a diminutive of sacer,
signifies a small place consecrated to a deity with an altar in it (Trebon.
ap. Gel. 7.12
). Festus further defines it as
being without a roof (p. 318). Often besides the altar there was a shrine
], as in the line
“aram constitui signaque parva deum” (Ov. Fast. 5.130
), whence the whole would
ordinarily be spoken of as a sacellum, though in Fast.
1.275 the ara and sacellum are distinguished. The sacred
spot, whether it contained merely an altar or an altar and a shrine, was
often, and probably most usually, protected by a fence: “uti locus
ante eam aram . . . . stipitibus robustis saepiatur” (C.
11.1420; cf. 9.5019). This fence was called cancelli
(ib. 7.83), concameratio
(ib. 6.543), maceria
10.20066), according to the material of the fence. The word caulae,
properly used of sheep-hurdles, is used
often as a general term for this fence, as of Janus: “quia bello
caulae ejus patent” (Macrob. Saturn.
1.9, and similarly in Serv. ad Aen.
), whence, in Serv. ad Aen.
, “in sacris aedibus et in tribunalibus saepta quae turbas
vocamus,” is, no
doubt rightly, altered to caulas.
term for this fence is μάνδραι
549), or simply περίβολος.
if they were publicly consecrated, were strictly distinguished as sacella publica
--we find “curator sacellorum
publicorum” (Ephem. Ep.
4.863; cf. MAGISTER VICORUM, p. 110 b
)--and, with luci
were included under the general term
]. Such was the sacellum of Hercules in the Forum Boarium,
of the Lares (Tac. Ann. 12.24
), of Naenia
(Fest. p. 161), Pudicitia (Liv. 10.23
(Varro, R. R.
2.11), and we may suppose that they represent
the oldest kind of consecrated spots before the more costly aedes or templum
was built, though many such smaller shrines were of recent construction
also. The Romans dedicated also privata sacella
on their own properties, regarding which Festus (p. 321) quotes Gallus
Aelius as saying, “quod privati suae religionis causa deo dedicent, id
pontifices Romanos non existimare sacrum.” That is to say, its
sanctity would derive from the feeling of those who instituted it and would
not depend on any state law of religion: hence that which Cicero dedicated
to his daughter was not really consecratum,
only so regarded by him--“quantum fieri poterat” (Cic. Att. 12.1. 8
). (See also Marquardt,