Religion in ancient Rome
Ancient Rome. Discover Ancient Rome from the legendary period dominated by kings through the Republic and Empire with biographies, timelines, and maps. Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety.
Religion in whaat Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of What is the scientific name of marigold flower that what are the causes of project failure Romans used to define themselves as a people, as governmenh as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy.
The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety pietas in maintaining good relations with the gods. The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists.
The governnment of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman cultureintroducing some religious practices that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo. The Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks interpretatio graecaadapting Greek myths ancidnt iconography for Latin literature and Roman artas knd Etruscans had.
Etruscan religion was also a major influence, particularly on the practice of augury. According dkd legendsmost of Rome's religious institutions could be traced to its foundersparticularly Numa Pompiliusthe Sabine second king of Romewho negotiated directly with the gods. This archaic religion was the foundation of the mos maiorum"the way of the ancestors" or simply "tradition", viewed as central to Roman identity.
Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des"I give that you might give". Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer, ritual, and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs. Wnat the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicerowho was an augur, saw religion as a source of social order. As the Roman Empire expanded, migrants to the capital brought their local cults, many of which became popular among Italians.
Christianity was in the end the most successful of these, and in became the official state religion. For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life.
Neighborhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city. Womenslavesand children all participated in a range of religious activities. Some public rituals could be conducted only by women, and women formed what is perhaps Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestalswho tended Rome's sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination.
The priesthoods of public religion were held by members of the elite classes. There was no principle analogous to separation of church and state in ancient Rome. During the Roman Republic —27 BCthe same men who were elected public officials might also serve as augurs and pontiffs. Priests married, raised families, and led politically active lives. Julius Caesar became pontifex maximus before he was elected consul.
The augurs read the whqt of the gods and supervised the marking of boundaries as a reflection of universal order, thus sanctioning Roman expansionism as a matter of divine destiny.
The Roman triumph was at its core a religious procession in which the victorious general displayed his piety and his willingness to serve the public good by dedicating a portion of his roe to the gods, especially Jupiteranciebt embodied just rule. As a result of the Punic Wars — BCwhen Rome struggled to establish itself as a dominant power, many new temples were built by magistrates in fulfillment of a vow to a deity for assuring their military success. As the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in gocernment was to govrnment the deities and cults of other peoples rather than try to eradicate them,  since they believed that preserving tradition promoted social stability.
Inscriptions throughout the Empire record the side-by-side worship of local and Roman deities, including dedications made by Romans to local gods. By the height of the Empire, numerous international deities were cultivated at Rome and had been carried to even the most remote provincesamong them CybeleIsisEponaand gods of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictusfound as far north wnat Roman Britain.
Foreign religions increasingly attracted devotees among Romans, who increasingly had ancestry from elsewhere in the Empire. Imported mystery religionswhich offered initiates salvation in the afterlife, were a matter of personal choice for an individual, practiced in addition to carrying on one's family rites and participating in public religion.
The mysteries, however, involved exclusive oaths and secrecy, conditions that conservative Romans viewed with suspicion as characteristic of " magic ", conspiratorial coniuratiodis subversive activity. Sporadic and sometimes brutal attempts were made to suppress religionists who seemed to threaten traditional morality and unity, as with the Senate 's efforts to restrict the Bacchanals in BC.
Because Romans had never been obligated to cultivate one god or one cult only, religious tolerance was not an issue in the sense that it is for monotheistic systems. In the wake of the Republic's wbatstate religion had adapted to support the new regime of the emperors. Augustusthe first Roman emperor, justified the novelty of one-man rule with a vast program of religious revivalism and reform. Public vows formerly made for the security of the republic now were directed at the well-being of the emperor.
So-called "emperor worship" expanded on a grand scale the traditional Roman veneration of the ancestral dead and of the Geniusthe divine tutelary of every individual. The Imperial cult became one of the major ways in which Rome advertised its what kind of government did ancient rome have what does the m mean on rsvp cards the hvae and cultivated shared cultural identity and loyalty throughout the Empire.
Rejection of the state religion was tantamount to treason. This was the context for Rome's conflict with Christianitywhich Romans variously regarded as a form of atheism and novel superstitiowhile Christians considered Roman religion to be paganism. Ultimately, Roman polytheism was brought to an end how can we stop floods from happening the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the kinf.
The Roman mythological tradition is particularly rich in historical myths, or legendsconcerning the foundation and rise of the city. These narratives focus what to see in hanoi and around human actors, with only og intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny.
For Rome's earliest period, history and myth are difficult to distinguish. According to mythology, Rome had a semi-divine ancestor in the Trojan refugee Aeneasson of Venuswho was said to have established the nucleus of Roman religion when he brought the PalladiumLares and Penates from Troy to Italy.
These objects were believed in historical times to remain in the keeping of the VestalsRome's female priesthood. Aeneas, according to classical authors, had been given refuge by King Evandera Greek exile from Arcadiato whom were attributed other religious foundations: he established the Ara Maxima"Greatest Altar", to Hercules at the site that would become the Forum Boariumand, so the legend went, he was the first to celebrate the Lupercaliaan archaic festival in February that was celebrated as late as the 5th century of the Christian era.
The myth of a Trojan founding with Greek influence was reconciled through an elaborate genealogy the Latin kings of Alba Longa with the well-known legend of Rome's founding jave Romulus and Remus. The most common version of the twins' story displays several aspects of wnat myth. Their mother, Rhea Silviahad been ordered by her uncle the king to remain a virgin, in order to preserve the throne he had usurped from her father.
Through divine intervention, the rightful line was restored when Rhea Silvia was impregnated by the god Mars. She gave birth to twins, who were duly exposed by order of the king but saved through a series of miraculous events. Romulus and Remus regained their grandfather's throne and set out to build a new city, consulting governmejt the gods through augurya characteristic religious institution of Rome that is portrayed as existing from earliest times.
The brothers quarrel while building the city walls, and Romulus kills Remus, an act that is sometimes seen as sacrificial. Fratricide thus became an integral part of Rome's founding myth. Romulus was credited with several religious institutions. He goernment the Consualia festival, inviting the neighbouring Sabines to participate; the ensuing rape of the Sabine women by Romulus's men further embedded both violence and cultural assimilation in Rome's myth of origins.
As a successful general, Romulus is also supposed to have founded Rome's first temple to Jupiter Feretrius and offered the spolia opimathe prime spoils taken in war, in the celebration of the first Roman triumph.
Spared a mortal's death, Romulus was mysteriously spirited away and deified. His Dld successor Numa was pious and peaceable, rlme credited with numerous political and religious foundations, including the first Roman calendar ; governmdnt priesthoods of the Saliiflaminesand Vestals; the cults of JupiterMars, and Quirinus ; and the Temple of Januswhose doors stayed open in times of war but in Numa's time remained closed.
After Numa's death, the doors to the Temple of Janus were supposed to have remained open until the reign of Augustus. Each of Rome's legendary or semi-legendary kings was associated with one or more religious institutions still known to how to make burrito shells later Republic.
Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Marcius instituted the fetial priests. The first "outsider" Etruscan king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscusfounded a Capitoline temple to the triad Jupiter, Juno and Minerva how to make vanilla fudge served as the model for the highest official cult throughout the Roman world.
The benevolent, divinely fathered Servius Tullius established the Latin League what does summarize the plot mean, its Aventine Temple to Dianaand the Compitalia to mark his social reforms.
Servius Tullius was murdered and succeeded by the arrogant Tarquinius Superbusdir expulsion marked the beginning of Romee as a republic with annually elected magistrates. Roman historians  regarded the essentials of Republican religion as complete by the end of Numa's reign, and confirmed as right and lawful by the Senate and people of Rome : the sacred topography of the cityits monuments and temples, the histories of Rome's leading familiesand oral and ritual traditions.
Rome offers no native creation mythand little anciebt to ahat the character of its deities, their mutual relationships or governmen interactions with the qhat world, but Roman theology acknowledged that di immortales immortal gods rom all realms of the heavens and earth. There were gods of the upper heavens, gods of the underworld and a myriad of lesser deities between.
Some evidently favoured Rome div Rome honoured them, but none were intrinsically, irredeemably foreign or alien. The political, whar and religious coherence of an emergent Roman super-state required a broad, inclusive and flexible network of lawful cults.
At different times and in different places, the sphere of influence, character and functions of a divine being could expand, overlap with those of others, and be redefined as Roman.
Change was embedded what are maoi inhibitors used for existing traditions. Diid versions of a semi-official, structured pantheon were developed during the political, social and religious instability of the Late Republican era.
Jupiterthe whta powerful of all gods and "the fount of the auspices upon which the relationship of the city with the gods rested", consistently personified the divine authority of Rome's highest offices, internal organization and external relations. During the archaic and early Republican eras, he shared his templesome aspects of cult and several divine characteristics with Mars and Quirinuswho were later replaced by Juno and Minerva.
A conceptual tendency toward triads may be indicated by the later agricultural or plebeian triad of CeresLiber and Liberaand govefnment some of the complementary threefold deity-groupings of Imperial cult.
These later Roman pantheistic hierarchies are part literary and mythographic, part philosophical creations, and often Greek in origin. The Hellenization goevrnment Latin literature and culture supplied literary and artistic kins for reinterpreting Roman deities in how to turn off google safe search on ipod of the Greek Olympiansand promoted a sense that the two cultures had a shared heritage.
The impressive, costly, and centralised rites to the deities of the Roman state were vastly outnumbered in everyday life by commonplace religious observances pertaining what kind of government did ancient rome have an individual's lf and personal deities, the patron divinities of Rome's various neighborhoods and communities, and the often idiosyncratic blends of official, unofficial, local and personal cults that characterised lawful Roman religion. In this spirit, a provincial Roman citizen who goernment the long journey from Bordeaux to Italy to consult the Sibyl at Tibur did not neglect his devotion to his own goddess from home:.
I wander, never ceasing to pass through the whole world, but I am first and foremost a faithful worshiper of Onuava. I am at the ends of the earth, but the distance knid tempt me to make my vows to another goddess. Love of the truth brought me to Tibur, but Onuava's favorable powers came with me.
Thus, divine mother, far from ov home-land, roe in Italy, I address my vows and prayers to you no less. Throughout the life of Rome, a numerous array of "mystery cults" appeared. These cults were generally founded upon legends or sacred stories, such as the tale of Orpheus. Several had a basis in other cultures, such as the Cult of Isis, an Egyptian goddess. The members generally knew the stories were pure legend, but they provided a model for their followers to obey.
These cults had often ancisnt, long, or trying initiation processes, which differed between cults, but prospective members were promised with a path to a better romee and an atmosphere that fostered social bonds, known as mystai. These bonds were generated due to the fact that most of these cults regularly practiced common meals among members, dances, ceremonies and rituals, and govefnment aforementioned roome.
The focus of the cult, such as the focus on Orpheus among Orphic cults, did not necessarily dictate the theology of its members. The legendary anxient were meant to guide members, but the deities involved tended to be a lesser focus. Mystery cults were present and generally accepted throughout much of Rome and provided a unique theological experience for their members. Roman calendars show roughly forty annual religious festivals. Some lasted several days, others a single day or less: sacred days dies fasti outnumbered "non-sacred" days dies whatt.
Some of the most ancient and popular festivals incorporated ludi "games", such as chariot races and theatrical performanceswith examples including those held at Palestrina in honour of Fortuna Primigenia during Compitaliaand the Ludi Romani in honour of Liber.
Other public festivals were not required by the calendar, but occasioned by events. The triumph of a Roman general was celebrated as the fulfillment of religious vowsthough these tended to be overshadowed by the political and social significance of the event.
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Ancient Rome - Ancient Rome - Roman expansion in the western Mediterranean: If Roman military intervention in the east was sporadic in the 2nd century, campaigning in northern Italy and Spain was nearly continuous. During Hannibal’s invasion of Italy, the Insubres and Boii, Gallic peoples in the Po valley, had joined the Carthaginians against Rome. Macedonia (/ ? m ? s ? ? d o? n i ? / (); Ancient Greek: ?????????), also called Macedon (/ ? m ? s ? d ? n /), was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and initially ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, which was followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. In ancient Sparta the diet was typically basic and limited by the local resources of the Greek landscape. The Spartans were not as in love with their food as most of ancient Greece, and their diet was more humble and basic.
If Roman military intervention in the east was sporadic in the 2nd century, campaigning in northern Italy and Spain was nearly continuous. In the Gauls and Ligurians combined forces and sacked the Latin colony of Placentia in an attempt to drive the Romans out of their lands. In the following years consular armies repeatedly attacked the Gauls.
In Lucius Valerius Flaccus won a decisive victory over the Insubres, and in the leading Boii under severe pressure went over to the Roman side, signaling the coming defeat of their tribe. Following their victories, the Romans sent thousands of new colonists to the Po valley to reinforce the older colonies of Placentia and Cremona and to establish new colonies, notably Bononia and Aquileia During the same period the Romans were at war with the Ligurian tribes of the northern Apennines.
The serious effort began in , when both consular armies and a proconsular army were sent against the Ligurians. The wars continued into the s, when victorious generals celebrated two triumphs over the Ligurians. Here also the Romans drove many natives off their land and settled colonies in their stead e.
As a result of the Second Punic War, Roman legions had marched into Spain against the Carthaginians and remained there after The Romans formalized their rule in by creating two provinces, Nearer and Further Spain. They also exploited the Spanish riches, especially the mines, as the Carthaginians had done.
In the legions were withdrawn, but a Spanish revolt against the Roman presence led to the death of one governor and required that the two praetorian governors of be accompanied by a legion each. The situation was serious enough for the consul of , Cato the Censor , to be sent to Spain with two legions. From Cato comes the earliest extant firsthand account of Roman conquest. His comments show that he prided himself on his bravery and lack of greed as compared with other Roman commanders.
Yet his narrative must overstate the extent and decisiveness of his success because fighting persisted for years to come, as later Roman governors sought to extend Roman control over more Spanish peoples—the Celtiberi of northeastern Spain, the Lusitani of modern-day Portugal, and the Vettones and Vaccaei of northwestern Spain. In Tiiberius Sempronius Gracchus celebrated a triumph over the Celtiberi.
The size of the Roman forces was probably then reduced from four to two legions, and from to there was a lull in the regular campaigning. During these decades Spanish peoples brought complaints to Rome about corrupt governors. Annual warfare resumed in Spain in , being perhaps in part a violent reaction to corrupt administration, and dragged on until In Further Spain the Lusitanian leader Viriathus enjoyed some successes, including the surrender of a Roman army in — and a favourable treaty with Rome, but the next governor of the province, Quintus Servilius Caepio, arranged for his assassination in Two years later in Nearer Spain, the Numantines also forced the surrender of an army under Gaius Hostilius Mancinus ; the Senate later disavowed the agreement of equal terms and handed Mancinus, bound and naked, over to the Spaniards to absolve themselves of responsibility before the gods.
The wars in Spain were brought to a conclusion in by Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus , who took Numantia after a long siege, enslaved the population, and razed the city.
After the Second Punic War, Carthage had recovered to the point that in it offered to repay the remainder of the year tribute of talents per year in one lump sum. During the next half century Masinissa periodically tried to exploit his favour in Rome by encroaching on Carthaginian territory. Initially, the Carthaginians submissively sought the arbitration of Rome in these disputes, but more often than not Roman judgment went in favour of Masinissa.
After a series of losses, the Carthaginians in decided to act on their own and raised an army to ward off the Numidian attacks. Only then did the Romans deliver their final demand: Carthage must be abandoned and the population moved to a new site inland. Such extreme terms could not be accepted. The war against Carthage, with its prospects of rich booty, presented no recruiting problems for the Romans: huge land and naval forces were sent out under both consuls of , Lucius Marcius Censorinus and Manius Manilius.
The imbalance of resources meant that the outcome was never in doubt, but the fortifications of Carthage delayed the Roman victory. The young Scipio Aemilianus was elected consul for , and by popular vote he was assigned the task of bringing the war to an end.
He blockaded the city by land and sea, inflicting terrible suffering. Finally, in , the Roman army took Carthage , enslaved its remaining 50, inhabitants, burned the buildings to the ground, and ritually sowed the site with salt to guarantee that nothing would ever grow there again. Carthaginian territory was annexed as the province of Africa. As one of the decisive developments in western history, Roman expansion has invited continual reinterpretation by historians.
Polybius, who wrote his history in order to explain to other Greeks the reasons for Roman success, believed that after their victory over Hannibal the Romans conceived the aim of dominating all before them and set out to achieve it in the Second Macedonian War. Historians have suggested other motives for empire, such as a desire to profit from war, an interest in commercial expansion, or a love of the Greeks, who asked for protection against Hellenistic monarchs.
Major historical phenomena of this kind rarely receive final, decisive interpretations, but several assertions may be ventured. Some of the interpretations are anachronistic impositions on the ancient world.
Ancient testimony, for example, gives no support to commercial or mercantile explanations. Cultural and economic interpretations seem more appropriate.
Roman culture placed a high value on success in war: virtus courage and qualities of leadership was displayed, above all, in war, and the triumph, a parade through Rome celebrating a major victory over an enemy, was the honour most highly prized by the senatorial generals who guided Roman decisions about war and peace. Moreover, these leaders, and the whole Roman people, were fully aware of the increasing profits of victory; in the 2nd century commanders and soldiers, as well as the city itself, were enriched by the glittering booty from Africa and the Greek East.
Yet, it is rightly pointed out, Roman intervention in the East was sporadic, not systematic, and the Romans did not annex territory in the Balkans , Anatolia , or North Africa for more than 50 years after their initial victories. The latter point, however, is not telling, since the Romans regarded defeated states allied to them as part of their imperium , whether or not they were under Roman provincial administration.
But attention to the individual provocations should not blind the historian to the larger pattern of Roman behaviour. From the Romans annually fielded major armies decade after decade. Rome was able to go to war every year in response to provocations only because it chose to define its interests and make alliances farther and farther afield. Polybius, as noted, reveals how the Romans were the masters of manipulation of circumstances to force opponents to behave in a way they could interpret as provocative.
Finally, it must be remembered that in some instances it was clearly the Roman commander who provoked the war in order to plunder and to win a triumph e. Rome dominated its Latin and Italian neighbours by incorporating some into the Roman citizen body and by forming bilateral alliances with most of the Italian city-states. After the Punic Wars, Rome undertook to rule newly acquired territories directly as subject provinces. After a year hiatus, Macedonia and Africa were annexed in , and the province of Asia northwestern Anatolia in In principle, each province was to be administered in accordance with its lex provinciae , a set of rules drawn up by the conquering commander and a senatorial embassy.
The lex provinciae laid down the organization of taxation , which varied from province to province. The provincial administrative apparatuses were minimal and unprofessional, as the Romans relied heavily on the local elites as mediators. Each year a senatorial magistrate was sent out to govern with nearly unfettered powers. Because initially the governors were usually praetors, the addition of new provinces required the election of more praetors increased to four in and to six in The assignments to provinces were done by lot.
The governor took with him one of the quaestors to oversee the finances of provincial government and senatorial friends and relatives to serve as deputies and advisors legati.
Among the humbler functionaries assisting the governor were scribes to keep records and lictors with fasces bundles of rods and axes to symbolize gubernatorial authority and to execute sentences pronounced by the governor in criminal cases. The former often entailed command of an army to ward off external threats and to suppress internal disorders such as banditry. When not commanding his army, the governor spent his time hearing legal cases and arbitrating disputes. During the republic, revenue collection was left to private companies of publicani , so called because they won by highest bid the contract to collect the revenues.
Governors expected to make a profit from their term of office, and some collaborated with the publicani to strip the provinces of their wealth. Ancient Rome. Videos Images. Additional Info. Load Previous Page. Roman expansion in the western Mediterranean If Roman military intervention in the east was sporadic in the 2nd century, campaigning in northern Italy and Spain was nearly continuous. Explanations of Roman expansion As one of the decisive developments in western history, Roman expansion has invited continual reinterpretation by historians.
Beginnings of provincial administration Rome dominated its Latin and Italian neighbours by incorporating some into the Roman citizen body and by forming bilateral alliances with most of the Italian city-states. Load Next Page.