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Lecture 6

CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Fetial, Plautus, Lightning

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CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World
Wednesday Oct 17, 2012
Lecture 6 - Individuals and Religion P.2; Roman Religion in the Public Sphere
House Shrines
Household gods give evidence that there are lots of gods - not just the household Lares and the
In the same house you may have Lararium and a shrine to a different deities (average number
being 5)
Wouldn’t represent the entire pantheon
Sometimes numbers are bigger as you’re a non-Roman worshipping ancestral gods
Not all lararium have lares
Individual families have gods based on their families relationships with the gods, the whole
neighborhood would then represent whole pantheon
Certain times you would choose to venerate one god over the other
When the Gauls sacked rome on 90 BC the Romans voluntarily leaved the city so the story is
that they take the important things of the city, including their ancestral gods
Shrines can include paintings and statues, or both
The more lavish the shrine doesn’t indicate anything; even the wealthy didn’t alter much
Lararium is a modern term, they would have just called them shrines
Much choice of deities
Have typical traditional pantheon who are important in civic sphere, but notice they are not
the most important
Hercules, Fortuna-Isis and Isis are popular
Gods come from all over the place
House Tombs
Would have public festival celebrating the dead - Vestal Virgins as the mother of Rome do a
public version of a private ritual at the tombs
Also have private celebrations - banquets with libations to the dead
St.Augustine Quotes Seneca the Younger
What kinds of religious activities does Seneca record being performed on the Capitoline? Who
is performing them?
A madman, unless with the purposes of mockery
Women dressing the statues “hair”, special attendants (e.g., to oil them) performing poetry
and the like, hanging around thinking the gods are in love with them, etc
What is Seneca’s responds to this behavior? Why does he respond this way?
Can go mad once a year, but not constantly
“the wise man will observe all these customs as being fixed by law, not as being acceptable
to the gods”
The law allows it, but the gods don’t necessarily condone it
What do these behaviors reveal about the attitudes of “Average” Romans toward religion?
Thought the gods were personal, and enjoyed human things
What does St. Augustine conclude about Roman religious practices from Seneca’s account?
Conformity in the action while having no religious commitment
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