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ἀποθέωσις, consecratio). The enrolment of a human being among the gods, of which the Greeks have an instance as early as Homer, but only in the single case of Leucothea. The oldest notion was that of a bodily removal; then arose the idea of the mortal element being purged away by fire, as in the case of Heracles. There was a kind of deification which consisted in the decreeing of heroic honours to distinguished men after death, which was done from the time of the Peloponnesian War onwards, even in the case of living men. (See Heros.) The successors of Alexander the Great—both the Seleucidae, and still more the Ptolemies—caused themselves to be worshipped as gods. Of the Romans, whose legend told of the translation of Aeneas and Romulus into heaven, Iulius Caesar was the first who claimed divine honours, if not by building temples to himself, yet by setting his statue among the gods in every sanctuary at Rome and in the Empire, and by having a special flamen assigned to him. The belief in his divinity was confirmed by the comet that shone several months after his death, as long as his funeral games lasted; and under the Second Triumvirate he was formally installed among the deities of Rome, as Divus Iulius, by a decree of the Senate and people. His adopted son and successor Octavianus persistently declined any offer of public worship, but he accepted the title of Augustus (the

Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina. (From the Pedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius.)

consecrated), and allowed his person to be adored in the provinces. On his death the Senate decreed divine honours to him under the title of Divus Augustus, the erection of a temple, the founding of special games, and the establishment of a peculiar priesthood. After this, admission to the number of the Divi, as the deified emperors were called, became a prerogative of the imperial dignity. It was, however, left dependent on a resolution of the Senate, moved in honour of the deceased emperor by his successor. Hence it was not every emperor who obtained it, nor did consecration itself always lead to a permanent worship. Empresses were often consecrated, the first being Augustus's wife Livia as Diva Augusta, and even other members of the imperial house.

The ceremony of Apotheosis, used from the time of Augustus, was the following: After the passing of the Senate's decree a waxen image of the dead, whose body lay hidden below, was exhibited for seven days on an ivory bed of state in the palace, covered with gold-embroidered coverlets; then the bier was borne by knights and senators amid a brilliant retinue, down the Via Sacra to the ancient Forum, where the funeral oration was delivered, and thence to the Campus Martius, where it was deposited in the second of the four stories of a richly decorated funeral pile of pyramidal shape. When the last honours had been performed, the pile was set on fire; and, as it burned up, an eagle soared from the topmost story into the sky, as a symbol of the ascending soul. See Herodian, iv. 3; and the articles Augustales; Manes.

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