- aedes: the “dwelling place” of a certain deity, a physical building which held the deity’s image.
- ara: the altar.
- augur: a priestly official who asked for and interpreted the will of the gods. The augur defined the templum.
- auguraculum: the place in which the augur took the auspices, an area of the city with a special tent set up for this purpose.
- auspex: (pl. auspices) an individual who read omens from the flight of birds.
- auspicia: the signs divined from the flight of birds within the templum of the sky. There were four kinds:
- auspicia impetrativa: solicited signs appearing within the templum of the sky.
- auspicia maiora: “greater auspices”.
- auspicia oblativa: signs occurring without the ritual solicitation of the gods.
- auspicia privata: auspices taken “privately”, for an individual or family.
- capite velato: “with head covered”, this is the preferred way of praying and offering to the gods. This is thought to be so that the individual doing the offering would not be distracted.
- carmen: a song, poem, or ode characterized by formulaic expression, redundancy, and rhythm.
- collegium: a legal association which oversaw religious traditions.
- consecratio: ritual act resulting in the creation of the aedes and/or ara.
- cultus: cult, but not in the modern, negative sense of the word. Taken to mean “cultivation”, as in “cultivating a relationship with the gods”, or worship.
- devotio: the most extreme act of vow and offering, this was when a Roman general would offer himself and his enemy in battle to the chthonic deities in order that the Romans might be granted victory.
- do ut des: “I give so that you might give”, a phrase summing up the reciprocal relationship of humans and gods.
- exta: the entrails of a sacrificed animal, which were divined by a haruspex.
- fas: a very difficult word to define, fas is basically taken to be something that is “religiously allowed”.
- fasti: a plan or calendar of official and religiously sanctioned events.
- feria: a “free day” of the calendar in which no work was to be done.
- festus: a “holy day” or festival day of a deity, these were considered unlucky days.
- fetial: a priest who was charged with declaring war and making peace and treaties.
- finis: the limit or boundary of the templum.
- flamen: one of a group of 15 flamines who were the “high priests” of 15 different deities.
- Fratres Arvales: the Arval Brethren, the group of priests who were concerned with agriculture and farming.
- hostia: the offering, usually an animal, in a sacrifice.
- lectisternium: the ritual banquet offered to several deities.
- libatio: the libation of wine, milk, water, etc. to the gods.
- lituus: the curved staff of the augur, used to mark out the regions of the templum.
- lucus: a sacred grove protected by a deity.
- ludi: games, such as chariot racing and gladiatorial combat, held for religious festivals.
- Luperci: the “wolf priests” who participated in the Lupercalia.
- mola salsa: salted flour sprinkled on the altar and the head of the victim before it would be sacrificed. The Vestal Virgins made this by using roasted wheat, salt, and pure water.
- mos maiorum: the “way of the ancestors”, the traditions that affected every area of a Roman’s life.
- nefas: anything “not religiously allowed”, basically the opposite of fas.
- pax deorum: the “peace of the gods”, the harmony between humans and the gods.
- piaculum: an expiatory sacrifice made in advance or following a sacrifice that might not have been favorable to the gods.
- pietas: the sense of duty and loyalty to one’s family, state, and gods.
- religio: obligation to the gods, based not on faith but on knowledge and correct practice.
- sacer: a thing or person given to, and thus sacred to, the gods.
- sacra: the cults, either public (publica) or private (privata).
- sacramentum: oath or vow that renders an object or person sacer.
- superstitio: excessive devotion and enthusiasm in religious observances.
- templum: a sacred space defined by an augur for ritual purposes.
- victima: the animal offered for a sacrifice – rarely a human, though this did happen.
- votum: the vow or promise made to a deity.