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Terminus was the Roman god of boundaries, the protector of the limits both of private property, and of the public territory of Rome.

HistoryEdit

The worship of Terminus was either introduced to Rome during the reign of Romulus or during the time of his successor Numa. He was represented by a stone or post, set up in the ground with the following religious ceremonies. A trench was dug, in which a fire was lighted; a victim was sacrificed, and its blood poured into the trench; the body, upon which incense and fruits, honey and wine were thrown, was then cast into the fire. When it was entirely consumed, the boundary stone, which had been previously anointed and crowned with garlands, was placed upon the hot ashes and fixed in the ground. Any one who removed a boundary stone was accursed and might be slain with impunity; a fine was afterwards substituted for the death penalty.

On the 23rd of February (the end of the old Roman year) the festival called Terminalia, according to Wissowa, a festival not of the god but of the boundary stones (termini), was held. The owners of adjacent lands assembled at the common boundary stone, and crowned their own side of the stone with garlands; an altar was set up and offerings of cakes, corn, honey and wine were made later, a lamb or a sucking pig was sacrificed. The proceedings closed with songs to the god and a general merrymaking, in which all the members of the family and the servants took part.

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