The Goddess of Silence

The Rituals of Tacita Muta

(Dr Domenico Giordani, University of Oxford)

Silence presents us with a curious paradox. Though ineffable, it courses through our lives like “a stream that has no language” (William Carlos Williams), and each culture produces its own representations about it.

How did silence sound in Rome though? Far from attempting to provide a general answer to this question, the present paper shall focus on the rituals of Tacita, the Roman goddess of silence, and their connection with magic, the world of the dead and the prohibitions associated with the unspeakable in Roman culture.