186 BC )


( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 26-27, n. 28 ).

   Hannibal's successes in Italy were viewed by the Romans as a possible sign of divine wrath, and in 204 B.C. the Romans were moved to introduce from Asia the cult of the Magna Mater as a form of propitiation. Perhaps this was indicative of a growing interest among the Italians in oriental orgiastic cults, or at least it may have encouraged their cultivation thereafter, though the Romans professed that they were shocked by them. Livy reports ( 39, 8-19 ) that the devotees of Bacchus by 186 B.C. had created scandalous and dangerous conditions throughout the length and breadth of Italy by celebrating their peculiar rites, the Bacchanalia. After the investigation the Senate passed resolutions abolishing or seriously curtailing the worship of such groups.
This document, on a bronze tablet found at Tiriolo, Italy, in 1640, is a copy of a letter embodying the senatorial resolution sent to the local magistrates in the Ager Teuranus of southern Italy. It is to be observed that all of the ninth paragraph, except the portion within quotation marks, is not part of the senatorial resolution, but embodies the directions accompanying it.

[Q.] Marcius L. f., S(p.) Postumius L. f. cos. senatum consoluerunt n(onis) Octob. apud aedem | Duelonai.
The consuls Quintus Marcius, son of Lucius, and Spurius Postumius, son of Lucius, consulted the Senate on October 7 in the Temple of Bellona.
Sc(ribendo) arf(uerunt) M.Claudi(us) M. f., L. Valeri(us) P. f., Q. Minuci(us) C. f.
Marcus Claudius, son of Marcus, Lucius Valerius, son of Publius, and Quintus Minucius, son of Gaius, assisted in drafting the decree.
De Bacanalibus quei foideratei | esent, ita exdeicendum censuere :
Regarding the Bacchanalia the senators proposed to issue a decree as follows to those who are allied with us :
Neiquis eorum Bacanal habuise uelet ; sei ques | esent, quei sibei deicerent necesus ese Bacanal habere, eeis utei ad pr(aitorem) urbanum | Romam uenirent, deque eeis rebus, ubei eorum uerba audita esent, utei senatus | noster decerneret, dum ne minus senatoribus C adesent [quom e]a res cosoleretur. |
Bacas uir nequis adiese uelet ceiuis Romanus neue nominus   Latini   neue   socium   |   quisquam,  nisei pr(aitorem) urbanum adiesent, isque [d]e senatuos sententiad, dum ne | minus senatoribus C adesent quom ea res cosoloretur, iousisent.
"No one of them shall have a place devoted to the worship of Bacchus : and if there are any who say that they have a need for such a place, they shall appear in Rome before the urban praetor ; and when the pleas of these men have been heard, our Senate shall make a decision regarding these matters, provided that not less than 100 senators are present when the matter is discussed. No Roman citizen or man of Latin rights or anyone of the allies shall associate with the Bacchae, unless they have appeared before the urban praetor and he has given permission, in accordance with the opinion of the Senate, delivered while not less than 100 senators were present when the matter was discussed."
The proposal passed.
Sacerdos nequis uir eset ; magister neque uir neque mulier quisquam eset. | Neue pecuniam quisquam eorum comoine[m h]abuise ue[l]et ; neue magistratum, | neue pro magistratud, neque uirum [neque mul]ierem quiquam fecise uelet. | Neve post hac inter sed conioura[se neu]e comuouise neue conspondise | neue conpromesise uelet, neue quisquam fidem inter sed dedise uelet. | Sacra in oquoltod ne quisquam fecise uelet ; neue in poplicod neue in | preiuatod neue exstrad urbem sacra quisquam fecise uelet, nisei | pr(aitorem) urbanum adieset, isque de senatuos sententiad, dum ne minus | senatoribus C adesent quom ea res cosoleretur, iousisent.
"No man shall be priest of, nor shall any man or woman be master of, such an organization ; nor shall anyone of them have a common fund ; nor shall anyone appoint any man or woman to be master of such an organization or to act as master ; nor hereafter shall anyone take common oath with them, shall make common vows, shall make stipulations with them, nor shall anyone give them surety or shall take surety from them. No one shall perform their rites in secret ; nor shall anyone perform their rites in public, in private, or outside the city, unless he has appeared before the urban praetor and he has given permission, in accordance with the opinion of the Senate, delivered while not less than 100 senators were present when the matter was discussed."
Censuere. |
The proposal passed.
Homines plous V oinuorsei uirei atque mulieres sacra ne quisquam | fecise uelet, neue inter ibei uirei plous duobus, mulieribus plous tribus | arfuise uelent, nisei de pr(aitoris) urbani senatuosque sententiad, utei suprad | scriptum est.
"No one in a company of more than five persons altogether, men and women, shall perform such rites ; nor in that company shall more than two men or three women be present, unless it is in accordance with the opinion of the urban praetor and the Senate, as has been written above."
Haice utei in couentionid exdeicatis ne minus trinum | noundinum, senatuosque sententiam utei scientes esetis, – eorum | sententia ita fuit : ‘ sei ques esent, quei aruorsum ead fecisent, quam suprad | scriptum est, eeis rem caputalem faciendam censuere ’ – atque utei | hoce in tabolam ahenam inceideretis, ita senatus aiquom censuit, | uteique eam figier ioubeatis, ubei facilumed gnoscier potisit ; atque | utei ea Bacanalia, sei qua sunt, exstrad quam sei quid ibei sacri est, | ita utei suprad scriptum est, in diebus X, quibus uobeis tabelai datai | erunt, faciatis utei dismota sient.
You shall publish these decrees in public assembly for not less than three market days, that you may know the opinion of the Senate. For the opinion of the senators is as follows : "If there are any persons who act contrary to what has been written above, it is our opinion that a proceeding for a capital offense must be made against them" ; and you shall inscribe this on a bronze tablet, for thus the Senate voted was proper ; and you shall order it to be posted where it can be read most easily ; and, as has been written above, you shall provide within ten days after these tablets have been delivered to you that those places devoted to the worship of Bacchus shall be dismantled, if there are any such, except in case something sacred is concerned in the matter.
To be dispatched to the Ager Teuranus.