God by your tradition" (Mt 15:3). Man-made religious tradition inspires TRANSGRESSION of the Word of God, for it displaces it. And it makes men into REJECTORS of truth. "Full well ye REJECT the commandment of God, that ye may keep YOUR OWN tradition" (Mk 7:9). Do you not see? Understanding what animated Christ's enemies is not as simple as thinking of them as "bad men." No, a "way of religious THINKING" is what Jesus was up against. He sought to EXPOSE it and he DENOUNCED it. Jesus was as much rejected and finally handed over to be crucified by a "WAY OF RELIGIOUS THINKING" as by "men." And believe me, that "WAY" has never gone away from the earth. That "WAY OF RELIGIOUS THINKING" is alive and well in "Christendom" today. "Many shall come in my name," Jesus said. NOT in the name of Buddhism, but called "Christian." NOT in the name of atheism or in the name of hedonism, but bearing the name of "Christian." Peter likewise warned of these. He said "there shall be false teachers among YOU" (Christians), ... and MANY shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom THE WAY OF TRUTH shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of YOU" (2 Pet 2,3). There will be those who pass as, and are taken for, teachers of the CHRISTIAN WAY, "THE WAY OF TRUTH." And BECAUSE the world thinks that these are "THE CHRISTIANS" it causes genuine Christianity to be "evil spoken of." Have you considered the "MERCHANDISE" factor? WHO does Peter say will be made merchandise of? "YOU" refers to the real Christians! The false Christians do not just arise amidst them but then "go away." No, a picture is given there of the false Christians being in SUCH A POSITION OF ACCEPTANCE by the real Christians, that in fact the real Christians are funding, supporting, FINANCING, empowering the false Christians. The TRUE Christians are financially energizing the FALSE teachers! The phrase there, "make merchandise of" is the Greek word "emporeuomai" which is literally where we get our English word "emporium." In California there used to be a large chain of department stores, very much like Macy's. It was called the "Emporium." "You, the saints in the WAY OF TRUTH are going to be the 'emporium' of these people." The same word "emporeuomai" is translated in James 4:13 as "buy and sell, and get gain." Part of "emporeuomai" is "poreuomai" from "peira." It carries not only a sense of "travel" but also to "remove" or to "take away." If I may expound, the overall sense is "trafficking." Genuine Christians are going to be duped by these TEACHERS who are looked upon as CHRISTIANS, and because of them being accepted as the teachers of Christianity, the Christians will be their "emporium." An entire "industry" of "trafficking, merchandising, raking in of finances, a system of buying and selling" of things "Christian" will result. God have mercy, the financial energy of the body of Christ will be hijacked by these so-called "CHRISTIAN" teachers. As "peira" suggests, these "traffickers" in things "Christian" will freely "travel" or "move about" within Christendom. Isn't it amazing how so many televangelists end up with the MONEY of Christians who are not even of the same denomination or training as they? They freely cross over borders of group identity and "harvest" cash out of diverse flocks, far and wide. This is the "peira" aspect of "emporeuomai." Not only do they "travel" freely like the travelling "peddlers" of old, but they "take away" spoils, they "take away" Christian energies, and they "take away" the hearts and minds of God's people. Like pirates or like slave traders, they "take away" or "make off with" the energy and vitality and resources of the people of God. And too often, they make off with, as says Revelation 18:13, the "souls of men." When they "make merchandise of YOU" they do so by attaching all of their lofty claims to supposedly "worshipping God, following Christ, obeying the Holy Spirit, pleasing the Lord," and countless other appeals that go straight to the core of the Christian's heart and soul. Thus they "take away" the "souls of men" and "make merchandise" of them. Oh, the MILLIONS of dollars in transactions in Christian book sales, Christian CDs, Christian conferences, special "drives" and "appeals," and special "emergency crusades" with this and that urgent "Christian" cause in view! Even POLITICIANS are trained to tell the voting Christians that they are a "Christian" so that the votes and donations will come pouring in from duped Christians. They "make merchandise of you."

But let me put that aside for the present and keep us on track regarding "church" and "ekklesia" and "kyriakon," etc: I hope the reader of this work understands clearly that its FIRST and MAIN ASSERTION (that "church" blots out the true meaning of 113 verses of the Inspired Word of God) is utterly UN-AFFECTED by whether my views on these other matters, nor yet even by whether the KYRIOS THEORY is true or false! God did NOT send His Son to suffer, shed his blood, and die, for a bunch of bell towers, pews, and steeples and stained glass windows, neither for the stone walls surrounding all of that. But he DID die for the EKKLESIA, the believers, those whom he has CALLED. If, at the end of the day the kyrios theorists have nothing better to offer than the claim that once upon a time a stone building, a meeting hall, got called "the Lord's" or a kyriakon, what do they imagine they accomplish? They are still left with "church" being completely non-biblical. Their STRONGEST efforts can only, in the end, lead to PROVING our point for us, that "church" OR "kyriakon" mean something ENTIRELY OTHER than ekklesia means.

Allow me to summarize the above: Dr. Fradersdorff bluntly and in print calls the kyrios theory "erroneous" and "very fallacious." Issuing his statements as he did from his chair at Oxford's centre for the study of European languages, I can only suppose he was confident enough in his knowledge that he felt he could ably withstand the flurry of responses that might follow. But perhaps no one dared to take him on. I have never found in any of the kyriakist references a single remark saying anything to the effect of "contrary to Frädersdorff." I think there are several helpful things in what Dr. Frädersdorff said. His comments on temple-building coming along subsequent to mere open air demarcated enclosures is instructive. Follow what he is saying: The Pagans would have a sacred space marked off by bounds, dedicated to their god. Therefore, the "spot" itself will have a long history of being "sacred" even before an actual "temple" with a roof gets built. In other words the place, the ground, the soil, the terra firma is held sacred, long before there is a building with a roof. It is the god's "place" long before there is a "temple" as we usually think of them. I have learned that indeed in Teutonic religion the "sacred space" before "temple" progression of which Fradersdorff speaks really was the regular pattern. When eventually the Pagans did build covered temples for a deity it was almost always at a site that had either been a "sacred space" the longest, or, for the deity who had become the most popular. The latter is usually saying the same thing, in that it takes time for a Pagan god's cult to grow to become the most popular. So in some cases, certainly, a deity being the most important, and, his sacred place having been revered the longest, will coincide. But let's follow the progress all the way to the building of a Christian place of worship. Firstly, it makes PERFECT sense that if the Angles & Saxons had a word for a "religious spot" or a "sacred space" or demarcated zone set apart for the worship of a god, and if that word was CIRCE, that they would say that "the Christians over yonder have a CIRCE"! How completely logical! Why would they NOT say it? Even a REVERSE instance could occur: A band of savage Saxons could come out of the woods in Britain and approach a monk's enclosure, thinking to destroy it. The monk, if he knew THEIR word for a "sacred place" (circe), could throw himself between them and the structure, and cry out their own word, "CIRCE! CIRCE!" hoping they might spare the place (but they didn't). Furthermore, something VERY significant should be noted: The Pope himself issued a command concerning the missionizing of the Pagans in Britain. He ordered that the old shrines, "sacred spaces" and heathen temples not be destroyed, but that rather, Christians should build Christian places of worship directly ON those old sites! This is of ENORMOUS import. Study it for yourself, but "churches" all over Britain are being found to stand on the ancient sites of heathen religion. What the Pope ordered was CARRIED OUT. But think of this: Even though the older Pagan sites were those of the Britons, Celts, etc., the Angles & Saxons would still have called them CIRCES. And, if the Christians came along and built a place of worship on the SITE, it was none the less a CIRCE that they had built upon! The Christian "dominicum" or "basilica" was built on a CIRCE site. So the place was a CIRCE before the "dominicum" was built, and was still called a CIRCE afterward, for DOUBLE reason; one, because it was an old sacred place, and two, because CIRCE was what the Angles & Saxons called EVERY designated "religious place," even the ones set up by Christians. These things would even be MORE likely to be, if we are considering the "frontier" of Christian missions. Consider, a monk is sent to evangelize the heathen, to go deeper into dangerous territory than has yet been attempted. So he comes into that territory, and camps out, and finds the spot where he wants to set up shop. It's going to be years before anything resembling a "temple" is reared up. The first things that are going to be set up are chicken pens and hog pens and a lean-to, and fences for a garden. The first "structures" to appear are in the way of fences and corrals, and perimeter markers, lines of demarcation, identifying the property that he is going to call "holy ground." All of the first rudimentary work of establishing a mission loudly speaks what the Latin word "CARCER" speaks: Boundaries, property lines, fences, markers, and enclosures. How absolutely REASONABLE to think that Angles & Saxons peering out from the forest will go back to their fellows with a report that the monk is making CARCERS, or, a CIRCE. Now tie the last knot: The Romans left the Latin language in Britain when they left. And more than ANYONE, it would be missionizing monks that RETAINED the fading Latin, for it remained the liturgical language of the "churches" so-called. But behold: Not only would the missionary monks themselves likely call all of their "perimeter fencing" and designating of the holy space by the Latin word CARCER, but, here in this treatise we have EVEN suggested that the Latin CARCER and the Anglo-Saxon CIRCE might have both been from the SAME PARENT word, along with a Celtic word like KRIKA! Right there on site, all the involved parties may have been aware they were speaking the same language, but for some variation! All the words being related, they may even have provided "common ground" between these people.




The Rev. William Barnes, B.D., although a Christian clergyman and the founder and teacher and headmaster of a school, is remembered today in the encyclopedias primarily for his work in two fields, Linguistics and Poetry. He is ranked with such other luminaries of poetry as Robert Burns and John Clare, and the Encyclopedia Britannica says that he influenced Thomas Hardy and Gerard Manly Hopkins. But any biographical study will quickly reveal that the reason he loved and wrote poetry was that poetry served his greater love, Linguistics, as its vehicle. All who knew him and wrote about him are unanimous in declaring that his life-long work in philology (especially Anglo-Saxon, or "Old English") was his supreme passion. The Britannica says the same: "Poetry was his love, PHILOLOGY his PASSION."

Barnes was educated at Cambridge University, was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1848, and took his Bachelor of Divinity in 1851. For his advanced knowledge of linguistics, including a profound depth in biblical Hebrew and Greek, Barnes was recommended to serve on the Committee for Revisal in the making of the Revised Version of the Bible, and samples of his work in Bible translation were submitted to them for study. In the end he did not serve on the Committee itself, but letters of correspondence to him reveal that they found his work correct and scholarly, and one of the revisers wrote to him, "in some instances we have already adopted a rendering which, though not in your own words, gives the sense you prefer." He was most certainly a scholar of the same magnitude as those serving on the Committee, and in one of the letters from them he is told, "We are now at work upon Isaiah xvi., and shall be glad of any hints which you may have to give us."

If I may venture a speculation of my own: In the area of criticism of the Revised Version some people are interested in the character and qualifications of the various men who made up the committees for translation. The lives of the revisers have been scrutinized and numerous studies have been published by critics, essentially grouping them as either the "bad guys" or the "good guys," the "litmus test" used ordinarily being how "evangelical" or not the different revisers were in their own beliefs, such as how committed they were to divine inspiration, the deity of Christ, and the atonement for sin by His blood, etc. These studies are easy to obtain today, and there is no shortage of information about the makeup of the committees. There did indeed arise such "factions" or "camps" among the revisers, which opposed each other. There were resignations by committee members (over principles), and, there were numerous deaths along the way, easily understood by the fact that many who served in the revision were scholars who were already of advanced age. But it is a simple fact that resignations and deaths resulted in shifts in the "balance of power" one might say, between those who are perceived as "good guys" or "bad guys" in the committee. It is my speculation (and I cannot say that it is anything more than that) that the resignations and deaths of three or four of the primary perceived "good guys" (read evangelicals) at the very top of the Revised project (and the resulting "shift" in said "balance") may have had somewhat to do with Rev. William Barnes not coming to the work of the committee. One such significant death was that of Dr. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, who was in fact the original Chairman. Actually, it is commonly said that Wilberforce resigned, and then died, brokenhearted over how the Revision was being handled. Various histories that have been written suggest that the "bad guys" (if I may) replaced the resigned and/or deceased "evangelicals" with their own "sort" (In example, Wilberforce was replaced by Ellicott, a change decried by many). My point is (and again I stress that it is mere speculation) that it was the party of the "good guys" who would have called William Barnes to work with them on the Revised Version, but the influence of their party was weakened by resignations and deaths. In fact, Bishop Wilberforce himself was one of those to whom the various recommendations of Barnes were being submitted. It may well have been the resignation (and subsequent death) of Wilberforce, and his replacement with Ellicott that barred the way against ("good guy") William Barnes. I don't know. Before I move on, please take note of my deliberate quote marks around such phrases as "bad guys." I myself have not ventured an in-depth study of the lives of the committee members who worked on the Revised Version, and I do not have my own list of "bad guys" as some do. For instance, I do not really know one thing about the above-mentioned Bishop Ellicott, to make him one of the perceived "bad guys." I have merely glanced at some of the existing such claims "out there" and caught the basic "gist" of them, and I have here made reference to those things merely to let you know there is some (albeit very little) "background" behind my notions and speculations about the Revised Committees. But I hasten to say that having not studied the lives of the committee men myself, I cannot say "Amen" to those essays in circulation which group this one or that one with the "bad guys." As to whether our subject (Barnes) might have served on the Revised except for such influence "shifts," I am sure we shall not know, this side of that Great Day when all is revealed. My only point here, actually, is that he was most certainly QUALIFIED FOR THE WORK OF BIBLE TRANSLATION, and that scholars of his day thought so as well.

That William Barnes is now being quoted in print and on the Internet in the 21st century would not come as surprise to some who knew him, and who actually stated their belief that Barnes was ahead of his time, and that his knowledge might come forth to serve in a future day.

In the Preface of The Life of William Barnes we read that Barnes "always had a great repugnance to be 'written about,'" but "recognised the possibility of a FUTURE necessity for his work to be given to the public."

Barnes' daughter said of him, "SOME men live before their age, others behind it. My father did both. In action he was behind the world, or rather apart from it; in thought he was FAR BEFORE his time, a thinker who MAY PROBABLY LEAD THE NEXT GENERATIONS even MORE than his own. A great and deep student of the past, he drew from it inferences and teaching for the FUTURE. The reading world know him chiefly for his poems, but the making of poems was but a small part of his intellectual life. His most earnest studies and GREATEST AIMS were in PHILOLOGY." - (The Life of William Barnes). "May probably lead the next generations." She says lead them in what, more than any other of his skills? PHILOLOGY.

William Barnes was a prodigious writer, and no list that I have seen of his writings is fully complete, and neither is the one I give here. But among his works are these: The Philological Grammar (full title, "A Philological Grammar, grounded upon English, and formed from a comparison of more than sixty Languages: being an Introduction to the Science of Grammars of all Languages, especially English, Latin, and Greek") - Early England and the Saxon English - (A separate work similarly titled) Early England and the Saxon-English: With Some Notes on the Father-stock of the Saxon-English, the Friseans - Tiw; or, a View of the Roots and Stems of the English as a Teutonic Tongue - Translation of the Psalms, from comparison of the Biblical Hebrew and the Septuagint - An Anglo-Saxon Delectus, including Extracts from Anglo-Saxon History and the Saxon Chronicle - A Grammar and Glossary of the Dorset Dialect - Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect - Poems of Rural Life as well as Rural Poems in Common English - Hwomely Rhymes (in dialect) - Notes on Ancient Britain and the Britons (compiled from his Collections for Courses of Lectures on the subject) - Outlines of Geography and Ethnography (a school textbook) - The Etymological Glossary - A Catechism of Government in General and that of England in Particular - The Mnemonical Manual - A Corrective Concordance - The Duty of Obedience to Moral Power Explained - The Advantages of a More Common Adoption of the Mathematics as a Branch of Education, or Subject of Study - A work on engineering mathematics, titled A Mathematical Investigation of the Principle of Hanging Doors, Gates, Swing Bridges, and other Heavy Bodies Swinging on Vertical Axes - Exercises in Practical Science, containing the Main Principles of Dynamics, Statics, Hydrostatics, and Hydrodynamics - The Euclid of Drawing - The Elements of Linear Perspective - An Anglo-Saxon Primer - An Outline of English Speech-Craft - An Arithmetical & Commercial Dictionary - An Investigation into some of the most Important Laws of Language - An Investigation of the Laws of Case in Language, exhibited in a system of natural cases; with some observations on Prepositions, Tense, and Voice - another Anglo-Saxon grammar textbook, Se Gefylsta. (The Helper): An Anglo Saxon Delectus, John Russell Smith publishers, 1849 and 1866, and The Elements of English Grammar (of this book Bernard Jones has written, "the book would be far beyond the abilities of most of today's undergraduates. It is so advanced for its time that one cannot imagine that it was used much beyond Barnes's own classroom in the 1840s. It is certainly not a text book for the ordinary boys' school.")

In his book Early England and the Saxon-English: With Some Notes on the Father-stock of the Saxon-English, the Friseans, Barnes says the following on page 75 in the chapter on Christianity,

"SOME take the word church, kirk, or kirche to be a worn-shape of the word Kuriakon, of the Lord, as the church was called TO Kuriakon OIKON, the Lord's House, though, in the Western Church, in communion with which the churches of the Teutonic and Celtic peoples arose, the church was called Ecclesia, which, in French, has become Eglise, and in Welsh, Eglwys.

"The stem, K-r, or K-r-k, however, in the Teutonic speech, means an inclosing line, or ring, and Chirihhe (old German) and Kirche (middle German) means a Ring or Round ; and it is more likely that kirk, kirche, was used for a holy inclosure even in heathen times, and that kirk, kirche, church, means the (hallowed) inclosure." *

In short, a "set apart" or "sacred" enclosure, most typically, circular.

If I may insert an opinion on the wording here, I think that Barnes perhaps intends the phrase "as the church was called TO Kuriakon OIKON" to be understood as part of what "SOME" claim, that he has just referred to, "SOME take the word church ... to be," he says, etc. In other words Barnes might not be saying as from himself, that "the church was called TO Kuriakon OIKON," but rather is saying basically, "SOME take the word church to be from kuriakon, and also THINK THAT the church was called TO Kuriakon OIKON." For in fact the claims "out there" (regarding the Germanic word circe) were only that the church was called "kuriakon." As I have discussed at some length above, the "OIKON" part was appended TO the argument to give it added rationale. But "bottom line" as they say, linguists knew (and know) that even a later "OIKON" add-on would have entered vocabularies long after the Germans (Angles, Saxons, Friseans, etc) were using "circe," which makes it far too late. But the "kyrios theory" is the belief that "circe" came from "kyriakon," pure and simple, not the belief it came from the unwieldly (and extremely tardy) "TO Kuriakon OIKON." Barnes surely knew this, and so I speculate that he is including this phrase in the entire fallacy that he is refuting. Now there is a possibility that Barnes was responding to a paper by the Catholic teacher, A. Van Hove, which later worked its way into the Catholic Encyclopedia. It became an article in that work in 1907, but Van Hove would naturally have been working on it for some time before that. Barnes wrote these statements in 1869, and he died in 1886. But he may have read something of Van Hove's circulating in the 1860s. I conjecture it because Van Hove used the term "kyriakon oikon" and it is at least possible that it was he whom Barnes was refuting. However, in Van Hove's article which was incorprated into the Catholic Encyclopedia, he does not use the term "TO Kuriakon oikon" as in Barnes' comments, but simply "Kuriakon oikon." What Van Hove is talking about actually is when the early Christians still met and worshipped in HOUSES, that is, private residences, their own HOMES (as discussed by me elsewhere in this treatise). He refers to that room in the home which was USED for Christian meetings. He imagines that a time must have come when that "apartment" as he calls it, probably became detached from the private residence. Historians have found mention of the phrase domus ecclesia or "house of the ekklesia." Van Hove supposes that this may coincide with the "detached apartment" and that "house of the ekklesia" then mutates into the "domus Dei" or "house of God." Not showing any "path" or connecting record of it, or "genealogy" of these terms, he simply says that this "domus Dei" is what we now know as "Kuriakon oikon," or rather that it came to BE known as that. When we read these things carefully, it becomes clear that the writer is simply a "kyrios theorist" or "kyriakist" and is doing what they all do. They start with a comparatively recent or "modern" time when men call "church" buildings "the house of the Lord," and the "kyrios theorist" works "backwards" or "retroactively," ASSUMING ALREADY that our familiar "house of the Lord" MUST track back to the earliest Christians and their meetings in homes. Then they simply make the intervening "dots" connect, such as "domus Dei" and "house of the ekklesia" and etc. But things become completely muddled in the process. They will sometimes even turn history BACKWARDS to make the thing "work" for them. For instance, Van Hove would have his reader believe that the LATIN "domus ecclesia" which he translates as "house of the church" (creating a mess right there) and the LATIN "domus Dei," that is, LATIN terms of the WESTERN ROMAN "CHURCH" (as it evolved into the "Roman Catholic Church") actually "BECAME" the "Kuriakon oikon." It becomes nonsensical. While on the one hand the kyriakists want people to think that Kuriakon made an amazing missionary journey up out of the Greek southeast of Europe and made its way to the barbarian North Sea Germans of Schlesvig before 299 AD, on the other hand, they want to tell you that "kyriakon" itself evolved out of Western Latin-speaking Roman Catholic terminology! It is crazy enough to have "kyriakon" trek up and over Europe out of the Greek south east and fully saturate the vocabulary of the Schlesvig Germans before 299 AD (two or three centuries before even LATIN Christianity reaches them), but ADDITIONALLY, some (like Van Hove) would have us WAIT first for the WESTERN ROMAN CHURCH to evolve terminology and get the GREEK EAST to take it up into THEIR vocabulary! If, over 300 years, as Van Hove thinks, the LATIN church evolved the terminology, only finally getting to "domus Dei" and "domus ecclesia" or "house of the ekklesia," before the process began of the GREEKS adopting and turning those terms into "Kuriakon," there simply is no time for the next pilgrimage of words, from the Greeks to the Northern Germans! And how is this for irony: The Latins had "ecclesia" from the "ekklesia" of the GREEK. "Doma ecclesia" is simply "house of the EKKLESIA." The nonsense comes FULL CIRCLE when Van Hove suggests the eastern Greeks had to wait for the Latins to bring back to them THEIR OWN WORD, EKKLESIA/ECCLESIA in the form of "doma ecclesia" before they could morph it into "kyriakon oikon." It makes no sense. Yet he says it. He tells us that the Western Latin "domus Dei" and "domus ecclesia" BECAME the Greek kyriakon oikon. Even the most meagre logic would suppose rather that the Latin Christians in Italy would make contact with the Northern Germans long before the Greek language would, and that the Western Roman Christians would transmit to the Anglo-Saxons the term "domus Dei" which the Anglo-Saxons could then translate into "House of God" in their own language. But THAT didn't happen, and neither do ANY kyriakists propose ANY Western Roman (Latin) basis for the "circe" (church) of the Anglo-Saxons. Barnes is rather kind in how he mildly dismisses it. Dr. Frädersdorff is a bit more blunt, calling the kyrios theory "erroneous" and "very fallacious."

Below is that passage from page 75 of Barnes' book, scanned:

* Page 75, Early England and the Saxon-English: With Some Notes on the Father-stock of the Saxon-English, the Friseans, By William Barnes, B.D., London, 1869.


Bernard Jones wrote a biographical sketch on William Barnes and a study on his writing of school textbooks and curriculum, titled "William Barnes's Manuals of Instruction" in which the author says of Barnes's textbooks written between 1829-1849 that they "were aimed rather at the teacher than at the pupils." He says "Barnes is acknowledged to have been an enlightened teacher and he had pupils who later became distinguished." Barnes, he says, "was destined to take a place in the front rank of English poets of the nineteenth century and to win continuing fame as a pioneer of British philological endeavour."

That he was "a pioneer of British philological endeavour" is understatement: In fact William Barnes was the spearhead of an actual movement in Great Britain to raise the study of ancient "English" or "Old English" or "Anglo-Saxon" in schools to be on a par with the study of Latin and Greek, making it mandatory for higher education. His cause did not meet with success in the end, but the movement did succeed in bringing much-needed attention to the study of Anglo-Saxon, for which scholars of the language today are much indebted to him. Perhaps Barnes' "perfectionism" regarding Anglo-Saxon was partly responsible for the movement's lack of wider acceptance. Barnes was a "purist" regarding Anglo-Saxon. He passionately argued not only for its study on a national scale, but his "grammarian's heart" also called for the English language to be purged of linguistic influences that were not truly "Anglo-Saxon." His passion for "real Anglo-Saxon" was perhaps just too much for the average layman to embrace. But his gifts were not wasted, and his labours were not in vain. Here we are in the 21st century, benefitting from his passion, even if immediately only regarding this one word, "church." The bringing out of TRUTH is in fact the call of this book. Perhaps there is none more suited to the need at hand than a scholar of Anglo-Saxon like William Barnes, who was so passionate about examining the "real" meaning of "English" words. I am thrilled for the work of such a scholar to be giving its "Amen" and support to what we say here in this book. If what they suspected in the 1800s was true, that there would be "a FUTURE necessity" and place for and use of this man's knowledge and work, perhaps this is that hour, and perhaps we are an instance of the fulfillment of it.

The High Church which burned men at the stake for attempting to correctly translate the Bible into English, has suppressed these things since medieval times. When the dark ages passed, and they could no longer kill them, they had to settle for ostracizing them. And in modern times they have had to settle for simply consigning them to obscurity by the tactic of exclusion, leaving them out of the circles of "approved" and favored "academia." They have stifled scholar after scholar simply because the Pagan word "church" has benefitted the upper echelon of "church" hierarchy so well, for so long. For generations the upper echelon has gotten their message across to scholars and Bible translators, that rightly translating "ekklesia" into English and insisting that the correct translation replace the word "church" is a career breaker.



In the legend of Rome's founding, the Romans were taught that Romulus took "THE SACRED PLOW" and dug a furrow, creating a SACRED BOUNDARY, in a circle, around what would become the future city. This sacred CIRCLE BOUNDARY was called the Pomerium. In the legend, Remus, the brother of Romulus, challenging Romulus, jumped across the sacred furrow line, for which transgression he was executed on the spot.

The story may not be mere myth. It is extremely ancient. Says George Cornewall Lewis, Romulus "proceeds to mark out the limits of the new town with a PLOUGH drawn by an ox and a heifer " a usage which the Romans STILL PRACTISED in the time of Dionysius. ..." and states, "... the foundation legend of Rome" was PRESERVED and PASSED DOWN and finally given "NARRATIVE form by Fabius Pictor, the EARLIEST Roman historian, and related by him and other subsequent historians of their country as THE AUTHENTIC ACCOUNT of the origin of the Roman state. It was unquestionably accepted and believed by the bulk of the Roman people in the age of Augustus, as a TRUE HISTORY." (An Inquiry Into the Credibility of the Early Roman History by the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis Vol. I, pages 392, 394, 1855).

Some interpreters of the story have suggested that the shedding of blood at the BOUNDARY line represents not only the importance of the SACRED ENCLOSURE, but also presents the idea of blood sacrifice, and suggests Romulus as the first acting "priest" of Rome. The SACRED BOUNDARY LINE was established in the very blood of the founder's own twin. We will show that the ritual shedding of blood at boundary lines was in fact an established custom.

The idea is alluded to in the poem "Ce qu'ont dit les Montagnes" (What the Mountain Said) by Leona Queyrouze (1861-1938) wherein the poet personifies the Palatine Hill as speaking:

"I slept unaware, and when I awoke
I was crushed under the sacred plow of Romulus
And the elected gods called for the blood of Remus
Which fertilized my breast-- and the harvest was Rome!"

Romulus and Remus were semi-divine characters in Roman legend: Their father was the god Mars, the god of war, and their mother a Vestal Virgin (an important celibate priestess in Roman culture), whom the god had taken by force. The twins were set adrift in the river Tiber to deliberately kill them. The river-god Tiberinus then rescued them and gave them to a she-wolf, Lupa, to suckle. Subsequently, the god Tiberinus married Rhea Silvia, the twins' mother. Some historians think that the she-wolf, Lupa, was an error, based on "lupa" (meaning a she-wolf) being also a Roman term for a prostitute. Livy commented that it was believed that "Lupa" was the wife of a shepherd who eventually raised the twins, and that she was a prostitute known to the other shepherds as the Wolf. And some have associated (by different arguments) the she-wolf with the goddess of prostitutes. In any case, the Roman myths associate the origins of Romulus and Remus with gods and goddesses, and the Vestal Virgins. It is not unreasonable therefore to seek Roman religious concepts and meanings in the story of the twins and what they did. The blood of a twin son of the war god Mars and a priestess was shed upon crossing the Pomerium, THE SACRED BOUNDARY LINE. This is the very GENESIS of Rome, in their myth. Is it too difficult to imagine in the execution of Remus at the Pomerium, a symbolism demonstrating that the very progeny of gods and priests may be sacrificed for the SANCTITY of the BOUNDARY LINE?

I cannot PROVE that (blood of Remus) meaning now after maybe 2,500 years, but I offer it to the reader merely as food for thought, as we go on with the boundary lines issue. However, elsewhere in its place I show my readers that in the later years, the Pomerium, the SACRED BOUNDARY LINE was still considered by the Romans to be PROTECTED BY THE GODS, and that the gods might strike dead anyone who trespassed it. Tacitus records that in his own time the exact place of the original SACRED BOUNDARY LINE was still marked by a bronze statue of of the sacred bull that had drawn the plow. Since the BOUNDARY and PLOW belief is one of the oldest stories of the Latins, and, as it speaks of BEGINNINGS, it is possible that ELEMENTS of the myth actually survived from an EARLIER time, perhaps even from before the "Latins" came into "Italy." There may be in it some elements of myth and culture surviving from when the "Latins" were "Celts" and were the "next door neighbors" of the Germans, as discussed above. We will say it here in another section, but it may be observed also that Caesar claimed that the Germans held numerous of the same ancient gods and myths the Romans held. Why should we dismiss the possibility that the belief in the INVIOLABLE SACRED BOUNDARY LINE may have likewise derived from that common ancient past?

A word is perhaps fitting however regarding the many and varied historians that came along subsequently, and wrote of Rome's founding: Some were discernably embarrassed at the common belief in things supernatural, such as the notions that gods had raped women, or that wolves suckled human infants. Livy (who wrote some 700 to 1,000 years after Rome's founding) himself tried to both appease devoted believers in the myths, as well as to paint himself as being above such common and crude superstitions. On the one hand he said that belief in "the supernatural" and "divine ancestry ... adds dignity to the past" and declared that "if any nation deserves" such glory, Rome did. On the other hand, he forthrightly stated of the myths, "I myself set little store by them." Livy says the mother of the twins was raped, but does not admit that a god was the rapist. He even goes so far as to say the woman may have made up the story to keep herself out of trouble. Odd, that one who "sets little store by" the legends, speaks as though the woman was real, the rape was real, the pregnancy, and etc. Like others, as mentioned, he also suggests that the she-wolf of the legend was a human prostitute, and he portrayed the killing of Remus as due to mere rivalry. He suggests that Remus mocked the boundary set by Romulus and jumped over it to show his scorn for Romulus' new city, and that Romulus killed him in simple rage. But even Livy writes that "augury" (interpreting the will of the gods by signs and omens) was at work, and that the competing siblings were each interpreting the omens from the gods as favoring their own cause. Irregardless of their "atheism" or "skeptism," all of the early writers admit that belief in the gods played a role in the Romulus and Remus legend, regardless of what might have been historical fact.

In reading the various histories that tell the story of Romulus digging the boundary line around Rome, the casual reader might miss the fact that the PLOW Romulus used is almost universally referred to as "the SACRED plow." One reads in almost all of the tellings of it, that "Romulus took THE SACRED plow and plowed a ... ." He didn't just take "any old plow" and perform this deed, he took "THE SACRED plow" for the purpose. I said above that the story may cast Romulus in a PRIESTLY light. Rome was not the only city founded with this ritual. In Roman Cities in Italy and Dalmatia by Arthur L. Frothingham, Ph.D., page 230, the author is expounding on the great Colony Arch in the Roman city of Aosta, and says, "This arch is on the sacred pomerium line that encircled the walls at that distance ... The line was originally marked by a trench DUG BY THE CONSECRATING PRIEST with his SACRED PLOW and oxen." The ritual of digging the SACRED RING with the SACRED PLOW belonged to the priest of the people, and was an ancient ceremony of the Latins. A History of Rome by Robert Fowler Leighton (page 15) says "From the very first the city, according to the custom of the Latins, was encompassed by a RING-WALL and the SACRED BELT of the pomerium." Then on Rome in particular Leighton (in concert with almost all others who tell the story of the digging of the pomerium) says Romulus "then drew a furrow round it with THE SACRED PLOW, and along by the furrow he built a wall which marked the line or SACRED BELT of the pomerium" (page 27). The RING, or RING-wall, or SACRED BELT is "DUG BY THE CONSECRATING PRIEST" with "the SACRED PLOW." We will not here venture into all of the intricate religious meanings and symbolisms in ancient myths and cultures, but merely state the "gist" of what the "sacred plow and furrow" meant to ancient Pagans. At its most primitive base it invoked the people's most ancient Pagan deities, the first male, and the first female principle, found in all agricultural and fertility cults. The earth was the first mother (to the Pagans) and usually the sky or rain god, the deity above, who sends down rain and so makes the crops spring from the earth, is the male principle. In actual farming, by plowing the earth, it is made more fertile, and is prepared to bring forth its fruits. The planting of seed goes hand in hand with the plowing open of a furrow. One plows, plants seed, and then rain from above waters the earth and "she" brings forth. The most ancient of humanity's first Pagans, those apostates who abandoned the religion of Noah, made "gods" of that male/female principle, which seemed to be the law of all nature. The male "sky god" with his rain and thunder, and the female "earth goddess" who brings forth fruit, lie behind the majority of all ancient fertility cults. If my reader does even the briefest research he will be able to confirm THAT as the background behind the symbolism of the "SACRED PLOW" in the ancient religions. I think that whether there ever was a real "Romulus" or was not, the ancient custom of the Latins, of having their priest use the SACRED PLOW to consecrate and set the boundary of a new community, traces back to those origins.

We do not intend too extensive a detour off into Roman antiquities here. Rather we intend merely that our reader is armed with information on the ancient (perhaps "archetypal") European concept of a SACRED AREA being demarcated by a LINE or a CIRCLE made by PLOWING a FURROW. We hope our rationale will appear as you proceed.


(and how this deity morphed its way down through the ancient cultures)

Establishing the BOUNDARY with the agricultural PLOW becomes less mysterious when you realize that the ancients (including the Romans) worshipped one and the selfsame deity as both the god of AGRICULTURE and the god of BOUNDARIES. Let me here touch briefly on the gods of the PLOW and of BOUNDARIES, and then return specifically to the legend of Rome's founding.

One deity is variously called in antiquity by the names of "Ninurta, Ningirsu, Ninib" (in Babylon), and "Saturn" (at Rome). The early Romans called him Saturn, and most of us are familiar with the feast named for him, the Saturnalia, and that the Romans gave us the name of our weekday, "Satur-day" (meaning Saturn's day).

Below we will show that "Ninurta" at Rome was "incarnated" actually as (or into) SEVERAL deities, and not just Saturn. But who was this person, "Saturn," elsewhere known as "Ninurta, Ningirsu, and Ninib?"

I would not ordinarily cite from a Wikipedia entry, unless I know the information contained in it is factual and is verified elsewhere. This is an instance of that, and the support will follow below in this treatise. But I mainly cite the Wikipedia here simply to demonstrate how WIDELY KNOWN or universal a certain piece of knowledge is, to wit, the relationship of the Mesopotamian god Ninurta with the Roman god Saturn. Here is the Wikipedia article on Ninurta:

"Ninurta (Lord of Plough) in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology ... identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib ... In the astral-theological system NINURTA was associated with the planet SATURN, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, the Greeks equated Ninurta with their harvest-god Kronos, WHOM THE ROMANS IN TURN IDENTIFIED WITH their fertility-god SATURN -- hence the current name of the planet." - Wikipedia-

Let me reduce that: "NINURTA ... WHOM THE ROMANS ... IDENTIFIED WITH ... SATURN". It is properly reduced to that fact, as will be shown below when you come to the Funk & Wagnall Encyclopedia entry rightly pointing out "THE BLUNDER OF CONFUSING SATURN WITH CHRONOS." The ancient Romans did NOT mix up their deity Saturn with the Greek Kronos. Much LATER, yes, the two were wrongly conflated, even by Roman writers, and even more so in MODERN times. What the article just cited has right is that indeed the Mesopotamian god NINURTA was identified with the Roman god SATURN. But the reasons and the processes behind that FACT are rather those found in this treatise. The Greeks did not bring the Ninurta association to Saturn. It was already there. That LIKEWISE the Greek Kronos was associated with Ninurta, I have no reason to dispute. I merely wish to make clear that the Greek Kronos was not the CHANNEL or PROCESS by which the Mesopotamian Ninurta evolved into the Saturn of the Romans. If Ninurta became Kronos to the Greeks, that's fine. He became Saturn to the Romans independently of the Greek Kronos.

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Samuel M. Jackson, D.D., LL.D., Jakob Herzog, Philip Schaff, Albert Hauck, et al, Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1911, on page 140, references "Ninib ... a god of fertility, and the guardian of BOUNDARIES." And on Page 68 it tells us that in the Babylonian religion, in the primordial past, the god Marduk assigned the planets to their respective deities, and he gave "SATURN to NINIB."

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica says similarly under the entry for Ninib (another name for Ninurta): "In the astral-theological system Ninib becomes the planet Saturn." And it says it as well in the entry for Astrology: "... five planets were identified with the great gods of the pantheon ... Jupiter with Marduk ... Saturn with Ninib ..." etc.

To risk painting an overly simplistic picture, we may imagine a "Latin" (in a pre-"Roman" day) standing next to a Babylonian, and the Latin points to Saturn in the sky, and says, "the god Saturn." The Babylonian replies, "Yes. And in our tongue this is Ninib." But more realistically we ought not to imagine such things coming about by foreign strangers meeting up and comparing notes on "astral religion." For, as most students of antiquity already know, and especially such of us as believe the biblical account of antiquity, "astrology" and "astrological religion" was a product of Babylonia. Most of us who look back to the time of the building of the Tower of Babel in the plain of Shinar, and to the time of Nimrod and Semiramis, see there the nativity of these things. Granted, some look even earlier, to Genesis 6 before the Great Deluge, and to that apostasy when the sons of God took wives of the daughters of men. As did Josephus and many other early writers, they believe that this is when "astrological religion" was taught to the daughters of men. But the facts of these things are almost entirely lost in the mists of pre-history. It is not until men after the Deluge revived and restored the sins and apostasies of the pre-Flood world that we have anything approaching a "record" of these things. And it is in the rise of Babylon that we see these things nurtured and developed into an identifiable system. I believe that the Indo-European people group (containing the future "Latins" of "Italy") most likely carried their beliefs about Ninib/Saturn with them from back at that stage in remote antiquity when the Indo-Europeans and the Mesopotamians parted ways.

The ancient Babylonian/Sumerian god of boundaries was named variously Ninurta, Ningirsu, or Ninib. In the great age of migration, the worship of this deity was brought into Europe by the people groups we now call the Indo-Europeans.

In The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria by Morris Jastrow, Ph.D., page 174, we are told that the Babylonian god Ninib has one "capacity as a god of AGRICULTURE" and one as "the PROTECTOR OF THE BOUNDARY." The author refers to "monuments which were placed at the boundaries" in this god's cult, and says, "To this class of monuments the name of 'Kudurru,' or 'BOUNDARY' stones, was given by the Babylonians."

Please note both "agriculture" and "boundary."

Other sources say the same thing: In Real Estate in Ancient Times by Maurice F. Reidy, M. A. I., the author tells us,

      "In the British Museum there are several of those boundary stones of particular interest ... Then there is the story on another boundary stone of the gracious act of king Nebuchadnezzar who ... Another deed recording a purchase by Marduk-nasir, the king's officer, states ... After the description of the different items included in the consideration paid and the acknowledgement of their receipt by the grantor, there comes this curse which the grantor calls down upon anyone who shall question the title:

May Ninib, THE LORD OF THE BOUNDARY and the boundary stone, tear out his boundary-stone, tread down his boundary, and change his holding.

There follows after this the line of witnesses to the deed, which in this case numbers thirteen, including the son of the governor, the son of the administrator, and the son of the king."

The information quoted by Mr. Reidy is likely from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Edited by James Hastings, published by Scribner's, New York, 1915 on page 791 in Volume 14, where the same Babylonian curse reference is made,

"May Ninib, the LORD OF THE BOUNDARY and the boundary stone, tear out his boundary-stone, tread down his boundary, and change his holding."

The Encyclopedia Britannica Online, in their entry for Ninurta (which is Ninib), says, "Ninurta was the farmer's version of the god of the thunder and rainstorms of the spring. He was also the power in the floods of spring and was GOD OF THE PLOW AND OF PLOWING."

The Encyclopedia Mythica says THE SAME THING of Ninurta (Ninib), that he is god of the PLOUGH: "The Sumero-Babylonian god of rain, fertility, war, thunderstorms, wells, canals, floods, THE PLOUGH and the South Wind." Reference, "Ninurta." Encyclopedia Mythica. 2007. Encyclopedia Mythica Online. 25 Nov. 2007, www.pantheon.org/articles/n/ninurta.html

Further references to the ancient "SACRED" or "HOLY PLOW" of Ninurta (Ninib) may be found in the Babylonian tales of Isme, Dagan, and Enlil's Chariot, but which I felt would overly burden this writing.

I would have my reader take just a couple of things from the above information as you move on: Historians who treat of ancient Rome are agreed that the Romans had a belief in a "SACRED PLOW" and that this "sacred plow" was used to dig a gigantic CIRCLE or RING on the ground. The RING was likewise "SACRED." This RING was the BOUNDARY of the enclosed area. It was a SACRED BOUNDARY LINE. All things "sacred" in antiquity were deemed to be so because of association with the GODS involved with the particular thing. Saturn was most anciently GOD OF THE PLOW and GOD OF BOUNDARIES. The Indo-Europeans, before branching off into "Latins" and "Germans" and "Greeks" and etc., had this deity and this worship, for it goes farther back in antiquity, even to Mesopotamia. And yet it survived and was carried over into the Greek and the Roman cultures. THE SACRED CIRCLE was a BOUNDARY which was associated with THE GOD OF BOUNDARIES. It may prove valuable on another track to make a mental note that the "Latins" and hence the "Romans" received these beliefs and practices (their SACRED RINGS, SACRED CIRCLES, SACRED BOUNDARIES) anciently from the same source as did the GERMANIC peoples.

Above in this treatise we read that the 1963 Britannica on the Latin Language says, "Precisely ... by what route THIS TONGUE (Latin) was BROUGHT TO the banks of the Tiber is not known, although IT MAY BE CONJECTURED THAT IT CAME FROM SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE ACROSS THE ALPS AND APPENINES, and ... the Italic group of dialects, including Latin itself and its closest congeners like Faliscan ... and next to Greek and GERMANIC ... their similarities ... make it certain that the linguistic ancestors of the CELTIC and Italic-speaking peoples must have lived for a long period in close community."

And we read that John Lord says, "... the SAXONS belonged to the same TEUTONIC race, whose remotest origin can be traced to Central Asia, - kindred, indeed, to the early INHABITANTS OF ITALY and Greece, whom we call Indo-European... ." (Pg 95 Beacon Lights, Vol. II).

The Latins and the Germans "lived for a long period in close community." In all liklihood the Roman religious custom of "the line or SACRED BELT of the pomerium" (Leighton, above) being "DUG BY THE CONSECRATING PRIEST with his SACRED PLOW" (Frothingham, above), derived from the SAME source as the Germanic religious custom of making SACRED CIRCLES.


This has been slightly aluded to above, and is dealt with at greater length just below here, so I will not expound on it right here, but the ETRUSCANS ought to be be mentioned again. Any person who researches the SACRED PLOW and the plowing of the POMERIUM of Rome is going to immediately hear mention of the Etruscans. All of scholarship is in agreement that the early Romans, when THEY dug their SACRED LINE CIRCLES, were "carrying out" or "conforming to" or "duplicating" the ritual for this practice that was taught in the Etruscan Book of Divination. The Romans emulated their Etruscan neighbors in many aspects of their culture, including, the DETAILS at least, of the ritual of establishing BOUNDARIES and BORDERS with the SACRED PLOW.

CLARIFICATION: The PLOW/BOUNDARY RITUAL was in fact so ancient, that the soon-to-be-called "Romans" probably learned it farther back in their "Indo-European" stage, even before coming into "Italy," which is to say, they may have learned it at the same time and from the same sources, anciently, as the Etruscans. However, though we may suppose they did already have some form of this practice before their contact with the Etruscans on the Peninsula, all of scholarship unanimously asserts that the actual precise ritual and ceremony used at "Rome" for digging the sacred pomerium boundary line, was the ritual of the Etruscans. It is a recognized fact that when it came to the arts of divination, augury, and etc., the Romans looked upon the Etruscans as the "best" in the field, and emulated their rituals scrupulously. If I may make a somewhat "painful" comparison, think of the modern use of the term "Orthodox" in Christendom (and even in Judaism): Often when a small independent religious group, or even an individual, develops a religious belief, others in the religious community will want to "test" that apparent doctrinal "revelation" or "innovation" by measuring it up against the "Orthodox" standard. Is this belief "Orthodox?" Well, the Romans did something akin to that: In things religious (and especially in matters involving augury), the Romans looked up to the Etruscans, almost as being "Orthodox." The "Romans" may have had the plow-boundary ritual as long as the Etruscans did, but, the Etruscan "way" of rite, ritual and ceremony was respected as the "best" or the most proper way. So, where sources may carelessly say that this or that was "copied from the Etruscans" by the Romans, in some instances it might be more accurate to say that the Romans "conformed" their own ancient practices to the Etruscan "way" of doing them.

But, returning to the god behind the ritual, In Lagash, Babylonia, they especially used his name NINGIRSU.

In Babylonia, while Ningirsu was universally adored, he happened to have been made by the inhabitants of Lagash the "patron" deity of their city especially, which has resulted in archaelogical excavations of Lagash being a particularly rich source for knowledge about this god. While indeed the city of Lagash is ancient, the north section of the city is older still, and is referred to as the "prehistoric" section. Ningirsu's worship spanned every era, but much can be learned from comparing the prehistoric with the later. Note "Girsu" in the name of this god, Nin-Girsu. The prehistoric city on this site was called Girsu-ki. "Girsu" means "Flood" in Sumerian. The god Ningirsu was the "Lord of the Flood," and the name of the city Girsu-ki means "Flood-Place" or "Place of the Flood" or is sometimes carelessly rendered as "Place of the Waters." "Flood" however seems the more accurate and consistent, as even when the Sumerian inscriptions are strictly and only speaking of the one famous Great Universal Flood of antiquity, it is always the "Girsu." However, just as one may lay a garden hose at the base of his tomato plants and say he wants to "flood" the tomato plant, "flood" is so used, and "girsu" was likewise so used in Sumerian. Hence, it is not uncommon to find Ningirsu carelessly "under-defined" as an "irrigation god."

In The Cambridge Ancient History,* considerable attention is given to the things just mentioned. Says The Cambridge under discussion of certain gods and goddesses, "... Zamama, Ninni (Istar) and Ne-unu-gal (Nergal), who form a third triad, and Nintud and Ninkarrak, both forms of the mother-goddess, Zamama and Ne-unu-gal are both FORMS OF NINURTA (NINIB), WHO IS ALSO IDENTIFIED WITH NINGIRSU OF LAGASH." Here, we would only highlight for our reader, from that line, "NINURTA (NINIB) ... IDENTIFIED WITH NINGIRSU." NationMaster Encyclopedia in the entry for "Ninib" states, "NINURTA, 'LORD PLOUGH' in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Nippur, identified with NINGIRSU with whom he may always have been IDENTICAL. In older transcriptions the name is rendered NINIB." Similarly in Volume IXX, page 706 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, under "Ninib" we read, "In the inscriptions found at Shirgulla (or Shirpurla, also known as Lagash), he appears as Nin-girsu." Likewise we are told in the The Cambridge Chapter titled THE CITIES OF EARLY BABYLONIA, "The city-god was NINGIRSU... and ... he was identified with NINURTA." Sometimes it is really the same deity, only in one instance or another being adored by a different honoric title. To borrow an example from the Bible, the Scripture calls God "the Lord of the Harvest" (Mt 9:38, Lk 10:2), "the Lord of Hosts" (Jer 51:33), (which means "the Lord of armies"), etc. The Sumerian usage is not unlike what we see in 1 Kings 20:28 where the Syrians made the fatal mistake of thinking the Israelites' God to be limited: "the Syrians have said, The LORD is god of the hills, but he is not god of the valleys." They thought God was a "mountain god" and could not defend the Israelites if they fought in the valley. God heard it, and the Syrians paid an enormous price for their miscalculation. But, as the Living God may be spoken of with appelations such as "Lord of the Harvest" or "Lord of Armies," so this Babylonian deity is worshipped with titles, such as the "Lord of the Flood," thereby producing an alternative "name" for him, "Ningirsu." But, when the selfsame deity is being praised or invoked as, say, "Lord of the Plow" or as "Lord of the Boundary," the "name" or "title" that fits that particular "role" is used, and it falls on untrained ears as though another god is being mentioned. We make this mistake, but we would never imagine that our own God, "the Lord of the Harvest" is a different deity than "the Lord of Hosts." But, continuing, The Cambridge Ancient History, says of excavations at Lagash, "The most northerly mound rises 46 feet above the plain and marks the site of the great temple of Ningirsu, the god of Lagash. ... The mound in the centre marks the prehistoric site of Girsu, the oldest part of the city, which rises 52 feet above the plain. ... Girsu is a Sumerian word for FLOOD, inundation, and the prehistoric site was called Girsu(ki), the, place of the waters."

Notice in the following the Cambridge's terms referring to the Great Flood in antiquity, "the Flood ... the Deluge ... antediluvian," etc: "... an important inscription, part of the Weld- Blundell collection 1 in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. ... which gives the entire Sumerian lists of dynasties before and after the Flood to the end of the Isin dynasty in 2076 B.C. A small tablet in the same collection contains the names of the ten kings who reigned before the Flood ... The dynastic prism has only eight kings before the Flood ... . Other important dynastic lists in fragmentary condition have been found in the Nippur Collection. These agree with the Oxford prism in giving twenty dynasties from the Flood to the Isin dynasty inclusive, and 125 kings. ... Of the lists preserved by classical writers, most importance is commonly attached to that of Berosus, a priest of the god Bel at Babylon, who dedicated to his patron Antiochus I Soter (280-261), an elaborate work upon Babylonian or Chaldean history in three parts. Of this fragments alone remain, quoted at second- hand by Josephus, Eusebius and others. These include lists of (I) ten antediluvian kings from Alorus to the hero of the Deluge, reigning, in all, 120 sars, i.e. 432,000 years (a sar is 3600 years); (II) the kings from the Flood onwards; and ... ."

The Great Flood of Antiquity was profoundly etched into the psyche of the Babylonians, and, as is obvious above, they often marked both legend and history in terms of pre or post flood. If I may take some real liberty with this topic, Ningirsu, as Lord of the FLOOD, whether of the Great Flood, a destructive river flood, or even the controlled "flooding" of the crops, by which we mean "irrigation," I think might be understood better if one imagines a great "funnel," large at one end, and ever gradually narrowing down to a controlled outlet. At the big end, imagine the Sea itself. And in the Great Flood (of Noah) so much water is said to have appeared, as to overwhelm even the borders of the seas, so that there were in effect no longer any contained "seas" but water only. And so at the largest end of our "Ningirsu funnel" imagine a vast universal ocean. As we proceed through the funnel, this universal ocean is "narrowed" and may be looked upon in the smaller aspect of a "sea." The next smaller body of water could be perhaps the Euphrates River. That the Euphrates has its headwaters in Anatolia-Turkey-Armenia and "the mountains of Ararat" where we are told the Ark rested, and hence "where" the ancients "came from" is doubtless not lost on some readers. The Euphrates River is connected with Great Waters in numerous ways. At one "end," so to speak, is association with the Great Deluge itself. At the other end it issues into and merges with the sea. And regardless of whether one subscribes to a "local" or a "global" Flood as touching Genesis, FLOODING from the Euphrates was a very present reality that the Babylonians lived with. The next smaller narrowing or "channeling" of the "flood" in our "Ningirsu funnel" is the MAN-MADE CANAL. Civil servants, leaders, mayors, and kings in Mesopotamia who constructed great canals for channeling the waters of the Euphrates and/or the Tigris, were the heroes of the people. We often think of iconic images such as "hanging gardens" or ziggurats or Babylon's enormous walls, as the great monuments of that culture. But the CANALS were what really meant something to them. The reasons are in the main two-fold: In a sun-baked desert world, water "tapped" and channeled from the great river meant LIFE ITSELF. Our own Holy Bible presents eternal paradise and bliss to us in the imagery of a great River of the Water of Life flowing in the midst of the City of our God, its waters enabling the Tree of Life to grow on its banks, on either side. Waters and thirst and drink and washing and refreshing fill the pages of Scripture. Perhaps those of us who do not live in desert lands cannot appreciate what a great river, and waters drawn from it, would have meant to the ancients in Mesopotamia. And the first CANALS that they built, channeling life-giving water out to distant districts that had always been dead were celebrated as gifts of the gods, as surely as the river itself was. Now, when a great canal was constructed and brought in, there were likewise smaller "out-takes" along its course, for the irrigation of farms. I have suggested the idea of a "funnel." Every drop flowing through that "funnel" or system originates in that Great Universal "Flood" as it were. And Ningirsu, the Lord of the Flood presides over the whole. Yet he is seen as granting them permission to "tap" and to "channel" his Great Flood Waters, down through that ever-narrowing "funnel," so that, it is still Ningirsu's "Flood" even when it comes through the CANALS and is extracted through "out-takes" and finally trickles into the field and irrigates the crops. Even as the water seeps into the soil and reaches the thirsty roots of the farmer's plant, it is the "Flood" of Ningirsu. If you see what I am laboring to describe, you can understand what a mistake that some are making, if they see only the last and smallest end of that "funnel" where the last trickles appear, the end of the water's journey, in "irrigation," and make Ningirsu the "god of irrigation." No. As Lord of the Flood he was the god of channeling it ALL, from it's own natural "channel" within the natural riverbanks, to the man-made canals which he permitted them to make, and which he blessed, right down to the smallest ditch on the most remote farm or household garden. Perhaps the "controlled channeling of flood waters" better defines Ningirsu than saying "irrigation." But the Baylonian never forgot the Great Flood and that these very same waters now moving in these ditches, canals and riverbanks once drowned their world. Thus Ningirsu, the Lord of the Flood was venerated for his mercy in permitting the waters to be tapped and channeled, and distributed.

Neither ought we to imagine that there was a great deal of difference between Ningirsu being the god of the CANALS and a god of BOUNDARIES, for, those who know something of that civilization understand that in fact, some of the most important "CANALS OF NINGIRSU" constituted the very BOUNDARY LINES of their properties, provinces, and territories! Here too the Cambridge has some mentions, citing Sumerian inscriptions: "The CANAL 'Lion of the Plain' which probably ran from the old bed of the Euphrates south of Nippur to the Shatt el-Hal passing east of Umma, had FORMED THE BORDER between these provinces. The territory, bequeathed to his successors by the treaty of Eannatum with Umma, extended from the sea northward to Nippur, and Entemena seems to have constructed a parallel canal farther east. 'The mighty CANAL AT THE BOUNDARY of Enlil Entemena MADE FOR NINGIRSU, the king whom he loved; FOR NINGIRSU he caused it to come forth FROM THE RIVER of the Prince, whose name is in the foreign lands.' To him the land of Sumer probably owed the construction of the Shatt el-Hal. 'At the command of Enlil, NINGIRSU and Nina, the goddess of irrigation, he built a canal from the Tigris to the River of the Prince.'"

The territory belonging to Lagash itself, the city of the god Ningirsu, was in fact marked out and defined by "political" BOUNDARIES made with CANALS. Again, in an account of this war reaching Lagash, the Cambridge tells us the inscriptions read, "Umma, seized THE BOUNDARY CANAL and diverted its waters, invaded the territory of Lagash." THE BOUNDARY CANAL! What term could more concisely express how Ningirsu is simultaneously god of canals and of boundaries, for they were one and the same thing!

In The Atlantis Encyclopedia, by Frank Joseph, 2005, Career Press, Page 109, the author is speaking about "The Great Flood," the very Flood we know as Noah's Flood in the Book of Genesis, and which was likewise recorded in Babylonian records. Frank Joseph acknowledges that Enlil, Ningirsu's father, "ORDERED" the Great Flood, but, rightly states on page 109,

"The god who actually caused The Deluge was Ningirsu, 'Lord of Floods.'"

Joseph means that while it was Enlil's judgment and was by his command, it was the "hands on" WORK of NINGIRSU. In fact one of Ningirsu's sacred names was "ENLIL'S FLOOD."

We learn more about Ningirsu from the Sumerian hymn known as The Building of Ningirsu's Temple. The hymn is one of the records about the building of the great temple of Ningirsu at Lagash. The temple was called an Eninnu. The ruler who built it was Gudea. Sometimes therefore these records are called the "Gudean" records or hymns.

The story relates that the god Ningirsu sent Gudea a vision in the night, revealing to him that he was to build the god's temple. Notice that Ningirsu tells Gudea that one of his divinely-given names is "ENLIL'S FLOOD," as stated above. Not only is Ningirsu "ENLIL'S FLOOD," but "Enlil's flood STORM," and, the mace, the weapon in Ningirsu's hand, is his own "FLOODSTORM WEAPON." Enlil's Flood is described as INUNDATING ENTIRE CITIES, COUNTRIES AND LANDS that are Enlil's enemies or have rebelled. And Ningirsu himself IS that flood, and the destructive flood itself is personified as the unleashed will and heart of Ningirsu, the flood-storm itself feeling joy, having "overflowed with joy after inundating a land." But Ningirsu is not only the ravaging flood that wipes out entire countries, but he is also the will and power that "TURNS BACK" his waters in mercy, and SUBDUES them, and even permits his faithful worshippers to TAME and to CHANNEL his waters in CANALS and DITCHES. When they NEED his waters, he is able to PROVIDE them, and promises that the levees and ditches will be full to brim, and in his temple on the bank of the canal at Lagash he is worshipped with bowls full of water, and troughs of all sizes, and goblets or vessles "WHICH NEVER LACK WATER," representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. We read the following on Cylinder A:

      "On that day, in a nocturnal vision Gudea saw his master, lord Ningirsu. Ningirsu spoke to him of his house, of its building. He showed him an E-ninnu with full grandeur. ... He rose to his master in public and prayed to him ... and saluted him: 'My master NINGIRSU, lord WHO HAS TURNED BACK THE FIERCE WATERS, true lord, ... I am going to build up your house for you, ... Your will, EVER-RISING AS THE SEA, CRASHING DOWN AS A DESTRUCTIVE FLOOD, ROARING LIKE GUSHING WATERS, DESTROYING CITIES LIKE A FLOOD-WAVE, BATTERING AGAINST THE REBEL LANDS LIKE A STORM; my master, your will, GUSHING WATER THAT NO ONE CAN STEM; warrior, your will inconceivable as the heaven - can I learn anything about it from you, o son of Enlil , lord Ningirsu?'

Ningirsu replied, "I AM NINGIRSU WHO HAS TURNED BACK THE FIERCE WATERS, the great warrior of Enlil's realm, a lord without opponent. My house the E-ninnu , a crown, is bigger than the mountains; My weapon the Car-ur subdues all the lands. No country can bear my fierce stare, NOBODY ESCAPES MY OUTSTRETCHED ARMS. Because of his great love, my father who begot me CALLED ME King, ENLIL'S FLOOD, whose fierce stare is never lifted from the mountains, Ningirsu , warrior of Enlil' , and endowed me with fifty powers. I lay the ritual table and perform correctly the hand-washing rites. ... Laying the foundations of my temple will bring immediate abundance: the great fields will grow rich for you, THE LEVEES AND DITCHES WILL BE FULL TO BRIM FOR YOU, THE WATER WILL RISE FOR YOU to heights never reached by the water before. ...

Ningirsu directed Gudea into the impenetrable mountains of stones, and he brought back great stones in the form of slabs. For lord Ningirsu , Gudea had ships with hauna dock there, and ships with gravel, with dried bitume ...

The stela which he set up at the Kasura gate he named as "THE KING, ENLIL'S FLOOD STORM, who has no opponent, lord NINGIRSU, has looked with favour at Gudea." The stela which he set up facing the rising sun he named as "The king, the roaring storm of Enlil, the lord without rival, lord Ningirsu , has chosen Gudea with his holy heart." ...

He built his master's house exactly as he had been told to. ... The house! It is founded ... The house! Its front is a great mountain firmly grounded, its inside resounds with incantations and harmonious hymns... E-ninnu's clay plaster, harmoniously blended clay taken from the Edin CANAL, has been chosen by Lord Ningirsu with his holy heart ... Its regular offerings are a mountain oozing wine, from its brewery as much beer comes as the Tigris at high water. ... praise be to Ningirsu !

Continuing on Cylinder B:

House, mooring post of the land, grown so high ... The true shepherd Gudea is wise, and able too to realize things. ... He went into the E-ninnu to the lord, and prayed to him:

'My master NINGIRSU, LORD WHO HAS TURNED BACK THE FIERCE WATERS, lord whose commands take precedence, male child of Enlil, warrior, I have carried out faithfully what you have ordered me to do. Ningirsu , I have built up your house for you; now I shall let you enter it in joy! ... His call was heard, his master Lord Ningirsu accepted from Gudea his prayer and supplication. ...

As Ningirsu arrived from Eridu , beautiful moonlight shone illuminating the land, and the E-ninnu competed with the new-born Suen. ... On the day when the true god was to arrive, Gudea was busy with the evening meal from early morning. ... Warrior Ningirsu entered the house, the owner of the house had arrived. ...

Gudea (arose) to appoint to their offices in the courtyard of E-ninnu ... With his divine duties, namely to keep the house clean; to let hands always be washed; to serve water to the lord with holy hands; to pour beer into bowls; to pour wine into jars; to make emmer beer in the brewery bubble LIKE THE WATER OF THE PAPSIR CANAL ...

With his divine duties, namely to carry the seven-headed mace; to open the door of the an-kara house, the gate of battle; to hit exactly with the dagger blades, with the mitum mace, with THE FLOODSTORM WEAPON and with the marratum club, its battle tools; TO INUNDATE ENLIL'S ENEMY LAND (that is, the land that is an enemy of Enlil), Gudea introduced Lugalkurdub, the warrior Carur, who in battle subdues all the foreign lands, the mighty general of the E-ninnu, a falcon against the rebel lands, his general, to lord Ningirsu .

After the heavenly mitum mace had roared against the foreign lands like a fierce storm - the Carur, THE FLOOD STORM in battle, the cudgel for the rebel lands - after the lord had frowned at the rebellious land, the foreign country, hurled at it his furious words ...

With his divine duties, namely to soothe the heart, to soothe the spirits; to dry weeping eyes; to banish mourning from the mourning heart; to ... the heart of the lord that RISES LIKE THE SEA, WASHES AWAY LIKE THE EUPHRATES, THAT HITS LIKE A FLOOD STORM, THAT HAS OVERFLOWED WITH JOY AFTER INUNDATING A LAND which is Enlil's enemy ...

The temple towered upwards in full grandeur, unparallelled in fearsomeness and radiance. Like a boat ... and ... its owner, warrior Ningirsu, came out as the daylight on the dais of Jirnun. ...

Its owner, warrior Ningirsu, stood like Utu in his most fascinating BLUE chariot. ... Large bronze plates offered all sorts of food. In the good house ... were cooked in shining bronze vessels. Its pure BOWLS standing in the great dining-hall were TROUGHS in various sizes that NEVER LACK WATER, and THE GOBLETS BESIDE THEM WERE THE TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES CONTINUALLY CARRYING ABUNDANCE. ... "

Recall our mention in the discussion of "borders and boundaries," of those thoughts being behind "bound," and how that the Webster's 1828 gave us "To restrain in ANY manner 'He BINDETH THE FLOODS FROM OVERFLOWING.' Job xxviii We additionally noted Jeremiah 5:22, wherein God says that He has "placed the sand for the BOUND of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot PASS it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not PASS OVER it." While I would never compare our Lord, the True and Living God, the God of the Bible, to Pagan deities, the fact is, that they copied HIM. The glory and attributes of the One True God were taken by idolaters and ascribed to their false gods. Only in that understanding do I point out that Ningirsu was made to resemble the True God: The One True God our Lord both SENT the Flood in Noah's day, whereby He destroyed the world of the wicked, AND, He it is Who "BINDETH THE FLOODS FROM OVERFLOWING" (bindeth as with bounds, boundaries), and Who placed "the BOUND of the sea" that the waves cannot pass over it. No one knew better than Noah and his family, that the Most High can both SEND and TAME great waters. It should therefore be no surprise to us that the apostates of Babylonia fixed those "DUAL FLOOD POWERS" (causing and restraining) in a deity of their own.

In the following, I particularly appreciate the Cambridge editors themselves seeing in Ningirsu/Ninib/Ninurta the likeness of the ROMAN god TERMINUS, the BOUNDARY MARKER GOD. If my reader will note this observation, he will be able to see its value where we treat of Terminus in the section on Saturn and the Roman Forum: The Cambridge says, under the Chapter heading LAGASH UNDER GUTEAN KINGS, speaking of various kings and civic leaders who built and dedicated various temples and structures to their gods,

      "We have now to turn to the history of LAGASH. Ur-Bau, one of the most enlightened patesis of this city ... built or rebuilt a great TEMPLE OF NINGIRSU on the terrace north of Girsu at Lagash. In Girsu he built ... one to ... Enki ... one to Geshtin-anna, a title of the old virgin mother-goddess Innini of Erech and one to Tammuz, her son and consort. ... he built also a temple to Bau, goddess of healing and CONSORT OF NINGIRSU. In the TEMPLE-MOUND the excavator, De Sarzec, recovered a bronze figurine of the god attached to a pillar in kneeling position with hands firmly placed at the top of the post as though in the act of planting the pointed end firmly in the ground. ... It was enclosed in a clay vessel with the customary stone tablet on which was inscribed the record of Ur-Bau's pious works for the gods. This curious talisman represents the god of the city himself protecting the BOUNDARIES of his land, and reminds us of THE ROMAN DEITY TERMINUS."

Allow me to highlight: As is repeated throughout their article, NINGIRSU is "THE GOD OF THE CITY HIMSELF" just mentioned. He is depicted in this bronze "talisman" from the "TEMPLE-MOUND" planting the "BOUNDARY" post. It is Ningirsu himself "protecting the BOUNDARIES," which, say the Cambridge scholars, "reminds us of THE ROMAN DEITY TERMINUS." I think the Cambridge doctors here would have loved to expand on the correlaries between Ningirsu and Terminus at Rome, but had to stay on task. I, on the other hand, am not so "confined." But I would have my reader mark the fact that TERMINUS at Rome (in fact, situated in the "Area of Saturn" in the Forum, and being an important aspect OF Saturn's sacred Area) is in fact the "BOUNDARY-GUARDING" attribute or "role" of SATURN, personified and embodied. We treat of this elswhere in its place. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Cambridge scholars knew the Ninurta-Ninib-Ningirsu to Saturn-Terminus connections (of which we treat in its place).

*The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. I, Egypt and Babylonia to 1580 B.C., Second Edition, 1928. This writer (yours truly) uses a copy of the Cambridge in the public domain that was scanned into an archive in e-text format, having the one liability that the text does not accurately display the original page numbers, but rather the Chapters. I apologize for therefore not being able to cite the page numbers. However, I am able to cite the Chapter titles for you. If a student of these things wishes to verify the faithfulness of a quote however, these Cambridge e-texts are available online now, and one hardly needs to do more than take a fragment of one of my quotes, cut and paste it into a search engine, and the text being cited can usually be made to appear, being fetched from one server or another on the internet.

But let us continue with this "deity" as known to the Romans as SATURN:


Every student of Roman antiquities, Roman religion, or, of the mythologies that attach to the god Saturn, knows that the ancient Romans believed that SATURN CAME TO ITALY and became a king. They also believed that some of their kings were his descendants. Even without making any attempt to figure out the "why" and the "wherefore" and the actual "who" and "when" and "from whence" factors involved in that belief, it should here at least be understood and noted that the BELIEF existed.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) for "Saturn" says, "Saturn and his wife Ops (Rhea) were amongst the OLDEST deities of ANCIENT Italy," and continues on with "the legend that after his deposition by Zeus (Jupiter) Saturn wandered TO ITALY, where he ruled as king in the golden age and gave the name Saturnia to the country. Janus, another of the most ancient gods of Italy, is said to have welcomed him to Rome, and here he settled at the foot of the Capitol, which hill was called after him the Saturnian Hill. His temple stood at the ascent from the Forum to the Capitol and was one of the oldest buildings in Rome." It must be clarified that when it says "to Rome" it is understood that "Rome" did not yet exist, but rather, that it means the location of future "Rome," that Saturn lived on the site where Rome was later built. We should also note of the god Janus that some scholars believe he was actually just another representation of Saturn, that is, roles and attributes of Saturn, separated out from him, which came to be personified and deified.


Bulfinch likewise says the following beliefs about the gods are "peculiar to Roman mythology: Saturn was an ANCIENT Italian deity. It was ATTEMPTED to identify him with the Grecian god Cronos, and fabled that after his dethronement by Jupiter HE FLED TO ITALY." Bulfinch is showing a kindness by the use of the word "ATTEMPTED." Indeed it was "attempted" to conflate the Greek Cronos (Chronos, Kronos, Cronus, etc) with the Roman Saturn, to shove these two very different gods together into one. The Age of Fable; Or, Stories of Gods and Heroes, by Thomas Bulfinch, 1856, page 21. Even more forthrightly denouncing that confusion is the Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, 1931, page 498 of Vol. XXI, under the entry for "Saturn," which states bluntly, "Saturn, ancient Roman divinity, who presided over agriculture. HIS IDENTIFICATION WITH THE GREEK KRONOS (CRONOS OR CRONUS) WAS A BLUNDER." Bulfinch, with a kinder, gentler touch, adds on page 16, "The representations of Saturn are NOT VERY CONSISTENT." Further down on the same page he adds, "This INCONSISTENCY arises FROM considering Saturn of the Romans the same with the Grecian deity Cronos." There occurred however such a reckless running together of the Greek god with the Roman one in the popular handling that even anciently it was nigh unto impossible to pry the two apart and restore to each his distinct identity. Now it is even worse, for countless dictionaries and encyclopedias on mythology have flooded the world with erroneous statements like "Saturn is the Roman form of the Greek Kronus." We will not here attempt once and for all to surgically separate these tragically conjoined deities. That effort could probably fill a book. But we merely desire our reader to know that confusing them together was a mistake. Saturn was just about the most ancient god worshipped on the site that eventually became Rome. And to the people who eventually first came to be called "Romans" he and a couple of other deities were their earliest gods. That sounds like I've said the same thing twice, but it is deliberate. The latter speaks of the people who became the Romans. The former speaks of the geographical location, even before the "eventual Romans" took up residence there. CENTURIES later came the "trendy fad" (if I may) among the Romans, of copying aspects of Greek religion. It is slightly more accurate to say that the Greeks came to Rome bragging on the Greek gods and lavishing glories upon them, and telling the Romans that this and that Roman god was really this one and that one of the Greeks. It became "trendy" at Rome to be able to cite Greek myths, these exciting new "imports," and the ancient Roman gods were soon turned half Greek. The opposite also occured: Indeed, as surely as the Romans adopted new gods imported from Egypt, they adopted gods also from Greece. So there are cases of "Roman" gods who really are the same as the Greek. But that has wrongly been assumed to be the case regarding Saturn and some of the very old Roman gods. A handful of Rome's gods resided right there on the soil of future Rome, before the "Romans" came. Some were Sabine deities. Some were Etruscan deities. And some were even more anciently carried over the Alps and down into the "Italian" peninsula from back in the "Indo-European" stage of all these people groups, back from before there was ANYONE in the geographical areas of either Italy or Greece. William Smith also remarks, "There is no resemblance whatever between the attributes of the two deities (Saturn of Rome and Kronos of Greece), except that both were regarded as THE MOST ANCIENT divinities in their respective countries. The resemblance is much stronger between Demeter and Saturn, for all that the Greeks ascribe to their Demeter is ascribed by the Italians to Saturn, who in the very EARLIEST times came to ITALY in the reign of Janus. (Virg. Aen. viii. 314, &c.; Macrob. Sat. i. 10 ; P. Vict. De Orig. Gent. Rom. 1, &c.) Saturnus, then, deriving his name from sowing ..." etc. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1870, William Smith, Vol. 3, page 726.


Let me wind down this observation on the "confusing together" of the Roman god with the Greek, by bringing the focus to the "EMBLEM" that is so often seen in caricatures of the god Saturn, for THIS is actually more important to our discussion. I refer to statues, drawings, and art, which depict Saturn holding a SCYTHE in his hand. THIS is part of the "GREEK BLUNDER" discussed above. Moderns are given the incorrect "explanation" of the scythe that for one, Saturn of Rome is Chronos of Greece. Secondly they are told that Chronos is the Greek god of time. Often they are given a synthesis notion that since the passing of "time" eventually leads to a person's death, the image of Chronos with a scythe is the origin of the modern spectre of the "Grim Reaper." When it is time for a man to die, he is chopped down with the reaper's scythe. All of this is false if the "ATTEMPT" (as Bulfinch calls it) is made to attach these images to SATURN. Some of them are appropriate to Chronos of the Greeks. But I would have my reader realize that "Saturn of the Romans" should NEVER be depicted as holding a scythe, and should never be THOUGHT OF with those pictures or their meanings. It was only AFTER that late "import" occured, that the image of the SCYTHE (from Greece) was put in Saturn's hand.

FOUR AGRICULTURAL TOOLS: It will be valuable to consider four agricutural implements. 1. a plow, 2. a small handheld pruning hook, about a foot or a foot and half long, 3. a small sickle, as one might easily hold in one hand and work (or fight) with, and lastly, 4. the big (mutilating) scythe from Greece. This would take an entire book to prove and to do justice, but I will spare you. If you just have the "gist" of this though, it will help: The TRUE Saturn (by which I mean Saturn at Rome before the Greek overlays) should be associated with the PLOW.

In the above graphic an implement of my own design is depicted. I will explain my design momentarily. The family of such implements could be researched under numerous names, "falx, billhook, pruning-hook, clearing-hook, dibble, falchion, foraterra, auger, piercer, wimble, gimle," etc. depending on the time periods and cultures in which such tools were used. Here, I am explaining why Saturn should rightly be depicted in art with an actual ox-drawn plow (if he is to be depicted at all). However, for convenience and conciseness, the ancient deities were often portrayed if possible with some implement or emblem small enough for them to hold in their hand (be it a stalk of grain, a wand as with Mercury, thunderbolts as with Jupiter, etc). And so, instead of a cumbersome plow, Saturn in later times came to be depicted with another agricultural tool, a "hook-like" implement. However, it is because of the Greek Chronos and his scythe being wrongly overlaid over the Roman Saturn, or, the two gods being conflated together, that some depictions of Saturn eventually came to show his "hand-held" tool as a small sickle. This also represents a deviation, albeit a lesser one than the Greek scythe of Chronos did. There were small hand-held "cutting hook" implements depicted with some of the gods in ancient art. But those shown with Saturn were very late spinoffs of the Greek god Chronos who, with his scythe (an even later addition) got superimposed over the Roman Saturn. In my custom-designed implement shown above, I am not claiming that Saturn held one, in ancient depictions. He might have, but I cannot say he did. He WAS, however, depicted holding implements somewhat similar. But I have just said that these were late spinoffs of an error. What I am attempting to do by designing an implement myself, is to show what would have been more appropriate to depict him with, an agricultural instrument that would make more sense in light of who and what Saturn was. I know that at first reading it sounds outlandish for me to "invent" a farm implement for Saturn to hold. What kind of "research" is that? But if you bear with me until I explain my logic, I think you will excuse my odd methodology. In the first place, Saturn was one of the earliest two or three gods of the Romans, and, he was worshipped by the inhabitants of the location before the arrival of the "Romans" and hence naturally before "Rome" existed. Now, when the "Romans" came, and built "Rome" on the site, historians realize that THE ROMANS DID NOT MAKE IMAGES OF GODS! That is correct. This can be a startling thing to hear, when every school-child is used to envisioning mighty imperial Rome with countless white marble statues of gods. But the fact is, the "statue-making" craze in Rome had an actual beginning. For generations the Romans were opposed to depicting gods with images until a very specific time. Actually, the change came in two waves: 1. when the Tarquins took over Rome, and 2. when the Greek culture craze came in. Marija Gimbutas rightly states in The Living Goddesses, page 167, "In fact, prior to the Etruscan influence, the Romans DID NOT MAKE IMAGES of their deities." It is self evident that this refers to the cultural influences which followed after the Etruscan dynasty at Rome, and not earlier lesser "influences" for the "Latin" occupants of the place were not even yet "Romans" in the earlier times. More comprehensively (including "phase 2" the Greek phase), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, page 2620, puts it, "The Romans at first DID NOT MAKE STATUES OF THEIR GODS. ... Symbols sufficed to SIGNIFY their existence, a spear, for instance, standing for Mars. The process of reducing the gods to human form was inaugurated WHEN they came into contact with the Etruscans and GREEKS. The Tarquins summoned Etruscan artisans and artists TO Rome, who made from terra cotta cultus statues and a pediment group FOR THE CAPITOLINE TEMPLE. ... When the form of the GREEK gods became familiar to the Romans in works of SCULPTURE, they gradually SUPPLANTED those Roman deities with which they were nominally identified as a result of a real OR FANCIED resemblance." THAT is precisely what happened with Saturn. He was supplanted by images of the Greek Chronos. But most importantly, I would have you understand that back when Saturn was still worshipped free of these later changes, THERE WERE NO IMAGES OF HIM. However the Encyclopedia rightly states that they DID identify their gods with EMBLEMS appropriate to the work and role and the traits characteristic of them. In antiquity in Mesopotamia this deity, as Ninurta, was known as "LORD PLOW" as well as Lord OF the Plow." The sacred IMPLEMENT itself was revered as the god himself, and vice versa. This is exactly how the Romans did it, "before the statues came." And so, you see, with my own designed farm implement above, I am NOT actually clashing with the later depictions of Saturn chiseled in marble. I am thinking of the PRE-MARBLE STATUE era before Saturn was mixed up with those innovations. Now, quite honestly I do not know precisely WHAT kind of instrument to associate with the EARLY and GENUINE Saturn, but the ox-drawn PLOW itself. But I am seeking by my invented farm implement to strike a sort of "compromise" between the PLOW and the later carvings of Saturn mixed up with pruning hooks and hand-held sickles. The implement I have depicted is not entirely invented out of thin air. I have seen pictures of them, but have been unable to source them for this treatise. I am drawing from memory. I am sure that wherever I saw them, they were not, however, in some depiction of the god Saturn. Putting them there now is my own imagination. When you continue on and compare them to the (LATER) handheld implements shown with Saturn, however, it should come together for you, and I think justify my rationale. The implement that I have depicted in the graphic above is POINTED at the end. One English word for such a "pointed stick" is a "dibble." A dibble was used to pierce the ground with a hole, into which SEED was then SOWED (planted). In my graphic there is likewise a HOOKED BLADE. This element of the implement was indeed shown in the hand of Saturn in later depictions. Writers have variously called it a "pruning hook, a billhook, and a weed-clearing instrument," but notice, NOT a sickle, which is important, for it NOT being a sickle is evidence leaning toward the EARLIER (truer) Saturn rather than the later. In Religion in the Roman Empire, by J. B. Rives, pages 94, 95, the author is discussing a very ancient (although obviously not "pre-depiction" era) image of Saturn carved in stone, and he says of this particular carving, "Presiding over all is Saturn himself. ... One final detail is worth noticing: Saturn holds in his right hand a BILL-HOOK, a farm implement with a curved blade USED ESPECIALLY FOR CLEARING BRUSH." The author is distinct in NOT construing this as a sickle, which in standard concept is for harvesting good grain. THIS implement rather, he identifies as a brush cutter. He goes on (page 95) to speculate WHY the god has a BILLHOOK, "Is this a way of representing the god's ability to clear away the threats to a good harvest? After all, the threats to crops were many, and care had to be taken with regard to them all." I appreciate that the author is seeing an implement that is for PRE-harvest activity, and not harvest, or even a NON-harvest implement. I also appreciate him recognizing that the "thing" in Saturn's hand is more like a "BILLHOOK" than anything else the author can name. Just ahead in this treatise we discuss THE VIEW OF MANY THAT SATURN WAS ACTUALLY THE BIBLICAL NOAH (a view that this author has not so far embraced). I will not discuss that here, prematurely, other than to point out as regards "billhooks" and "pruning hooks" that a great many historians who do equate Saturn with Noah state that the representations of Saturn with a "hook" device are actually showing tools used in the cultivation of VINES, and they believe that this harks back to Noah's becoming a vintner. That aside, I said that my graphic (above) is intended as a "compromise" idea. Saturn CANNOT be separated from the PLOW and SOWING. The "dibble-hook" (there is no such word, but I am at a loss) that I have portrayed, captures all of the requisite elements of an implement for Saturn. LIKE A PLOW our "dibble-hook" will OPEN THE GROUND that it may be SOWED with SEED. In this implement is a marriage of both "GROUND OPENING" (as with a plow) and a handheld cutting hook. I have a hunch, admittedly without much basis, that when they first set about to DEPICT Saturn in a graven image, and needed something smaller than a regular PLOW to put in his hand, something like this was what they chose, an implement that bespeaks the general idea of "cultivation." I would add that for "economy's" sake, the implement I have depicted would be rare, being costly. Why? Because a "dibble" point made of iron or bronze would needs be replaced frequently from wear. It may be more likely that a real cultivator would have had a WOODEN dibble at his side and separately the metal cutting hook. Or, perhaps the metal hook could be banded onto a replaceable wooden dibble stick shaft. But reason suggests that when it came time to carve images in marble, the artist would select only one instrument to depict, rather than a farmer's whole arsenal.

Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities offers some engravings of Saturn portrayed with the falx. In this entry (pages 518 - 519) Smith actually gave us four images set in cameos. While Perseus is not related to our study, I include that image here because he is shown holding in his hand what Smith identifies as a "falchion" (just another form of a falx). In his other hand Perseus holds the head of the Medusa. Smith says, "The two smaller figures are heads of Saturn with the falx in its original form." In his set of four pictures Smith also had one of the much later Greek "makeover" of the god (Chronos, really) holding a scythe, which I omit here as worthless to our study, because: Smith admits of the image, that it was engraved "at a later period than the others." And he admits that the reason for the scythe imagery of that "later period" was an "adaptation" which he says was "for the purpose of personifying Time" (and in Greek letters he clarifies, "Chronos"). Contrast that "later" Greek scythe of Chronos with Smith saying the OTHER engravings show the "original form." Contrast "original" with the "later" Greek innovation. In other words, as I have said more fully in this treatise, the "scythe of Time" came with the error (Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia says "blunder") of conflating the Roman god Saturn with the Greek god Chronos.

Now please note, Smith also states that the falchion implement shown in the hand of Perseus, is a "form" of what Smith calls the "falx proper," in that Smith designates the "falx proper" to be the curved or hooked part, while the elongated straight end culminating in a point is what, to Smith, modifies it into a "falchion." Noting (as do other historians) that in times of battle, men took up their handheld agricultural tools (falx and/or falchion, etc.) and wielded them as weapons, he states, "that it was girt like a dagger upon the waist" and that "it was in fact a dagger OR sharp-pointed blade, with a proper falx projecting from one side." Source of Smith quotations and cameos of engravings, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D, John Murray publisher, London, 1878, pages 518 - 519. However MOST important to my objective here, is that you note the similarity in shape between THE POINTED FALX shown with SATURN (the image at the RIGHT) and the instrument shown with Perseus. I think you will be able to see that they are THE SAME DESIGN, even if the artist rendered the point on Saturn's falx less pronounced. Personally I think that in this picture the artist portrays it as too "dainty" an instrument (considering its chores) and that it should more properly look almost exactly like the instrument Perseus holds. I have shown why, in my own graphic above that the pointed end should also serve as what the English have called a "dibble," for digging the ground, or poking holes in it, for seed to be planted. "Saturn" derives his name (as we have stressed so much) from words meaning to sow or to plant seed into the ground. If Smith notices that these "farming" implements were at times taken up and wielded as "weapons," I would remind my reader rather that with the imagery of SATURN the implement's use as a "weapon" is IMPOSSIBLE. The pointed end of HIS falx can only be for agricultural use, and never for war. The Saturnalia celebrated, among other things, that the reign of Saturn, the "Saturnian Age" was a time of peace, a time when men did not battle one another. This understanding was so pronounced in the Roman worship of Saturn, that during the days of the Saturnalia it was illegal for the state to begin a war. And as is given elsewhere in this section, Vergil (in Georgica II 2.536-8) celebrates the peace of the Age of Saturn, that men did not make war, saying "Nor yet had they even heard the trumpets blare, nor yet had they heard the clang of swords laid against hard anvils." So, what am I suggesting? That Saturn, if he is to be depicted with ANY handheld implement (although I would deem it more proper to show him with a plow), it would be with the DIBBLE (as the English call it), for this opens the ground for the planting of seed. And if we must accept the possibility of him being depicted with an implement of the "falx family" it ought to be the one with the pointed end, and that the pointed end be pronounced enough (as seen in the Perseus engraving) that it may serve as a "dibble" for working the earth.

"SATURN'S CONSTANT EMBLEM" may be a "falx" but NOT the "scythe of Time."

In Vergil's Georgics: Edited with a Commentary by R. A. B. Mynors, 1994, on page 153, expounding footnote 406 he calls the "falx" "Saturn's constant emblem" and says, for additional info to "see Mayor's note on Juv. 13.39." However, I would remind you, as discussed above, making depictions of the gods was a LATE practice. Saturn, early on, was worshipped WITHOUT IMAGES OF HIM. And so, when we speak of the "falx" being "Saturn's constant emblem" it would likely have been so only by "oral tradition" in the first centuries of Saturn worship. And at a later date, as we just read James Orr say, just the god's EMBLEM might have been depicted, representing him. But, when EVENTUALLY images were made actually depicting the god, and an implement, try to realize that the artist, the sculptor, was naturally going to portray the farm implement CONTEMPORARY with his own day. He would not (indeed could not) portray the implements of a bygone age that neither he nor the people had ever SEEN nor would recognize. A gap of CENTURIES stood between the first telling of the story of Saturn and his farming tool and the first depictions in stone of the god with said implement.

Above in discussing the SACRED PLOW in ancient religion I brought out the ancient "fertility" aspects of the belief. To most ancient Pagans the metaphor of plowing the earth represented the first male, and the first female principle. To most Pagans the earth was the first mother and usually the sky or rain god, the deity above, who sends down rain and so makes the crops spring from the earth, was the male principle. In actual farming, the planting of seed goes hand in hand with the plowing open of an earthen furrow. One plows, and sows seed, as but two steps of one seasonal event, "SEEDTIME." I urge you to consider farming, and importantly, SEASONS separated by time. Seed is planted in a freshly dug furrow, and it is not until harvest season that a mature crop is "reaped" or HARVESTED. To the ancients "SEEDTIME" and "HARVEST TIME" were worlds apart. In fact, from the Bible itself we can get a good glimpse of how the ANCIENTS contrasted those "times," when none other than God Himself speaks of "SEEDTIME" and "HARVEST" in a list of four sets of "OPPOSITES." In Genesis 8:22 God promises Noah, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Note that "seedtime" and "harvest" in this passage are treated in the same manner in which day vs night are contrasted, and cold vs heat. God doesn't put a "gray area" or a sliding scale of various temperatures in between "cold" and "heat." Neither does he bother with "dusk, dawn, mid-morning, noon, afternoon or evening" here, but simply and plainly "day and night." Think of what a long sentence it would have been if God put all of the "in-between" phases between all six of these "extremes." And that is just my point. "Seedtime" is at the opposite extreme from "harvest time" in farming. After the harvest, it's all over, for months, until the next "seedtime." The whole farming "process" begins with "SEEDTIME" and ends with "HARVEST TIME."

As discussed above, Saturn would have been verbally DISCUSSED by the ancient Romans PRIOR to the era of making depictions of them, and, if his myths spoke of him symbolized by an agricultural instrument, he would be thus verbally DESCRIBED. Only in the LATER ERA when they set about making carved and sculpted depictions would the artist need to wrestle with just what agricultural tool he ought to put with the god in the depiction. In Mynors' commentaries on Virgil (given below) he tells what, to me, reveals the ease with which the Roman sculptor might blur, mix, or swap the implements:

Allow me to extract and emphasize the elements in his comments that assist my point: In the first line he states that the Romans might USE the word "falx" for ANY or ALL curved implements. Thus we ought not to hastily ASSUME just which specific implement was intended, if the word "falx" were used. Secondly, he writes a sentence that I think FULLY AGREES with all I've been saying: He says that the falx "AS SUCH stands WITH the PLOUGH-SHARE as THE typical SYMBOL of agriculture." Examine that: It can be understood to say that really the PLOUGH-SHARE is THE typical SYMBOL of agriculture, but the falx may stand "WITH the PLOUGH-SHARE" in that status, when it is considered that BOTH, being in the "curved cutting implements" category generally denominated as the "falx-type," are "THE SAME." That is the meaning of his "AS SUCH." "AS SUCH it stands WITH the PLOUGH-SHARE" in the role of THE symbol of agriculture. Also note that he says that when Varro speaks of a falx, his particular usage is "most often to the small pruning-hook ... used in trimming the vine." Only, and lastly is falx used (in Ovid) as intending something "sickle-like" (he says "or reaping-hook"). I here interject that it isn't a "sickle" as we moderns envision, but a small hooked instrument held in one hand. Even the modern small sickles that are held in one hand have a longer more "sweeping" blade and cut a larger swathe than the ancient little reaping hook. Theirs was truly a sharpened "hook" and not so much a "curved blade." Yet, even Ovid's "hook" is not a "falx proper" (if I may seem contradictory, for there is no "falx proper") in that, in Ovid, as Mynors tells us, it is not the general word "falx" but the more specific "falx messoria." When considered, this observation brings Mynors' comments neatly full circle in that it demonstrates the need to append "falx" with another word like "messoria" to bring falx out of its "generic" meaning of ANY curved implement, as in Mynors' first line. Finally, Mynors' statement that AS a "curved cutting implement" the falx "stands WITH the PLOUGH-SHARE as THE typical SYMBOL of agriculture" could also help in our consideration of how, in art, the small hand-held might have managed to displace the plow in the Saturn depictions. Mynor seems to be saying that either implement could serve to communicate the same message: agriculture. If the late (statue-making) era artist has lost the original details and particulars about the god (which we know they DID) he might simply settle for "agriculture."

DOES SATURN'S NAME COME FROM THE ACT OF SOWING? I am certain that it does, and so are the majority of scholars. Admittedly a tiny minority of scholars out there have suggested "Saturn" was derived from something else. Scholars both in antiquity and in the present, differ. But in each case I have encountered wherein they say something other than "sowing" the writer has also been ignorant about other facts regarding Saturn, and they usually also embrace the error of conflating the Roman Saturn with the Greek Chronos, and make other mistakes, and so in my view they diminish their own credibility on the other matter. But I will give you here a sampling of the majority view which has convinced me, the mainstream scholars which say "Saturn" is from the words meaning "to sow": The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language, John Ogilvie, LL.D., 1883, states, "Saturn, n. L. Saturnus, connected with sero, satum, to sow." And in the same (Imperial) Dictionary, in the entry for Sation: "Sation, n. L. satio, from sero, satum, to sow. A sowing or planting." Next citation, Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, 1911, University Press, Cambridge, England states "Saturn was a god of agriculture, his name being derived from serere, 'to sow.'" Next citation, Webster 1913, "Saturn, n. L. Saturnus, literally, the sower, fr. serere, satum, to sow." Next, "... deriving his name from sowing ..." Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1870, William Smith, Vol. 3, page 726. Next citation, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, by Walter William Skeat, 1893, Entry for "Saturnine," states, "From Lat. Saturnus, the god Saturn. Saturnus meant 'the sower' from satum, supine of serere, to sow." (Walter William Skeat, Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in Cambridge University). Next, more starkly than myself pointing out that the "MAJORITY" say it, the Latin scholar Valpy said that "ALL" authorities say it. As there is always dissent from the majority view in any matter, we may understand that by "ALL" Valpy does not mean every living human being, but of course means all respected authorities and recognized sources. The Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language, by F. E. J. Valpy, the unabriged reprint of the 1828, published 2005 by Adamant Media, Page 418, says of Saturn and the root word "Satus," "Satus, sown, planted. Fr. sero, say all." That is, from satus, meaning sown, planted, from sero, SAY ALL (authorities). Next, Sprague's commentary on Milton, page 43, footnote. It says of "Saturn," from "Lat. satur, satisfied; Saturnus, the self-sufficient? Better, perhaps fr. serere, satum, to sow." (Milton's Paradise Lost, Introduction Notes and Diagrams, by Homer Baxter Sprague, 1879, page 43, footnote). Next, Ten Great Religions, by James Freeman Clarke, 1899, page 272, "Some of the oldest portions of the Roman religion were derived from agriculture. The god Saturn took his name from sowing." Footnote, "SATURNUS, Saturn. The root of this name is SAO = SERO, to sow. Saturn is the god of planting and sowing." Next, Introduction to the History of Religions, 1913, by Crawford Howell Toy, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University. Says Page 350, "The name Saturn is generally connected with the stem sa (sero, satum, sata), to sow, ... Whether or how he differed originally from Mars is not clear - perhaps in original differentiation of functions, he being attached to the work of sowing, Mars to ... ." Next, Sorcerer's Stone, by Dennis William Hauck, 2004, Page 88, "the word Saturn is from the Latin serere meaning "to sow or plant." Next, The New International Encyclopedia 1904 by Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck, Ph. D., L. H. D., Professor, Columbia University, Frank Moore Colby, M. A. Professor of Economics, New York University, Page 465, entry for "Saturn": "SATURN (Lat. Saturnus, OLat. Sateurnus, Saturnus; connected with sator, sower, serere, to sow, and ultimately with ... Anglo-Saxon sdwan, English sow). An ancient Roman divinity who presided over the sowing of the seed." This latter observation is echoed universally, as in The City of God Against the Pagans, Edited by R. W. Dyson, 1998. Page 284 quotes Augustine as saying "What, for instance, is Saturn? 'He is one of the principal gods', says Varro, 'who has lordship over the sowing of all seeds'." Next, French English Farsi Dictionary entry for "Saturne": "Etymology: Although many think the origin of Saturn's name (Saturnus) is the Etruscan language, since Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture, it could be another realization of the Proto-Indo-European root for 'to sow,' as to sow seeds. If so, it is not only a relative of English 'sow,' but also 'seed,' which is a form originally meaning '(that which is) sowed.' English 'seed' comes from the same Germanic source as German 'Saat,' Dutch 'zaad,' Swedish 's"d.'" And lastly, although dozens more could be cited, Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance by Clement A. Miles 1912. Treating of the later customs of the Saturnalia Festival on page 167 Miles says "How far the Saturnalian customs in general were of OLD Latin origin it is difficult to say; the name Saturnus (connected with the root of serere, to sow) AND THE DATE point to a REAL ROMAN FESTIVAL OF THE SOWING of the crops, but this was (eventually) heavily OVERLAID with Greek ideas and practices."

I would be remiss not to clarify for some readers, that in ALL of this, there is a very SPECIFIC kind of "sowing" being referred to. Perhaps the English verb "PLANT" (in the sense of to plant a seed by burying it under the soil) may be helpful. I say this to differentiate the "planting in the earth" kind of "sowing" from "broadcast" sowing, in which farmers would scatter seed out upon the surface of the ground. All of the above "sowing" words (sao, sero, serere, sata, satum, satio, satus, sation, satur, sator, Sateurnus, Saturnus, Saturn, etc.) really conote "to FILL" in the sense of filling a hole, and are the basis for such English words as "satisfy, satitiate, and saturate." After the "intake" of a large meal a person may say "I am FULL. I am SAT-isfied." To use lightness, we could say the person is "Saturned." Just as Saturn's wife, Ops (or Rhea) was symbolized with the "horn of plenty" signifying agricultural abundance, so Saturn's own name bespoke agricultural abundance (to be filled, to be satisfied), but it carries all the way back to the PLANTING stage, when a hole was DUG in the earth, and it was FILLED with the "sown seed." To the ancients the fertility symbolism was not "inferred" as we so delicately treat almost as an aside today, it was direct and plain. It was the FIRST and the PRIMARY meaning. The earth could not conceive and bring forth until the seed was planted. So it is not enough to think of "sowing" as though it only involved the farmer and the seed. The Latin meaning MUST be understood as involving THE OPENED EARTH, and the seed being planted in, or FILLING it.

THAT fact is being laboured to accentuate the role of the PLOW in relation to THE OPENED EARTH. You miss the meaning of Saturn almost entirely unless you realize the ancients understood it to mean that he OPENS THE EARTH and FILLS it (with seed). And it was with the PLOW that he OPENED THE EARTH. THAT is why, most anciently, he was revered as the LORD OF THE PLOW or LORD PLOW. Both the imagery of the (female) earth being opened with the (male) plow and the seed being sown, are but elements of the single act of copulation, the whole basis of fertility religion. Understood thusly, the plowing and the sowing into the furrow are one and the same event. For the more delicate of my readers I will forbear more detailed explanation, but one can only rightly understand how the plow symbolism and the seed-sowing symbolism become synonymous, when you see it in the context of fertility religion. In fact Valpy, in the entry for Saturnus goes as far as to say,

      " Jamieson states in a note: "Our fathers, says Macrobius, called Saturn (Greek here), virile membrum.""

Jamieson also states it in Hermes Sythicus, page 87,

"quae membrum virile declarat" or, "to be clear, the male organ."


Let us move past these "fertility" facts, because they are nothing but "fringe" helps to points more central to our topic. To wit, that Saturn was associated with the opening of the earth, and thusly filling it with seed. Our MAIN and in fact ONLY reason for going off into that awkward fertility religion detour is to further show our reader the association of Saturn with the PLOW. The PLOW is for the planting of the seed. THAT is Saturn's "sowing" association. Fertility religion, and even the symbols of it, are of NO interest to our present discussion, and indeed are of no usefulness to it, unless at the end it serves to make the reader instinctively say to himself, "SATURN/PLOW." If that is achieved, we can return to thinking about the agricultural plow the farmer hitches up to some oxen, and uses to prepare his field for wheat planting. For, after all, the actual pertinence of ALL of these things to our subject is to better understand the Romans using a sacred plow to dig the BORDER LINE (pomerium) around sacred areas. Our intention was only to provide some background and rationale for that ritual.

As we have already discussed, this deity was most anciently the LORD OF THE PLOW, or, "LORD PLOW." In Roman (and pre-Roman) religion he was credited with having TAUGHT the uncivilized occupants of "Saturnia" the USE OF THE PLOW, and how to PLANT crops, or to SOW, that they might no longer be savages, hunter-gatherers or subsist by plundering others.

The PLOW, I say, and seed SOWN in the furrow, were the SYMBOLS of Saturn, until the Greek distortions came. Now it is lost in the mists of time just how the Greeks did put some "agricultural" attributes to their god Chronos. There is an "agricultural" imagery in the scythe. But the truth be told, in GREEK myth, their god was given a gigantic adamantine scythe to use as a WEAPON OF ASSAULT against his father (to MUTILATE him with it). It is now impossible to say if perhaps that scythe led to thinking of the Greek deity in an "agricultural" sense, or, if it was the other way around. But however it happened, the Greeks did end up thinking their Kronus had some "agricultural" aspect. It has been conjectured that this could have been one of the loose associations they made between the Greek god and the Roman; an "agricultural association." But in any case, the Greek "SCYTHE OF CHRONOS" wrongly got transferred over into the hands of Saturn. PREVIOUSLY, and ANCIENTLY, Saturn, if portrayed with ANY implement in images, would have been portrayed with a PLOW, or be depicted as SOWING into holes or in furrows. he would have been associated with PLOWING AND SEED TIME, and NOT with HARVEST. in fact the Romans attributed HARVEST associations with OTHER deities in their pantheon, and NOT to Saturn! Well, that is, as already treated, until later when the "SCYTHE OF CHRONOS" made its way to Rome and made matters murky.


It should be noted that some depictions of Saturn did show him, not with the large ("Grim Reaper" style) scythe of Time, but with a small "sickle" in one hand. It must be noted immediately that most of these depictions were made in times SUBSEQUENT TO the transposition of the "Greek Kronus scythe" onto the Roman Saturn. Therefore it is possible (and maybe even probable) that these little "sickles" are nothing more than "neater" or more "compact" versions of the "Kronus scythe." It is also difficult for the untrained eye to differentiate between depictions of a small handheld "sickle" and a "pruning hook." But indeed a few rare depictions are a very ancient sickle. But there is a remote possibility that in fact this small "sickle" truly belonged to Saturn, FROM BEFORE the arrival of the Greek "fad" with its "Kronus scythe," and may actually have been his way back when he was called Ningirsu/Ninurta/Ninib in Babylonia. THIS WOULD GIVE SATURN A "SICKLE" WITHOUT ANY GREEK INFLUENCE. For indeed, the "LORD OF THE PLOW," Ningirsu/Ninurta/Ninib, is depicted in some Babylonian carvings, with a sickle. I could exhaust my reader with citations wherein Ningirsu is seen with a sickle, and I even have some pictures of those Babylonian carvings. But I did not want to encumber the webpage with them. A curious seeker will be able to find them for himself with a fairly quick search. What I do need to tell here is that a great many of the mentions of this deity in association with a sickle have to do with Babylonian astrology, wherein the god Ningirsu/Ninurta/Ninib is the planet Saturn, and almost without exception, most moderns who treat of ancient astrology tend to think that everything shaped like a crescent (such as a sickle) must relate to something "cresent-like" in the heavens, such as the crescent moon or the "crescent" of the sun in eclipse, etc. Let me here quote an example, although it is obvious that its writer (Talbot) did not realize that the Greek Kronos is not the Roman Saturn:

      "It is well known that in classical mythology Saturn (or Kronos) wields a curved sickle by which he establishes his dominion. Most authorities would agree with Karl Kerenyi that the sickle is the 'image of the new moon.' ... The connection appears to be very old, for it occurs also in ancient Babylonia. NINURTA, THE PLANET SATURN, holds in his hands a weapon called SAR-UR-USAR-GAZ, and also BAB-BA-NU-IL-LA. These names happen to be the very titles of the god Sin, the crescent 'Moon.'"

Source, David Talbot in Reconstructing the Saturn Myth, in the chapter, On Testing the Polar Configuration. (Talbot's citation of the well known scholar of myth, Kerenyi, is exampled for instance in Prometheus, by Carl Kereny, translated by Ralph Manheim, pub'd Princeton University Press, 1997 (page 51) "Kronos carried out his bloody primordial act, the separation of the original parents, with a SICKLE, image of the NEW MOON ..." and on page 55, again, "... the new moon, whence rises the sickle ... ."

Our simple point in this is that there is a remote possibility that Saturn's small hand-held sickle might have come down directly from the small sickle-type instrument sometimes held by the Mesopotamian Ninurta. Yours truly thinks rather that the plow or what I've termed a combination "dibble-hook" belongs associated with Saturn, and not a sickle (not even Ninurta's). However, more importantly the possibility gives us yet one more reason to divorce ourselves from the "blunder" of conflating Saturn and WHATEVER implement he is depicted as holding, with the scythe of the Greeks.

Scholars up through history have sought to discover just who this person was, who came to be worshipped as the god "Saturn."

As already noted, St. Augustine of Hippo spoke about Saturn and was of the opinion that Saturn was a real flesh and blood human being, the father of Picus and grandfather of Faunus. Augustine speculated that this man was really Sterces (or Stercutius). It is universally acknowledged however that Augustine took this from Varro, and that aside from Varro he had no other source besides the poet Vergil on the life or person of Saturn, from which to draw. The "Stercutius" idea is fraught with problems, and in my opinion should be rejected. In The City of God (Book XVIII) Augustine wrote:

      "Chapter 15: Of the Fall of the Kingdom of Argos, When Picus the Son of Saturn First Received His Father's Kingdom of Laurentum.

      "During those times the kingdom of Argos came to an end; being transferred to Mycene, from which Agamemnon came, and the kingdom of Laurentum arose, of which Picus son of Saturn was the first king, when ... yet the kingdom of Assyria still lasted, in which Lampares was the twenty-third king when Picus first began to reign at Laurentum. The worshippers of such gods may see what they are to think of Saturn the father of Picus, who deny that he was a man; of whom some also have written that he himself reigned in Italy before Picus his son; and Vergil in his well-known book says,

"That race indocile, and through mountains high
Dispersed, he settled, and endowed with laws,
And named their country Latium, because
Latent within their coasts he dwelt secure.
Tradition says the golden ages pure
Began when he was king."

      "But they regard these as poetic fancies, and assert that the father of Picus was Sterces rather, and relate that, being a most skillful husbandman, he discovered that the fields could be fertilized by the dung of animals, which is called stercus from his name. SOME SAY he was called Stercutius. But for WHATEVER reason they chose to call him Saturn, it is yet CERTAIN they made this Sterces or Stercutius a god for his merit in AGRICULTURE; and they likewise received into the number of these gods Picus his son, whom they affirm to have been a famous augur and warrior. Picus begot Faunus, the second king of Laurentum; and he too is, or was, a god with them. These divine honors they gave to dead men before the Trojan war."

In Augustine's quote Vergil is saying that Saturn found the occupants "wild" or "indocile" and civilized them. And he says that HE, SATURN, named their land Latium. Vergil says he named it that "BECAUSE" he dwelt "secure" and "latent" there. The very root of Latium, latent, etc. is a word meaning "to lie hidden." Even in modern Latin, to hide, as in to lie hidden, is latere, latitare, etc., and hiding place is latebrae. Saturn was grateful because this land became his hiding place, and Janus and the people of the place gave him refuge from his pursuers. Saturn was a hunted man, say the legends. In fact John C. Traupman, Ph.D., author of Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency and the Latin Dictionary, Bantam, 1995, in the latter gives for latebrae, "hideout," and, for latentis, "hidden, secret." The same dictionary's entry for lateo is extensive, giving among the meanings, "lie hidden, keep out of sight, to lie low, to take shelter," and even "to avoid a summons!" All of this agrees perfectly with the ancient legends of the god Saturn. They all say he had to flee and take refuge in a distant land.

Augustine makes note of the fact that in the age "before the Trojan war" they gave divine honors to dead men (which is true). Whether human or divine, whether a man, or a man worshipped as a god, Augustine knows that the belief was that this "personage" was greatly skilled in "agriculture" and "husbandry." Augustine's wording, "for WHATEVER reason they chose to call him Saturn" is noteworthy, in that it shows that Augustine himself DID NOT KNOW WHY, and in that indeed Augustine does admit that in the age "before the Trojan war" a literal "someone" was worshipped AS THE GOD SATURN at what would someday become "Rome."

It might make some raise an eyebrow however, to note closely again the title given to this "chapter" (15): "Of the Fall of the Kingdom of Argos, When Picus the SON OF SATURN First Received His Father's Kingdom of Laurentum." Without controversy we know that Augustine certainly gave no credence whatsoever to any Pagan god, no, not for an instant. Why then does not the title call Picus the "son of Sterces" (or Stercutius), rather than "The Son of Saturn?" Perhaps only because everyone can recognize "Saturn," while few would have understood "Sterces" as per Augustine's suggestion. But I suspect also, the simple fact that he outright STATES in the text that "SATURN" really existed, and that he was indeed anciently called "Saturn" at the site of future Rome suggests Augustine's acquiescence to much of the prevailing understanding. Augustine's only real objection is that Saturn, being a man, ought not to have been considered a god. For our present purposes the main observations are simply that Augustine, no matter WHO he thought Saturn might have been, held him FACTUALLY to have reigned in Latium; that THIS much was NOT FABLE, to Augustine. We might also suspect that Augustine's wording, "for WHATEVER reason they chose to call him Saturn" reveals a certain "paucity" of the "Sterces" idea. Augustine knows that he and others that thought it cannot make it "make sense." Sterces and Saturn cannot really be conflated logically.

As stated, Augustine's suggestion regarding "Stercutius" is fraught with difficulties:


Some things helpful to this were published in 1905 in a book by Oxford professor Charles Bigg, D.D.. Subsequently his book was the subject of a book review by James Donaldson, LL.D., of the University of St Andrews, London.

The book is The Church's Task Under the Roman Empire, Four Lectures, with Preface, Notes, and an Excursus, by Charles Bigg, D.D., Canon of Christ's Church and Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford. Oxford : At the Clarendon Press, 1905.

The review by James Donaldson, LL.D., Principal of the University of St Andrews, London was published shortly thereafter in 1905 in the Review of Theology & Philosophy.

Both men made observations that I find useful. I should note that the few aspects of Bigg's book that Donaldson criticizes in his review do not touch upon anything that pertains to our topics. For instance Donaldson criticizes some of the details in Bigg's discussion of "infanticide" in the Roman empire. None of this effects our subject matter. And aside from the specific issues that bothered Donaldson (such as a couple of details regarding infanticide) he gave substantial praise to Bigg's work: Donaldson states that Dr. Bigg is "acquainted with all the best authors, Pagan and Christian, that flourished during these centuries ... and ... has also read widely in the modern books ... . And throughout ... has shown great breadth and liberality of thought. ... In it he adheres very closely to his authorities ... though he adds fresh matter from other Latin and Greek authors." Donaldson notes that in the Preface Biggs himself apologises that the work is so short. Bigg wrote, "It is far too large a subject for so small a volume." Donaldson therefore says, "His account, so far as it goes, is remarkably good." And even on those few parts of the book he criticises, Donaldson calls them mere "details," and says "they do not detract from the real value of the book. They are merely slight scratches in a picture which conveys a true idea of its subject. The work is fresh, invigorating, stimulating, manly and attractive. It is brimful of thoughts and suggestions and deserves the heartiest welcome."

Donaldson states (of Bigg's book) "The second chapter treats of religion under the Empire." Then he (on page 255 of the Review of Theology & Philosophy) quotes Dr. Bigg from that chapter (page 35 of Bigg's The Church's Task Under the Roman Empire), listing the ROLES that the various Roman gods occupied: (The godess) "Vesta kept the hearth, ... Janus guarded the door ... Others worked the farm. SATURN GOVERNED THE SOWING, Pales the cattle, STERCUTIUS THE FOLDYARD, Epona the stable." THAT is the statement from Bigg which most interests us here. But Donaldson continues, "In this passage Dr Bigg places beside each other gods that belonged to QUITE DIFFERENT CLASSES. Cardua, Forculus, Limentinus, and STERCUTIUS are gods which are specially mentioned as being in the INDIGITAMENTA, and were DOMESTIC gods. They are known to us through Tertullian, Arnobius, Lactantius, and AUGUSTINE, all of whom DERIVE their knowledge of them from VARRO. No image of them has yet been discovered, anywhere."

Donaldson approves the ROLES assigned to the various deities listed by Bigg. His ONLY objection is that in Biggs' paragraph (which I only partly quoted here) Bigg did not SEPARATE "Olympian" gods from the "Indigitamenta" or domestic gods. They are "quite different classes" says Donaldson, and so he felt it was careless to place them "beside each other."

For OUR purposes, note that Saturn was an "OLYMPIAN" god and that Stercutius was only in the Indigitamenta class. This statement of mine is a reduction to starkness, and so I should explain: Think if you will of the average driveway today of a home in the suburbs. Just as "driveway" suggests, automobiles move upon it. Now contrast that with a nation's freeways, upon which autmobiles also move. One however attaches to a private residence, while the other is "public." The Romans differentiated between the national or "public" and the "private" roles fulfilled by the gods. And as a general rule of thumb (albeit a loose one) the "Olympian" deities were usually "mythological" which is to say had national myths attached to them, while the Indigitamenta rarely did. Rather, the Indigitamenta were of more "practical" origin and attached to every day "mundane" and household things. The word "indigitamenta" roughly bespeaks "invoking" in the sense of invoking the power of a THING. To the Romans, "things" like the household stove, the hearth, or the baby's cradle had "gods" or "powers" of those things, which might be invoked for their right use. A baby's first cry was a "thing" that had it's own indigitamenta. That is, they actually invoked a "god" of first baby cries. Another was invoked for baby's first word. In fact the Romans had some fifteen indigitamenta just for the various stages and events in child-rearing (even the child's cough). Another rule of thumb that can help is that the "OLYMPIAN" gods were involved with matters of interest to the entire nation, or things "public," while the "Indigitamenta" were worshipped privately in the home or were seen as having a specifically "household" role. It is not a hard and fast rule however, as it is easy to see how "public" (or "Olympian") could overlap. For instance, take the celebration of the New Year. The whole nation or "public" celebrated it, invoking the blessing of the god Janus. And yet, so might a family in the privacy of their own home do likewise at the New Year, and Janus was in fact the top-ranking god in the Indigitamenta class. And so, if you understand, a "national" or "public" or "Olympian" deity might in some instances be worshipped privately at the household level. And so it was with Saturn: He was one of the most ancient gods of Rome (actually worshipped on the site of Rome before that city existed). From Rome's beginning Saturn was revered among their most ancient two or three deities. He ranked as "Olympian" as Donaldson puts it. And as this treatise has stressed so strongly, Saturn (even in his PLOWING and PLANTING role) was involved in THE NATION'S FOUNDING (as in Rome being built upon SATURNIA, and as in Rome's founding ritual of the PLOWING of the Pomerium). Even the State Treasury was housed in the Temple of Saturn. However, the individual or "private" farmer or householder likewise plowed and sowed (or planted) on his own private property, and would naturally invoke the blessing of Saturn upon those operations. In fact it is not so easy to distinguish in ancient Rome between "private" land and "public." Every Roman farmer was permitted to farm up to thirty "jugera" of "public" land and to treat it as his own (or as "private property") with certain provisions. And in the colonies there were communal properties known as "compascua publica." And so it is less than clear what might change in the sense or view of a god or his worship when the status of a piece of land changes to and fro from state to private land and vice versa. But beyond question, Saturn was invoked for plowing and planting for either and both. Thus a "public" or "Olympian" god is found operating at times and events in "Indigitamenta" roles.

In any case Donaldson objects (in part) to great Saturn even being named in the SAME LIST with Stercutius and other of the Indigitamenta. And so you can also understand his meaning as he continues on page 256; after saying that Saturn was often worshipped among the Indigitamenta, he says, "BUT he took his place also among the PUBLIC gods. These public gods, as Jupiter and Juno (and Saturn), had TEMPLES IN ROME, and their worship was managed by the College of Pontifices, who also had charge of the ENTIRE, even the domestic and private, religion of Roman citizens. The gods of the Indigitamenta (on the other hand) performed special functions, such as teaching the child to walk, eat, and talk, or guarding each an individual act of agriculture. It is curious that the names of these di minuti, as they are called by Augustine, are all easily intelligible. They are derived from Latin words in use at the end of the Republic, and it is difficult to imagine that they could have had the same form four centuries B.C., because the Latin of that period could not be understood by the Romans of the time of Cicero. The derivation of the names of the PUBLIC gods, on the other hand, is a philological puzzle, perhaps with the exception of Saturn."

While the people in their private lives might certainly invoke or "tap" the great NATIONAL or PUBLIC deities, that is, call upon them in their own homes, the reverse is not the case. The Indigitamenta, the "lowly and mundane "di minuti" were NEVER worshipped in the NATIONAL PANTHEON, were never the gods of the great national mythos, like the "Olympian" gods. It is doubtless unnecessary by this point in our treatise to remind our reader why Saturn is probably the exception (worshipped both "high and low"), as it has already been shown that his name is universally understood by scholarship to denote the planting (or sowing) of seed in the earth. But note how plainly and forthrightly in that last sentence Donaldson above rightly has Saturn in the "PUBLIC gods" class. That Donaldson took Bigg to task on his paragraph that carelessly listed the gods TOGETHER, shows how important it was that the different "classes" or "types" of gods be kept clear.

What then do we take from this for our purposes? Firstly that great Saturn was not even the same "TYPE" or "CLASS" of god as Stercutius and the other mere Indigitamenta, or "di minuti" as they are called. How unlikely it would be then, that Stercutius was ever worshipped as Saturn! We could go on and expound many more reasons for understanding that the two cannot be compared. Along with Donaldson stating (given above) that Saturn and other of the "public" or "Olympian" gods "had temples in Rome," his next paragraph added that throughout the Empire Roman soldiers raised altars and made inscriptions to specifically those Roman gods which were these same "NATIONAL" gods, the "public" or "Olympian" gods. This was NOT their practice for the "di minuti" or household gods. That is most logical. Just think of the Roman legions approaching a foreign city with the standards of Rome uplifted, and the most powerful and venerated of their gods portrayed upon the standards. To what purpose? Plainly and clearly that these represented the ROMAN STATE, the power which is Rome. We may logically suppose that the soldiers would be smiled upon by Rome in leaving altars and inscriptions across the world which "advertised" Rome's national essence. The whole world knew that Jupiter, Saturn, Juno and Mars were worshipped by the Roman state. To see the images of national gods on Rome's standards clearly declared that "Rome" was present. That could hardly be represented by the indigitamenta, invocations for baby cough or baby's first word. These were not celebrated in myth nor worshipped with great temples and ceremonies in "downtown Rome" as were the greater gods. And so, with the Roman state smiling upon them, Roman soldiers left inscriptions to Jupiter, Saturn, Juno and Mars (and later Mithra) all across the conquered world, but NOT to the Indigitamenta, or the "di minuti." And, one of the mightiest temples to any Roman god outside of the city of Rome itself, was the Temple of Saturn in conquered Africa. But nowhere outside of Rome will a trace, not so much as a scratch on a wall, to Stercutius be found.

THE FOLDYARD: Above we stated that the following statement from Dr. Bigg regarding the "roles" of the various gods is what most interests us: "Vesta kept the hearth, ... Janus guarded the door ... Saturn governed the sowing, Pales the cattle, Stercutius the foldyard, Epona the stable." We have already joined James Donaldson in distinguishing between the greater "national" gods (among whom we find Saturn) and the lesser "household" Indigitamenta (among whom was Stercutius). Of special note to us is that Saturn was (on both the national or "public" level and even on the individual farm level) the god of "SOWING" while, quite removed from that, Stercutius watched over a household's "FOLDYARD." I appreciate this observation by Dr. Bigg on the diverse "duties" of the various gods, because quite simply, NO CORRELATION can intelligently be made between Saturn the planting or sowing deity and the deity of the foldyard. The "foldyard" of antiquity is simply the "fold" as in the "sheep-fold" so familiar to King James Bible readers. The traditional foldyard was an open area surrounded by a stone wall. Depending on the sort of farm, in winter the foldyard contained either sheep, horses, cattle, goats, or pigs. In summer the area might be filled with stacks of hay, as the animals were then in the open field. But in winter the animals were brought into the foldyard and the hay was stored in the shelter of the barn usually adjoining the foldyard. Some foldyards had an adjoining barn on one side, as mentioned, and some had as well pens or a stable at one side, or some sort of shelter. But the "foldyard proper" is the open-aired area surrounded by the stone wall, not the structures built onto it's sides. In a more primitive setting, if a farmer had access to the base of a rocky cliff with an indent, a recess, niche or alcove to it, he need do no more than add a pen-wall or wall of some type, and the natural alcove could serve as a "fold." We might find it possible to join Augustine in associating Stercutius (but NOT Saturn) with both "animal manure" and the "fold," in that there would be no easier place from which to obtain animal dung than from the fold, rather than from all over hill and dale. Herein may lie an association of Stercutius with both the fold and the "fertilizer" found therein.

Perhaps a less than scholarly motive: It is well known that Augustine took pleasure in mocking and belittling the Pagan gods. I cannot help but suspect that this was really his motive in alleging an association between Saturn and animal dung (through Sterces). In particular Augustine ridiculed how the Romans invoked as a "deity" every aspect of ordinary labors, such as in farming. Above I gave as an example the many stages of child-rearing. Every aspect became an "indigimenta." Augustine derided this Roman habit. And so, I can see how he would have had precisely the same contempt for the deification of "sowing" as he had for deifying "dung use." And I suspect that this is really the "glue that binds" these so radically diverse gods together, in Augustine's thought. Others have tried to accommodate the "Stercutius" notion by turning Saturn into a broader, almost "generic" agriculture deity. The reasoning is, if we make him loosely about "agriculture" then we could sweep together the notions of "Stercutius" and "fertilizer" as pertinent to farming, just like plowing and planting, and all the rest that goes with farming. But, while that kind of thinking does nicely make room for a whole panoply of "roles" for a god, it not only goes contrary to the Roman "way" of specifying distinct and detailed duties to their deities, but it also goes contary to the historical record, that is, contrary to what may be known of the god Saturn. It is a conjecture without evidence.

However, regardless of whether Augustine was right or wrong about Saturn being Stercutius, let there be no confusion regarding his NAME: Augustine does not mean to (nor could he) draw any connection between the name "Stercutius" and the name "Saturn," for there is none. He only seeks to make them the same person. But as for the names, "Saturn" means nothing remotely like what "Stercutius" means. Augustine is clear on that much. He simply declares that he has no idea why the man who is called "Saturn" bore the name "Saturn."

Saturn's name comes from words denoting "sowing" or "to sow" (as in the PLANTING of seed in soil).


Personally, I myself have NOT confidently embraced the view that Saturn was Noah. But, that Saturn was actually Noah, the biblical builder of the Ark that came through the Great Flood, is the well-known position of numerous respected biblical scholars. In the following paragraphs I "play devil's advocate" and show some elements of that view. Below I will explain some of my reasons for giving consideration to this view. But, to begin, observe the following quote from one such proponent of the belief: "That Saturn was Noah, is taught by Bochart, Bryant, Jones, and others; and with the strongest appearance of probability." (Quote is from Timothy Dwight in The Panoplist, and Missionary Magazine United, No. 12, Vol. IV, May 1812, subheading, Religious Communications - Lectures on the Evidence of Divine Revelation, No. XIV). Dr. Timothy Dwight (1752 - 1817) attended the College in Connecticut, and received tutelage in theology besides, under none other than Jonathan Edwards, his uncle. Dwight was an accomplished scholar of Greek and a clergyman. He established a school for both sexes, which grew so large that Dwight required two assistants. He was sought out by many insitutions to be their director. He declined the pastorate of the Dutch Reformed church of Albany, and declined the Presidency of Union College, and, although he became a Doctor of Divinity of Princeton College, and Doctor of Laws of Harvard, he accepted instead the Presidency of Yale. Later in life he more narrowly directed his energies into service as the Professor of Theology of Yale, during which years he was the leading voice and energy of The Panoplist, just cited. Dwight source (including his authorship of the Panoplist article); Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, by Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Vol. 3, May, 1763 - July, 1778, published 1903, Henry Holt and Company, New York. And note the following regarding Saturn from Deane; "Saturn was Noah according to EVERY SYSTEM for the interpretation of mythology." - Page 448, The Worship of the Serpent Traced Throughout the World, by Rev. John Bathurst Deane, M.A. F.S.A. Pembroke College, Cambridge, 1833. And here, William Hort, simply observing; "Some writers have supposed that Saturn was no other than Nimrod, that mighty hunter before the Lord, who first usurped arbitrary power over his brethren of mankind. Others have imagined that SATURN WAS NOAH HIMSELF, and that his sons Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, were Ham, Japhet, and Shem, the founders of Nations." Footnote, page 6, The New Pantheon, or, An Introduction to the Mythology of the Ancients, 1827, by William Jillard Hort. To the foregoing names could be added those of Joseph S. Exell, John Thomas Painter, and a host of other respected scholars.

Please keep in mind that discussion of the "SATURN'S IDENTITY" claims is yet another "side topic" which could detract from our CARCER AT ROME topic (which itself is a parenthesis within the larger CIRCE topic). I think it has a contribution to make to the matter, but it should not be allowed to distract and detract.

Above, in the section citing The Cambridge Ancient History, on Ninib/Ninurta/Ningirsu spotlighting his worship at Lagash and Girsu-ki as Nin-Girsu, we brought out how the inhabitants of Lagash in particular magnified Ningirsu as the Lord of the FLOOD. Scholars have cited these facts besides literally scores of other reasons for associating Ningirsu with the biblical Noah. For here, at least know these several things: There is in fact a school of theory that promotes the notion that not only was the "personage" who has been worshipped as "Ninurta, Ningirsu, Ninib" (in Babylon), and "Saturn" (at Rome) was none other than Noah who built the Ark, but that this very same Noah/Ninurta/Ningirsu/Saturn actually came to the very site in ITALY where Rome now stands, and that he ruled there as a local king. If you are hearing of this theory for the very first time, you might be inclined to dismiss the notion without another thought. I would urge rather, that even if it is to be dismissed, it should be dismissed only after hearing the matter. You just might be surprised to discover how much scholarlship exists lending credence to that opinion.

WHY do I expound parts of the "Noah View" in this treatise? For a number of reasons. Let me first say something about the widely used term, "playing devil's advocate." Some Christians might find the term to be out place in the lips of Christians, for surely none of us wish to be the "devil's" anything. Unfortunately, many writers have discovered that since the phrase came into common use, no one has produced another one that as quickly and concisely communicates the same meaning as its modern use. Originally the term rose in the Roman Catholic Church and was associated with the process of canonizing saints. When the merits or lack thereof of a candidate for sainthood were being debated, there were spokespersons for both the "pro" and "con" or "for" and "against" opinions. The spokesperson advocating for the person to be "sainted" or canonized was called "the Promoter of the Cause," and was "nicknamed" "God's Advocate" (Advocatus Dei in Latin). The person arguing against the canonization was nicknamed therefore (by default) "advocatus diaboli" or "devil's advocate." No one associated this lawyer with anything to do with the devil, as in fact his job was to protect the Church against fraud, against fake miracles, and to ensure that those who were elevated to sainthood were truly worthy. "Devil's advocate" was merely a good-natured and humorous play on words because of noting that the "pro" spokesman had the unfair advantage of being titled "GOD'S Advocate." If anything, the nickname "devil's advocate" served to humorously alert people to the error of thinking one side or the other was the "right" side, before hearing the matter. More recently (in 1959) the term received wider modern exposure with the publishing by Morris West of his fiction novel by that title, "Devil's Advocate." In its simplest sense, the term "devil's advocate" today simply means a person expounding the position or view of someone else, even though he himself does not necessarily believe the view, the usual inference being that this other view, whether entirely true or not, might have some intelligent points or merits, worthy of consideration. And it is in THAT sense that I below here play "devil's advocate" for the "Saturn was Noah" view. Firstly, I have not so deeply studied it as to have DISPROVED the theory. Neither have I yet seen another scholar satisfactorily DEBUNK it. So, as I have had the "Roman" god SATURN here under discussion, the "Noah" school ought to have some mention. The reader should DIFFERENTIATE between the beliefs of those Bible scholars who believe that Noah CAME TO ITALY, and the beliefs of those Bible scholars who merely think that the god Saturn was BASED ON NOAH. That is, since, if you believe that the Romans (and earlier worshippers of Saturn) were DESCENDANTS OF NOAH (as most Bible believers do), it should seem logical to you that the Romans should have in their mythology some memory preserved of their ANCESTOR NOAH (ponder that)! So, Saturn (or Jupiter or Janus or some god) being simply BASED ON Noah is not as easily dismissed as the belief that Noah came in person to Italy. Further, anyone who is familiar with works such as Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, already knows that the belief is widespread that the gods of the Pagans evolved out of distorted myths regarding the biblical ancients Adam, Eve, Seth, Cain, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Nimrod, Semiramis, et al. Those familiar realize therefore that, according to these assertions, the Pagan gods (including those of the Romans) can be traced back to Mesopotamia, to the "land of Shinar," THE PERIOD OF THE TOWER OF BABEL, and the rise of Babylon. Simply that consideration should immediately inform the reader here that a Babyonian deity such as Ninib/Ninurta/Ningirsu cannot be overlooked as possibly having had a "ROLE" in the events of that time. And for the "Noah" school, it cannot be overlooked that this god is a "FLOOD" god. If indeed there is any truth to the "Saturn was Noah" belief, it should be considered immensely pertinent that Saturn has in his background the FLOOD associations of Ninib/Ninurta/Ningirsu. Further, one of my own interests in this treatise is that the Romans (in conformity to Etruscan ritual) dug a sacred POMERIUM with a SACRED PLOW around their sacred sites. And to the Romans, a thing "sacred" was sacred only in association with a "deity" or things worshipped as divine. It becomes impossible to ignore "LORD PLOW" the worshipped PLOW of the Babylonians as the possible SOURCE of this Etruscan/Roman sacred ritual. And Noah was a TILLER OF THE GROUND, and a PLANTER, and the Romans held that Saturn taught FARMING to the ancients. Considering these several (and numerous other) factors and possibilities it behooves us to include the "Saturn was Noah" belief among the possible contributors to our subject. Finally it ought to be recognized that even if Saturn was not LITERALLY THE ACTUAL MAN NOAH it is irrelevant, because what remains FACTUAL is that the Romans DID have this deity, and DID worship him. Saturn WAS worshipped at Rome, and the MYTHS existed, regardless of whether any of their gods were originally just exalted heroes, deified humans, or not. The REALITIES that we ACTUALLY have under discussion here about Saturn ultimately DO NOT DEPEND IN THE LEAST on his having once been a human. If he was nothing more than a wisp of air in the imagination of an ancient story-teller, with NO basis in reality, it does not remove the RELIGION. That existed. And it is really THAT ("the Saturn RELIGION") which BEYOND QUESTION physically affected the LANDSCAPE in the Roman Forum. Simply facing the fact that the Temple of Saturn was in the Forum settles that. And the points that this treatise makes regarding Saturn ALL have to do with those PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE (or topographical) REALITIES. These are FACTS. If in the end we discard as error EVERY theory about the origins, the how and the why of Saturn, we CANNOT discard the reality on the ground. It is STILL THERE in solid stone in the Forum at Rome. Thus the more important aspect of our "Saturn" enquiry stands unchanged no matter what we think to be that god's "origins."

That said, let us commence examining the notion of Saturn having anciently been Noah:


Many of my readers will come to these pages already educated as to the reasons that such beliefs (as the god Saturn being the man Noah) exist. But for those hearing such things for the first time, let me here just state briefly what the general basis for the theory is: For CENTURIES in fact, it has been believed by historians that many of the so-called "gods" of the Pagan religions were the deified ancestors of the human race.


How OLD is the assertion that the "gods" were only mere mortal men from antiquity that were greatly honored and deified? It is impossible to say. We can use logical deduction to an extent, but past that we look to when there is record of the issue being discussed.

Firstly however, logic informs us that if it is true (that the "gods" were mortals), then the awareness of that fact would have existed from the "beginning" when living observers first witnessed their fellows exalting some human celebrity to "godhood." If the (deifying) process began, at some point then naturally men witnessed it beginning. And logic further insists that it is possible that from that very beginning, there may have been individuals reminding the "worshippers" that such and such "deity" was just shortly ago a mere MAN. If you believe as I (yours truly) do that, from the days of Noah on down, there always was a remnant faithful to The One True God, His witnesses, then it stands to reason that every time any false god was set up (whether by calling a mortal man a god or carving one out of stone), the servants of the True God would have spoken out, that this "innovation" was an error. And so, it is possible that since the very first day that a mere man was called a god the objection to that error has existed.

That having been said, recorded history tells us that the issue itself (of the "gods" being deified humans) was discussed in the "Greek world" as far back as recorded Greek "history" reaches. Perhaps worthy of observation for some is the fact that the claim was not being made by Christians (plainly, as Christ had not come yet), nor yet by Jews invecting against "heathenism."


One simple observation can be used as "key" for understanding that issue: The fact that throughout the ages of the worship of the Greek and Roman gods, the inhabitants of CRETE claimed to have on their island the TOMB in which the "god" Jupiter (Zeus, Tinia, Odin, etc.) lay BURIED. The mere claim of Jupiter/Zeus having died and been buried after the manner of any other mortal, and, the ramifications of such a claim, sparked DEBATES between religionists and philosophers, spanning centuries. The Cretans were (and still are) accused of issuing the claim merely out of pride, wanting Crete to be looked upon as the "home of the gods," and one of their own mountains as Olympus, and they, the Cretans, as the first and foremost of all "Greek" peoples. But whether they had a tomb which they honestly thought was Jupiter's, or, had made the claim fraudulently out of pride, matters not if our question is how old the discussion is, of the "gods" being mortal. The discussion is ancient. Some of the Greeks considered the "Cretist" doctrine to be blasphemy. It might perhaps be compared to the hostility between the Christian Faith and modern atheism. The Greeks who had eventually come to elevate the "gods" to a sublime celestial status, even making of "Mount Olympus" a realm similar to Christian views of "heaven," that is, an invisible place where God dwells, deemed it a "blasphemy" and "atheism" to attribute a mortal past to the highest gods, and to claim Olympus was really a physical mountain on Crete. None the less the "Cretists" in antiquity held their ground and said it was so.


By association, the label of "Cretists" was put on OTHERS who said the gods were exalted men, whether they involved "Crete" or did not. Listed among the "Cretists" in Greek history was the writer-philosopher Euhemerus. Born in Messene, Sicily, he is known however for his teaching career in Macedonia. Euhemerus, who flourished in the late fourth century BC, asserted that "gods" were merely exalted celebrities. We know that he taught his generation that the ancient gods were "made" somewhat the same way that only recently the Greeks had elevated Alexander the Great to divine status, and the way the Egyptians claimed their Pharaoh was a god. Further, it is thought by some, that if indeed Euhemerus was from Sicily, the long-held practice in Sicily of worshipping their leaders, may have played a role in shaping his awareness on the matter. Actually though, the simple notion that gods were exalted men somewhat misses the "spin" that Euhemerus put on "Cretism." Euhemerus expanded on the "exalted human" claim and further asserted that men tended to project onto their gods marked traits they saw in man. Dr. Reggie M. Kidd remarks on it thusly: "Euhemerus co-opts the ancient Cretan notion of deity emerging from humanity in support of a teaching that the gods themselves are nothing but a projection of the human spirit - this, maintains Spyridakis, is as close to blasphemy as pre-Christian Greek religion is capable." Notice please, "Euhemerus co-opts the" already "ancient Cretan notion." Source: Titus as Apologia: Grace for Liars, Beasts, and Bellies, by Dr. Reggie M. Kidd, published in Horizons in Biblical Theology 21.2 (December 1999) 185-209 and in IIIM Magazine, Volume 3, Number 24, June 11 to June 17, 2001. As antiquities scholar Stylianos Spyridakis, Ph.D. (just cited) likewise writes in Zeus Is Dead: Euhemerus and Crete, "Euhemerus may be credited as the writer who systematized and explained an (already) ancient and widely accepted popular belief, namely that the dividing line between gods and men is not always clear."

And so, Euhemerus also happens to lend his name to this general school of thought, and what was perhaps archaically known as the "Cretist" claim, and the ideas deriving therefrom, is now more often called "Euhemerism."

But my point is, look at the antiquity of the claim. I say, that if the gods were men, the objection to the heresy was undoubtedly voiced from its inception, shortly after the embarkation from Noah's Ark. But it matters not if I am right; the claim was made by the people of Crete in the age of Greek and Roman idolatry. And if you need to cite historical advocates of the assertion, you may comfortably use Euhemerus, and modern scholarship will understand what you are saying.

Next, reference the Roman thinker Ennius: Cicero himself brings attention to Ennius the "Euhemerist" when he challenges, "Those who maintain that famous and important men after their death became the gods to whom we pray and bow.... This kind of thinking has been developed by Euhemerus, which our Roman Ennius later translated and interpreted." (Cicero De Natura Deorum I 42). In fact the work which Ennius wrote on the matter so invoked and reflected Euhemerus before him that he titled the work The Euhemerus, and references to the subject matter may yet be sought under that term today.

Perhaps more capeable of holding Christian attention are those "Early Church Fathers" who not only held this (Euhemerist) view, but also REFERENCED the very Graeco-Roman sources here mentioned, in support of their own assertions on the matter:

In example, Lactantius and Augustine (and we have already seen a sampling of this in Augustine, above).

Furthermore, men revered their departed ancestors, and held them up as mighty heroes. Clans or tribes looked back in their "family tree" and often exalted the personage they viewed as the founder of their own clan as a hero of gigantic proportions. For example, as shown in an addendum to this treatise, The chief god of the Anglo-Saxons was "Wotan" (Woden, Odin, etc). The name of our weekday "Wednesday" actually means "Woden's Day." Wotan was to the Teutons basically what JUPITER (and in some capacities Mars) was to the Romans, and Zeus to the Greeks. Yet, they also considered Wotan their ancestor. "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles" (dated from 890 AD) state "From Wodin has descended all our royal family, and that of the Southumbrians also." The Anglo-Saxons of Kent, England traced their ancestry back to the hero Wecta who was one of the sons of the god Wotan. The Anglo-Saxons of Wessex and Bernicia, England traced theirs back to the hero Baeldaeg, son of the god Wotan, those of Deira, England track back to Waegdeg, son of Wotan, and the Mercians, back to Wihtlaeg, son of Wotan. Sometimes deification of a particular ancestor may have been due to that person being the farthest one back that they had any knowledge of. Therefore everything before that person is lost in the mists of pre-history, and so, the most ancient ancestor becomes associated with the gods, creation myths, and beliefs about the first created man. I mean the "Romans" more than I mean the Anglo-Saxons in this regard, as what I really have in view is that that the succession of the kings of "Rome" enters the mists of mythology when you get far enough back. It bears a similarity to the Judeo-Christian belief, which is to say the Bible (which is certainly no myth but Divinely-revealed Truth), which takes genealogy all the way back to and through "Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" (Lk. 3:38). In truth, man's farthest back ancestor (Adam) had no one before him but God. Pagan religions somewhat retained a shadow of that truth. The farthest back ancestors were "linked" with deity.

It is worth considering also that because of the Great Flood in Noah's day, and all the families of the earth being erased but for Noah and his family, the Pagan tribes of the earth afterward tended, in their myths, to track back to that generation. Noah, by whatever name they called him, was the "farthest back" that many were able to track, in myth and legend. Noah, and his wife, and, Shem and his wife, and Japheth and his wife, and Ham and his wife. We shall not here discuss what Genesis 6:4 might mean when it refers to the "giants" and "mighty men" and "men of renown" in the world before the Flood, when the "sons of God" took wives of the "daughters of men." But surely anyone can see that the stage is set, by the utter removal of the former "world" by the Flood, for myth and fable to arise. Remember that later, in the "confusion of tongues" at Babel, when mankind was divided into numerous languages, and they could not understand one-another, the different language groups referred to all of the "Flood" events by words now alien and unfamiliar to other language groups. Even what words one group used to refer back to the "Flood" and to the "Ark" and even the word for a "god" were changed, and made alien to another group. Most of us have pondered what a dramatic event the confusion of tongues must have been, and most have also understood that it resulted in the separation or scattering of people groups. But perhaps fewer have contemplated the resulting chaos that surely befell their "history," the telling of the past, if they could not even agree on what things were named! Language is the primary vehicle by which the mind communicates. And just think of things "religious" or spiritual, and doctrine! "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21). The truth of God held by mortal man depends so critically upon the spoken word! What chaos in "religion" must have befallen man in the confusion of tongues! And even that was part of God's judgment, as it is written, "even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over" (Rom. 1:28) and "God gave them up" (v 25) and "their foolish heart was darkened" (v 21), and again, "God shall send them strong delusion" (2 Thes. 2:11). At the Tower of Babel they were already resisting God's will for man to "replenish" (go forth and re-people, or fill, all the earth) and had become proud and vain ("Let us make us a name"), and vaunted themselves to the heavens. "Religion?" Spirituality? Devotion to God? Sound doctrine? It was already corrupted (but for a small remnant), and so, in the confusion of tongues, God also "cut the leash" and let them slide headlong into religious delusions. The ancient Hebrews passed down the tradition that it was NIMROD, starting right there at Babel, who was the Father of Idolatry. They said that not only did the making of and worship of graven images begin with him, but that the false gods themselves, represented by those images, were his invention (and the invention of his wife with him). And finally we read (in Josephus for example, and in the Rabbis) that Nimrod himself was worshipped as a god. (We could observe that some make "Belus" the Father of Idolatry, but then again as Spivey said, some say "Belus" was Nimrod, so the distinction, especially for OUR present purpose, becomes superfluous).

There may be additional reasons to associate "Noah" with our topic (the carcer at the northwest corner of the Roman Forum). I will run the risk of looking utterly foolish here, by leaving out a lengthy exposition, and giving it in simplicity: The Babylonian god Ningirsu/Ninurta/Ninib, as has already been said, was a BOUNDARY god, "Lord of the Boundary." God, in the Bible is Himself denominated as what we could call "Lord of boundaries," in numerous passages and in numerous different regards. He has set the bounds of the nations, etc., and in for example Job 26, it is He who gave the seas their boundaries. One that I particularly like is Jeremiah 5:22, wherein God says that he has "placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it." The Hebrew word for "BOUND" in this verse means a BOUNDARY of course. But it is interesting to see how precisely and how fully the meanings of this word fit with those being spotlighted in this "carcer" section of the treatise: The Hebrew word is "gbuwl" (pronounced "gheb-ool." The best I can expound gbuwl is this: Picture a man intending to rope off an area, but he begins with the creating of the rope itself. A rope is braided, woven or twisted. And so the actual braidwork goes into the Hebrew etymology. A barrier rope, or boundary rope, is essentially the barrier braid, or the border twisting. At its most basic the word "gbuwl" means a barrier braid, and it was to be understood that this means a rope that is used to form an off-limits boundary line. But, moving past the rise of the word itself to the use of it, gbuwl was used to denote both an ENCLOSED SPACE, and ENCLOSURE, and/or, a LANDMARK. It appears to say in Jer. 5:22 that the sand of the shoreline is the boundary of the sea, set there by the decree of God. Now please don't think I am straying to the far-fetched. The Babylonians as well as the Hebrews trace back to Noah's Ark, and thereafter to the span of time between coming out of the Ark and the arrival at the Plain of Shinar. We ought not to find it strange that both the apostates and God's remnant alike ascribed the same attributes to their deity, whether it be the One True God or to idols. Where I mean to go, is that the True God, Our Lord, is that True God who in fact sets the BOUNDARIES of the seas (and even of the nations). But the apostates gave His glory to idols. If my reader were to study this out for himself, he would find, quite easily, that Ningirsu (whether under Ningirsu or Ninurta or Ninib, but more easily under Ningirsu) was glorified by the Babylonians also as the GOD OF THE FLOOD, and of FLOODING. I said I would only brush over this, because it could be many pages if I expounded and gave all my sources and reasons. But I think there is reason to associate Ningirsu with Noah's Flood (if not with Noah himself) even because of this aspect. If one only consults the most abbreviated and shallow resources, Ningirsu will appear to be associated with waters brought in by canals, for irrigation. But I think those associations only describe a later or an end attribution that came about most logically, and that they omit what that logic was. I think that Ningirsu's FIRST association was with the GREAT BIBLICAL FLOOD, and that his association was either originally with God who finally stopped the Great Flood, and caused the waters to subside and be tamed, or, with Noah, who "conquered" or "tamed" or "rode out" that Great Flood. In either case, it was by the Hand of God. Biblical studies that center on the building of the Tower of Babel will inform the student that tradition said that the building of the Tower was actually ABOUT and BECAUSE OF the Great Flood that had recently subsided. Supposedly, led by Nimrod, they set about to build the Tower to defy God, making the Tower so high that God could never "get them" with another flood. The idea was, supposedly, that in the event of another Great Flood, the ruling elite could ascend to the Tower's Height and would be safe. They could "outsmart" God. Therefore their regime, Babel/Babylon would never perish. But notice, whether Ningirsu was Nimrod or was Noah (or a shadow of the True God) there was a FLOOD affiliation. It should be remembered that the operation and working of the True God upon the WATERS was not merely wrath, but salvation. God not only destroyed the wicked, but saved the righteous. He not only brought the Flood, but He also controlled it, and He also made it go away, and gave promise to Noah and his family that He wouldn't do it again (which promise the apostates at Shinar did not trust). But research on Ningirsu will find him to be god of both kinds of flooding, both disastrous and benign. He was god of the floods that destroy, but god also of the welcome flooding wherewith crops were saturated and made to grow. The waters of the Euphrates would overflow their banks in often predictable and welcome rhythm and water the seeded fields. Thus Ningirsu was praised for what we would call "irrigation" but which was originally dependent upon natural flooding, and only later, harnessed with "canal-work." Eventually the Babylonians realized they could plant crops farther away from the river, if only they could "divert" some of the river water out to those fields. In that way, they need not fear the often harmful result of planting at the river's edge. And so, still, Ningirsu was praised, for HIS FLOODWATERS were being allowed to be "tamed" and "channeled" through a canal. Thus it was only right that this deity be appeased and honored for "canal water," for they in fact came FROM the great river, which was a mighty force, sometimes capeable of destruction. To not be arrogant against Ningirsu, in "taking" the river water, they instead CREDITED him with supplying it. If you can see the correlation between building a Tower to climb up to a safe hight to ESCAPE a Flood, and the building of canals to "harness" floodwaters, you can see how one and the selfsame deity could be invoked in either undertaking, or both. But I suggested Jeremiah 5 as a reading. God controls the raging sea, that it cannot pass its BOUNDS. And Ningirsu had the power of FLOODING. Thus Ningirsu was invoked, that he might not permit the floodwaters to overflow the canals that drew water from the great river. He was supplicated, that his waters be controlled, and remain channeled and manageable, and be only benign, and nourish their fields. Thus I believe that originally Ningirsu was associated with the Great Flood of Noah, and as time went by, associated with protection from River Flooding, and only lastly and more "recently" with the system of control, or "irrigation." The Babylonians dug a great canal from the River to a dry but potentially fertile district. And we are told that they erected a great temple to Ningirsu right on the bank of the canal, so that the waters would pass directly before the god as he was worshipped, for this was HIS flood water. It came from that mighty river, distant. So, you see, Ningirsu's assocation with those greater and mightier waters is missed, when abbreviated sources make him an "irrigation god." Nay, he was god of ALL flooding. And when his possible associations with EITHER Noah the Flood survivor, or Nimrod the Flood defier are considered, it is hard to miss the possibilities.

How does this relate to the CARCER at the Roman Forum? All thoughout this section I expound that the carcer spring was a BOUNDARY. And Ningirsu was a BOUNDARY god. But Ningirsu was also the god of FLOOD WATERS. No one can study the Roman Forum valley without learning immediately that the Tiber River rose and FLOODED this exact spot, regularly. Do not forget that we are looking at the fact the Temple of Saturn, and the Altar of Saturn, where he was worshipped, were but mere yards from the carcer spring. And the sacred "AREA of Saturn" in fact was PART of the valley area that was subject to flooding. All of the Roman historians likewise tell us that at least as early as the days of Titus Tatius (the contemporary of Romulus who ruled the citadel on the Hill of Saturn) the occupants of this very spot engaged in attempts at "flood control," carving drainage ditches in the Forum Valley. It is not unremarkable that the floodwaters of the Tiber, when it rose, came into this valley and right up to the steps of the ancient Temple of Saturn, right up to the edge of the carcer, probably right to the location of the Altar of Saturn, and, when they subsided, the remaining pools and ponds almost defined the borders of the sacred Area of Saturn. When Saturn is considered as Ningirsu, all of this presents itself as "not so coincidental." The earliest Etruscans, Sabines and "Romans" in the place known as the "Area of Saturn" very much wanted FLOOD CONTROL there. If in fact Saturn was Ningirsu, the FLOOD god, is it really far-fetched to explore for such associations? And is it not even more logical to do so when we are told by some that Saturn was Noah or his contemporary, Nimrod? Now add the fact that both NINGIRSU/NINIB and SATURN were BOUNDARY gods. Again I appeal to the idea of Jeremiah 5, that God declares that he sets the bounds of the sea, that it not overflood. Is this so unlike God's promise to Noah not to again flood the whole world? And, is Saturn Noah? One last molecule on this before we move on: Again, the Forum Valley suffered flooding and was "swampy" even in the "off-season" when the Tiber River was not at floodstage. The "other" waters that made the Forum Valley marsh-like came from SPRINGS and general seepages of water out of the geological strata of the place. Did the Etruscans, Sabines and Romans look to the gods to assist them with management of these waters? Well, yes, in fact they did. They even gave a goddess a temple right there in the Forum, to venerate her when the SEWER ditch worked right! But we cannot pass over this matter of a connection between Saturn and the Forum area water without observing what ought to be glaringly obvious. The carcer which is right there was itself a WATER SPRING! The carcer spring itself was one of those sources in fact responsible for flooding the Forum area! We are here wondering if Saturn as Ningirsu may have had a FLOOD association. This spring, the carcer, was the marker right at the corner of the Area of Saturn, and its waters proceed out of Saturn's Hill! Can we indeed imagine the Romans FAILING to think Saturn involved with these waters? That simply cannot be! We know that offerings were brought to the Temple of Saturn in a procession that worked its way across the Area of Saturn, paying homage to each sacred spot as they went. If this dignified procession has to trudge its way through ankle-deep water (or mud) on its way to Saturn's steps, because the waters flowing out of the Hill of Saturn are making this ceremony exceptionally soggy these days, I simply cannot imagine the Roman mind not considering a Saturn involvement! We might even add the observation that the water that flowed into the carcer (from the Hill of Saturn) and hence flowed out from it, was eventually "channeled" to empty into the Cloaca Maxima itself, which water-works (as we have already mentioned) was given its very own deity (Venus Cloacina)! And finally, I would tell my reader that from what I have been able to ascertain in the histories, eventually even the rising winter flood waters of the Tiber River itself were managed and made to STOP right outside the Forum, that is, at its boundary. The Republican era Forum did not flood every winter any longer, but the Tiber's flood waters could rise to the very entrances OF the Forum (that is, the entrances at the Forum's south-west "corner" and its north "corner." And, precisely WHAT landmarks stood right THERE where the floodwaters STOPPED? The Temple of Saturn was the south-west corner landmark, and the CARCER SPRING was the northwest corner landmark! Each was, I believe, a sacred spot. Even the River Tiber itself was worshipped as a god by the Romans. But behold! the Divine Tiber's FLOOD was checked at the Forum, at the two westernmost corners of the AREA OF SATURN! And the Forum was dry! Tiber's flood was checked by Saturn! And then "the waters were abated from off the face of the ground." Would glory not be laid at the feet of Saturn/Ningirsu/Noah? I ask, by what rule shall we suppose that the taming of the Tiber in antiquity was viewed in some way radically different than was the taming of the Euphrates by the Babylonians? The gods must be praised and given their glory. We have mentioned that the Tiber itself was deified, and we have mentioned that even the drainage system (Cloaca Maxima) itself was personified in a goddess (Venus Cloacina). It should not then be thought excessive if we point out that the Cloaca Maxima at the end of its course in fact emptied INTO the Tiber (and still does). All of it together constituted "divine workings" if you will. And if you compare it with our discussion of Ningirsu's canals in association with the Euphrates, you can see that some not entirely disimilar Pagan religious thinking was involved in both places. If, as is asserted, Saturn was Ningirsu, I say there is every reason to suspect that the stopping of the Tiber Flood precisely at the BORDER/BOUNDARY of the Area of Saturn would certainly not go un-noticed by the worshippers of these gods in these holy places.

Right AT the carcer in fact, one of the most significant and monumental "earth-moving" works of the Romans was undertaken. Originally the Hill of Saturn and the Quirinal Hill were "joined." Historians and geologists have called that "join" a "spur" but this terminology can mislead. There was really a "continuance" of the Capitoline Hill as it went north-east and "became" the Quirinal Hill. Put differently, between the Capitoline and the Quirinal hills was a connecting ridge or "saddle" which nearly made them the same "hill" or "elevated geology." The Capitoline (Saturn's Hill) and the Quirinal were but the south-west and the north-east expression of this vast geologic elevation. When the "Romans" occupied the area of the Forum Valley, constant and regular "scraping away" projects began at the lowest point of connection between the Capitoline and the Quirinal. These scrapings made more and more pronounced the "pass" from the Forum Valley to the Plain of Mars on the other (north-west) side of it. In time (and sometimes because of concerted deliberate "city planning") that "pass" was carved lower and lower. Once upon a time, to leave the Forum and go north to the Field of Mars, a person had to trudge up a hill and crest it, and go down the other side. But these "digs" kept lowering the crest of the "pass" until finally it was almost a level journey between the Forum and the Field of Mars, and the road coming into the Forum from the Field of Mars no longer went up over a hill. But what is overlooked so often is that the CARCER spring was right AT the site of that "hill-lowering" dig. Before the great excavation, the carcer was on the eastern slope of the Hill of Saturn. But after the Romans had carved away the joining ridge between the Quirinal and the Hill of Saturn, removing earth right up to the carcer, the carcer was left facing an open gap, looking across to the newly-shaped end of the Quirinal, and facing the street that now ran between the two now-disconnected hills. Put differently, once upon a time, if you were travelling south-east from the Field of Mars to the Forum, you would climb a hill, to go over a pass. That "pass" was between the Quirinal and the Hill of Saturn. After cresting this rise you would come down a steep incline, descending right past the carcer spring and come down into the Forum Valley. Your feet would probably splash in the water flowing down from the carcer spring, just before you reach the Forum floor. It was not until a level road was punched through that ridge, that the water flowing out of the carcer spring was ultimately routed underground to connect to the Cloaca Maxima. Until then that outflow merely flowed in an open man-made ditch across the Forum floor, and was made to trickle out of the Forum, running right beside and past the Temple of Saturn at the Forum's south-west corner.

There is contribution to the "Noah" belief in Ethnology: or The History & Genealogy of the Human Race, by John Thomas Painter: Page 31 is the beginning of a chapter on The Deluge, and it begins with the opening line, "Showing that Xisuthrus, SATURN, Deucalion, and Tezpi, were the same as Noah." Page 36 continues, "In the Bagvat Purana, a sacred book of the Hindus," a "king named Sayaurata" who was the "servant of the Spirit of God, had warning of a flood," prepared a "ship and took into it ... pairs of various beasts, and was accompanied by seven saints." When the flood waters began to subside (page 37) "king Sayaurata fastened his ship to a mountain. ... The time in which Sayaurata lived was Satya Yug, the first, or Golden Age, according to the Hindus. Sayaurata was the SATURN of the Latins, and the Seater of the Germans; and the first, or Golden Age of Sayaurata was the same as the Golden Age of SATURN, which the Italians commemorate in their SATURNALIA."

Page 38, "According to the ancient Greeks, a very ancient and pious king, named Deucalion, was advised by his father to build a ship, as he anticipated a flood: Deucalion did so, and by this means saved himself and his wife Pyrrha, while the rest of mankind were drowned. The vessel was tossed about ... and at last stopped against a mountain, named Parnassus by some, and Olympus by others, where Deucalion remained till the waters subsided. ... according to them, (the Greeks) from this Deucalion was descended all the present race of mankind. Deucalion was the same as Noah, and the mountain called Parnassus, or Olympus, on which he landed, was Mount Ararat. There were several mountains named Parnassus, and several named Olympus in different countries: the Greeks, of course, considered the mountain in their own country of that name to be the one. The Greeks state they were descended from Hellen, son of Deucalion, from whom they were named Hellenes, and their country Hellas. Hellen was the same as Elishah (Genesis x. 4), whose name is Ellas in Chaldee, great grandson of Noah: but, as the ancients had no such distinction as grandson, great grandson, &c., they called descendants sons, even to several generations down; therefore, Deucalion, father of Hellen, was the same as Noah, ancestor of Ellas, or Elishah. According to the Latins and ancient Italians, SATURN was the most ancient personage of any. He is said to have devoured all his children, except, among the males, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. The above simply means, that in the reign of SATURN all men were devoured -Page 39- (i.e., by his flood, which drove him from his kingdom); for, as SATURN was the same as Noah, he may be said to have condemned all men, because he foretold they would be destroyed by a flood: for, in the Scripture phrase, the prophets are said to DO the things which they foretell shall be done hereafter; for illustration, when the prophet says, " When I came to destroy the city," he means " When I came to foretell that the city should be destroyed." ( Ezekiel xliii.; Hebrews xi. 7) ... The satur in the name SATURN is equivalent to the suthr in Xisuthr-us, the sithr in Sisithrus, and the satya in Satyaurata; and therefore, as Sisuthrus, or Xisuthrus of the Chaldees, and Satyaurata of the Hindus was Noah, SATURN of the Latins must be the same person, and so must Seater of the Germans, whose name is derived from the same source as that of the others. All these names are apparently connected with Zutar, the ancient Chaldee name for a flood. ... Jupiter being the same as Japhet, shows that SATURN, the father of Jupiter, must be the same as Noah, the father of Japhet; and nobody, after the flood, but Noah, could be the father or ancestor of Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune, i.e., of Japhet, Pluto, and Naphtu.

"The ancients state that in the days of SATURN all men were of one language, and that freedom and equality prevailed on the earth, for which reason they distinguished his reign as the Golden Age, and celebrated in commemoration of those peaceful and happy times a great festival, called from him SATURNalia, which was (Page 40) originally held once a year, for one day only, but afterwards for seven days. During this festival it was usual for friends to make presents one to another, all animosity was supposed to cease, no criminals were executed, schools were closed, war was never declared, and all was mirth and jollity. Now the Scriptures tell us that in the time of Noah all men were of one language, and we may naturally suppose that after the flood his good example and advice, combined with the small number of people in the world, and the consequent plenty, caused equality, fraternity and peace to reign, so that these things also show SATURN to be Noah. ...

"SATURN is always represented as an old man with a scythe in his right hand, WITH A SERPENT BITING ITS OWN TAIL, and in his upraised left hand he holds a child, which he raises up as if to devour. In Genesis v. 28, it says, "Lamech lived 182 years and had a son Noah (i.e., rest and comfort), saying, This same shall comfort us concerning OUR WORK, and the toil of our hands, because of THE GROUND which the Lord hath cursed." This refers to SOME VERY IMPORTANT IMPLEMENT OF HUSBANDRY invented by Noah to lessen the labour of man, which, as SATURN was Noah, must have been the scythe, as SATURN is always represented with it in his right hand: besides, we are told that Noah was a husbandman; thus we see that Si-sithr-us, Seater, or SATURN was the inventor of the scythe, anciently spelt sithe."
(End quote)

Note: I have expounded elsewhere why I believe this "VERY IMPORTANT IMPLEMENT OF HUSBANDRY" was not ORIGINALLY the scythe, but the PLOW. Painter obviously is unaware that the scythe was a late "add-on" given to the SATURN of the Romans from the Kronos of the Greeks. Mistakenly thinking the scythe to be original to SATURN, Painter naturally seeks to expound it. But here, observe: The issue of "toil" he cites from Genesis was certainly not about how to cut grain stalks! To the contrary, "harvest" time in the antiquity of virtually all cultures was a time of plenty, marked by joy and celebration, for the crop was now grown, ready and available, and the scythe is emblematic of the harvest. It is the PLOW which associates with the difficult task of making the harsh ground produce. The "toil" issue was THE GROUND, as Genesis plainly says: "Cursed is the ground. ... Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth," and, in order to make it produce food, it will take "the sweat of thy face." In fact later, the entire New Testament exposition that fallen man is "earthly" (he that is of the earth is earthly - Jn 3:31) is connected to the Genesis curse of the ground, the earth, the soil. It is about the ground, "for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). Look again at Genesis 5:28, 29: "And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the GROUND which the LORD hath cursed." As Painter says, the name "Noah" means "REST." Indeed, "Noah" (Hebrew nuwach or nowach) means, quiet, or rest, or rested, or resting place. Strong's tells us it is from a primitive root; to rest, i.e. settle down; used in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative, meaning to dwell, stay, lay or let down, be quiet, remain, cause to rest, be at rest, give rest, have rest, make to rest), or, to set down (as in a person's or an object's resting place).

God's Word is deliberate. Why didn't the prophecy about Noah rather say that "he will rescue us from the waters"? Isn't THAT the primary thing we remember Noah for?

The Bible is clear that Noah's name was prophetic of something he would do, something he would accomplish, and of some "comfort" he would bring, distinctly as regards "the toil of our hands," and, it very clearly says that "the toil of our hands" is "because of the GROUND which the LORD hath cursed." So, ask yourself: What do you know concerning Noah? What did he do that "comforted" people and gave them a measure of "rest" regarding the backbreaking toil of working with the GROUND? Genesis 9:20 says "And Noah began to be an HUSBANDMAN, (FARMER) and he PLANTED a vineyard." It is a sad commentary on our thinking that most Christians speed right through to Noah afterward making wine, and so on, and take no notice that upon the Flood being over, Noah immediately embarked upon the VOCATION that was PROPHESIED of him. He had a foretold, fore-ordained CALLING to bring men a measure of relief, rest and comfort in regard to toiling with the GROUND. If we are to believe what was prophesied, that Noah would bring comfort and rest regarding our toil with the cursed ground, we must suppose that he did exactly THAT. It hardly needs to be said that he didn't make mankind's "toils" any easier in the Ark Building Project! They labored INTENSELY for 120 years making the Ark! And NOTHING about that work had ANYTHING to do with comforting men regarding their toil with the ground. Further, when it comes to Noah's OCCUPATION, or his WORK other than the Ark, the Bible provides NO other information than that he was an HUSBANDMAN, and that he "PLANTED" things. "He PLANTED a vineyard" (Gen. 9:20).

IF you are going to go in search of where, when, or how Noah FULFILLED the prophecy about him, that he would bring some kind of relief regarding mankind's toil with the GROUND, I propose to you that the answer is to be found in that section of verse which says "Noah began to be an HUSBANDMAN, (FARMER) and he PLANTED."

A "husbandman" was a TILLER OF THE GROUND: The word "husbandman" was translated from two words in the Hebrew, iysh meaning "a man" and adamah, which means a "tiller of the ground," or means "ground," or "tilled ground," or "one who works the ground," or the "worked ground" itself, or "man of the ground," etc. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1998 MICRA, Inc., says of husbandman, "A farmer; a cultivator or TILLER OF THE GROUND." The sense carried by the "THE ground" is also distinct in the Hebrew. It connotes a specific piece of land, as when we speak of a certain "PLOT" of land, an identified parcel that is being cultivated. It refers to a piece of land that is purposefully taken in hand to farm. This is especially so when confirmed by the "farming" context, which is very clear in Genesis 9:20, in that Noah PLANTED a vinyard. The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible has on Noah's occupation as an "husbandman" in Genesis: "Noah's family and employment. ... The business Noah applied himself to was that of a husbandman, Heb. a man of the earth, that is, a man dealing in the earth, that kept ground in his hand, and occupied it. ... Noah was by his CALLING led to trade in the fruits of the earth. He began to be a husbandman, that is, some time after his departure out of the ark, he returned to his old employment, from which he had been diverted by the building of the ark. ... Though God by his providence may take us off from our callings for a time, yet when the occasion is over we ought with humility and industry to apply ourselves to them again, and, in the calling wherein we are called, faithfully to abide with God."

Above we asked you to consider Noah's prophesied calling to bring men some kind of comfort or relief or rest regarding their toil with the GROUND that is under God's curse. And we saw perhaps an "association" with the fulfillment of that prophecy when we read in Genesis 9:20 that Noah became a TILLER OF THE GROUND and PLANTED things. That is all well and good, and it leads toward Genesis 5:29 not being a "disjointed" (or at least unexplained) prophecy. I am sure that, like me, you love it when we see the fulfillment of the Word of God. And yet, something is still "missing." I said, it's all well and good that Noah was a tiller of the ground and that he planted things. But, what do we do with what is actually the MOST SIGNIFICANT part of the prophecy from Lamech, to wit, that the thing that Noah will do regarding mankind's toil with the ground "shall comfort us," HUMANKIND? While we may be glad that Noah's tilling of the ground and planting certainly "associates" with the "ground," HOW does Noah working out there in the south forty all alone, tilling the ground, bring humankind any "comfort" or relief or rest whatsoever? Where is the "CONNECT" between Noah's work with the ground and mankind's relief? I cannot help but think that for the prophesied word to be fulfilled, Noah MUST be understood to have TRANSMITTED something to mankind, which came as a relief to them. But I also can't see that relief coming in the form of the Ark, nor yet in the Noahic Covenant that God made with Noah, and sealed, when He set His bow in the cloud. Glorious as was that Covenant, it did not in the least touch upon relief for mankind "CONCERNING our work and TOIL of our HANDS, because of the GROUND." So, WHAT did Noah do that affected mankind in regard to their toiling with the ground? Christians do something all the time to show the fulfillment of Bible prophecy: They will point to something outside of Scripture that is a fulfillment. For instance, the Word of God prophesied that many kinds of trees would someday cover the land of Israel. God said, "the cedar, the acacia tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together" (Isa. 41:19). Then they'll point to all the programs going on today involving people donating money to plant trees in Israel (Just look up the phrase "plant a tree in Israel" and you'll see). Or, because of the prophecies about "Gog" coming down upon Israel from the "north" they will point to Russia having become a superpower in modern times, and they'll point out Russian political affiliations with Iran and such. They say that all of this demonstrates the onward march of prophecy being fulfilled. The list of examples is exhaustive of how this and that which has transpired in the world is the fulfillment of this or that prophecy. Well, I would here only suggest at least the possibility (even if remote) that, IF it is true that the ancient Pagans ended up calling their ancestor Noah by the names of "Ningirsu" in Babylonia and "Saturn" (in pre-Roman Europe), and this person was revered as "lord plow, and LORD OF THE PLOW" and "the PLANTER" (from satus, Saturn, to PLANT), would this not be useable evidence that Noah fulfilled the prophecy? Remember, the prophecy was NOT merely that he would himself work with the ground. It was that he would bring relief to HUMANKIND in this regard. And, is it not interesting, that this is PRECISELY what Saturn was remembered for, that, he TAUGHT men, SHOWED men how, TRANSMITTED TO men, how to CULTIVATE THE GROUND for planting? If Ningirsu, or Saturn, is Noah, then we have the voice of the ancient world declaring that Genesis 5:29 was PERFECTLY FULFILLED.

What does all this suggest? That Saturn, who was the "Lord of the Plow" MAY have been Noah. And that Noah TAUGHT post-Flood man the use of certain agricultural implements. Vergil, in the Georgics (G. 2.406) credited Saturn with the invention/introduction of the falx. In The Chaonian Dove, 1986, Anthony James Boyle (in his footnotes at page 58) states, "the Saturnian golden age referred to ... is not, as Wilkinson claims, one of 'soft primitivism'. This would not be in keeping with ... the role of Saturn in Georgic 2 as the Italian god of agriculture, credited at G. 2.406 with the introduction of the falx or pruning knife." I have explained how I believe the plow may have gradually been displaced by anything in that family of implements called "falx." But the more important part of this line is that Saturn was "credited ... with the INTRODUCTION of" (it).

Elsewhere I have explained that the imagery of the scythe came in and replaced the plow, when the Romans at a late date embraced the Greek notion that Kronos (Chronos) was the Roman SATURN. The Greeks had their Kronos with a scythe, and the adoption of the Greek claim superimposed the scythe over the plow. However, it is clear that Painter did know the plow had to have been significant). He continues, "As Noah was the tenth from Adam, and Tubal-cain the seventh, and the latter was the inventor of THE PLOUGH, it may be thought that the PLOUGH was invented before the scythe: but, as Noah was contemporary with Tubal-cain for about 600 years, reckoning according to the length of life allotted to man in Genesis, it gives time for Noah to invent the scythe first, and Tubal-cain the plough next." (note: It is obvious that Painter did not know that SATURN linked back to Ninurta, Ningirsu, and Ninib in their role of a PLOW god, or else it failed to come to his mind at the time he wrote. It is easy to detect the "strain" in Painter's last long sentence about the plow and Tubal-cain. But it is quite unnecessary to the issue. Only Noah and his family came through the flood. It matters not who the first human was to make some kind of a "plow." All the pre-flood inventors died. What pre-flood knowledge was preserved, was preserved in the ark under Noah. What matters is, who was later WORSHIPPED and REVERED for TEACHING those skills to people groups who had LOST or FORGOTTEN them. The North American "Indian" tribes that came across the northern ice sheet into North America lost many of the trades and skills previously known in Mesopotamia. Think of the Eskimo. Wood for cradles, frames and racks survives in an "ice world" but there is no more clay for making clay writing tablets as back in Mesopotamia. Leather survives generations on the ice, and so does bone. Thus their migration wiped out certain trades and skills from an earlier time. Many of the people groups that migrated across the earth after the flood went through generations in which they were on the move, their lives were consumed by war with hostiles, and hunting and gathering became the mode of survival of such "transient" bands. Most certainly there were people groups which over time had lost what agricultural knowledge and expertise that some of their ancestors once possessed. The inspired Word of God however, does not speak without purpose. And we are purposefully shown Noah after the flood PLANTING a vinyard, which vinyard thrived and produced. Noah is shown with a "green thumb" if I may be simple. SATURN, we are told, came to the Latins and instructed them in the ways of successful agriculture. And most specifically, I think, it was with the PLOW. Secondly, SATURN is intimately associated with SOWING SEED in the opened earth, in Roman myth, which is again inseparable from the PLOW. And only lastly, due to late Greek modification, his plow is replaced with the scythe of Kronos. But even this is an implement of AGRICULTURE, which is without a doubt part of what enabled the Roman mind to allow the scythe into their Saturn mythos. It HAD to be agricultural, to be "SATURN-ian."


A side note on what have been termed the "Noahide Laws" or "Noahic Laws" or "Noachian Laws," or simply the "Laws of Noah." That God made a COVENANT with, and COMMANDED LAWS unto Noah and the sons of Noah and with the Gentile Nations that would come from them ("your seed AFTER you") is plain and clear from Genesis 9. And GENESIS should be the first and primary SOURCE from which we seek illumination from God as to how to understand that COVENANT and its LAWS. Today a strange, and I dare say "backwards" and "upside down" approach is being taken by many, in their attempt to gain understanding on the meaning and relevence of the Gentile Covenant and the Laws of Noah: They are seeking instruction from the most legalistic expositors of the Laws of MOSES given to the ISRAELITES at Mount Sinai! Mount Sinai is NOT Mount Ararat, and Moses is NOT Noah. Any CHRISTIAN who is the least bit familiar with the labors and struggles of the Apostles Peter and Paul (especially Paul) to KEEP GENTILE SPIRITUALITY DISTINCT FROM THE LAW OF MOSES AND FROM JEWISH LEGALISM should instinctively see that seeking unto legalist RABBIS (the school of the Pharisees) for "instruction" in a "system" that is to be distinct FROM theirs, is FOLLY. "Folly" at least if we are so lacking in discernment as to think of the rabbis as "the horse's mouth" on the matter, or to take them as the "judges" over "the Gentile faith." To swallow the ultra legalist Jewish rabbis "spin" on it "hook, line and sinker" as they say, is utter FOLLY. My position is that rather, while the careful student may perhaps glean some "insight" from Talmudic sources (the Rabbins), the safeguard must be kept in place, of realizing that the "legalistic Jewish perspective" is NOT to be the "interpreter" of what God Himself communicated DIRECTLY to us Gentiles, but can at best be kept at the "side" in an "assistant's" capacity, or a very minimal advisory role. Certainly credit may be given them for having CONTEMPLATED the matter, and therefore perhaps some insights may be gleaned from their ponderings. But, like suitcases at the airport that must pass through metal detectors, the Christian must be careful to SCREEN their opinions for traces of the Jewish legalist spirit, which so vexed and warred against the ministry of Paul. Paul admonishes the Gentiles not to be arrogant and urges them rather to be RESPECTFUL of the fact that the Hebrew race received the promises, and the oracles. That is TRUE, and AMEN. But avoiding pride and failing to have gratitude and respect is entirely DIFFERENT than subjecting the revelation of Christ to their religious system. Paul only says not to "BOAST AGAINST" them. He does NOT say to DUPLICATE THEIR SYSTEM. Rather, the Apostle warned the Galatian Christians (in Galatians 5:2 - 4) that if they allow themselves to be brought under the Jewish legal observances, "I Paul say unto you ... CHRIST SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING ... CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT UNTO YOU ... YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE." These are SEVERE WARNINGS. And so the Christian must take great CARE if he dips into the Rabbins for insight. The Christian has not only DIRECTLY received Christ the Lord sent down from heaven, but also has the Word of God given unto him in the New Testament, expounding the OPEN REVELATION of Christ. Now most CERTAINLY ALL Scripture is the Word of God and is profitable for our instruction, and ALL of Scripture should be read and studied by the Christian. But I would offer a slight "tip" only as regards seeking out what God required of man before the giving of the Law of Moses to the Israelites at Mount Sinai: Studying the Bible from Genesis 1, verse 1, up to the events at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19, is FULL of Divine revelation upon which to feed (INCLUDING THE NOAHIDE COVENANT AND ITS LAWS). All of that, however, should be taken and interpreted in the light of the writings of PAUL, who was distinctly THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES. Now, having taken the safety measure of saying all of that, I will say here for the benefit of the reader who may be unfamiliar with the study of the Noahic Covenant and its Laws, that the Jewish Talmudists who took it upon themselves to contemplate and interpret said Gentile Covenant and Laws have claimed that the following Seven Laws may be derived from such study: 1. The prohibition of idolatry, the worship of images. 2. Noahic Law prohibits Blasphemy (most basically taken to mean cursing by use of the mention of the Divine). Warning is needed here, though, immediately: A certain sort who are haters of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and of the Christian Faith, have attempted to damn the Christian Faith under this prohibition, claiming that the Christians "blaspheme" God by their assertion that Jesus is God. Hence certain Jewish Rabbis would "use" the Noahic Covenant and its Laws as a tool to forbid Gentiles to embrace the Christian Faith. I would argue rather, that it is the haters of Jesus Christ who blaspheme, for Christ is God. It may be added as well that the same haters of Jesus Christ also damn the Christian Faith by use of Noahic Law #1, "idolatry," saying basically the same thing as just mentioned, that worshipping Jesus is "idolatry." Again, I warn, these "teachers of men" are at war with God, when they assert such things. 3. Noahic Law prohibits murder. 4. (Various Jewish lists reverse the order of 4 & 5) Theft is prohibited (entailing the need of Civil Courts). 5. Illicit sexual relations are forbidden. 6. Eating from a living animal is forbidden (which by by extension condemns cruelty to animals in general). Note: While the idea of eating "live meat" may strike the mind of an American as utterly freakish and repulsive, the practice widely existed among the heathen through the centuries, and still does today, even in modern cities like Tokyo. Finally, Noahic Law #7, say the Rabbis, is the prohibition of failing to establish COURTS OF JUSTICE for the ENFORCING of ALL SEVEN of these Laws. Thus the Noahic Law commands implementation of Laws for Gentile Society, Law Enforcement (it commanded Capital Punishment for Murder), etc: Thus the biblical position would be that any Gentile culture or society which is not in conformity to these Seven Laws is in rebellion against God. Now, as I have said, the opinions of the Rabbins need to be consulted cautiously if at all. But, with these opinions kept in mind, the Christian Bible Student may be able to see how Genesis is LADEN WITH POTENTIAL for providing a grasp on the Noahic Covenant and its Laws. But that field of study is NOT really pertinent to our topics here in this treatise. OUR immediate purpose is no more than to point out that there is AMPLE reason to assert that Noah had to have been HUMANITY'S TEACHER in the years after the Flood. And, we can see that society under Noah's GOVERNANCE would have had ORDER AND PEACE. Is this not the image of the "Kingdom of Saturn" described by the ancients? And I would add the whole dimension already discussed here at such length, of Noah being an INSTRUCTOR IN FARMING. The Roman writers distinctly TIED TOGETHER the FARMING of Saturn's Order with its PEACE, for Saturn showed them that maintaining an agrarian culture, and making the GROUND produce, kept them free from the temptation to raid, pillage, plunder and kill others, for sustenance. "Don't steal from the people on yonder hill. Rather, make yourselves plows, like this one, plow a field, sow seed in it, like this, and you will have food to eat, and you may dwell at peace with your neighbor." Common sense informs us that it would be futile to command desperate starving men to be "civil" and not plunder their neighbors. The alternative means of provision would be necessary for civil order to prevail. The PLOW and PLANTING are most probably the legs on which the Noahide Law stood.

Returning to Painter's Ethnology; "Alexander Polyhistor says that SATURN foretold that there should be great quantities of rain, and an ark built, in which men and animals should sail together. All high places were sacred to SATURN, and this agrees with Noah, for as he was saved in a ship which lodged against a mountain, so it is natural that high places would be dedicated to him. The ancient coins of Italy had stamped on one side a ship, in commemoration of SATURN, which agrees with Noah and his ark. SATURN made a law that nobody should see the gods naked; and this agrees with Ham seeing Noah naked, in consequence of which such a law would be made: for the gods were all mortals, the ancestors of our race, and each titled Deus (i.e., God), in the same manner as we call a peer a lord. Seater, the ancient deity of the SAXONS AND GERMANS, was represented, by their images of him, as standing on the back of a fish: he was thin visaged and had long hair, but bald on the top of the head, with a long beard, and barefooted, bearing a pail of water in his right hand (Page 42) wherein were fruit and flowers; and holding up a wheel in his left hand, his coat being tied with a girdle, flying both ways. His standing on the sharp fins of a fish according to authors, signified to the SAXONS that they should pass through all dangers unhurt; and that by the ends of his girdle flying both ways, was shown Saxon freedom; and by the pail of water, with fruit and flowers, was denoted that he MADE THE EARTH PRODUCTIVE. All the above agrees with Noah of the Scripture, and SATURN of the Italians: for, by Seater's standing on the back of a fish is represented his being saved in his ship, or ark, from the flood " the fish being a symbol of Noah's ark, by which he escaped all dangers; so that the Saxons might also truly look upon it that it signified they should also, if they followed his upright example. By Seater's girdle flying both ways was signified the freedom that existed in his days, which the Saxons may also take as a representation of their own liberty. This agrees with the freedom that existed in the time of SATURN, according to the Italians. The pail, with fruit and flowers, denoting that he made the earth productive, agrees with Noah's being a husbandman and inventing the scythe, and with SATURN having taught his subjects agriculture, and his being hence called Stercutius by the Romans. So we see Seater was the same as SATURN and Noah. From Seater, the seventh day of the week, according to the Saxons, was named Seaterday, or Saturday; and, from SATURN, according to the Italians, the seventh day of the week was named Dies SATURNii, i.e., day of SATURN: hence we see that Seater, SATURN, or Noah (which latter name means REST) introduced (Page 43) the custom of setting apart a day of rest from labour every seventh day, i.e., the last day of every week or quarter moon, and in consequence of this the day was named in honour of him."

Vegetarianism before the Flood: From the time of the Garden of Eden down to the Great Flood, most of us have the understanding that God had not yet permitted the killing of animals for food. In Genesis 9:2, after the Flood, when Noah and his family came out of the Ark, God gave permission for it, saying, "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be MEAT (food) for you; even AS the green herb have I given you all things." And so we draw the understanding that the order of things before the Flood, among the faithful, was "vegetarian."

It is also believed by many that something resembling this was believed by the Romans, about the "Golden Age of Saturn," that is, that "meat-eating" was not the order of life in the time of Saturn, but was, afterward.

A line in Vergil (Georgica II 2.536-8.) refers to the time of Saturn, "before a godless race feasted on slaughtered cattle."

It reads as follows: "Before even the reign of the Cretan king (Jupiter) and before a godless race feasted on slaughtered cattle, golden Saturn lived this kind of life on earth. Nor yet had they even heard the trumpets blare, nor yet had they heard the clang of swords laid against hard anvils."

However, it is a matter of debate how this should be interpreted: Some have speculated that Vergil speaks of animal sacrifice. The support for the idea is that in ancient custom, animals that were sacrificed to the gods were then eaten by the worshipper. But scholars have pointed out the problems in trying to make Vergil's line refer to sacrifices being godless, or impious. One's natural supposition would be rather that those who faithfully served and worshipped the gods with sacrifices would be said to be the pious, rather than the godless or impious. Further, we should wonder how Vergil could have written such a thing living in a culture, as he did, wherein the gods were worshipped with sacrifices. Would this not offend his fellow Romans? In fairness it should be said that proponents of the "sacrifices" idea point out that in Vergil's writings he portrays oxen as our friends, and exalts the life of the rural farmer as the ideal for Romans to emulate. And so they suggest that Vergil would have us refrain from making sacifices of our loyal servants, the oxen.

However, it is admitted by the majority that general "meat-eating" (as contrasted with vegetarianism) is almost certainly Vergil's meaning, especially because it is stated in direct association with the "Golden Age of Saturn," a radical contrast, and not merely ordinary changes in social customs. Numerous authors including Llewelyn Morgan in Patterns of Redemption in Vergil's Georgics (page 11) state that like Vergil, Aratus BEFORE him (Aratus, Phaen. 132) affirmed that there was not "consumption of beef" in the Saturnian Age. It would seem that this "vegetarianism" was part of the Roman's belief about the Saturnian Age, and not merely Vergil's personal outlook on the treatment of animals.

Even those scholars who have specialized in distinctly THIS work of Vergil's (the Georgics) believe that it does not refer to "sacrifices." Christopher Nappa in Reading After Actium (page 113) says "Potentially disturbing too is the reference to slaughtered cattle and the eating of meat." He says "Others have suggested" that this line refers to "primitive sacrifice," but says, "the slaughter of oxen is something of a theme in the Georgics and raises a number of questions." He says, for instance, "Most of the deaths of oxen in the Georgics for Thomas, are not sacrificial in nature." He is of course referencing Richard F. Thomas the reknowned Classics Professor at Harvard. I assume the specific reference to be either Thomas' The Georgics of Vergil, 1988, or, The 'Sacrifice' at the end of the Georgics, Aristaeus, and Vergilian Closure, 1991. Thomas has written and taught on Vergil extensively, so I suppose I might have simply said "According to Nappa, Richard F. Thomas tells us that most of the deaths of oxen in the Georgics are not sacrificial in nature."

Our suggestion is simply and obviously this: If indeed it was the ancient belief that the change to "meat eating" came "after Saturn" it may be another indicator that Saturn was Noah.

Stay on track: We DO NOT NEED SATURN TO BE NOAH, for any important point of this treatise at all. It is unimportant to the MAIN issues. If Saturn was not Noah, it does not impact our work. So, if you object to the "Saturn as Noah" proposition, don't let it throw you off course concerning the main issues in this work. Continue. The only reason we are even considering the "Saturn as Noah" belief that has been held by so many in the past is because it is one more thing that shows the reader how much thought and contemplation scholars have given to the man called "Saturn," and to his having been revered at Rome. For that, it is not important for him to have been Noah. Apply some fine-tuned thinking here: If the ancient people in a place BELIEVED stories, legends and myths, that people was AFFECTED by the BELIEF, and that CULTURE was affected by it, regardless of whether the thing they believed was correct or incorrect. And, at the site upon which Rome was eventually built, the occupants BELIEVED that "Saturn" had lived there. WE, however, need not even CARE, for the objectives of our main TOPIC, whether those ancient dwellers at Rome were wrong or right in their beliefs. They ACTED upon those beliefs. They built temples because of them. They performed rituals, and their minds were shaped, because of them. And THAT fact is what is pertinent. WHO this person called "Saturn" really was, does not matter to our needs. Neither does it matter if he ever really existed as a person. Perhaps he was a myth that never did derive out of some human who had lived. It is still unimportant to our point. We are simply showing the FACT that the people at this place DID certain things, ACTED certain ways, and possessed certain cultural traits, because of these beliefs. No scholar who has ever lived, nor any now living, nor any yet to come, has ever nor will ever deny that the Romans and Etruscans dug with a PLOW a sacred boundary line called the POMERIUM around sites, and, that their religious BELIEFS were behind why they DID so. We have under discussion such BOUNDARY LINES. THAT should be clear. Looking into things about "Saturn" is merely for putting some background and added understanding to the why and wherefore of THAT. And as for the Noah consideration, it is merely to round out our realization of what thinkers before us have contemplated, and, just perhaps, to supply more possibilities (though perhaps mere theory and conjecture) as to WHY certain religious beliefs among the ancients originated and developed. If the reader disagrees with some of the theories and conjectures as to WHY the Romans held this or that belief, let him not lose site of the FACT that the things that were DONE at Rome, were none the less DONE, which knowledge is PERTINENT to our treatise. It is fine if our reader disagrees with and discards fifty theories and conjectures that are only offered as possible supports for a thing, as long as he does not ALSO discard those things which are indisputable FACT (such as the pomerium lines).

So here is what you should keep clear:

Contemplating "Noah" possibilites is only for augmenting the disussion of Saturn/Ninurta/Ningirsu/Ninib and the plow (no matter who or what that "god" was or might have been).

Disussion of Saturn/Ninurta/Ningirsu/Ninib and the plow is ONLY for added support in our discussion of the POMERIUM and BOUNDARIES.

Disussion of the Pomerium and boundaries is for rounding out our comprehension of the CARCER SITE in the Roman Forum, as well as for a connect-up between Pomerium lines and boundaries as touching the word "circe" (church) elsewhere in the treatise.

Discussion of the carcer site is only for broadening our understanding of how the word "CARCER" originated.

Discussion of how the word "carcer" originated is only because (according to etymologists) there is a possibility that "carcer" and "circe" came from the same Indo-European ancestor word, and so, "carcer" may contribute to our understanding of the word "circe" (from which came "church").

WHY drag into the discussion of "CIRCE" all of this (the carcer at the Roman Forum, Saturn/Ninurta/Ningirsu/Ninib and the plow, and their associations with Pomerium lines and boundary markers)? Because, if at the point in the treatise at which I show that scholars connect the meaning of "circe" (kirke, kark, church) with the word "carcer" I feared that my reader might brush past it as trivial, or, dismiss it as not having much significance. I realized that it would be easy to breeze past it like that, if the reader were UNAWARE of what LARGE BACKGROUND scholars have for the thought. I was fortunate enough to have had some prior exposure to some of these things when I first came across their assertion of a circe/carcer connect, and so I immediately reacted with an "Oh my, YES! There is a LOT out there that supports the possibility!" I wanted others to likewise know there is good reason for thinking it.

The following quotations from Isaac D'Israeli (father of the reknowned British Parliamentarian Benjamin D'Israeli) stating his conviction that Saturn was Noah was published on the Web (URL given at the end of the quote). I was unable to positively ascertain the reference the Webmaster intended in the attribution at the end, of "Isaac D"Israeli in the Chevr"ana, Vol. I. p. 91."

"There can be no doubt that Noah was the Pagan Saturn. Noah was a just man in his days: he endeavoured to enlighten the wicked race amongst whom he lived by his counsels, and to instruct them by his example. Thus, according to Aurelius Victor, and Diodorus, Saturn softened the wicked inclinations of men, and endeavoured to bring them back to their ancient purity of manners, by a civilized and regulated life.

"Between the Deluge and the birth of Phaleg there was an interval of one hundred years; when, the world not being yet shared out, Noah had a natural right to be the Sovereign of his children. THIS is the Golden Age (Saturnian Age) the Poets so much celebrate, where every thing was in common.

"Moses calls Noah, Isch-hadama" that Is, the Man of the Earth" for Labourer.

"The Mythologists, who ACCOMMODATED THEIR FABLES TO HISTORY, observing that the Hebrew word bore two significations, either Man or Husband, say, that Rhea, or the Earth, was the wife of Saturn; and, as the Man of the Earth also relates to Agriculture, they attribute to Saturn the art of cultivating fields, vines, and meadows, representing him with a scythe in his hands.

"From the passage in Genesis, where it is said, Noah was intoxicated with the liquor of the vines he had planted, they have said also that Saturn presided over Ebriety. Hence they called that day in the year in which the masters attended their slaves, The Saturnalian Feast.

"Plato says, in his Timaeus, that Saturn, Rhea, and their family, were born of the Ocean and Thetis; which corresponds with Noah and his family coming from the waters of the Deluge.

"Saturn had, for successors, his three children, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; and Noah shared out the earth to his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. This last, who is Neptune, had for his portion, all the isles and peninsulas of the sea.

"Moses says, that God consecrated to himself a church in the family of Shem; and, as he must have been the greatest enemy of the idolaters, it is very probable that, hating him, they made him Pluto, who is the god of Hell and the Dead.

"Cham, or Ham, had for his portion Africa, Arabia, and Egypt; which, after his name, was anciently called Chemie, where he was adored, during many ages, under the name of Jupiter Ham, Hammon, &c. And why the Pagans said of Jupiter, that he cut those parts of his father Saturn which it is not allowed to name, comes from this passage of the ninth chapter of Genesis being misunderstod "Quod cum videret Cham pater Canaan, verenda patris sui esse nudata, nunnavit. This last word is, in the Hebrew, vajagged; and, perhaps, the vowel points not being marked, occasioned them to read vejagod, which signifies cut.

"Isaac D"Israeli in the Chevr"ana, Vol. I. p. 91."

George Smith, F. S. A. in The Patriarchal Age; Or, The History and Religion of Mankind states, (pg 264) "No subject is more obscure than the true ORIGIN and proper character of the heathen deities. ... it is necessary to observe that the earliest idolatry of which we have any knowledge consisted in a worship of the heavenly bodies (note planet Saturn), or of eminent and distinguished men after their decease, or of both these combined. Attributes, therefore, which are applicable only to the sun or moon, are found in connection with those which could only have belonged to a deceased hero, in the character and worship of the same deity. But even amid the perplexity and confusion in which the subject is involved, we can adduce AMPLE EVIDENCE that the leading deities of the heathen world stood in intimate relation to THE PERSONS PRESERVED IN THE ARK.

"Hence we find the prominent features of the life and character of Noah incorporated with the history and attributes of Osiris, Bacchus, SATURN, Uranus, Deucalion, Minos, Janus, Bore, and many other deities, worshiped in the heathen world. ... (Here Smith speaks of Noah as Osiris and as Bacchus) ... Saturn is also identified with Noah. This is supported by the authority of Bochart and STILLINGFLEET, and justified by many remarkable coincidences of character. Saturn was said to be the common parent of mankind; so was Noah. Saturn was a just king; Noah, a righteous man. The golden age of Saturn was the period of Noah's government after the flood. In the time of Saturn, men and even beasts are said to have had one language: in the time of Noah there was but one language. To pass over other points: Saturn and his wife Rhea are said to have been born of Thetis, or the ocean, in allusion to the preservation of Noah and his family in the ark; hence a ship was the symbol of Saturn. (See Origines Sacrae. vol. ii, p. 208; Faber's Mysteries of the Cabiri, vol. ii, p. 246.)

"The Sibylline oracles identify Uranus with the same patriarch. Deucalion's flood, his preservation in an ark, and his sending out a dove, together with the fact that himself and his wife became the progenitors of a new race of mortals, prove that he also is the same with Noah. The like identity might be exhibited at length in respect of many other deities. But these will suffice to show that, in the worship of their deified heroes, the character of NOAH, and the prominent circumstances of his life, were recognized and celebrated among the heathen. Hence many early Christian, and even classic authors, regarded those SEVERAL DEITIES EITHER AS DIFFERENT REPRESENTATIONS OF THE SAME BEING, or as different beings, all of whom were supposed to have been invested, more or less, with the same character, and associated with the same circumstances" (as NOAH).

"It is worthy of observation that, in the developments of heathen fable, we have references not only to the great patriarch himself, but also to the entire number of persons preserved in the ark. We will cite the case of Atlas.

"We are told that 'this man had seven daughters, and that he was a king of Arcadia. His daughters were afterward placed among the stars by the name of Pleiades.' "Dion Halicarnassen- sis, lib. i, p. 61. During his time a great flood happened, which is described as partial; but which, when taken in connection with the whole story of Uranus, Cronus (read rather Saturn), and the Titans, very plainly shows that this also applies to the flood of Noah, and the eight persons saved in the ark. This conclusion is indeed inevitable, when, with the premises previously quoted, we connect the account of the Atlantis, which M. Bailly has so accurately and eloquently given us from Plato. In this is described the Island Atlantis, as peopled by a race sprung from a single human pair, who were formed of earth. These were at first remarkable for piety, and, in consequence, being great favorites of the gods, enjoyed a golden age. But, in process of time, having degenerated as they increased in number, they at length became so wicked, that Jupiter, in a council of the gods, on account of their horrible depravity, determined to destroy the whole race by immersing the entire island in the ocean: while another tradition adds, that, at the time of this immersion, Noah made his escape from the island in an ark, and reached the present continent. (See Bailly's History of Asia, vol. ii, p. 31.)

"But by far the most curious and pertinent reference to the family of Noah which we have in heathen mythology, is that which represents the three sons of Noah as a divine triad.

"... in most of the ancient heathen mythologies, we find three grand divinities united in one government, or associated together as one combined deity. But we think this is to be attributed, not to any divinely revealed knowledge of the true nature of the divine hypostasis; we are rather of opinion that it had its origin in idolatry, and was spread with the practice of idolatry to almost every part of the ancient world. It is a singular fact, that from the three sons of Noah the whole earth was peopled after the flood; and we consequently find that, when idolatry was introduced, and deceased heroes began to be invested with divine honors, nothing was more natural than that the great father who had been preserved in the ark, and his three sons, should have been the objects of profane adoration. So it was. Proofs of this abound in ancient mythology. We may call attention to the theology of the ancient nations as corroborative of this truth.

"... The theology of ancient Egypt also claims attention. Proclus assures us that the Orphic Triad of Uranus, Phanus, and Cronus (Saturn), is substantially the same with the three kings of Plato And, according to him, also, the other Platonists held a like opinion. Amelius. refining on the others, imagined a threefold demiurgus; and the three intellects to be the three kings, which, he says, are the same as those mentioned by Orpheus and Plato. Those persons of the Triad, however much obscured by fable and sophistry, relate to Noah and his family; and are really the demons of the ancients, called, as Bryant says, the Baalim of Scripture. Even Hesiod, in his Opera et Dies, makes some allusion to these persons, and to the times in which they lived; 'The demons lived in the days of Cronus (Saturn);' and that they were deified men, we have the same testimony : 'When they died, they became demons, a sort of benevolent beings, who resided within the verge of the earth, and were called 'guardians of mankind.' ' Now, Cronus (read Saturn), as we have seen, is Noah; and there can be no doubt that the meaning of this Orphic hymn alludes to Noah also, who is called Phanus and Protogonus. " I invoke the first of men, who was of a twofold state or nature, who wandered at large under the wide heavens, inclosed in an ovicular machine, who was also depicted with golden wings."

"Bryant, from Proclus himself, affords singular confirmation of all that has been advanced. The latter nearly approximated to the true history, which he had, no doubt, from some ancient source ; but, from ignorance of its purport, he turns it to ridicule. " As Cronus (Saturn) was no other than Zeus, we may find the history of the Triad further explained in the history of the latter; and by the same author (Proclus.) Time and all things among the ancients were deduced from Noah (or Cronus;) hence they came at last, through their blind reverence, to think him the real Creator, and that he contrived everything in his chaotic cavern. This is curious; but how much more singular does it appear, when we find Proclus, the Coryphaeus of Platonism, and the great expounder of the Trinity, aiding us so far as to declare (Tim., lib. v, cap. x, p. 265) that this very Cronus (Saturn) was the founder of the Triad! ' King Cronus is the founder of the fierce Triad.' (See also Bryant's Ancient Mythology, vol. iii, p. 108.) Now Cronus (Saturn) being Noah, the three Cronii mentioned by Proclus are the three sons of the patriarch; so that the Platonic Triad is founded on the ancient demoniacal worship of these three persons.'"Mushet on the Trinities of the Ancients, pp. 88-90, and also note M.

"The mythology of India affords an exemplification of our views scarcely less striking.

"The acknowledged divinities of India are, by respectable authorities, said to amount to thirty millions. But ... when, after this, we find the same divinity worshiped under many names, with slight changes of attribute, and acknowledged to have had many incarnations, all of which are separately adored;"we shall cease to accuse the Hindoos of worshiping more gods than other pagan nations.

"Yet of all this multitude of deities there are THREE which demand especial notice. These are Bramah, Vishnu, and Seeva. ... But it will be necessary for us to show that their character and ORIGIN support the view which we have taken. In the first place, we meet with a fact which, while it greatly derogates from the spiritual and philosophical character of these deities, at the same time prepares us for regarding these divinities, like others, as being merely deified men: it is this, that each of these had a consort. The wife of Bramah is called Saraswati; that of Vishnu is named Lacksmi; and the partner of Seeva is Parvati. (See Christmas's Universal Mythology, p. 66.)

"But, again: These three deities are believed to emanate from, or to be a triplication of, a yet older deity, whom they call Brahm. Yet this compound deity, as the whole of his history shows, is not the true God, but identically the same with the Orphic Jupiter, the Egyptian Osiris, the same as Bacchus Dionusus, and, in fact, as the great father in every part of the pagan world. But in IDENTIFYING THIS DEITY WITH NOAH, AND THE TRIAD PROCEEDING FROM HIM WITH HIS SONS, we must observe that the Indian mythology begins anterior to the deluge, and refers to the first father of the human family. The true key to their allusions appears to be this: Adam having had three sons, whose names are recorded, and after the deluge Noah having also had three sons, whose descendants peopled the earth; the doctrine of the successive destruction and reproduction of the world and of the human family was taught and believed. Hence Brahm is at the same time Adam and Noah, and in his triplicated form are the three sons of the former and of the latter. Brahm, then, at the head of this Triad is Menu. And the first Menu is evidently Adam. He is called Adima, and his wife Iva. This identity is further attested by the following circumstances: Menu has three daughters, who are married to three brothers sprung also from his body; one of these sons was eminently pious, and another very wicked ; and one of these lost his life at a sacrifice. But, agreeably to the doctrine we have mentioned, Brahm is also the second great father at the head of his Triad of sons. The first Menu, therefore, with his three sons, must be viewed as reappearing in the characters of Menu-Satya- vrata, and his triple offspring, Sama, Cama, and Pra-Japati. But the ark-preserved Menu-Satyavrata and his three sons, are certainly Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet. (See Faber's Pagan Idolatry, vol. i, p. 119.)

"We have precisely the SAME result presented to our view in the mythology of Greece and ROME. SATURN AND HIS THREE SONS, JUPITER, NEPTUNE, AND PLUTO, AGAIN EXHIBIT THE PATRIARCH OF THE ARK, AND HIS THREE SONS. We have already identified Saturn with Noah ; his sons are, with equal evidence, shown to be the sons of the arkite patriarch. 'Saturn is said to have divided the empire of the world among his three sons, one of whom the Egyptians styled Hammon: and a story is related of this son, which seems evidently to have been borrowed from a well-known circumstance in the life of Noah: he is said to have intoxicated his aged father with honey-mead, and, while in that condition, to have bound and mutilated him. The real fact is not indeed told accurately; but the resemblance of this legend to the Mosaical narrative is such as to leave us no room to doubt of their common origination. It was in allusion, most probably, to the same event, that Saturn was thought to have enacted a law, that no one should be permitted with impunity to behold the gods naked. Bochart, in short, produces no less than fourteen points of resemblance between Noah and Saturn.'"Faber's Iforce Mosaicce, vol. i, p. 142.

"We might pursue this investigation at greater length : it will, however, be sufficient to add, that we have the same triad presented to us in the Persian Oromasdes, Mithras, and Ahriman; (pg 266) and again repeated in the mythology of the Scandinavians, with whom Bore was the great father, and the three sons Odin, Vile, and Ve. (See Edda, fable iii.) ...

"We have now only to supply a select portion of the historical and traditional evidence, which the different nations of the earth have furnished, in corroboration of the Scriptural fact of a universal deluge.

"The Chaldean account, copied by Berosus from the archives of the temple of Belus at Babylon, is as follows:"'After the death of Ardates, (the ninth sovereign,) his son Xisuthrus reigned eighteen sari. In his time happened a great deluge, the history of which is thus described: The deity CRONUS (SATURN) appeared to him in a vision, and WARNED him that, upon the fifteenth day of the month Daesius, there would be a FLOOD, by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write a history of the beginning, procedure, and conclusion of all things, and to bury it in the city of the sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel, and take with him into it his friends and relations, and to convey on board everything necessary to sustain life, together with the different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and trust himself fearlessly to the deep. Having asked the deity whither he was to sail, he was answered, ' To the gods :' upon which he offered up a prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition, and built a vessel, five stadia in length, and two in breadth. Into this he put everything which he had prepared ; and, last of all, conveyed into it his wife, his children, and his friends.

"After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel, which, not finding any food, nor any place whereupon they might rest their feet, returned to him again. After an interval of some days, he sent them forth a second time ; and they now returned with their feet tinged with mud. He made a trial a third time with these birds; but they returned to him no more: from whence he judged that the surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and, upon looking out, found that it was stranded upon the side of some mountain: upon which he immediately quitted it, with his wife, his daughter, and the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth; and, having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods; and, with those who had come out of the vessel with him, disappeared. ...

"The GREEK version of this catastrophe, as preserved by Lucian and others, is also worthy of notice. ... The earth suddenly poured forth a vast body of water, heavy torrents of rain descended, the rivers overflowed their banks, and the sea rose above its ordinary level, until THE WHOLE WORLD was inundated, and all that were in it perished. ... Deucalion alone was left to another generation, on account of his extraordinary wisdom and piety. Now, his preservation was thus effected: he caused his sons and their wives to enter into A LARGE ARK which he had provided, and afterward went in himself. But, while he was embarking, swine, and horses, and lions, and serpents, and all other animals that live upon the face of the earth, came to him IN PAIRS. These he took in with him. ... Thus they all sailed together in one ark, so long as the waters prevailed. Such is the narrative of the Greeks. ...

"Hindoo traditions relating to this event, although less exact in their accordance with Holy Scripture, and more highly adorned with the fictions of mythologic fable, are nevertheless interesting and important.

"... JOSEPHUS (who was a ROMAN citizen although born a Jew) says, 'Now, ALL the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this FLOOD, and of this ARK; among whom is BEROSUS THE CHALDEAN; for, when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: 'It is said that there is still some part of the ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some persons carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly for amulets for the averting of mischiefs.' Hieronymus the Egyptian, also, who wrote the Phenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them, where he speaks thus: 'There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which, it is reported, that many who fled at the time of the deluge were saved ; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it, and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses, the legislator of the Jews, wrote.''"Ant., lib. i, cap. iii, sect. 6. ...

"... G. Smith says, '... it is evident that traditions of the rainbow as a good omen were preserved by mankind for many ages, and that it was generally incorporated with their mythology.' ... Both Greeks and ROMANS deified this beautiful object under the title of Iris, or 'the messenger of the gods.' Homer alludes to the rainbow as a sign appointed by the son of SATURN. Thus:"

'Splendor diffusing, as the various bow Fix'd by Saturnian Jove in showery clouds A sign to mortal men.""Camper's Iliad, book xi.

"And to the same effect Virgil speaks:"

"'Those envied rites SATURNIAN Juno views, And sends the goddess of the various bow.'

"Here also NOAH offered his sacrifice, which was so fully honored with divine acceptance; and hence, for several reasons, besides their geographical vicinity to each other, these HILLS became identified in the religious estimation of the people. (Let me insert, the Hill of Saturn at Rome) We may briefly notice the following abstract of these reasons: 1. Both belonged to a common father of mankind at the beginning, or apparent beginning, of a world. 2. Both were mounts of salvation, or divine favor. 3. Both were hills of the sacred tree; the one of the real tree of life, the other of its symbol, the tree of peace and unction. 4. And, mainly, both were seats of the cherubim, and the glorious presence ; the one, of that which stood at the gate; the other, of that which dwelt in the house of Noah, or in the tabernacle of Shem.

"It is a clearly ascertained fact, that the sacred high places of the heathen were selected and used in religious commemoration of these sacred mounts. We may instance THE CAPITOLIUM OF ROME, (the Hill of Saturn at the Forum) which is proved to have had this reference, having been dedicated to Saturn or Cronus ; (Dion Halicar., lib. i, cap. 24 ;) and if we were to pursue an extended investigation of the subject, we should find these results : That the Pindaric Mount of Paradise is the tower of Saturn ... that the Pindaric Olympus of Elis in Greece is the hill of Saturn; that the Capitolium of Rome is the hill of Saturn: their sacred character being thus clearly identified with the events of Ararat."

Above exerpts from The Patriarchal Age; Or, The History and Religion of Mankind by George Smith, F. S. A. New York, 1854.


We have emphasized the possibility that Noah was the one worshipped as this deity "Ninurta, Ningirsu, Ninib" (that is, "Saturn"). But another school of opinion says that this same personage, "Ninurta, Ningirsu, Ninib, Saturn" was not Noah, but (as William Hort above) has already mentioned), was NIMROD. Says Thomas Sawyer Spivey, 2002, in Christianity and Mythology, "It is said that Saturn was Nimrod, the founder of the empire of Babylon, but the better authority identifies Belus as Nimrod, and Saturn as Noah." In this Spivey almost echoes Thomas Smith, who says it was believed concerning SATURN, "Saturn ... was deposed and driven into exile. He then fled to Janus, king of ITALY, who received him courteously, and even made him his partner on the throne. Saturn now applied himself to ... civilizing the barbarous manners of the inhabitants of ITALY, and instructing them in the noble art of AGRICULTURE. ...The festivals called Saturnalia are supposed to have been instituted long before the foundation of Rome. ... With regard to the HISTORICAL sense of this fable, some writers are of opinion, that SATURN WAS NIMROD, the founder of the Babylonian empire; but Bochartus and some others are inclined to suppose, that Noah was represented by this deity ; and that for the following reasons: ...." which he then proceeds to elucidate (Source, The Scientific Library; or, Repository of Useful and Polite Literature, six volumes, Thomas A. Smith, 1818, Vol. III, pages 40 & 42).

On Nimrod, son of Cush and grandson of Ham, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, "The origin and meaning of the name Nimrod is uncertain, but it is doubtful that it is Hebrew. It may be Mesopotamian, originating from the Akkadian (northern Babylonian) god of war and hunting, NINURTA, who was called 'the Arrow, the mighty hero.'"

On the "NIMROD" view Leonard Smith, author of Power Politics: Primeval, Medieval, and Constant Evil, on page 29 says, "Some historians think Shem traveled widely from Mesopotamia to Egypt to EUROPE in an effort to overthrow the one-world government of Nimrod. Shem is credited with eventually slaying Nimrod IN ITALY." Again, here, what Smith is refering to is the belief that Nimrod was Saturn, who was ruler over pre-Roman "Saturnia" on the site where someday Rome would stand. More precisely, where the ancient temple of Saturn stood, in the Forum at Rome. It may be worth noting here an amazing coincidence (if indeed that is all it is): Smith speaks of some historians saying that Shem killed Nimrod in Italy. Because this thought is to be joined with the notion that Nimrod and Saturn were one and the same person, it should be known concerning the death of SATURN, that there are three different "endings" for him in Roman myth: One has his pursuers eventually rousting him out of his refuge at Saturnia (Rome) and forcing him to again flee to another land (some say Spain) where he dies, and the next does in fact have him die right there at Saturnia (Rome) and the Hill of Saturn (the Capitoline) itself, is given as the place of his burial. The third Roman version was that Saturn "vanished," having ascended to the abode of the gods, after which supposedly Janus erected the famous Altar to him. Interestingly, I have seen no evidence suggesting that those who say Nimrod died in Italy, had any knowledge that according to legend, SATURN supposedly died there too. So that fact could be taken as yet another "coincidence."

Regardless, Saturn is believed by some to be the Nimrod of Scripture, and sometimes they say (in example Alexander Hislop, Two Babylons) that Ninus is only another name for the same person. Further, they believe that Belus was a title of lordship ascribed to the patriarch Shem, and that this title (Belus) was later taken by Asshur. It is also said that classical writers are speaking of Asshur when they say "Ninus."


Some (including some schools of Anglo-Israelism or "British Israel") have made much of the "Saxon Chronicle" opening its lineage of the Saxons with "Noah, Sem, ... ." These theorists wish to make the "Danes" descend from Dan, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. They sometimes try to "complete" or "fill in" the fragmentary "Genealogy of Odin" by combining borrowings from the "Saxon Chronicle" with borrowings from the Icelandic "Langfedgatal." They then claim to be able to give a fairly complete paternal line from Noah down to Odin. Apparently the "Langfedgatal" starts almost back at the Ark by listing (not far down from Noah and "Sem" I presume) "Saturnus of Krit" who begat "Jupiter" who begat Darius who begat Erichhonius and (I am skipping some) it descends clear down to Priam, King of Troy and then (with me skipping some more) it comes down to Moda who begat Magi who begat Seskef, (or Sescef), whom they say was Sceaf, which they assert is a title of Odin. They tell us that the afore-mentioned "Saturnus of Krit" was "Saturn of Crete." Some among the British-Israelists assert that "Saturn of Crete" was none other than the man Jacob, who was surnamed by God, "Israel." As support for it they claim that the Phoenician historian Sanchoniathon spoke of him, and the mention by Sanchoniathon was preserved in a line of Eusebius. In his work "Preparation of the Gospel", book i, ch. x, Eusebius is quoted saying, "For Kronus or (Saturn), whom the Phoenicians call Israel ...." (sometimes cited for this is page 21 of "Corey's Ancient Fragments of the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Babylonian, Egyptian and other Authors", by E. Richmond Hodges). I have not studied these documents myself nor yet checked the last reference just mentioned. But if it were to turn out to be so, that Eusebius either said "Kronus or (Saturn), whom the Phoenicians call Israel" or, mentioned Sanchoniathon as saying it, one could observe that the mention was being made through the filter of Eusebius in his own generation, and that "Israel" (in the speech of the Phoenicians) might have been referring to the NATION or PEOPLE Israel, much in the sense that we say "the HEBREWS" and it could be "telescoped" back yet farther, to mean the SHEM-ITES or people who claimed to be from SHEM. Thus (by an admittedly painfully stretched process) one could arrive again at the threshold of Noah's Ark, with SHEM stepping forth from it. Let not my reader misunderstand "what I am at" here: FAR from here seeking to in any way lend any credence to things that British-Israelists would promote, I am RATHER showing that, even if the SOURCES they cite (Sanchoniathon/Eusebius/Hodges) "say what they say they say" those quotes may be taken to demonstrate OTHER possibilities than what some British-Israelists conclude. Perhaps more relevent to our concerns here, these same theorists say regarding the antiquity of ITALY, (as the more respected and even "classical" sources have insisted) that indeed, "Saturn" was in the ancestry of the kings of the Latins. But these usually list it something like this: The Titan named Atlas had a daughter, Roma (identical with "Electra") who became the concubine of a certain "Jupiter-Sammes." Roma gives birth to Romanessus, who begat Picus who begat Faunus who begat Annus who begat VULCAN who begat MARS (perhaps Mars personified in Janus). In that time (of Mars/Janus) Saturn, came to future Rome "from Crete." Some of this agrees with Josephus, and, perhaps strikingly, a fragment agrees with Augustine, in the City of God, who asserts that the next king in line after "Saturn" was "Picus, the son of Saturn." Only Augustine's main objective is to be sure his readers understand that he is saying that "Saturn" was no "god" but a mere mortal. Digressing to catch just the tail of what some of the British-Israelists say, they add that "Picus the son of Saturn" was himself sometimes called "Jupiter." For those curious, it ought perhaps to be noted that there are two different men named "Picus" in this line, one who reigned circa 1509-1452 BC, and one who reigned circa 1273-1239 BC. After the latter Picus is said to have reigned the second Faunus, Faunus the younger, followed finally by Latinus (Lateinos, after whom the Latins are still called). For those able to "separate the wheat from the chaff" in all of this, it should stand out clearly, that despite all the clashing theories about who Saturn actually was, the belief was (and is) VERY widespread that from another land, he came to ITALY, and reigned as a local king on the very site of future Rome.

In The True Origin of Christmas under the chapter heading Who Was Saturn? David C. Pack exhorts, "Let's carefully study just exactly who Saturn was. ... The Saturnalia, of course, celebrated Saturn - the fire god. Saturn was the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. ... The PLANET Saturn was LATER named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire. Virtually every civilization has a fire/sun god. The Egyptians (and sometimes Romans) called him VULCAN. The Greeks named him Kronos, as did the Phoenicians - but they also called him SATURN. The Babylonians called him Tammuz (as Nimrod, resurrected in the person of his son), Molech or Baal (as did the Druids). These were all simply the various names for NIMROD. Nimrod was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods."

Now, to reiterate what I have said repeatedly above, regarding Saturn possibly being Noah (or for that matter Nimrod) I have set forth some of the reasons for it as a "devil's advocate" (which is also explained above). I tend to doubt that Noah came and lived at the site of future Rome. If the reader MISSED my explanations of WHY I've written as though a defender of those views, he should return to that full explanation above and read it. As I have explained, certain FACTS and REALITIES "on the ground" at Rome remain regardless of whether Saturn was invented out of thin air by a myth-maker.


The temple of Saturn was the FIRST temple built in the Roman Forum (not the first in Rome, but the first built inside the Forum Romanus). But long BEFORE any "Roman" temple was built here, the site was considered sacred to Saturn. One legend is that Hercules here built a shrine to Saturn. In any case, we may be certain that the SITE itself was deemed sacred from a VERY early date. The tall-columned Temple of Saturn seen in pictures is actually the second or third "rebuild" of earlier Saturn temples on the site. It is understood that before ANY of the temples, an ancient ALTAR of Saturn existed at the base of Saturn's Hill (the Capitoline Hill). Now something quite remarkable comes to light: I have demonstrated in this treatise how I think the word "CARCER" and the PLACE called by that word may be associated with the meaning of "BOUNDARY." I have also shown that Pagan temples and sacred spaces especially were demarcated by their sacred boundary line. And immediately here above we have seen that SATURN was the god of BOUNDARIES and of the plow. I would ask the reader a very simple (if not actually simplistic ) question: Could the BOUNDARY LINE or sacred PERIMETER around the temple of ANY god of the Romans possibly be more important than the boundary around the temple of the GOD OF BOUNDARIES? I'll ask it another way: Saturn being the GOD OF BOUNDARIES, and the Romans always maintaining the sanctity of religious boundaries, is it even possible to think that Saturn's temple would be built WITHOUT any considerations of any sacred boundary around it? I think it impossible. I cannot imagine that in "staking out" the placement of the temple of the god of BOUNDARIES, that they did not first (in faithful Roman custom) establish the BOUNDARY LINE itself, saying "All that is within this sacred perimeter line is devoted to Saturn." And within that area they erected his altar and eventually built his temple.

Historians INDEED bear out the fact that just such a surrounding perimeter area EXISTED. In most research it is found mentioned simply as the "AREA OF SATURN." When the Forum Romanus was first slated for development, it basically enlarged the already existing (in fact very ancient) "Area of Saturn." What we today call the "Capitoline Hill" was anciently the "Hill of Saturn." He was said to have his home on this hill. The Altar of Saturn was at the base of the hill, probably within feet or within yards of where the temple was eventually built.


Most people do not know that Roman legends said that before Rome existed, the city of "SATURNIA" existed on this very site (at the base of the Hill of Saturn), and that Saturn was its king. Almost identical to the legend of Romulus vanishing and then being deified, the legend said that King Saturn ruled over a "Golden Age" until the day he ceased to walk among men. It was then that the ancient Altar was set up at the base of his hill, for his worship. What is more commonly known is that after that time, and yet still before the Romans took over this site, it was held by the Sabines, and was a Sabine fortress city. None the less the Sabines held the entire site to be sacred to Saturn, and they preserved his worship on the entire hill and its environs.

Considering "the Hill of Saturn" and "the Area of Saturn" at the foot of the Hill (the west end of the future Forum) as a WHOLE (for it was): The ancient inhabitants said that the god Saturn had his home atop the Hill. As he instructed the inhabitants in farming, the SOWING of seed (and I have emphasized PLOWING), we may understand that the "the Area of Saturn" at the foot of the Hill, being FLAT, was his "farm." I conjecture that the entire "complex" (of both the "Hill" and "Area" of Saturn) was that bustling farming community of "Saturnia." The trail that led from the hilltop down into the Area of Saturn was later named the Clivus Capitolinus. It is intriguing that the ancient inhabitants of the flat "Area" situated the "Altar of Saturn" partway up that very trail. If we allow our imaginations some liberty, we might see the people making offerings on this Altar, in hopes of the "divine" king descending the Clivus Capitolinus to receive their oblations. For those who are open to the "Saturn as Noah" possibility, perhaps a more pallatable comparison might be that of Moses coming down from the holy Mount with the Tables of the Law to teach the people. The true Noah was indeed just such a prophet as Moses. And upon "the mountains of Ararat" Noah was given the Covenant, and indeed, Laws to teach humanity. And Noah did come down THAT (other) mountain, and every early clan of humanity knew it, at first. Even if "Saturn" of "Saturnia" was the actual man Noah, the myths of Saturn might still have been commemorating those ancient events. And what symbols would be so apt as a "mountain" with a trail coming down, and an Altar? Noah erected an Altar on the slopes of "Ararat," and it was then, and it was there, that he received the Laws for all of humanity.

At a much later time the top of the Hill of Saturn became a "citadel," and this requires some distinction: Since the "Golden Age of Saturn" so-called is universally described as a time of PEACE, in which supposedly the inhabitants of "Saturnia" had not learned war, the hilltop upon which Saturn had his house (most likely surrounded by an entire village of his subjects) was not a "citadel." It was in the age long after Saturn, and by my best guess, probably when the Sabines first came and took over the Hill, that a "citadel" was built upon it. The "Age of Peace" was over, and now armed encampments were part of the "way of things."

And so this particular area has quite an ancient pre-Roman history. But, then came the Romans, and likewise "urban sprawl." The two most ancient things existing in the area we now call the "Roman Forum" were the Altar of Saturn, and the natural spring (carcer) about 50 meters somewhat north of it. It is almost a certainty that the carcer spring ITSELF was anciently sacred to Saturn. Its waters issue from the hill sacred to him. These two things (carcer and altar) marked the "BOUNDARY" of the base of the Hill of Saturn, and, the Area of Saturn that proceeded roughly eastward out from that boundary line, into what we now know as the Forum. It is easy to understand WHY the Temple of Saturn was the FIRST temple unto any god to be erected by the Romans in the "Forum." As just mentioned, when they first decided to "appropriate" that land and to develope it, they were moving onto land sacred to the god Saturn. So naturally, out of respect they initially left Saturn the whole flat "AREA" at the base of the Hill of Saturn, and continued to designate it the "Area of Saturn." As Saturn was god of BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARY LINES AND BOUNDARY MARKERS, we may suppose that the "Area of Saturn" that remained so identified was already anciently known as his Sacred Area, replete with boundary markers. As his worship in this place (with the "Hill of Saturn" and the Altar of Saturn) and his legends far predate the Roman Forum, the BOUNDARIES of the "Area of Saturn" were most certainly as old, and not a Roman innovation at the time of starting the Forum. Additional support for this comes from the simple fact that from the outset of Roman "urban sprawl" and their need to expand and to annex this area, all turf area once strictly sacred to Saturn alone began "shrinking" and being taken over. In other words, the mere fact that even in the era of the great Forum the Romans and the Roman writers were still conscious of what "Area" was the sacred "Area of Saturn" speaks to the fact of its earlier distinction. To reduce this to its simplest, hear an ancient Roman telling his fellow, "They are planning to build this thing actually inside the Sacred Area of Saturn." That the structures built in that Area were indeed referred to in that way bears witness to the BOUNDARY of the Area of Saturn being distinctly known BEFORE the coming of the Forum. And finally, before any other god or hero would get a temple in the new "Forum" vicinity, a temple would naturally be built to Saturn. They gave Saturn his due, before encroaching into his "front yard." We might observe parenthetically that in Roman culture and law it was a capital offense for anyone to move the BOUNDARY marker or change the BOUNDARY LINE of a property. This crime (sin) was held on a par with treason, and immediately brought the death penalty. And, when the offender was killed it was deemed as propitiating the GOD OF BOUNDARY LINES (Guess who?). Thus more than with the BOUNDARIES of any other deity, we may be assured that the utmost care was taken to keep the LINES of THIS area distinct (at least in consciousness), even though the population explosion necessitated annexation and encroachment.

The Archaeology of Rome, by John Henry Parker, Part V The Forum Romanum, Page 3, has:

"... The Forum Romanum belongs to the very earliest period of Roman history ; it occupies part of the level space between the Palatine and the Capitol, and it was on this ground that the battle between the Romans and the Sabines took place, in the fifth year after the foundation of Rome, when the Sabine women rushed between their fathers and brothers and their husbands, and made peace between them, according to the legend related by Livy. ..."

And then at the bottom of page 5 and continuing onto page 6 (speaking of one of the walls of the AErarium) "... The small narrow space between that and the Temple of Saturn is said to be part of the Area of Saturn, which was, however, of considerable extent, as the church of S. Hadrian stood in it."

That the Area of Saturn was "of considerable extent" and that the Church of St Hadrian stood inside that Area needs comment: The Church of St Hadrian was built on the NORTH side of the Forum, on the site of the ancient Curia ( so read "the Curia stood in it"). Parker is also showing us that the "boundary" of the Area of Saturn was known to AT LEAST run THROUGH or take in part of the Temple of Saturn. He is speaking of a space (probably of mere inches) between essentially the "PORCH" of the Temple and the Temple itself. If I am not mistaken, the reason he "splits" the building thus is because he is following on the theory that before the Romans took over, the Sabines built the massive vault-like chamber which ended up as part of the "basement" of the Temple in one of the later Roman re-builds of the Temple. However, other historians on the Forum say to the contrary, that the AEarium was the LAST addition to the Temple. But I feel there is no logical basis for imagining that part of Saturn's Temple was built outside of his Sacred Area. (See my map of the Forum below). I think that Parker is only stating that it is KNOWN that the Area did come at least this far, into part of the Temple, because his sources happened to be speaking of this wall of the AErarium, and that "it" was "in the Area of Saturn." In other words, Parker's statement does NOT exclude any aspect of the Temple from the Area of Saturn, but merely states that the spot inside it he was examining was said to BE PART OF the Area of Saturn. His intent is probably inclusion, and not exclusion. In ANY case, the Area of Saturn contained the real estate that the Curia was built upon, at the north side of the Forum, and from that north side extended clear across the Forum, and into the Temple of Saturn AT LEAST as far as the AErarium wall within it. However, when one considers the importance of inviolate BOUNDARY LINES to the worship of the god Saturn, I think that it would have been most unacceptable to be "sloppy" about his Temple placement in regard to his boundary. I must place the entirety of Saturn's Temple inside the original boundary of the Area of Saturn, or else think that they ENLARGED Saturn's borders and gave him MORE in his Area in order to accomodate the Temple. But I have a hard time with the notion of half in and half out. By a painful stretch I suppose I could be talked into a notion of Saturn's statue ITSELF inside the Temple being so placed as to be on his ancient sacred boundary line, so as to symbolize his guarding of boundaries. Something like THAT might "sell" the blueprint of his Temple sprawling across his sacred boundary, but I can't conceive of placing the god's idol itself outside of his Area. It is with some sincere pondering that I came to draw on the Forum map the purple line of the boundary I propose for the Area of Saturn. I think that IF I am off, it is not by much.

A CIRCULATING MISUNDERSTANDING, AND ITS SOLUTION: Because a couple of readers of extant sources which rightly mentioned a wall of the AErarium (in the Temple's basement) being inside the Area of Saturn, mistakenly were viewing from the SOUTH in their mind's eye, rather than from the NORTH as they should have been, an incorrect notion got circulating to the effect that the Area of Saturn was behind the Temple. Had they only been correctly looking toward the Temple of Saturn from NORTH of it, say, from the Curia, the mistake would not have happened. Making the matter worse (or at least more complicated), there was (in a LATER era) a courtyard developed behind the Temple. Those who had made the mistake of "thinking from the south" when they learned of the AErarium wall being part of the "Area of Saturn" made the careless presumption that this much later courtyard must BE the Area of Saturn. And so today one can find under-researched and hastily written comments in books (and on the Internet) speaking of that little courtyard as the "Area." It is an absurdity based on misunderstandings. The SIMPLE SOLUTION AND CORRECTION comes by firstly realizing (as already stated) that the view TOWARD that AErarium wall should be from the north. And secondly, I believe that the little open area behind the Temple (which was later developed into a courtyard) was itself part of the Area of Saturn. As shown in my diagram, the border of the Area of Saturn went fully around and enclosed both the Temple of Saturn and the Curia (Church of St Hadrian), and yes, it took in that little open space behind the Temple.

Another brief but helpful mention of the Area of Saturn comes from the New Guide of Rome and the Environs: According to Vasi and Nibby, pp 110,101:

"The palace of Numa was near the temple of Vesta; these edifices closed the southern side of the Forum towards the Velabrum; the west side was occupied by the temple of Julius Caesar, the Julia basilic, the Area of Saturn.

"On the side under the Capitol were: the temple of Saturn and the Erarium..." etc.

Firstly an error must be pointed out: The perspective of Vasi and Nibby is as though travelling from the temple of Vesta and going up the Via Sacra on the "west side" of the Forum. They mistakenly said the "temple of Julius Caesar" where they should have said the "temple of Castor and Pollux." It was probably a mere slip that did not get caught before their book's printing. But the temple of Julius Caesar was not on that "west side" but positioned in the center of the Forum near its southeast end. On our map (below) the unidentified building "next door" to the "Basilica Julia" on its southeast is the temple of Castor and Pollux.

Their sentence should have read, "the west side was occupied by the temple of Castor and Pollux, the Julia basilic, the Area of Saturn."

But I would merely point out the value of their correctly listing the "Area of Saturn" next after the "Julia basilic" in their list, if the observer is travelling up the Sacred Way from say the temple of Vesta, as per Vasi and Nibby's perspective. Note then how they speak of the other angle or "side" of the Forum as "the side under the Capitol." And it is there that they associate the "temple of Saturn and the Erarium." Of course it is right to associate the Temple of Saturn with the "Hill of Saturn" the Capitoline. On our map of the Forum (below) however you can see how indeed Vasi and Nibby make a valuable contribution in listing "the Area of Saturn" as next after the "Julia basilic" when going up the "west side." Mind you, they do not say it is the "next property" up the way. They only LIST it next, after LISTING the "Julia basilic" as they are merely informing their readers what is on the "west side." I make the distinction because as the map below shows, I think the northwest end of the "Julia basilic" was built inside of the ancient Area of Saturn, or "overlapping" it. One of the valuable points in them listing the Area of Saturn as something you would come to while traversing up the "west side" by the "Julia basilic" is that we already have other authorities telling us that the Area of Saturn took in the Curia on the "north" side of the Forum. Thus Vasi and Nibby help explain my map showing the extent of the Area of Saturn, that it went clear across the Forum from the Basilica Julia to the Curia.

The next "quotation" is admittedly lengthy. But if the reader is interested in this "Area of Saturn" part of our "carcer" topic, I urge you to bear with me. Stories in Stone from the Roman Forum by Isabel Lovell, 1904 speaks eloquently of the monuments and layout of the western end of the Forum, and in particular the Area of Saturn, in the chapter titled The Story of the Temple of Saturn (pages 67-76):

"The story of the Temple of Saturn is a golden story, beginning in a Golden Age, and telling of a golden treasure. It begins in times so far away that man cannot discern things clearly, but, as through a soft summer haze, he may see somewhat of fertile lands ... the place on which he dreamily gazes is one of both peace and plenty.

"That happy land was called Saturnia, because, so the old stories say, among its green hills and valleys a good king, named Saturn, ruled lovingly over his contented people. He taught them how to plant their fields, to build their homes, and to live aright: and in his days all men stood equal and wanted nothing.

"The people were so joyous and the earth seemed so fair, that it was believed that the god Saturn himself had come to dwell therein; and those bright days of the years when the world was young are still spoken of as a Golden Age.

"And so the legend grew, and it was said that Saturn's home was on the hill called by the Romans the Capitoline, and that at its foot an altar was raised to him, after he had disappeared from among mankind. This altar was placed there by Hercules, great Jupiter's mighty son. ... The Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple of the Forum ... reached by a flight of steps. The number of steps in these flights was unequal, so that, as an omen of good, the worshipper might put his right foot on the first and on the last step.

"But BEFORE reaching the steps of the Temple of Saturn, the reverent Roman, coming to offer his sacrifice to the gracious god, first passed through AN OPEN SPACE ENCLOSED BY A RAILING. This space was called the AREA OF SATURN, and, as he went along, the worshipper might stop to read some of the laws that were graven on the stelae, or upright slabs of stone, that stood around the Area. Once, they say, a violent wind arose, and, when its fury was over, many of these stelae had fallen and were in fragments. Then the soothsayers cried out that the end of the Republic was at hand, and among those that heard them many lived to see these words come true. ...

"... the worshipper ... would ... linger a moment before the statue of Silvanus, which stood in the Area beneath the shade of a fig tree. For Silvanus was AKIN to Saturn, AIDING him in his care over the fields and the forests, and having as his own special charge the BOUNDARIES OF THE FARM, such as those of the pastures and of the corn-fields. ...

"And now, at last, the worshipper, having paid his devotions before the altars that also stood in the Area, mounted the steps and entered the Temple of Saturn itself. Over its entrance were carved the figures of two Tritons, creatures half men, half fish, ... Across the waters from Greece they had safely escorted Saturn ...

"Within the temple stood the statue of Saturn, immortal protector of the earth's precious increase. His image was made hollow, but was filled with the oil from the olive, for did he not have the green world under his care? and in his hand was a sickle, for did he not reward work with rich harvests? and about his feet were bound ribbons of wool, for did he not also guard the animals of the farm?

"So it was Saturn that watched over the wealth of the early Roman people, for in those days their riches lay in their fields and in their flocks. Then when the Romans had grown greater, and their wealth was counted, not in golden stores of grain, but in shining bars of gold itself, what more natural than that Saturn should still guard it, and that, even as other gods had in their care other treasures, he should have in his temple the public riches of the whole Roman nation?...

(Special custodians called the Quaestors stood guard over the Treasure Chamber.)

"... But the quaestors had in their care another charge, one more precious than gold, more important than records, for in the AErarium of the Temple of Saturn were also kept the Roman STANDARDS, emblems of the nation's courage, honour, and power. ... when Rome's name was mightiest, a golden eagle, holding in its claws a thunderbolt, was carried aloft before her victorious hosts....

"As their wealth grew greater, the Romans did not forget to honour the god in whose temple their treasure was so safely kept, but worshipped Saturn faithfully and once a year celebrated a great feast in his name.

"This was the Saturnalia, which took place in December, after the grain was garnered and when man was ready for rest and for enjoyment; and the people were commanded by the Senate to observe this festival forever. It began with a sacrifice to Saturn in his temple, and was followed by a public feast, at the end of which the people gave themselves over to every kind of pleasure. It was as though men strove to recall once more the Golden Age, for during the Saturnalia they all stood equal and joyous freedom ruled the hour. Slaves were waited upon by their masters, prisoners were set at liberty, even criminals were pardoned, and no battles were fought during that happy time, which lasted for seven days."

End of extract from Lovell's Stories in Stone from the Roman Forum.

Did you catch Lovell's statement that the Area of Saturn was AN OPEN SPACE ENCLOSED BY A RAILING?

I hope that this immediately reminded you of the above coverage of carcer as perimeter fences, boards, and lattices, etc. If Lovell is correct LITERALLY, that the whole Area of Saturn was at one time "ENCLOSED" by a "railing" it would mean that a "railing" turned the corner at right angles, at the carcer. This would place a border "railing" on location with the carcer.

Saturn was also considered to be the protector of Rome's wealth, and the State Treasure was actually placed under the entrance to his temple. When a Roman came to worship Saturn in this temple, and ascended the great marble stairs, when he reached the top step he was standing directly on top of the great hoard of gold and silver that was essentially the "Fort Knox" of Rome. Not only was the protection of Saturn invoked for the Roman Treasury, but it was of understandably one of the most militarily guarded sites in Rome. Above, we already discussed that the carcer was likewise guarded anciently like a "security facility" to preclude well-poisoning by sabateurs in times of war or tension. When one embraces all of the factors involving this particular site, the "Area of Saturn" (including its status as a sacred area), it begins to suggest to our minds that indeed the Romans had at least some kind of a superstition that things in this Area were specially protected. Of all the places in the City of Rome where its State Treasure might be put, why here? Personally I cannot help but suspect that Roman religion, superstition, myth, awe and reverence factored in. Remember that in the legend of Rome's very FOUNDING, the very first act was the plowing of the Sacred Boundary, the Pomerium. And it was "all about" a protected area, and IMMEDIATE DEATH was the consequence of violating that boundary. Can we fail to see the "GOD OF THE BOUNDARY" factor as an element of continuity, all the way down to the Romans ultimately placing their State Treasure inside the Area of Saturn? In your mind, try to go back in time and put yourself in Rome, right during the time when construction on the Temple of Saturn was going on, and its dedication day was drawing near, when this event was the main "headline" of the day. What might we imagine was being said? What was being prepared for dedication speeches? What was heard in Rome at that specific time? I cannot doubt that all of Saturn's perceived greatness and glories, his various powers, and his place and his roles and the Roman's sacred duties to him were being magnified. There were undoubtedly parades and pageantry attending the dedication of the Temple. I cannot but suppose that Rome's State Treasure was brought with great pomp and display of armed might before the eyes of the people, to be put safely under the protection of the god, even under his very footstool. I am confident that every Roman knew that the Treasure was being brought INTO THE BOUNDED AREA, which they knew as the "Area of Saturn," and that it meant something for it to be brought WITHIN THOSE BORDERS. My reader surely knows what manner of painting I am laboring to paint by all of this: Simply that this "Area of Saturn" was a distinctly important place, and, that it was especially noted BY and was consciously thought of in terms OF, it's BOUNDARY.

In the above photograph, please notice at the right side two individuals walking, a woman in a yellow top and a man in a white shirt. They are walking away from the Temple of Saturn, and are headed in the direction of the carcer. The road they are walking on is the section of the Sacred Way at the extreme northwest end of the Forum. Compare it to the Sacred Way shown in yellow in the above map. In the foreground of the photo the picture was obviously taken from up a hill, looking down a road to where you see a woman in a white top standing, looking up at the Temple of Saturn. The road she is standing on is now called the Clivus Capitolinus. It leads from the very front steps of Saturn's Temple and heads up the Capitoline Hill. Keep in mind that more anciently the "Capitoline Hill" was the "Hill of Saturn" and it was held to be the god's home. I speculate that the Altar of Saturn that is so often mentioned in antiquity as being approximately here, may have been roughly behind the photographer and slightly to his right. Notice also the terrain of the area: A wrong impression may be gotten by looking at how the green grassy hill descends to where it meets the flat ground in the Forum (and the Sacred Way). It should be realized that two factors radically altered the original natural terrain at the base of the hill: For one, marble risers (seats like "bleachers") were dug into and built on the lower slope by the Romans, so that important spectators could view the games and events that were held in the Forum area. They used the natural slope of the hill for a "stadium seating" effect. And secondly, when, long after Saturn's Temple, new additional temples and buildings were constructed around the perimeter of the Forum, four new structures were built into and on the base of the hill (roughly between the carcer and where the photographer was standing). At the photographer's immediate left was (eventually) built the Porticus Deorum Consentium, a shrine built to honor twelve important Roman gods. One "lot" closer to the carcer from there, was (eventually) built the Temple of Vespasian, and beyond that (eventually) the Temple of Concord. And finally, between the Temple of Concord and the carcer was built a massive marble stairway, a steep ascent rising from the Forum plaza up the Arx part of the Capitoline Hill. The construction of all of these structures ripped and goughed and reshaped the bottom of the hill beyond all recognition, especially the Temple of Concord which had a huge elevated front porch, and marble stairway extending out into the Forum. The rubble of this, and all of these structures, when they fell to ruin, made the bottom of the hill entirely different than it was in antiquity. Also the observer should realize that (in this photo) the apparent fifteen foot difference between the plaza floor of the Forum and the street level where tourists are grouping at the upper entrance to the carcer site is due to the two facts that, the lower Forum level was EXCAVATED after centuries of having been filled in with fifteen feet of rubble and debris, and two, because THREE STORIES of additional manmade structures were built on top of the carcer WELL HOUSE. The fact is that three stories down, the carcer spring is at exactly the same level as the lowest first step on the stairs of the Temple of Saturn in the Forum. But more importantly, from the ancient descriptions, and from the remaining ruins, I am convinced that when the Temple of Saturn was built (remember that he was the god of the BOUNDARY, BOUNDARY LINE and BOUNDARY MARKERS) that a true and perfect line was deliberately drawn from his temple site, directly to the carcer. This trajectory followed the base-line of the Hill of Saturn. Even if one were to use the later rebuilt temple (and the still existing ruins of it) as a tool to obtain a line of sight, the perfect line remains. Stand on the side of the Temple of Saturn closest to the hill and to the Clivus Capitolinus. Put your right cheek against the very foundation of the Temple of Saturn and look toward the entrance of the carcer. It is a precise line of trajectory. Look on the map. It becomes clear that every one of the structures built at that end of the Forum (at the base of the Hill of Saturn) were built on precisely that line of trajectory. They have exactly that alignment. I think that this was clearly a line of trajectory adhered to by the builders. Also, remember that over the years the Forum became crowded with new structures. Each new addition encroached by necessity on the property of the existing neighboring structures. But it seems to me that in the oldest neighborhood, that is, the Area of Saturn, that alignment can be seen. And it strikes me that the "newer" buildings and monuments in the Forum, which came along later, are the ones that followed OTHER alignments, being situated in relation to other newly developed areas of the Forum, a remodeled Via Sacra, and other lines of sight. It is the OLDEST structures and monuments that were aligned as the Temple of Saturn was (I think) with the carcer. While admittedly it is speculaton, I cannot help but wonder if the natural spring we now call the "carcer" was not perhaps a sacred spring, that is, sacred to the god Saturn, and that the Altar of Saturn and the Sacred Spring were the BOUNDARY corners for that Area Sacred to Saturn, the famed "Area of Saturn." We can see that the BOUNDARY turned at right angles at the carcer, that is, the carcer was the CORNER of the Area of Saturn. How can we NOT see the carcer as the BOUNDARY marker of the Area of Saturn, and, Saturn was the god of the BOUNDARY line and the BOUNDARY MARKER. A man will have quite a chore on his hands to convince me that the carcer spring was not distinctly considered a BOUNDARY marker. * *


It is perhaps perplexing to a student first entering upon this subject to find that in fact MANY gods of antiquity (and at Rome) may be found under the appelation, "the" or "a" "GOD OF BOUNDARIES." We have just seen NINURTA, NINGIRSU, and NINIB given as names for the ancient god of boundaries. And we have seen SATURN in that role. But the Greek god HERMES (MERCURY) was also called the god of boundaries, as was the Egyptian god HORUS, as was BACCHUS, and even ARDA, a god of the Vainakh (ancestors of the Chechen people of the Northern Caucasus). So was JANUS at Rome, and likewise the Greek APOLLO, and WODEN among the Germans! There is no shortage of gods in antiquity who were revered in one way or another as "a god of boundaries."

An exhaustive treatise on all of the "gods of boundaries" of antiquity could fill thousands of pages if the attempt were made to sort them all out, make clear distinctions, identify overlaps, and cross-pollination, etc. One may be only the god of boundaries of specifically the fields of farmers, while another may preside over boundaries of a country, etc.

But our focus here is limited to the vicinity of the CARCER at Rome. The task is not only narrowed by a very small geography, but it is also relatively narrowed in terms of time, for we are looking at the period of time in which the vicinity of the carcer was first occupied, settled, and developed.

The student of Roman mythology and religion, or, for that matter on ALL ancient Pagan religions, is already aware that the gods of the Pagans "evolved" as it were, or changed, as centuries passed, and as a deity was imported or adopted by one culture from another. Hence Aphrodite of the Greeks was the Venus of the Romans, and Artemis was Diana. The Roman god Jupiter was actually the ancient Semitic god Baal-Shamen, and was the same god worshipped by the Persians as Ahura Mazda, but was Zeus to the Greeks. Quite often when a people embraced the god of another people, the awkward situation existed, that they already HAD a god considered as performing some of the functions and roles as the "new" god. In almost all such cases, the gods were made to either share or exchange various roles and functions. If a people already had a thunder god, but he wasn't the king of the gods, but then they allowed in a new foreign god who was king of gods who was said to also be over thunder, the people might adopt the new god as king of the gods, but without him being over thunder, lest they offend their own ancient god. Thus gods were constantly losing or gaining powers and roles, as they were adopted by various people groups. The person wishing to follow up on Saturn and his role as the god of BOUNDARIES will need to realize these role-shifts and "evolutions." As mentioned above, Silvanus, whose statue stood in the Roman Forum, was made to share the workload with Saturn, of watching over boundaries. Specifically they had Silvanus take over guarding the boundaries particularly of farmers. The issue becomes quite complex, for the Romans virtually deified everything. They ascribed to virtually every act or function in a life a spirit of that thing. If one is going to cook over a hearth, there is a "spirit of the hearth" to call upon. If one is going to raise cattle, there is a "spirit of cattle" to invoke. Many of the so-called "gods" were no more than a function and the spirit thereof, that had risen to great esteem over time. Saturn suffered "evolutionary changes" at the hands of new innovations and the adopting of new gods, and, because of "things" being worshipped. All over the ancient world where the god of boundaries, boundary lines and boundary marker stones was worshipped (as with Saturn), a common phenomenon was for people to actually worship the boundary marker ITSELF! In this phenomenon we see sheer primitive idolatry. Rather than elevate one's thought to a deity who presides OVER a thing, make the thing ITSELF a god to be worshipped. And so, boundary stones themselves were worshipped as though they were the god OF boundaries. And another variation of this phenomenon occurred: While (as in the case of Saturn) the god had NUMEROUS functions and meanings and roles, some people would FIXATE on just one aspect. For instance, as mentioned, if a god had power over thunder (among ten other things), some people might fixate only on the thunder aspect, and only worship him as the thunder god. Well, my point is, that some Romans fell into the worship of actual boundary STONES that marked their fields. And yet other Romans took to DEIFYING strictly Saturn's "BOUNDARY" aspect. In other words, they separated out Saturn's rule over boundaries, and fixated only on the rule of boundaries, and made of this "spirit" a new DEITY. And just as we saw that some of Saturn's "boundary" worship (that which particularly affected FARMERS) got "siphoned off" and channeled into Silvanus, likewise, the veneration of BOUNDARIES became so distinct that it resulted in "BOUNDARY WORSHIP" as distinct from Saturn worship. Some Romans deified BOUNDARIES. The STONES that marked boundary lines of Roman properties were "TERMINAL" markers. That is, they showed where a property "TERMINATED." Out of the grass-roots Roman populace there arose a veneration of boundary stones, known as "termini." And because Romans suspected there was spirit of every THING, they came in time to suspect there was a spirit or "deity" of the "termini." And here it is, they produced the name "Terminus" for that god. And so, both "Silvanus" and "Terminus" siphoned off some of Saturn's worship. The Romans basically felt that the "right" god was getting his due, if they venerated the "spirit" of the "thing" in one way, or the other. And so, if you wish to study in depth the worship of the god of the "boundary" among the Romans, you are going to have to ALSO look into both "Silvanus" and "Terminus." In actuality both of them were "aspects" of Saturn/Ninurta/Ningirsu/Ninib, and were but his right hand and his left. But they too must be considered.

Yet ANOTHER factor exists that tends to cast the carcer in terms of a BOUNDARY marker: Even in remote antiquity when Rome (proper) occupied the Palatine Hill and the Sabines occupied the Hill of Saturn, the carcer spring was an important "milestone" as it were. Students of the geography in the vicinity of Rome know that a ROAD came down from the north and approached the Area of Saturn that eventually became the Forum Romanus. Back when this, the Area of Saturn (and the Hill of Saturn) was occupied by the Sabines, that road from the north REACHED Sabine "turf" precisely when it reached the carcer spring. Exactly the same place may be described earlier as SATURNIA (explained below): Anciently, a traveller coming from the north would come down this trail, and when he reached the carcer spring he had reached THE BORDER OF SATURNIA. He may have been given instructions for his journey, thus: "Continue down this road, until you finally come to the SPRING, whose waters issue from the sacred Hill of Saturn. That spring is the border marker. Pass that spring, and you are in Saturnia, the City of Saturn." Under the Sabine control, the same thing would be true, only the traveller would be told, "Continue down this road until you reach the spring. That spring MARKS entrance into the Sabine territory." (That comment calls for some qualifying: Some maps of the "Sabine lands" will depict their land as stretching far to the north and north-east of the carcer, which could make my statement puzzling. When I speak of travelling southward and reaching Sabine land at the carcer spring I speak of that time in antiquity when Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines led his people to the place and settled on top of the Quirinal, and also took possession of the top of the Capitoline (Hill of Saturn) and made it a stronghold (Arx, citadel). At that time the "Romans" occupied the top of the Palatine Hill south of there. The valley in between the two peoples was of course the future "Forum" but not yet. The Sabine holdings, from the tops of the Quirinal and the Arx (Hill of Saturn) extended down the inside slopes of the Quirinal and the Arx into the north-east parts of the flat future "Forum." In fact in the eventual battle between the "Romans" and Sabines, they fought right THERE in the middle of the flat ("Forum") valley between their hills, where Sabine land met "Roman" land. It is THAT Sabine layout I describe when I speak of the traveller from the north coming southward until he gets to the carcer spring. Their town atop the Quirinal and their fort (Arx) atop the Hill of Saturn were distinct walled, boundaried and fortified locations. That people of their same "race" or tribal stock additionally lived in the territory northeast of there, making those northeast areas "Sabine land" is given. Think of it like this: In the American West in the 1800s, men might have spoken of certain regions being "Sioux Indian lands." It is one thing however to be travelling through "Sioux land," and quite another to actually enter their main village or encampment, where there were armed warriors, and where the Chief himself lived. The Sabine warriors and their king, and their families, lived atop the Quirinal and the Arx (and, we may be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN used the CARCER SPRING that flowed from beneath the Arx. And at that time, coming down the trail from the north, which came directly to the carcer spring, a person reached the border of the Quirinal and Hill of Saturn Sabine settlement, precisely AT the carcer.

Later, the carcer spring was also the CITY LIMIT OF ROME! When the Forum Romanus was built there by the Romans, the traveller would be told, "Follow this road south until you come to the CARCER SPRING. At THAT POINT you will be entering the Forum, that is, entering ROME." I expound more fully in a more appropriate place on this, that the carcer spring was distinctly the "city limits" marker of the City of Rome, as you entered Rome from the north. But here in short, the Servian Wall (which also followed the Pomerium Line) ran along the base of the Capitoline Hill (Hill of Saturn) and passed DIRECTLY BY the carcer spring and proceeded on to the Quirinal Hill. Put differently, BOTH this section of the Servian Wall and the carcer spring were situated precisely AT the "spur" that joined the Capitoline Hill (Hill of Saturn) and the Quirinal. Thus a traveller from the north entered through the gate in the Servian Wall directly AT the carcer spring. When you understand that the Servian Wall followed the Pomerium Line, it indicates that the CARCER SPRING was on the POMERIUM LINE! What could scream as loudly that "the CARCER" indicates "BOUNDARY" than realizing it marks a point along the sacred POMERIUM?

Well it is simply so: From time immemorial, the CARCER SPRING was a boundary marker, anciently for Saturnia, then for the Sabine fortified area, finally for the outer edge of the Forum, and, for Rome itself, but ALWAYS for the Area of Saturn. In Roman times the road coming down to the carcer spring from the north was named the Via Flamina. Actually sections of the road bore different names as it approached Rome: North of Rome, and heading south, toward the city, the road was the "Via Flamina." As it drew close to the "city limits" it took on the name of the "Via Lata" or "Broad Street." Then as it came THROUGH the Servian Wall, at the site of the carcer spring, it was called the "Clivus Argentarius," and within but several yards more, past the carcer, the Clivus Argentarius dropped down into the Forum. At another period the name "Clivus Argentarius" seems to have been used of the entire length of the route from the carcer, northward out to the campus Martius, or Field of Mars. Some sources say it was called by "Lautumiae" in the period of the Republic. Roughly, this route corresponds to the more modern road, the Via di Marforio. By the way, elsewhere in its place I explain why it was called "Lautumiae" and how that futher strengthens things we are saying about the carcer spring.



In Roman Antiquities Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote in 20 BC essentially that this place was the epicenter of all things "Saturn" in Italy, and that in fact all of what we know as "Italy" drew its name from THIS place, and was called Saturnia. He refers to "Italy, which was then called Saturnia" (Book I, 18:2). Continuing in Book I, 34:1 "A ... Greek expedition came into Italy under the command of Hercules ... and built a TOWN on a suitable hill ... . This is now called the Capitoline hill, but by the men of THAT time the Saturnian Hill ... . ... 3 As for the name of the hill, some think it was an ANCIENT name, as I have said, ... 4 ... Euxenus, an ancient poet, and some others of the Italian mythographers think ... that the Epeans together with Hercules erected the altar to Saturn which remains to this day at the foot of the hill near the ascent that leads from the Forum to the Capitol, and that it was they who instituted the sacrifice which the Romans still performed even in my time, observing the Greek ritual. 5 But from the BEST conjectures I have been able to make, I FIND that even BEFORE the arrival of Hercules in Italy THIS place was sacred to Saturn and was CALLED by the people of the country the Saturnian Hill, and, all the rest of the peninsula which is now called Italy was consecrated to THIS god, being called Saturnia by the inhabitants, as may be found stated in some Sibylline prophecies and other oracles delivered by the gods. And in many parts of the country there are temples dedicated to this god; certain CITIES bear the SAME NAME by which the whole peninsula was known at that time, and many places are called by the name of the god, particularly headlands and eminences. 35 But in the course of time the land came to be called Italy, after a ruler named Italus."

The original"TOWN" of "Saturnia" gave its name to all the surrounding country.

From his wording it is clear that Dionysius of Halicarnassus sought to "FIND" out the true background of this place, and he is giving us his "BEST" speculation. Remember that he wrote this in about 20 BC. A specific case of ANOTHER city coming to be named "Saturnia" is the city of Saturnia in Etruria, Italy. Here though, we look at the FIRST Saturnia, on the selfsame site as the Forum of ROME, elucidated by the Latin and Greek scholars Adam and Boyd, here:

"Among the CITIES of the Pelasgi, in the land once possessed by the Siculi, that is, in Latium, mention is frequently made of one denominated SATURNIA. This CITY, thus known by the name of Saturnia, is no other than Rome itself. Thus Pliny (3.5) observes, "Saturnia, where ROME now stands." So Aurelius Victor (30, "Saturnia, BUILT ON ONE OF THE HILLS OF ROME, was the residence of Saturn." (Page 501, Roman Antiquities, by Alexander Adam, LL.D., Elector of the High School, Edinburgh, Sixth Edition, Published by Blackie & Son, Glasgow & Edinburgh, 1835, and Tegg & Son, London, 1835.

Note: Reading Adam and Boyd in full gives various names associated with what we call "Rome." Since we here only extract fragments of their work an explanation is in order. The student of these things realizes of course that "Rome" has seven hills for which it is famous, and that when one is dicussing the early founding and development of "Rome," each hill must be considered distinctly, for anciently there were separate cities, each on different of these hills, and each city had its own name and history. Of special note here, are two, the one on the so-called "Palatine" hill and the one atop the so-called "Capitoline" hill. It remained for a future time for one great wall to be built around the several hills, enclosing them together, and for ONE city name to be given to it all. This of course depends on which history on these things you believe. We discuss some important exceptions, below. But in their study, Adam and Boyd are of necessity treating of the earlier time. And when they speak of the city they call "Rome" they are referring to that small city that was on the "Palatine" hill. If you read their full text regarding "Rome's" name, you will find them speculating on what it was named BEFORE it was called "Rome." In fact they speak of it being named "Rome" at one time in its history, then losing that name, and later regaining it. Their opinion is that before it was called "Rome" it was "Pallantium." But our reason for speaking of these things HERE is to let our reader know that none of those considerations apply to the City of Saturn on the Hill of Saturn that Adam and Boyd also discuss. A person who reads BOTH my treatise here, together with the full Adam and Boyd text elsewhere, might get confused when they read statements that seem to say that "Rome" was earlier "Saturnia," and statements that seem to say that "Rome" was earlier "Pallantium." That is why I remind the reader to keep straight WHICH HILL is under discussion, and, what PERIOD is under discussion in any given portion of text. Allow me to provide my own "key" for keeping it straight. The history involving these two particular "city hills" progressed thusly: Most anciently, the god "Saturn" was intimately associated with the hill that came to be named the "Hill of Saturn" and this same hill was much later called also the "Capitoline Hill." On THIS site there was anciently a city, and THIS is the City of SATURNIA we have had under discussion. I treat of this elsewhere, but the reader should understand that Saturnia being built "on" the Hill of Saturn actually takes in or engulfs the entire hill, for as I show elsewhere the town had its defensive WALL or PALISADE around the BASE of the hill. Furthermore, the carcer spring (which is at the BASE of the hill) was their chief water supply, and was just inside of that palisade. So, "Saturnia" which was "on" the Hill of Saturn, came right down to, and embraced within its walls, THE CARCER SPRING.

The next city to come into being was the one on the hill we now call the "Palatine Hill." This SECOND city is the one that school children are taught was "founded" by Romulus. This SECOND city is the one whose most ancient name is taken under study by Adam and Boyd in their book. They seek to examine when it first came by the name "Rome," and they suggest that it was earlier named "Pallantium." But THAT does not affect SATURNIA on the adjacent HILL OF SATURN. Whether or not the city on the "Palatine Hill" was called "Pallantium" before it was called "Rome" there were two cities looking at each other across the valley in between them. If we are looking through the Adam and Boyd "lens" we would say that the City of Saturn looked across at the City of "Pallantium" on the other hill. So, understand: When Adam and Boyd say that "Rome" was more anciently "Pallantium" they do not mean that Saturnia was. Just "Rome" on its own hill. Now be clear, as two overlapping histories are given: After "one-hilled-Rome" came to be CALLED "Rome" it grew. It eventually grew so big that it "swallowed" the other six nearby hills. And as it annexed a new hill, the "wall of Rome" was built to also surround each hill. Thus the Area of Saturn eventually came inside the "wall of Rome" (although we are going to "qualify" that generalization, below). And, as Rome grew, its NAME (Rome) was extended to, and applied to, every "neighborhood" of it. So "Saturnia" was engulfed by Rome. However, the overlapping history is what is told by Adam and Boyd above, as per Dionysius of Halicarnassus and other ancient sources, to wit, that in the same way the City of SATURNIA, by virtue of its renown and veneration also extended ITS name over the whole "complex" and indeed over the whole land eventually called "Italy." So, "Rome" cast its shadow upon Saturnia and Saturnia cast its shadow upon "Rome." And when eventually the wall of "Rome" was enlarged and physically surrounded the site of the City of Saturnia, men discussed the whole as ONE PLACE, as ONE piece of LAND. Thus Adam and Boyd say "Saturnia is no other than Rome itself." And thus Pliny says "Saturnia, where ROME now stands." It would be futile to attempt to discover whether perhaps before "Rome" (or "Pallantium") ever arose the ancient "city limits" of the City of Saturn might have taken in even the hilltop that later was called the Palatine Hill. That is probably doubtful. But perhaps not as unreasonable would be the speculation that the "KINGDOM" of "Saturnia" spoken of in legend may have had the Palatine Hill within its borders, for remember that BOTH the CITY of Saturnia and the KINGDOM of Saturnia are discussed. The KINGDOM of Saturnia had the CITY of Saturnia as its "capital" so to speak. This is also not unreasonable when we consider the above sources saying that all of eventual "Italy" was "called Saturnia." I place this focus on the Palatine Hill in particular simply to note that Adam and Boyd's statement that Saturnia was "no other than Rome itself" and Pliny's reference to "Saturnia, where ROME now stands" may have been precisely literal, even including the Palatine Hill if by "Saturnia" one intends the KINGDOM of Saturnia.


With all of this having been said, there are numerous reasons for us to associate the CARCER with the meaning of BOUNDARY and of BOUNDARY LINES. I find myself thinking that the ancient Roman probably looked upon the carcer spring as Saturn's North Boundary, and that the word "carcer" itself denoted in some sense "boundary" or "boundary line" or "boundary marker" or "border of enclosure," etc., etc., etc., indicating that it was the god's boundary, that is, the boundary of his sacred area, and that, the god being actually the god of boundary markers, this was a thing clear and marked and distinct in the mind of the early Roman. Was the word "carcer" anciently synonymous with "boundary?" I have no problem seeing how it may in fact have been. I suggest that the natural SPRING at this location (sacred and set apart unto Saturn the BOUNDARY god) was called "carcer" long before ever someone got put down into "it" to hold him until his execution. Therefore Rome's first "prison" just happened to be AT the place they had ALREADY been calling by the word "carcer." In other words, "carcer" did not originally mean "prison." Prison came into being at the place already called "carcer." And "carcer" was "boundary line" or "perimeter" or had some kind of "set limit" or "restricted area" meaning. At the RISK OF WEARYING MY READER, let me repeat that more exactly I think it denoted the boundary of an ENCLOSED AREA or the perimeter of an ENCLOSURE. Again, I think it referred usually to the enclosed space of a Pagan shrine, and most specifically the boundary line OF it. English can phrase it numerous ways; some longer, some shorter: the "enclosure's boundary" or a "boundaried enclosure" or the "shrine's perimeter," or "the boundary of the sacred space."



The discussion of things relating to the word carcer is a "SIDE discussion." Our MAIN subjects are the words "circe" (which became "church") and the Greek word "ekklesia." The word "carcer" entered because we agree with the philologists cited above, who have stated that "carcer" and "circe, kark, church," etc., meant the same, and derived from the same sources as, "carcer." We have been taking materials off of paper and re-shaping their arrangement and presentation so as to work in web pages. But web pages also present some "format" difficulties, one of which we are trying to surmount, here: We offer our reader here a convenience. If the matter of showing the word CARCER to be akin to the word "circe, church, kark" is of sufficient INTEREST to you to read "the rest" of the evidences, we are giving that "continuation" of the topic its own "SIDE STREET." As our little drawing indicates, our main journey is "headed on up the way" to more of the "church vs ekklesia" study. But we have given the rest of CARCER its own "street" (an additional web page). You can "turn right" at this point and go into the "cul de sac" we've named "Carcer Ct" in our sketch and read the rest on carcer, and then come back out and proceed on up the way. But if you have had "plenty" on carcer as "enclosure boundary" for now, and wish to move on, well, proceed.

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Church vs Ekklesia