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Lecture

CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Roman Festivals, Magna Graecia, Roman Kingdom


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA160H1
Professor
Susan Dunning

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CLA 310 – RELG ROMAN WORLD S. DUNNING 09/19/12
RELIGION AT ROME
-Personal belief
-Explanatory narrative
-Figurehead / founder
- Sacrifice (of time, attention, energy, material goods)
- Communication with the supernatural
- Formation of human ties and identities
- Specialists
- Traditions and rituals
-Addresses questions of what happens after death
**Italics = meant something different to the Romans
Vocab
-Cultus (from colere)
-Religio (from religare)
-Superstitio (from superstare)
-Deus, dea
-Numen
-Sacer
-Sanctus
- Cultus (from “to take care of”)
oWorship according to a particular type of ritual dedicated to a particular
deity
oSmall, specific kind of group worship
oUnique rituals and practices centred around a deity (that may be
antisocial)
- Religio (from “binding together”)
oObligating the gods
oGives god what they’re due
oPractice of contracting with gods
oAbstract term regarding what you should do for the gods
- Superstitio (“to stand over”)
oThings you don’t mean to do for the gods
oDoing more than you need to for the gods
oNegative connotation

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E.g., Christians are superstitious because they are doing more than
they have to (i.e., worshipping another god)
oDoing rites uncalled for when time is better used somewhere else
- Deus / dea
o(god(dess))
oGoes all the way back to ancient (early) Roman times
oPersonalized powers in the supernatural realm
oGendered entities
- Numen
oGeneral divine power
oReason for (numen theory of) animism
- Sacer / sanctus
oSacred, holy
oSacer ~ property of the gods ~ person(s)
If person declared sacer no repercussions for those who kill you
(can get sacrificed)
OR in devotio (general sacrificing / devoting self to the chthonic
gods along with the enemy for victory)
General’s death taken as a sign that the gods favour your side
(Roman)
oSanctus = holy / sacred
Property of the gods ~ objects
E.g., walls of the city
o**Don’t use interchangeably**
- Outline of Roman History
oRegal, (Early / Mid / Late) Republic, Augustan period, (Early / Late)
Empire
- Regal period overthrown 509 BC
- Republic ruled by the Senate, consuls, tribune, etc. who were elected in position
(power concentrated in the upper classes) – somewhat democratic
oSenate and the people (symbols of the Rep)
oTerritorial expansion, overseas wars, naval supremacy and military
achievements define the period
oAcquisition of foreign influence – importation of foreign, art, literature,
philosophy, etc.
- Rome flourished because of having citizen soldiers
oHave something to look forward to after war
oBut power became concentrated, soldiers want to be professionalized
(make it into a career) and given certain rights ~ hand support to one who
satisfy their needs – conflict within Rome, power struggles
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-Augustus quelled unrest, introduced certain reforms, concentrated power to one
ruler – imperator
- Rome started to lose status as capital city because it was difficult to manage such
a big empire from there (too far west compared to most of its territory)
- Roman empire later split into West and East – Byzantium the capital of the
Eastern half
Sources for early Roman religion
- Historians
- Literature
- Calendars
- Consular lists
- Pontifical records (fragmentary) – priestly
- Material evidence
- Romans, like Greeks, considered History as a genre
oLiterature ~ poetry
- Mid Rep, Aeneas, myth of Romulus and Remus survived in fragments
- But is there continuity?
Calendars
- Describe which days are (feasts), holidays, work-days, festivals
- Capital letter festivals = older, more important Roman festivals
-Supposedly formed by King Numa (2nd king)
Consular Lists
- Goes all the way back from Augustan Period to the very first consuls
- Common to date by consul
Pontifical records
- Pontifices record little changes, notes, accounts on annals
oSometimes cited by historians
- Biased to what the pontifices think was important at the time – not all inclusive
(very selective)
Material Evidence
- Statues, temple ruins, votive offerings, etc.
- Inscriptions, art
- Votive offerings given in exchange as a vow
oAct as thanksgiving for god curing ailment
oContractual offering
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