Devotio

Monument of the Lacus Curtius

Monument of the Lacus Curtius

Devotio was an ancient Italian ritual, in which a soldier -usually the general- voluntarily accepted his own death, devoted himself to the gods of the Underworld, and allowed his enemies to kill him. The wrath of the gods was, by this ritual, placed on the enemy. There are several parallels from Greece and Carthage, and several stories (like that of Marcus Curtius) may be understood as rationalizations of devotio legends. I’ve summed it up here.

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