It has long been thought that Romans did not hunt before the time of Scipio Aemilianus because hunting was not an activity for respectable citizens. This article shows that this tradition arose from a nineteenth-century bias for hunting on horseback. The tradition was supported principally by Polybius' account of Scipio's hunting and a quotation from Sallust. Although we now recognize that Greeks and Romans in general hunted on foot, this bias has predisposed the discussion against the discovery of evidence for the actual practice of hunting among the early Romans. The archaeological evidence from new excavations in Latium and previously uncited historical and legal evidence for hunting in the Republican period demonstrate that, precisely as we would expect, Romans from the earliest days hunted. Hunting as an aristocratic sport, as a communal activity associated with the military preparation of soldier-citizens, and as a practical means of survival for the poorer countrymen, were all present in Roman society. Further, Polybius' account of Scipio's hunting, contrary to what has been argued, indicates that the cause of disapproval was not the fact that Scipio hunted, but rather that he hunted instead of pleading cases in the forum. Supporting evidence from Cato the Elder, Ennius, and Plautus shows that hunting was a common and accepted activity among Romans of the mid-Republic. Finally, Sallust's criticism of hunting cannot be assumed to represent Roman views, since he condemns farming and hunting together, and we know Romans highly respected farming. No evidence supporting a negative view of hunting in Roman society is found, and the positive evidence in sum demonstrates conclusively that in all periods Romans did indeed hunt.
It is the argument of this paper that many aspects of Lucan's characterization in the Bellum Civile of Caesar and Pompey, and of the conflict itself, reflect a ritual combat for kingship such as the combat and murder codified in the myth of Romulus and Remus. It was a well-established convention by Ennius's time, further developed in the late Republic, that the conflict between the founding brothers over control of Rome was the ultimate cause for the Civil Wars. The religious (and possibly the historical) basis of this myth can be found in the rites of the priest of Diana at Aricia, the rex nemorensis, which were still extant in Lucan's time. The evidence for Lucan's use of this paradigm is reviewed, and Book 3 of the Bellum Civile is then reassessed in the terms that it suggests. The themes of sacred place (especially the sacred grove), scared combat, and the necessary murder are most clearly presented in Book 3. It is further argued that seeming inconsistencies in the nature of the gods in Lucan's epic can be at least partially resolved if we understand that the gods must remain aloof and outside the action while the ritual takes place, even though they themselves have instituted the ritual of kingship murder, and will, when it is completed, receive the murderer as their ritually validated priest-king. In the conclusion, ways are suggested in which this paradigm, if accepted, begins to clarify various puzzling choices Lucan has made elsewhere in the epic regarding his narrative of events, his development of character, and the recurrent images of lightning, tree, and blood-sacrifice owed to the gods.