That the Clodian law had not deprived all augurs or magistrates of the privilege is indicated by Mark Antony 's use of obnuntatio in early 44 BC to halt the consular election. Observatio was the interpretation of signs according to the tradition of the " Etruscan discipline ", or as preserved in books such as the libri augurales.
A haruspex interpreted fulgura thunder and lightning and exta entrails by observatio. The word has three closely related meanings in augury: the observing of signs by an augur or other diviner; the process of observing, recording, and establishing the meaning of signs over time; and the codified body of knowledge accumulated by systematic observation, that is, "unbending rules" regarded as objective, or external to an individual's observation on a given occasion.
Impetrative signs , or those sought by standard augural procedure, were interpreted according to observatio ; the observer had little or no latitude in how they might be interpreted. Observatio might also be applicable to many oblative or unexpected signs. Observatio was considered a kind of scientia , or "scientific" knowledge, in contrast to coniectura , a more speculative "art" or "method" ars as required by novel signs. An omen, plural omina , was a sign intimating the future, considered less important to the community than a prodigium but of great importance to the person who heard or saw it.
Omens could be good or bad. Unlike prodigies, bad omens were never expiated by public rites but could be reinterpreted, redirected or otherwise averted. Some time around BC, a diplomatic insult formally "accepted as omen" was turned against Tarentum and helped justify its conquest. After a thunderclap cost Marcellus his very brief consulship BC he took care to avoid sight of possible bad omens that might affect his plans. Before his campaign against Perseus of Macedon , the consul L Aemilius Paullus was said to have heard of the death of Perseus, his daughter's puppy.
In BC the consul Gaius Flaminius "disregarded his horse's collapse, the chickens , and yet other omens, before his disaster at Lake Trasimene". He was killed on campaign. Cicero saw these events as merely coincidental; only the credulous could think them ominous.
See also abominari and signum. One form of arcane literature was the ostentarium , a written collection describing and interpreting signs ostenta. According to Varro , an ostentum is a sign so called because it shows ostendit something to a person. The theory of ostenta , portenta and monstra constituted one of the three branches of interpretation within the disciplina Etrusca , the other two being the more specific fulgura thunder and lightning and exta entrails.
Ostenta and portenta are not the signs that augurs are trained to solicit and interpret, but rather "new signs", the meaning of which had to be figured out through ratio the application of analytical principles and coniectura more speculative reasoning, in contrast to augural observatio.
A religious hierarchy implied by the seating arrangements of priests sacerdotes at sacrificial banquets. As "the most powerful", the rex sacrorum was positioned next to the gods, followed by the Flamen Dialis , then the Flamen Martialis , then the Flamen Quirinalis and lastly, the Pontifex Maximus.
In the human world, the Pontifex Maximus was the most influential and powerful of all sacerdotes. Paludatus masculine singular, plural paludati is an adjective meaning "wearing the paludamentum ,"  the distinctive attire of the Roman military commander. Varro  and Festus say that any military ornament could be called a paludamentum , but other sources indicate that the cloak was primarily meant.
According to Festus, paludati in the augural books meant "armed and adorned" armati, ornati. Festus notes elsewhere that the " Salian virgins ", whose relation to the Salian priests is unclear, performed their rituals paludatae ,  dressed in military garb.
Pax , though usually translated into English as "peace," was a compact, bargain or agreement. Religious error vitium and impiety led to divine disharmony and ira deorum the anger of the gods. A piaculum is an expiatory sacrifice, or the victim used in the sacrifice; also, an act requiring expiation.
Because Roman religion was contractual do ut des , a piaculum might be offered as a sort of advance payment; the Arval Brethren, for instance, offered a piaculum before entering their sacred grove with an iron implement, which was forbidden, as well as after. Decius Mus is "like" a piaculum when he makes his vow to sacrifice himself in battle see devotio. The pius person "strictly conforms his life to the ius divinum.
Pietas , from which English "piety" derives, was the devotion that bound a person to the gods, to the Roman state, and to his family. It was the outstanding quality of the Roman hero Aeneas , to whom the epithet pius is applied regularly throughout the Aeneid.
A verb of unknown etymology meaning "to consecrate. The pontifex was a priest of the highest-ranking college. The chief among the pontifices was the Pontifex Maximus. The word has been considered as related to pons , bridge, either because of the religious meaning of the pons Sublicius and its ritual use  which has a parallel in Thebae and in its gephiarioi or in the original IE meaning of way. Another hypothesis  considers the word as a loan from the Sabine language, in which it would mean a member of a college of five people, from Osco-Umbrian ponte , five.
This explanation takes into account that the college was established by Sabine king Numa Pompilius and the institution is Italic: the expressions pontis and pomperias found in the Iguvine Tablets may denote a group or division of five or by five. The pontifex would thus be a member of a sacrificial college known as pomperia Latin quinio. The popa was one of the lesser-rank officiants at a sacrifice.
In depictions of sacrificial processions, he carries a mallet or axe with which to strike the animal victim. Literary sources in late antiquity say that the popa was a public slave. The verb porricere had the specialized religious meaning "to offer as a sacrifice," especially to offer the sacrificial entrails exta to the gods. The Arval Brethren used the term exta reddere , "to return the entrails," that is, to render unto the deity what has already been given as due.
A portentum is a kind of sign interpreted by a haruspex , not an augur , and by means of coniectura rather than observatio. Portentum is a close but not always exact synonym of ostentum , prodigium , and monstrum. In the schema of A. Although the English word "portent" derives from portentum and may be used to translate it, other Latin terms such as ostentum and prodigium will also be found translated as "portent".
The precatio was the formal addressing of the deity or deities in a ritual. The word is related by etymology to prex , "prayer" plural preces , and usually translated as if synonymous. Pliny says that the slaughter of a sacrificial victim is ineffectual without precatio , the recitation of the prayer formula. Two late examples of the precatio are the Precatio Terrae Matris "The Prayer of Mother Earth" and the Precatio omnium herbarum "Prayer of All the Herbs" , which are charms or carmina written metrically,  the latter attached to the medical writings attributed to Antonius Musa.
In augural procedure, precatio is not a prayer proper, but a form of invocation invocatio recited at the beginning of a ceremony or after accepting an oblative sign. The precatio maxima was recited for the augurium salutis , the ritual conducted by the augurs to obtain divine permission to pray for Rome's security salus. In legal and rhetorical usage, precatio was a plea or request. Prex , "prayer", usually appears in the plural, preces. Within the tripartite structure that was often characteristic of formal ancient prayer, preces would be the final expression of what is sought from the deity, following the invocation and a narrative middle.
In general usage, preces could refer to any request or entreaty. The verbal form is precor, precari , "pray, entreat. Prodigia plural were unnatural deviations from the predictable order of the cosmos. A prodigium signaled divine displeasure at a religious offense and must be expiated to avert more destructive expressions of divine wrath.
Compare ostentum and portentum , signs denoting an extraordinary inanimate phenomenon, and monstrum and miraculum , an unnatural feature in humans. Prodigies were a type of auspicia oblativa ; that is, they were "thrust upon" observers, not deliberately sought. A system of official referrals filtered out those that seemed patently insignificant or false before the rest were reported to the senate , who held further inquiry; this procedure was the procuratio prodigiorum.
Prodigies confirmed as genuine were referred to the pontiffs and augurs for ritual expiation. The number of confirmed prodigies rose in troubled times. In BC, during one of the worst crises of the Punic Wars , the senate dealt with an unprecedented number, the expiation of which would have involved "at least twenty days" of dedicated rites. These were expiated by the sacrifice of "greater victims".
The minor prodigies were less warlike but equally unnatural; sheep became goats; a hen become a cock , and vice versa. The minor prodigies were duly expiated with "lesser victims". The discovery of a hermaphroditic four-year-old child was expiated by its drowning  and a holy procession of 27 virgins to the temple of Juno Regina , singing a hymn to avert disaster; a lightning strike during the hymn rehearsals required further expiation. The expiatory burial of living human victims in the Forum Boarium followed Rome's defeat at Cannae in the same wars.
In Livy's account, Rome's victory follows its discharge of religious duties to the gods. In the later Republic and thereafter, the reporting of public prodigies was increasingly displaced by a "new interest in signs and omens associated with the charismatic individual. Literally, "in front of the shrine", therefore not within a sacred precinct; not belonging to the gods but to humankind.
An adjective of augural terminology meaning favourable. From pro- before and petere seek, but originally fly. It implies a kind of favourable pattern in the flight of birds, i. Synonym secundus. The pulvinar plural pulvinaria was a special couch used for displaying images of the gods, that they might receive offerings at ceremonies such as the lectisternium or supplicatio.
At the Circus Maximus , the couches and images of the gods were placed on an elevated pulvinar to "watch" the games. The wife of the rex sacrorum , who served as a high priestess with her own specific religious duties. The word religio originally meant an obligation to the gods, something expected by them from human beings or a matter of particular care or concern as related to the gods. Religio among the Romans was not based on " faith ", but on knowledge, including and especially correct practice.
To the Romans, their success was self-evidently due to their practice of proper, respectful religio , which gave the gods what was owed them and which was rewarded with social harmony, peace and prosperity. Religious law maintained the proprieties of divine honours, sacrifice and ritual. Impure sacrifice and incorrect ritual were vitia faults, hence "vice," the English derivative ; excessive devotion, fearful grovelling to deities, and the improper use or seeking of divine knowledge were superstitio ; neglecting the religiones owed to the traditional gods was atheism , a charge leveled during the Empire at Jews,  Christians, and Epicureans.
Religiosus was something pertaining to the gods or marked out by them as theirs, as distinct from sacer , which was something or someone given to them by humans. Hence, a graveyard was not primarily defined as sacer but a locus religiosus , because those who lay within its boundaries were considered belonging to the di Manes. Res divinae were "divine affairs," that is, the matters that pertained to the gods and the sphere of the divine in contrast to res humanae , "human affairs.
The equivalent Etruscan term is ais u na. The distinction between human and divine res was explored in the multivolume Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum , one of the chief works of Varro 1st century BC. It survives only in fragments but was a major source of traditional Roman theology for the Church Fathers. Varro devoted 25 books of the Antiquitates to res humanae and 16 to res divinae. His proportional emphasis is deliberate, as he treats cult and ritual as human constructs.
The schema is Stoic in origin, though Varro has adapted it for his own purposes. Res divinae is an example of ancient Roman religious terminology that was appropriated for Christian usage; for St. Augustine , res divina is a "divine reality" as represented by a sacrum signum "sacred sign" such as a sacrament. Responsa plural were the "responses," that is, the opinions and arguments, of the official priests on questions of religious practice and interpretation.
These were preserved in written form and archived. The rex sacrorum was a senatorial priesthood  reserved for patricians. Although in the historical era the Pontifex Maximus was the head of Roman state religion , Festus says  that in the ranking of priests , the rex sacrorum was of highest prestige, followed by the flamines maiores.
Although ritus is the origin of the English word "rite" via ecclesiastical Latin , in classical usage ritus meant the traditional and correct manner of performance , that is, "way, custom". Festus defines it as a specific form of mos : " Ritus is the proven way mos in the performance of sacrifices. For Latin words meaning "ritual" or "rite", see sacra , caerimoniae , and religiones. A small number of Roman religious practices and cult innovations were carried out according to "Greek rite" ritus graecus , which the Romans characterized as Greek in origin or manner.
A priest who conducted ritu graeco wore a Greek-style fringed tunic, with his head bare capite aperto or laurel-wreathed. By contrast, in most rites of Roman public religion, an officiant wore the distinctively Roman toga , specially folded to cover his head see capite velato. Otherwise, "Greek rite" seems to have been a somewhat indefinite category, used for prayers uttered in Greek, and Greek methods of sacrifice within otherwise conventionally Roman cult.
Roman writers record elements of ritus graecus in the cult to Hercules at Rome's Ara Maxima , which according to tradition was established by the Greek king Evander even before the city of Rome was founded at the site.
It thus represented one of the most ancient Roman cults. A Greek rite to Ceres ritus graecus cereris was imported from Magna Graecia and added to her existing Aventine cult in accordance with the Sibylline books , ancient oracles written in Greek. Official rites to Apollo are perhaps "the best illustration of the Graecus ritus in Rome.
The Romans regarded ritus graecus as part of their own mos maiorum ancestral tradition , and not as novus aut externus ritus , novel or foreign rite. The thorough integration and reception of rite labeled "Greek" attests to the complex, multi-ethnic origins of Rome's people and religious life.
Sacellum , a diminutive from sacer "belonging to a god" ,  is a shrine. Varro and Verrius Flaccus give explanations that seem contradictory, the former defining a sacellum in its entirety as equivalent to a cella ,  which is specifically an enclosed space, and the latter insisting that a sacellum had no roof.
Sacer describes a thing or person given to the gods, thus "sacred" to them. Human beings had no legal or moral claims on anything sacer. Sacer could be highly nuanced; Varro associates it with "perfection". Anything not sacer was profanum : literally, "in front of or outside the shrine", therefore not belonging to it or the gods. A thing or person could be made sacer consecrated , or could revert from sacer to profanum deconsecrated , only through lawful rites resecratio performed by a pontiff on behalf of the state.
Similar conditions attached to sacrifices in archaic Rome. Persons judged sacer under Roman law were placed beyond further civil judgment, sentence and protection; their lives, families and properties were forfeit to the gods. A person could be declared sacer who harmed a plebeian tribune , failed to bear legal witness,  failed to meet his obligations to clients , or illicitly moved the boundary markers of fields. Dies sacri "sacred days" were nefasti , meaning that the ordinary human affairs permitted on dies profani or fasti were forbidden.
Sacer was a fundamental principle in Roman and Italic religions. In Oscan , related forms are sakoro , "sacred," and sakrim , "sacrificial victim". Oscan sakaraklum is cognate with Latin sacellum , a small shrine, as Oscan sakarater is with Latin sacratur, consecrare , "consecrated". The sacerdos is "one who performs a sacred action" or "renders a thing sacred", that is, a priest.
Senators , magistrates , and the decurions of towns performed ritual acts, though they were not sacerdotes per se. Sacra neuter plural of sacer are the traditional cults, [ clarification needed ] either publica or privata , both of which were overseen by the College of Pontiffs.
The sacra publica were those performed on behalf of the whole Roman people or its major subdivisions, the tribes and curiae. They included the sacra pro populo , "rites on behalf of the Roman people," i. Thus Numa may be seen as carrying out a reform and a reorganisation of the sacra in accord with his own views and his education.
Sacra privata were particular to a gens , to a family, or to an individual, and were carried out at the expense of those concerned. Individuals had sacra on dates peculiar to them, such as birthdays, the dies lustricus , and at other times of their life such as funerals and expiations, for instance of fulgurations. These were regarded as necessary and imperishable, and the desire to perpetuate the family's sacra was among the reasons for adoption in adulthood. Sacra gentilicia were the private rites see sacra above that were particular to a gens "clan".
These rites are related to a belief in the shared ancestry of the members of a gens , since the Romans placed a high value on both family identity and commemorating the dead. Roman practices of adoption , including so-called " testamentary adoption " when an adult heir was declared in a will, were aimed at perpetuating the sacra gentilicia as well as preserving the family name and property.
Sacra gentilicia sometimes acquired public importance, and if the gens were in danger of dying out, the state might take over their maintenance. One of the myths attached to Hercules ' time in Italy explained why his cult at the Ara Maxima was in the care of the patrician gens Potitia and the gens Pinaria ; the diminution of these families by BC caused the sacra to be transferred to the keeping of public slaves and supported with public funding.
The sacra of an Italian town or community municipium might be perpetuated under the supervision of the Roman pontiffs when the locality was brought under Roman rule. Festus defined municipalia sacra as "those owned originally, before the granting of Roman citizenship ; the pontiffs desired that the people continue to observe them and to practice them in the way mos they had been accustomed to from ancient times.
Sacramentum is an oath or vow that rendered the swearer sacer , "given to the gods," in the negative sense if he violated it. In Roman law , a thing given as a pledge or bond was a sacramentum. The sacramentum legis actio was a sum of money deposited in a legal procedure  to affirm that both parties to the litigation were acting in good faith.
The losing side had thus in effect committed perjury , and forfeited his sacramentum as a form of piaculum ; the winner got his deposit back. The forfeited sacramentum was normally allotted by the state to the funding of sacra publica. The sacramentum militare also as militum or militiae was the oath taken by soldiers in pledging their loyalty to the consul or emperor. The sacramentum that renders the soldier sacer helps explain why he was subjected to harsher penalties, such as execution and corporal punishment, that were considered inappropriate for civilian citizens, at least under the Republic.
The sacramentum as pertaining to both the military and the law indicates the religious basis for these institutions. The term differs from iusiurandum , which is more common in legal application, as for instance swearing an oath in court. A sacramentum establishes a direct relation between the person swearing or the thing pledged in the swearing of the oath and the gods; the iusiurandum is an oath of good faith within the human community that is in accordance with ius as witnessed by the gods.
A sacrarium was a place where sacred objects sacra were stored or deposited for safekeeping. The sacrarium of a private home lent itself to Christian transformation, as a 4th-century poem by Ausonius demonstrates;  in contemporary Christian usage, the sacrarium is a "special sink used for the reverent disposal of sacred substances" see piscina.
An event or thing dedicated to the gods for their disposal. The offer of sacrifice is fundamental to religio. See also Sacer and Religion in ancient Rome: Sacrifice. An adjective first introduced to define the inviolability of the function potestas of the tribunes of the plebs and of other magistrates sanctioned by law leges Valeriae Horatiae in BC, mentioned by Livy III 55, 1. It seems the sacrality of the function the tribune had already been established in earlier times through a religio and a sacramentum ,  however it obliged only the contracting parties.
In order to become a rule that obliged everybody it had to be sanctioned through a sanctio that was not only civil but religious as well: the trespasser was to be declared sacer , his family and property sold. According to other passages in Livy, the law was not approved by some jurists of the time who maintained that only those who infringed the commonly recognised divine laws id or Iovi corr. Mueller sacrum sanciti could fall into the category of those to be declared sacri.
In fact in other places Livy states that only the potestas and not the person of the tribune was defined as sacrosancta. The meaning of the word is given as guaranteed by an oath by H. Fugier, however Morani thinks it would be more appropriate to understand the first part of the compound as a consequence of the second: sanxit tribunum sacrum the tribune is sanctioned by the law as sacer.
This kind of word composition based on an etymological figure has parallels in other IE languages in archaic constructions. A verb meaning to ratify a compact and put it under the protection of a sanctio , penalty, sanction. The formation and original meaning of the verb are debated. Thence sancio would mean to render something sacer , i.
Sanctus , an adjective formed on the past participle of verb sancio, describes that which is "established as inviolable" or "sacred", most times in a sense different from that of sacer and religiosus. In fact its original meaning would be that which is protected by a sanction sanctio.
It is connected to the name of the Umbrian or Sabine founder-deity Sancus in Umbrian Sancius whose most noted function was the ratifying and protecting of compacts foedera. Thus some scholars think that it should originally be a concept related to space i. Claudia Quinta is described as a sanctissima femina most virtuous woman and Cato the Younger as a sanctus civis a morally upright citizen.
Later the epithet sanctus is given to many gods including Apollo Pythius by Naevius , Venus and Tiberinus by Ennius and Livy : Ennius renders the Homeric dia theaoon as sancta dearum ; in the early Imperial era , Ovid describes Terminus , the god who sanctifies land boundaries, as sanctus  and equates sancta with augusta august.
Sanctus as referred to people thus over time came to share some of the sense of Latin castus morally pure or guiltless , pius pious , and none of the ambiguous usages attached to sacer and religiosus. In ecclesiastical Latin , sanctus is the word for saint , but even in the Christian era it continues to appear in epitaphs for people who had not converted to Christianity.
Literally, "to watch for something from the sky"; that is, to observe the templum of the sky for signs that might be interpreted as auspices. Bad omens resulted in a report of obnuntiatio. A signum is a "sign, token or indication". Silence was generally required in the performance of every religious ritual. In ancient times, augurs augures ex caelo faced south, so the happy orient, where the sun rose, lay at their left.
Consequently, the word sinister Latin for left meant well-fated. When, under Greek influence, it became customary for augurs to face north, sinister came to indicate the ill-fated west, where light turned into darkness. It is this latter and later meaning that is attached to the English word sinister. A sodalitas was a form of voluntary association or society.
Its meaning is not necessarily distinct from collegium in ancient sources, and is found also in sodalicium , "fraternity. Examples of priestly sodalitates are the Luperci , fetiales , Arval brothers and Titii ; these are also called collegia , but that they were a kind of confraternity is suggested by the distinctive convivial song associated with some. The sodalitates are thought to originate as aristocratic brotherhoods with cultic duties, and their existence is attested as early as the late 6th or early 5th century BC.
The Twelve Tables regulated their potential influence by forbidding them to come in conflict with public law ius publicum. For the Catholic concept, see sodality. Spectio "watching, sighting, observation" was the seeking of omens through observing the sky, the flight of birds, or the feeding of birds. Originally only patrician magistrates and augurs were entitled to practice spectio , which carried with it the power to regulate assemblies and other aspects of public life, depending on whether the omens were good or bad.
Sponsio is a formal, religiously guaranteed obligation. It can mean both betrothal as pledged by a woman's family, and a magistrate 's solemn promise in international treaties on behalf of the Roman people. The Latin word derives from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning a libation of wine offered to the gods, as does the Greek verb spendoo and the noun spondai, spondas , and Hittite spant-.
In Latin, sponsio becomes a legal contract between two parties, or sometimes a foedus between two nations. In legal Latin the sponsio implied the existence of a person who acted as a sponsor , a guarantor for the obligation undertaken by somebody else. The verb is spondeo, sponsus. Superstitio was excessive devotion and enthusiasm in religious observance, in the sense of "doing or believing more than was necessary",  or "irregular" religious practice that conflicted with Roman custom.
Augustine but no longer extant. Before the Christian era, superstitio was seen as a vice of individuals. Practices characterized as " magic " could be a form of superstitio as an excessive and dangerous quest for personal knowledge.
Supplicationes are days of public prayer when the men, women, and children of Rome traveled in procession to religious sites around the city praying for divine aid in times of crisis. A suplicatio can also be a thanksgiving after the receipt of aid. See auguraculum.
The origin of the English word "tabernacle. A templum was the sacred space defined by an augur for ritual purposes, most importantly the taking of the auspices, a place "cut off" as sacred : compare Greek temenos , from temnein to cut. Auspices and senate meetings were unlawful unless held in a templum ; if the senate house Curia was unavailable, an augur could apply the appropriate religious formulae to provide a lawful alternative. To create a templum , the augur aligned his zone of observation auguraculum , a square, portable surround with the cardinal points of heaven and earth.
The altar and entrance were sited on the east-west axis: the sacrificer faced east. The precinct was thus "defined and freed" effatum et liberatum. Rome itself was a kind of templum , with the pomerium as sacred boundary and the arx citadel , and Quirinal and Palatine hills as reference points whenever a specially dedicated templum was created within.
Augurs had authority to establish multiple templa beyond the pomerium , using the same augural principles. Verba certa also found nearly as often with the word order certa verba are the "exact words" of a legal or religious formula, that is, the words as "set once and for ever, immutable and unchangeable. Words were regarded as having power; in order to be efficacious, the formula had to be recited accurately, in full, and with the correct pronunciation.
To reduce the risk of error vitium , the magistrate or priest who spoke was prompted from the text by an assistant. In both religious and legal usage, verba concepta "preconceived words" were verbal formulas that could be adapted for particular circumstances. Compare verba certa , "fixed words. Varro preserves an example, albeit textually vexed , of a formula for founding a templum.
In the legal sense, concepta verba the phrase is found with either word order were the statements crafted by a presiding praetor for the particulars of a case. But the practice may have originated as a kind of "dodge," since a praetor was liable to religious penalties if he used certa verba for legal actions on days marked nefastus on the calendar.
Augustine removed the phrase verba concepta from its religious and legal context to describe the cognitive process of memory: "When a true narrative of the past is related, the memory produces not the actual events which have passed away but words conceived verba concepta from images of them, which they fixed in the mind like imprints as they passed through the senses. The victima was the animal offering in a sacrifice, or very rarely a human.
The victim was subject to an examination probatio victimae by a lower-rank priest pontifex minor to determine whether it met the criteria for a particular offering. Goddesses were usually offered female victims, though from around the s AD the goddess Cybele was given a bull, along with its blood and testicles, in the Taurobolium. Color was also a criterion: white for the upper deities, dark for chthonic , red for Vulcan and at the Robigalia.
A sacred fiction of sacrifice was that the victim had to consent, usually by a nod of the head perhaps induced by the victimarius holding the halter. Fear, panic, and agitation in the animal were bad omens. The word victima is used interchangeably with hostia by Ovid and others, but some ancient authors attempt to distinguish between the two. The difference between the victima and hostia is elsewhere said to be a matter of size, with the victima larger maior.
The victimarius was an attendant or assistant at a sacrifice who handled the animal. In depictions of sacrifice, a victimarius called the popa carries a mallet or axe with which to strike the victima. Multiple victimarii are sometimes in attendance; one may hold down the victim's head while the other lands the blow.
He is sometimes shown dressed in an apron limus. Inscriptions show that most victimarii were freedmen, but literary sources in late antiquity say that the popa was a public slave. A mistake made while performing a ritual, or a disruption of augural procedure, including disregarding the auspices, was a vitium "defect, imperfection, impediment".
Vitia , plural, could taint the outcome of elections, the validity of laws, and the conducting of military operations. The augurs issued an opinion on a given vitium , but these were not necessarily binding. In BC the newly elected plebeian consul M. Claudius Marcellus resigned when the augurs and the senate decided that a thunderclap expressed divine disapproval of his election. A verb meaning chanting or reciting a formula with a joyful intonation and rhythm.
These were commemorations of Roman victory in the wake of the Gallic invasion. In a religious context, votum , plural vota , is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere ; as the result of the verbal action "vow, promise", it may refer also to the fulfillment of this vow, that is, the thing promised. The votum is thus an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion, a bargaining expressed by do ut des , "I give that you might give.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia glossary. Marcus Aurelius head covered sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter. See also: Ficus Ruminalis. Further information: Roman festivals. Main article: Roman law. This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. July See also: homo sacer. Main article: Sacramentum oath. See also: Roman temple. Bayet Histoire politique et psychologique de la religion romaine Paris, , p. See also Roger D.
The treaty was preserved in the temple of Semo Sancus. North, and S. Kaster in his translation of the Saturnalia for the Loeb Classical Library ; in Latin, alternum sanguinem filicem, ficum atram, quaeque bacam nigram nigrosque fructus ferunt, itemque acrifolium, pirum silvaticum, pruscum rubum sentesque. Paratore Virgilio, Eneide I, Milano, , p. Austin P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos liber secundus Oxford , p. Coli, Regnum Rome The first plebeian consul was elected in BC in consequence of the leges Liciniae Sextiae.
Discussion of Celtic augury by J. Silentio surgere , p. Dumezil La religion romaine archaique Paris part IV chapt. Milano p. Kaser, Das altroemische Ius Goettingen , pp. Catalano, Linee del sistema sovrannazionale romano Torino , pp. Harris, War and imperialism in Republican Rome, B.
Oxford , pp. Robert S. Broughton and the Roman Republic Franz Steiner, , p. Eerdmans, , pp. The passage has been explained with reference to Jewish and other practices as well. Putnam, Horace's Carmen Saeculare London, , p. Another etymology connects it to Vedic s'asti , 'he gives the instruction', and to Avestic saas-tu , 'that he educate': in G.
Fugier, Recherches Antistius Labeo. Brink, Horace on Poetry. Warr London, , vol. Other references include Cicero, Brutus 55 and De domo sua ; Livy 4. Sini, Documenti sacerdotali di Roma antica Sassari, , p. De domo sua Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire Blackwell, , pp. II De Grummond The Religion of the Etruscans p. II "pontifices dicunt singulis actibus proprios deos praeesse, hos Varro certos deos appellat", the pontiffs say that every single action is presided upon by its own deity, these Varro calls certain gods "; A.
Paganism and Christianity, C. Lane Augsburg Fortress, , p. Richardson Blackwell, , originally published in German , pp. The designation is also found in the Fasti Praenestini. Mohr, , p. See Charites for the ancient Greek goddesses known as the Graces. Sini Sua cuique civitati religio Torino p. According to Pliny Natural History Behold the wretchedness and stupidity of mankind: they show honour to a dead tree and despite the commands of the living God; they do not dare to put the branches of a tree into the fire and by an act of sacrilege throw themselves headlong into hell": Caesarius of Arles , S.
Atilius Regulus in the s BC, had already been vowed by Romulus , but had remained only a fanum, a site locus delineated by means of verbalized ritual effatus for a templum. Cornelius Fronto Brill, , p. So too R. Orestano, "Dal ius al fas," Bullettino dell'Istituto di diritto romano 46 , p. Guarino, L'ordinamento giuridico romano Naples , p. Paoli, Le monde juridique du paganisme romain p. Catalano, Contributi allo studio del diritto augurale Turin , pp.
Gioffredi, Diritto e processo nelle antiche forme giuridiche romane Rome , p. Albanese, Premesse allo studio del diritto privat romano Palermo , p. Ovid pursues the connection between the dies fasti and permissible speech fas est in his calendrical poem the Fasti ; see discussion by Carole E. One ancient tradition associated the etymology of fas with that of Themis as the "establisher".
See Paulus, epitome of Festus, p. For the scholarship, see U. Coli, "Regnum" in Studia et documenta historiae et iuris 17 ; C. Ferrini "Fas" in Nuovo Digesto Italiano p. Gioffredi, Diritto e processo nelle antiche forme giuridiche romane Roma p. Fugier, Recherches sur l' expression du sacre' dans la langue latine Paris , pp.
Dumezil, La religion romaine archaique Paris , p. Dumezil, La religion romaine archaique Paris 2nd, pp. VI 9, ; Varro Ling. VI 9, 7; Festus s. Gellius's passage implies a conceptual connexion between the hostia praecidanea and the feriae succidaneae , though this is not explicated. Scholarly interpretations thus differ on what the feriae praecidaneae were: cf.
Schmitz in W. Catalano Contributi allo studio del diritto augurale Torino p. Wissowa, however, asserted that Varro's lists were not indigitamenta , but di certi , gods whose function could still be identified with certainty; Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics unknown edition , vol. Sini Bellum nefandum Sassari p. Orestano Dal ius al fas p. I regularum ap. Skeat, Etymological dictionary of the English Language entries on legal, legion, diligent, negligent, religion.
III, legum here is understood as the uttering of a set of fixed, binding conditions. Morani "Lat. Dumezil la religion romaine archaic Paris, Sini Documenti sacerdotali di Roma antica Sassari, ; S. Tondo Leges regiae e paricidas Firenze, ; E. Libri e documenti Sassari, , IV, 10, p. Van Den Bruwaene, "Precison sur la loi religieuse du de leg. II, de Ciceron" in Helikon 1 p. Sini Documenti sacerdotali di Roma antica I.
Libri e commentari Sassari p. Tondo Leges regiae e paricidas Firenze, , p. Bickel "Lehrbuch der Geschichte der roemischen Literatur" p. Szemler The priests of the Roman Republic Bruxelles Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law. Transactions of The American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia : The American Philosophical Society. ISBN See also Festus p. See also The Religion of the Etruscans , pp. Corpus Tibullianum III. Banti; G.
French language, full preview. For the connection between deities of agriculture and the underworld, see W. Guarino L'ordinamento giuridico romano Napoli, , p. ISBN pp Rasmussen, Public Portents in Republican Rome online. Balsdon, "Roman History, 58—56 B. The older Latin form is osmen", which may have meant "an utterance"; see W. It has also been connected to an ancient Hittite exclamation ha "it's true" ; see R. Bloch Les prodiges dans l'antiquite' - Rome Paris ; It.
Rome p. Benveniste "Hittite et Indo-Europeen. Etudes comparatives" in Bibl. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved CS1 maint: archived copy as title link. Paullus is said to have accepted the omen with the words, "accipio, mea filia, omen. In Pliny, Historia Naturalis , Crasso venales praedicantes voce, Cavneae. Teubner-Mahoff edn. The Pontifex Maximus "is considered the judge and arbiter of things both divine and human": Festus, p. Scipio Imperator," in Imperium sine fine: T.
Drogula, " Imperium, potestas and the pomerium in the Roman Republic," Historia Konrad, "Vellere signa," in Augusto augurio: rerum humanarum et divinarum commentationes in honorem Jerzy Linderski Franz Steiner, , p. Compare Sanskrit pac to bind, and Greek peegnumi , I fasten: W. Skeat Etymological Dictionary of the English Language s. See M. Morani "Latino sacer Pius may derive from Umbrian and thus appear with a p instead of a q ; some Indo-European languages resolved the original velar k h into the voiceless labial p , as did Greek and Celtic.
Umbrian is one of such languages although it preserved the velar before a u. In Proto-Italic it has given ii with a long first i as in pii- : cfr. Morani "Latino Sacer Bonfante "Tracce di terminologia palafitticola nel vocabolario latino? Despite its title, S. Rasmussen's Public Portents in Republican Rome L'Erma , Bretschneider, does not distinguish among prodigium , omen , portentum and ostentum p.
See Michael W. Barb, " Animula Vagula Blandula Vermaseren and Carel C. According to Emile Benveniste Le vocabulaire , p. Late Antiquity: Empire and Successors, A. Bloch ibidem p. The survival of such a child for four years after its birth would have been regarded as extreme dereliction of religious duty. See also R.
Bloch Les prodiges dans l'antiquite'-Les prodiges a Rome It. Skeat An Etymological Dictionary of the English language s. Religious behavior — pietas in Latin, eusebeia in Greek — belonged to action and not to contemplation.
Consequently religious acts took place wherever the faithful were: in houses, boroughs, associations, cities, military camps, cemeteries, in the country, on boats. The gods were the gods of your city or community: you might prefer to join particular local groups or worship in particular sanctuaries or take vows to the god or goddess you thought most appropriate to your case; but, so long as you belonged to a particular community, there was no question of joining another religion, unless you moved your domicile to a different area.
The traditional explanation for the rate of religious change in this period combines the presence of new religious groups, especially Christians, with the supposed long-term deterioration of pagan practice. The Roman antiquarian Varro —27 bce claimed, according to Saint Augustine, that he was saving the gods of his city from neglect and forgetfulness by including them in his writings.
In recent decades, this theory, always highly speculative and over-dependent on the views of ancient philosophers who did discuss the deities and their existential status, has largely been abandoned by historians of religion. There is every reason to think that the old deities kept their hold; there is, for example, a strong tradition of dedications in fulfillment of vows to gods and goddesses that bears witness to a continued and developing tradition of individual piety.
There was, and is, some seeming support for the older, negative view in the surviving writers of the period, not least in individual texts such as that of Varro mentioned above:. We need to remember too that, if deities were being forgotten, they were not the great gods and goddesses, but minor ones, whom Varro himself was digging out from old records.
The fact is that the forgetting of ancient deities and the discovery of new ones went hand in hand in the life of Rome, which had countless deities great and small. The clash of cultures here is brutally exposed, but the interpretation of the passage remains highly problematic. It was not so much, however, the views of contemporary critics such as Varro that underpinned modern skepticism and sustained it for so long, as the hostile, contemptuous attitude expressed by the great Christian writers of the 3rd , 4th , and 5th centuries ce , of whom Augustine was the prime example.
To do this more effectively, they ransacked pagan Latin writings, particularly those of Varro, for everything that could be regarded by Christian standards as repulsive and irreligious; or that might, alternatively, betray the secret that the leading so-called pagans held views quite different from those of the credulous masses, but concealed them for fear of losing control.
There is no way, and no reason, to challenge all the criticism of pagan gods offered by Christian writers such as Lactantius, Arnobius, and Augustine. However, since so much has been made in the past of the assumed inferiority of pagan religion, it is important to recall at once some of its very great strengths: pagan gods and goddesses were in many ways far more accessible to the worshipper than is their universal successor of today: they had human appearance and could be depicted in familiar guise; they appeared in dreams to the pious; they sent messages by recognized routes oracles, diviners, signs, and prodigies ; they were powerful enough to help with human problems, but not so removed from human life as to be beyond imagination; they belonged to local communities and were deeply involved in local festivals and rituals.
In many ways they were more like fellow-citizens than slave-masters in the sky. It is quite anachronistic to assume that the educated elites of the ancient world, with whom modern classical scholars tend to have strong sympathies, shared modern monotheistic assumptions.
The radical revision of the earlier negative judgments has resulted in part from detailed re-examination of texts that show quite clearly the great care with which the Romans preserved and maintained the regular worship of their gods and goddesses, not just in the 1st century bce , but throughout the early centuries of the Empire, 8 partly from a recognition that the Roman poets reflect the seriousness of their concern with their own traditions and myths; 9 partly from a recognition that it makes little sense to argue for a situation in the last two centuries of the Republic in which the Romans claimed, as they did, to be the most religious of peoples 10 and were in fact uniquely successful in their enterprises of war, conquest, and the formation of an Empire, exactly where the gods were supposed to help, but never made connections between gods and triumphs.
Haruspices are not Roman priests, but Etruscans. The unifying assumption that underlay these 19th and 20th century judgments was at root quite a simple one, derived from religious assumptions shared by the critics and their ancient Christian authorities, which they would have regarded as a common-sense assumption, scarcely meriting discussion or debate. In its basic form, this would have been the conviction that any rational person would agree, once it was put to her or him, that the idea of there being a single power controlling the cosmos and its working was an infinitely more powerful and plausible conception than that of a multiplicity of distinct deities with limited, local overlapping powers.
What is now being recognized is that understanding the religious ideas of an ancient city cannot be achieved by such a simple effort of modern common sense. It should be accepted that we need a new vocabulary and a new set of conceptions, if we want to grasp how ancient human beings interacted with ancient supernatural ones. Our understanding of the religious life of the ancients is interwoven with the problems of the vocabulary we use to describe it. The discussions that follow should not be seen as debates about words, but attempts to disentangle the connection of words with institutions and actions.
However successful the gods, goddesses, men, and women of Rome had been in the republican centuries, the 1st century bce saw the system fall into political conflict, confusion, and eventually civil war. The new order created by Augustus was remarkably successful in maintaining widespread order and prosperity, and during these years, the nature of city life was changing in fundamental respects.
With long periods of widespread stability, travel, and trading, there came a high degree of mobility of peoples and deities. The cities of both East and West came to find themselves with groups living in tense proximity with Greeks and Romans: first there came groups of Jews, Egyptians, and Syrians, identified on the basis of their ethnicity; later, groups of Christians and others, identifying themselves more specifically by their religious commitments.
This situation implies two areas of change:. For Greeks and Romans, at least those living in the major cities of both East and West, living in proximity with groups of foreign origin and different religious practices must have become a familiar part of life. The universal prevalence of slavery throughout the Empire will have meant that the same would have been true even in their homes and on their farms. Elite Romans probably did not like associating with either of these groups of newcomers, but their existence must over time have widened their knowledge and ideas, arguably including toleration.
The Romans did not seek to regulate the lives of the peoples in their provinces, beyond what they thought necessary to keep order and collect taxes. Worship of the imperial family was expected, but the initiatives were often local and not imposed from the center. In their religious activities, as in their civic lives more generally, local elites were allowed freedom of action in return for accepting and largely administering Roman rule in their areas, subject to limited oversight by Roman administrators.
The names of Roman deities are found widely, but often as translations of local gods and goddesses. There is no question that the Empire provided both the context within which the mixture of different practices and the evolution of new ones became possible. As Greek and Roman enquirers looked around the world they knew, they found a great deal of similarity, as well as variety, in detail between the religious practices and ideas of their own societies and those of their contemporaries in other parts of the world they knew.
For the most part, they would have found a multiplicity of deities; their gendered division; the regular use of domestic animals as sacrificial victims; the presence and power of priests and diviners of various kinds; a deeply local character in the activities of communities, cities, and tribes; and a close connection between the rituals, the rulers, and the authorities of their societies. Because they found such widespread similarity, they did not look to classify or give a name to this type of activity, which seemed to them a normal aspect of the life of human societies.
We today use the word paganism to describe such religious activities; this provides a useful name which will be used in this account for this huge range of religious practices. But the word is a modern invention, intended to bring such practices into line for classification purposes with Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and others.
Meanwhile, the Latin word paganus —pagan in English—was not used before the Roman imperial period and was invented by the early Christians to refer to those not of their faith; a recent and highly plausible explanation of the word is that it simply meant a civilian, as opposed to soldiers in the army of Christ. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the messages encoded in this invented —ism language: Christianity is not an —ism like the others apparently implying that it, unlike them, conveys the truth , and paganism is further put in its place by the insistence that it unlike all the others must be spelled with a lower case p : J udaism, we write, C hristianity—but p aganism.
At the same time, the word is misleading to the non-expert. There are some characteristics that are an essential part of an —ism religion. The member, or at least the student, must be able to expound the beliefs and doctrines, as well as the rituals and ceremonies that go with the name. But so far as we can tell, there is no real common ground among the many varieties of pagans beyond the common belief in there being a substantial number of deities and the attachment of importance to the performing of rituals.
It is true that the ancients already sought to identify equivalences between at least their high gods and goddesses and those of neighboring peoples. As early as Herodotus Book 2, written in the 5th century bce , Greek deities are identified with Egyptian ones. In fact the assumption was that they worshipped largely the same gods and goddesses, but called them by different, local names. What happened could therefore be called the translation of a set of names into the corresponding set of Greek or Latin ones, which must have presupposed that the correspondences between the deities were already established, albeit newly identified.
If this is the right interpretation of the overall situation, various implications must follow. First, it is confusing to use the term polytheist, which implies an awareness of and rejection of monotheism. It is important to be conscious of this point because, throughout the centuries, when pagan cults were widespread, we know that in many societies, language could be used that we think of as monotheistic: the many gods and goddesses who were the object of worship could be spoken of as if they formed a unity, or one particular deity might be treated as supreme over the others.
Second, it is not at all surprising that there was no effective conception of a religious war between the various pagan peoples, tribes, and cities: the gods of both sides were duly evoked the playwright Plautus has a neat parody of this custom. We might call this a form of toleration, but it is toleration rooted in indifference not in principle: pagan observers might see the customs of their neighbors as weird or eccentric, but rarely as wrong or wicked.
If they did see good reason to condemn a particular religious practice, they felt no compunction based on principle to abstain from banning or expelling the practice. Thus the word religion might apply to the complex of rituals, festivals, and practices related to superhuman agents and supervised by the Roman colleges of priests. That definition would exclude areas of activity that we would expect to be included, such as theological ideas and discussions, spiritual advice, guidance for individuals, and explicit concern for the welfare of the poor and sick.
However, before pursuing this line of thought, it needs to be remembered that a great deal was thought and done in a city-state, at the level of local areas, families, associations, and groups of various kinds. The point was crisply made already by Francis Bacon. In that case, it is not so much that the Romans ignored areas that moderns regard as essential components of a religion, as that they did not regard such areas as parts of a single complex conception, but rather categorized them separately.
For instance, theology was generally seen as part of philosophy having little to do with priests, diviners, or rituals; religiosity, another word for which there is no Latin equivalent, belonged with myth and poetry; while spiritual support and comfort would have seemed part of family or city life, or perhaps belonging in the sphere of clubs and associations.
It would follow that Christianity, when established, did not so much invent a new form of religious life as bring activities and ideas previously thought of separately under the oversight of ecclesiastical authority. This is why it is so misleading to use the same word priest for both pagan and early Christian religious authorities. Pagan priests were primarily concerned with rituals and, in their capacity as priests, paid little attention to beliefs, while early Christians had little time for rituals and soon began to define and argue about their beliefs.
Roman literature, however, does give us at least one example of a priest offering an individual spiritual advice: this happens when the main character in the Golden Ass seeks priestly help as he moves towards acceptance of initiation into the cult of Isis. Other elements that were to play an important part in later religious lives, such as martyrdom and conversion, seem not yet to have existed in the republican period.
For us, they serve to mark some of the profoundest changes brought about in the years of conflict between the pagan Roman authorities and the new religious forces of the imperial years. Romans, like Greeks, placed a very high value on inherited rituals and on their scrupulous performance. Even the smallest aberration could lead to the failure of the ritual; if the failure could not be remedied, perhaps by the repetition of the ritual, the consequences might be dire.
This heavy emphasis on the ritual side of religious action has recently led to the controversial re-assessment of the part played by belief. We might call this implicit as opposed to explicit belief. Belief , in modern religious contexts, is inextricably linked with doubt: both belief and doubt imply uncertainty as to the truth, so the believer is by definition the one who rejects his or her doubts. Logically, at least, believer and doubter ought to share recognition of the uncertainty, though in practice they usually do not.
This phenomenon must be limited to circles where religion is a subject of regular debate and discussion and the issue of believing attracts a great deal of conscious attention. We do know of sustained debates between Greek intellectuals from the 6th and 5th century bce onwards.
Persecution does take place, as discussed here, but it is very unusual and may have been linked far more to practices than to belief. The proposition that pagan religion was primarily a matter of performance rather than belief can lead—and has— led to the suggestion that ritual action was supposed to take place with no accompanying cognitive activity at all.
One approach to the evidence, sometimes adopted, is to argue that actual beliefs can be inferred from ritual actions: so we might reconstruct, say, those that underpinned Roman concern about warning messages from the gods. However, reconstruction of this kind is hardly needed when a good deal of recorded thinking does make the required connection between ritual and cognition. It might be argued:.
That belief conviction was simply taken for granted in religious contexts, but not foregrounded, as it was going to be in in later religious systems. There were no creeds or religious books; no systems for seeking to unify the ideas of citizens; no authority looking out for aberrant ideas. That ritual inspired reflection—that ritual was good to think with and promoted innovation and exploration, precisely because religious claims always border on the absurd and incomprehensible. That the performance of a ritual was in itself a form of expressing belief, for instance that the relations between men and deities were expressed by the performance of a sacrifice.
All these possible directions of understanding are compatible with the proposition that ritual rather than belief was the main focus of pagan worship, without committing to any total separation of ritual performance from cognition. In different contexts, all these forms of thinking can be seen as creative elements in Roman culture.
If it is true, as argued today, that Roman emphasis lay on ritual not on belief, we should expect that persecution on religious grounds could scarcely arise, since it belongs to a situation in which there was a common demand for orthodoxy of belief and a search for heresies, as familiarly in later periods. It is, indeed, a widespread suggestion that persecution arrived together with monotheism or at least emerged from the conflict between monotheism and polytheism, and that pagan polytheism was in essence tolerant.
The events of this year are not reliably known in any great detail. Persecution on this scale was a rare event in paganism, and nothing similar happened until the Christians had begun to establish themselves. All the same, many aspects of the situation are illuminating: first, the priestly authorities of Rome played no part in events, while the actors were consuls, senate, and soldiers; second, there seems to have been no vocabulary in use that specifically belonged to a religious area.
It would be a serious misunderstanding to infer from the apparent lack of priestly involvement, or specialized vocabulary, that the persecution of the Bacchists was regarded as a purely political decision. The Senate, the body that took the major decisions, was the highest authority on all state matters, while the priests, many of whom were senators, acted as advisors not decision-makers on matters concerning the gods and goddesses.
Moreover, the persecution was a highly sensitive decision: Bacchus was a powerful god who had strong traditions all over Italy, which explains why the final settlement made such concessions to the continuation of his worship. The important message here is that Rome at this date had no idea of a separate religious decision-making area. There were no boundaries between the political, the social, and the religious. Two conclusions follow from these arguments: first, that it is quite wrong to claim that paganism was tolerant by its nature and that persecution was invented only later; the situation is rather that most of religious life did not generate conflicts leading to the suppression of any groups, but that the Roman authorities, when they saw a situation they thought dangerous, acted without compunction.
Second, there was no separate religious sphere controlled by the priests. The senate decided on the persecution, and they carried it out. The great priestly colleges were powerful in the area of ritual rules and conduct, but they were very far from running a religion as we would understand that conception today.
There is a great deal of evidence concerned with associations, called in Latin collegia , in Greek thiasoi. These groups have quite a wide variety of functions, but also a common structure: they are usually connected to the worship of some deity and have a priest or priestess; the bulk of their members were citizens or freedmen, though slaves in small numbers were also often admitted; they could be democratic in their working, but have non-priestly leaders of different grades; they generally have a common fund.
They sometimes have regulations, defining their activities. It used to be argued that their basic function was as burial clubs for the benefit of poor citizens, in effect to insure the costs of the funeral. In general, they cannot be characterised as specifically religious institutions, but we have seen that the Bacchic groups of the 3rd and 2nd century bce used this structure and certainly were religious in character.
Otherwise, they might be simply social groups, or they might, especially in the troubles of the late Republic, be involved in political agitation. Such groups were recognized by the state and in some circumstances could be controlled or even on occasion forbidden by the authorities. The structure of the association was useful to non-pagans as an acceptable form of being socially visible, but Christians could hardly make use of it while in fear of persecution.
It did, however, accommodate the worshippers of Isis, Attis, and Mithras. Clearly the members of such groups were, like the Bacchus worshippers of the 2nd century bce , focusing their religious energies on one particular deity in preference to others; it is also possible that the effect would have been to create more space for individual religious experience than had the traditional civic cults.
Either way, we have no evidence that this conflict arose between the many varieties of paganism. Henotheism, in the sense of emphasizing one of a divine collectivity without denying the others, is a phenomenon that could be and was accommodated within the very wide boundaries of pagan practice. The most sensitive relationship for the present discussion is that between Christians, who were the most creative and innovative of the new groups, and pagans who at least during the 1st and 2nd centuries ce provided the greatest supply of potential converts.
Recording such activities would have been as dangerous as participating—that may partly explain the lack of evidence. It is very unsatisfactory to argue, on the grounds that there is no surviving evidence of a particular development that no such development was occurring.
In any case, the growth in Christian numbers by the end of the 3d century ce is itself evidence that recruits were joining; there is no plausible source for the increase except the pagan populations of the Empire. There were many differences that marked off the Christian groups from their pagan contemporaries. Some of these were fundamental to the movement and were inherited from their Jewish origins.
For instance, they followed Jewish tradition in their acceptance of a holy book, on which the faith was grounded; they took seriously the biblical prophecies that looked forward to the birth of Jesus, who was identified as the Messiah; they rejected all the gods of the gentiles. On the other hand, they later rejected the practice of animal sacrifice, which was common to pagans and Jews, and still regular in the temple-cult as accepted by Jesus and Paul.
The name was already reported in the New Testament. Many of these points of difference would have marked the Christians out as innovative and potential trouble makers. To join the Christians, an act had to be performed, through baptism, abandoning the worship of the old gods and goddesses and joining the new group.
This act of choice was perhaps the most revolutionary new action. It was quite different from any earlier turning to a new deity, because it involved as the convert must have realized the rejection of the past, of rituals stretching back to the origins of their family and community, and the acceptance of a new exclusive form of commitment.
Christian doctrine in antiquity took a very long time to formulate and debate. It is quite clear that originally, whatever pagans may have thought of them, the earliest Christians were an offshoot of Judaism, diverging dramatically in their acceptance of Jesus as the promised Messiah, for whose arrival orthodox Jews had waited and continued to wait. It is a matter of controversy at what date a separation was established and a new canon of writings fixed. It must have been difficult for an outsider to have any clear picture of what was happening within the Jewish orbit at this stage or what was involved in becoming a Christian.
However, it is also far from clear how any of the participants would have represented the character of their own group. We might say with confidence that the various groups must have been in a competition with the others for members. It might also be convenient for us to classify the different groups as religions by arguing that they all offered their own conception of the world, their own systems of worship, and their own relationship to supernatural powers.
However, it is not at all obvious that any of the three main participants in this competition would have regarded either their own group or the others as religions, in any sense of that slippery term. They would certainly have thought of their rivals as very different from themselves and from one another. The Jews were identifiable as a people or ethnos , scattered across the world because of their history, but sharing a myth of their origins, strange customs, common ancestors, and above all a book that revealed the story of god and human beings from their origins.
At least they could be categorized in terms familiar to pagans, even if they provoked occasional hostility. In the early centuries of their existence, there was very little clear determination as to how they were organized. They were also sometimes referred to as an ethnos , but of a new kind, based not on racial descent but on a shared commitment to a leader and prophet.
Each of them did, however, have a similar contact with the centers of power within their own communities. To lumpers as opposed to splitters, 60 it has been appealing to interpret all these developments as a growing conflict between polytheism and monotheism, some rating monotheism as so superior that it could be treated as an inevitable step up in the evolutionary progression of the human race.
In support of this idea, one can certainly quote the ferocious Christian attacks on the Roman gods and goddesses, which they were determined to paint as an assembly of horrors. On the other hand, this type of evidence is particularly unreliable in its characterization of the nature of the opposing groups: to take an extreme view, it could be argued that Christian bishops and their educated followers had a particular investment in portraying the situation as a conflict between clearly defined groups, doing so more in hope than in respect of the current reality, which may have been far more fluid than they would have wished.
The ferocity of their argument is an index of the problem they faced. The question of how well defined the groups were. As we have seen already, polytheism by itself is not a full or proper description of the religious position of the pagans. They generally worshipped many deities and, in the case of the Romans at least, were prepared to identify and accept new ones.
But they were also at all periods able to think of the gods as united, sometimes with a specific leader over many; sometimes as a single unit, of which individual gods might be perceived as one element. David Hume conceived them in terms of a historical pendulum-swing, either extreme provoking a reaction towards the other, but never reaching a stable state.
This perspective still seems fertile and useful, while exploring the notion of competition between groups must always be essential to understanding what happened; but there are many problems with the application of the market as a model. Even if one could argue that each might have seen itself as a religious entity, all three would have had severe doubts as to the status of their rivals. Christians in particular, as shown, viewed pagan practices with horror and, whereas they incorporated both pagan and Jewish writings into their own culture, they seem to have regarded Jesus as having replaced the Jewish religious tradition rather than paralleled it.
Pagans, however erratically, sought to restrain defectors by bullying and persecution. The Jews showed little sign of seeking to recruit new members, though they did always attract some pagan support. It would be valuable to know how the conversion of new members took place, but there is all too little information.
The most plausible theory would be that, generation after generation, some pagans, born into pagan families and brought up within pagan culture and traditions, were persuaded to transfer their allegiance, perhaps as family groups rather than individuals. In law and to some extent in reality as well, Roman families were dominated by the eldest surviving male, the paterfamilias , who was the leader of religious activity too.
The family, in the Roman understanding of the word, included the slaves owned by the paterfamilias as well as the blood relations and freed people. Arguably, the presence in Judaism and Christianity of concern focused on a highly privileged sacred Book, and the intense reading of that book in a religious space, would have been a strong contributory factor. It would be an over-simplification to claim that competition was a completely new phenomenon in the religious life of the Empire.
The numberless gods and goddesses of the Roman Republic offered many options between which there would have been freedom to choose. Or they could express their gratitude for benefits received or offer gifts and sacrifices in return for benefits requested. All such activity would have fallen within the public and private cults accepted by the city and overseen, in theory, by the priests and the Senate.
In Rome itself, even the rituals practiced by families and passed on from generation to generation were controlled by rules defined by the college of pontifices. All the same, using the concept of religion does risk confusion by importing anachronistic ideas. The obvious alternative is to think in terms of the vaguer term religious groups.
However, there is a current tendency to argue that groups too are an illegitimate construction, and there is now even a new word to condemn this particular vice— groupism , on the analogy of sexism. The great innovation in this period is perhaps best thought of in terms of religious identity, a conception, as we have seen, quite inapplicable in the traditional pagan world, where having a religious identity different from your home community was not yet thinkable.
By the 3d and 4th century ce , however, a person could meaningfully combine being a Christian or a Jew with continued citizenship of Rome or of other cities of the Empire. A convert from paganism to Christianity would be a Christian as well as Roman and a member of the local community. The conversion might have been dangerous or treated as a criminal act, but it would be comprehensible.
It does not follow, of course, that the existence of a religious group implies that all its members had acquired an exclusively Christian identity or spent all their time together pursuing Christian objectives. It is a commonplace that all humans, at least those living in historical periods, have multiple identities and commitments to family, to community, to their trade or circus-faction, and so on. The right of a golf club to be called a club is not challenged because its members share only one of their many different identities.
As in any group, there will of course be members more or less committed, those who intend to commit but fail to maintain their intention, those who succeed for a time but drift away, and so on—though also, notoriously, there are those who can think of nothing else but their golf.
There are indeed many questions to be asked about how such religious groups actually worked and whether we should conceive of them as entities of which contemporaries were fully aware or rather as retrospective analytic tools invented by modern scholars. It may well be true that the priests and bishops of the new movement were exaggerating the degree of universal commitment, because that is what they were trying to promote.
Does it follow from these arguments that we should no longer be thinking of profound changes in the whole religious order? Was it an exaggeration to talk in terms of revolutionary change? Critics have sought to argue, first, that there had always been choice and competition in pagan religious life.
Second, there is a good deal of evidence showing that the role of religious conflict in the Roman Empire has been exaggerated, and there was much peaceful co-existence, even collaboration, across the religious groups. These studies, and many others, have undoubtedly made major contributions to our understanding of the co-existence of group members in the crucial decades when Christianity was asserting itself for the first time as a major force in the Empire, but still under serious threat of persecution.
All the same, such research analyzes the historical changes of the period from a relatively narrow perspective. We need also to assess the effect of changes over the whole period, from the late Republic, through the establishment of the imperial regime, and the subsequent centuries of Roman dominance.
In this longer view, the possibility had been established of individual pagans making decisions in the area of their religious commitments that would have been of an importance inconceivable in earlier centuries.
The king and the comitium; a study of Rome's oldest public document by Robert E. A Palmer Book 15 editions published in in 3 languages and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. A Palmer Book 8 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Various conjectures on the perception, motion, and generation of ideas by David Hartley Book 7 editions published between and in English and Undetermined and held by 15 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.
A Palmer 1 edition published in in English and held by 10 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. A Palmer in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. The king and the comitium : a study of rome'es oldest public document by Robert E. A Palmer Book 2 editions published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.
Various conjectures on the perception, notion, and generation of ideas by David Hartley Book 1 edition published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. The king and the comitium : a study of Rome's oldest public document by Robert E. A Palmer Book 1 edition published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Minutes of an act of the roman senate by James H Oliver Book 3 editions published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.
Roman religion and Roman empire : 5 essays by Robert E. Genetic and cytological analysis of chromosome segregation in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Robert E. A Palmer 2 editions published in in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Silvanus, Sylvester, and the chair of St.
Peter by Robert E. A Palmer Book 1 edition published in in English and held by 2 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Introduction and notes by Martin Kallich by David Hartley Book 1 edition published in in English and held by 2 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. The lettere in cerca di storico by Robert E.
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Remember me on this computer. Cancel Forgot your password? Robert E A Palmer. Haney Foundation series , 15th. Print book : English View all editions and formats. Rome -- Religion. View all subjects. User lists Similar Items. Online version: Palmer, Robert E. Chapter 1: Juno in archaic Italy -- 1. Juno of February -- 5. Juno Lucina and the Tusculan rite -- 6.
Juno Regina -- 7. Juno Moneta -- 8. Juno Sispes -- 9. Juno Martialis Perusina -- Summary on attributes and cult -- Juno and Hera Lakinia -- Juno at Patavium -- Juno Quiritis of Falerii -- Juno at Caere and Pyrgi -- Juno and Astarte -- Juno in Vergil and Ovid -- Juno and Venus -- Conclusion -- Chapter 2.
Tor Tignosa -- 2. The three gifts -- 3. Parca Maurtia -- 4. Morta, Livius Andronicus, and the secular games -- 5. Neuna Fata -- 6. The Lares of Tor Tignosa -- 7. Aeneas Indiges -- 8. Some priests of Lavinium -- 9. Di Indigetes -- Some Jupiters on the Roman capital --
Virtually every aspect of Roman life revolved around Roman religion, which emphasized that their lives were controlled by gods and because of this mentality, a large amount of their time was spent worshipping them. Temples to worship the gods were built throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity on the other hand, refused to worship the Roman gods or make sacrifices at their temples, Christians were very adamant about remaining loyal to their God and their religion accepting persecution simply for proclaiming their faith.
Perpetua of Carthage. Over time, Christianity continued to spread across the empire, as it was appealing to people of all backgrounds. Persecutions increased where Christian churches were burned and all of this continued under the reign of Diocletian. After his death, Christianity would continue to grow and eventually overshadow and replace the traditional Roman religion and Rome would even become the new center of Christianity Campbell It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well.
However, in the end, Christianity would still receive blame for many contributions to the fall of the empire. The fall of the Roman empire is not attributed to a single event, some even claim there was no fall of the Roman empire, rather a portion of it stopped thriving Campbell Economic troubles, the rise of the Eastern Empire, overexpansion, government corruption, political instability, and Christianity are all contributors to the decline seen in Rome. The Roman army itself was misleading because although it was large, it was still too small to protect all of the acquired territories Campbell Due to disorganization many leaders fled thinking the empire was unsalvageable, abandoning Rome in its time of need Campbell Roman currency had been devalued, the wealthy clung to their possessions while the poor fell deeper into poverty.
In an attempt to fix this issue, Diocletian issued an edict, freezing prices which backfired and resulted in a black market Campbell While inflation ravaged the economy, urban life became less vibrant, leading to a decline in literacy and education Campbell Finally, as Christianity began to grow and form a more coherent church organization it seemed to represented a threat or refusal to conform and rulers grew fearful of a rebellion or overthrowing Campbell The Eastern half of the Roman Empire, however, thrived for another 1, years following the decline of the Western half which is what leads many to say there was no real fall of Rome however it faced a large downsize.
Religion in the Roman Empire. Accessed July 22, Download paper. Essay, Pages 2 words. Turn in your highest-quality paper Get a qualified writer to help you with. A political change in the Ancient Roman Empire was the military strategies.
The military at first had a large navy and began to break it up into smaller, more maneuverable units. In the Ancient empires , religion was a necessity for empires to flourish. After the Roman Empire had several religions for a long time, Christianity had risen. For the first three centuries of the existence of Christianity, it was rejected. Christianity was looked down upon because the peoples saw it as rebellious because it was based upon a kingdom of heaven that was separate from the Roman unsophisticated empire.
Christianity was then accepted because of its philosophy of an orderly world and He was born on November 8th in the year 30 A. D in Navia, Umbria. He was descended from a family of senatorial origins, having history with the previous emperors. C, and Governor of Asia in the same year.
Nerva did not seek to hold any military or public speaking career during his early life. As a result, Nero rewarded Nerva by giving him triumphal honors and the right of placing his statues all over the imperial place. After the year 71, he presumably worked as an advisor to emperor Vespasian 69—79 and his sons Titus 79—81 and Domitian 81— Nerva was elected emperor by the senate upon the assassination of Domitian in 96 A.
Despite he was emperor only for two years he did many accomplishments and improvements. Nerva also swore an oath declaring that he would not ever kill, or harm, any member of the Though the roman empire and the roman republic vary in their political structures they are quite common in the structures of their social hierarchy and reasoning for their downfalls.
The Roman Republic and the Roman Empire highly differ in their political structures. The republic: created in BCE. It consisted of 2 consuls of which were appointed by the senate and then voted on. These consuls were the head officers and the were appointed for one year. The senate was one of two legislative bodies comprised of senators and 10 tribunes who were all patricians.
The other body was knows as the tribal assembly and was made up of plebeians who met in a forum to vote on things such as consuls. When Julius Caesar was assassinated a civil war broke out in Rome. The senate was no longer trusted to rule Rome bringing the republic to an end and the empire to a beginning in 27 BCE. An empire is a form of government in which one person -the emperor- had all the real power.
Emperors took power through force or inheritance and ruled for life, though many were assassinated. Some emperors embodied peaceful, prosperous, philosophical and basically just "great" praises. Where as others were vicious, mentally disturbed doctoral murders. The reason for the difference between the roman republic and empire Ceaser Augustus rose to power through the death of his father. In this essay, I will discuss the rise of the Roman Empire with the following issues: the reformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire , the steps Ceaser Augustus took to maintain safety, peace, and prosperity, and the resources that Ceaser Augustus used to accomplish his goals.
Because of this action, the Senate elected him as consul Augustus 1. At the age of twenty-six, Augustus wrote of his endeavors Augustus 1. He took his place as consul and began to handle the republic. He gave from his own pocket to help out the republic. He built many different buildings in order to gain favor and grace with the people. Augustus states at the end of the excerpt, While I held my thirteenth consulship, the Senate and the Rome had been standing and growing for an awfully long time.
Furthermore, religion had augmented a rift in the Roman people and other nations and tribes. Corruption amongst the government and civilian populations slowly crept in. The overall chaotic disorder made Rome an easy target for barbarians to now defeat. The use of imperialism in the initial days of the Roman Empire helped Rome aggrandize its borders, bolster its economy, and spread its culture. However Rome had now reached its limits, its legions were failing, and borders were being exposed to barbarian attacks the continued use of imperialistic tactics failed for Rome.
Saunders writes in his article The Debate on the Fall of Rome: Latin and Hellenic worlds rapidly drifted apart, so that no united front was presented to the renewed barbarian assaults of the fifth century.
The Eastern half of the Roman Empire, however, thrived for another 1, years following the decline of the Western half which is what leads many to say there was no real fall of Rome however it faced a large downsize. Religion in the Roman Empire. Accessed July 22, Download paper. Essay, Pages 2 words. Turn in your highest-quality paper Get a qualified writer to help you with. Get quality help now. Verified writer.
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