De Agricultura 83
De Agricultura 83
From Cato's De Agricultura
An offering to Mars Silvanus for the health of cattle
This description of a ritual to be performed for the health of cattle does not include an suggestions for appropriate words to be spoken, but simply describes the offering itself. However, since Cato states in his last sentence that his reader may vow or pray (vovere) the vow or prayer every year, some kind of spoken dedication does seem to be assumed.
Following the format of Cato's other prayers, it is likely that he would consider a fairly simple prayer to be appropriate, in which the god is called upon, the offering is verbally dedicated to the god, and the worshiper makes a humble request for the health of his cattle.
The ceremony can of course be adapted to a number of modern uses, such as a prayer for the health of employees, for the smooth running of machinery or for domestic pets.
As for Cato's statement that a woman may not see or take part in the ceremony, it is of course a matter for individual worshipers as to whether they interpret this as a religious rule, or simply a recommendation which reflects the beliefs of Cato's time, and can therefore be altered without causing offense to the gods (I personally fall into the latter camp).
|Votum pro bubus, uti valeant, sic facito.||Make the vow for the cattle, that they may be well, in this way.|
|Marti Silvani in silva interdius in capita singula boum votum facito.||Make the vow to Mars Silvanus by day in the woods for each head of cattle.|
|Farris L. III et lardi P. IIII S et pulpae P. IIII S, vini S. III, id in unum vas liceto coicere, et vinum item in unum vas liceto coicere.||Three pounds of spelt and four and a half pounds of bacon fat and four and a half pounds of meat, three sextarii [each about one pint, or 0.568 litres] of wine; it must be placed together in one vessel, and in the same way the wine must be placed together in one vessel.|
|Eam rem divinam vel servus vel liber licebit faciat.||It will be allowed that either a slave or a freedman may perform this offering to the gods.|
|Ubi res divina facta erit, statim ibidem consumito.||When the offering to the gods will have been made, consume it straight away in that very place.|
|Mulier ad eam rem divinam ne adsit neve videat quo modo fiat. Hoc votum in annos singulos, is voles, licebit vovere.||A woman may not be present at this offering to the gods, and nor may she see in what way it is done. It will be allowed to vow this vow each year, if you wish.|