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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Gods and Humans in Roman Religion

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CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Oct 24, 2012 Lecture 7 - Gods and Humans in Roman Religion Group Work • Examine BNP #2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.7, 2.8 (Our group did 2.2) What do these passages reveal about what characterizes Roman gods, dei? • • 2.1 - written by a christian. His tone is negative • 2.1 - take their orders from Zeus, as must humans • 2.2 - Augustine mocks pagan religion 2.8 - humans turned into gods (narrated by Livy) • • 2.8 - does Livy really have a source? Based on mythology and speculation. Perhaps he did have and earlier source, but definitely not from the time of Romulus • 2.8 - When humans become gods you will often find debate • 2.8 - frieze of emperor becoming deified. This makes this more certain among the common people. Those reading would be the upper class, and more open to debate (Livy presents two stories) • 2.7 - contractual relationship with claudius; give and take relationship • What do gods look like? • 2.1 - Similar to humans both in appearance and personality • 2.1 - gods looking like animals? Pah! • 2.2 - Lares shown with sacrificial instruments • 2.2 - Rubigo is personification of mildew • 2.8 - Commodus dressed up as Hercules. Emulation vs. Deification • 2.7 - gods worshipped without representation, but after mater magna they want to see her in human form, where before she was just shown as a pile of rocks • 2.7 - was the rock her? Symbolic of her? • How do they act? 2.2 - the gods can be temporary • • 2.7 - matron is promoting virtue; gods often are in support of virtue • 2.7 - goddess has her own culture; her ways are foreign to rome and it might not sit well • What are their characters like? • 2.2 - Lares don’t have personal individuality - more of a group personality • 2.2 - Rubigo is a dread goddess, she needs to be placated • What are their responsibilities? • 2.2 - gods for actions • What makes them different from humans? • 2.1- have the ability to transform • How should humans act toward them? • 2.2 - humans duty to worship • 2.7 - a great deal of respect • 2.7 - drives man crazy and he castrates himself (her priest) • Where do they come from? • 2.1 - can come from obscure origins • 2.7 - Mater magna comes to Rome from Carthage, from where she was called on recom- mendation of the Sybille Books CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Oct 24, 2012 Lecture 7 - Gods and Humans in Roman Religion • 2.7 - they need something physical to show she has come - i.e., the rock that had fallen from the heavens (probably a meteorite) • In summary: • Anthropomorphic • Yet often described as being greater than humans • To a certain extent are concerned with justice/virtue, but may not always observe that. If they break they are not subject to human penalties May have distinct personalities, may not • • Change their moods - not predictable • That’s why you have augers and auspices to figure this out • Humans can become gods but the Romans aren’t always sure what to do regarding this • People might still be a touch uneasy with it • Are humans and gods the same species? Gods and Kings in theAncient Mediterranean • Persian kings buddies with the gods Image: relief from 3rd century BC:Artexerxes, founder ofAssassinid Empire • • Depicted as the same size - equal • Alexander received persian traditions into his own court when he conquered them • Had Persians intermarry with Greeks • Adopted persian kids and raised them greeks • Wanted to show what he could do • His successors tried to imitate this • Start receiving honors and titles that make them sound like gods Images • Coin of Seleucid King (Antiacus Epiphanies, 4th king) • His second title means “god manifest” • Famous cause he tried to get a statue of zeus put up in a jewish temple • Macabian revolt • His coin is the first time you have a kings face on a coin • Calls himself the “bearer of victory” • Victory personified as the goddess Nike • This means “I have divine favor of Goddess Nike” CAUSE IAMAGOD! • Romans would have been aware of this - and at this time probably disapproved • They would never mint an image of a living roman though - perhaps a renowned ancestor • Image of Hercules • Romans very early on exposed to cult of hercules • Southern Italy - magna graeca • Herc defeats a giant when mortal, and then later gets deified • Romans had worship of him from earliest days • He becomes more and more important throughout roman religion • Interesting cause he is a mortal, and a god CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Oct 24, 2012 Lecture 7 - Gods and Humans in Roman Religion • And the romans in the republic were pretty comfortable with this idea • He was cremated on a pyre and the flames brought him up to heaven on his deathbed His origins are so legendary and so far in the past that he is not really a threat • • Coin: Jupiter Indiges, deified Aeneas • Originally the founder becoming a god was not so political • But later on it does come Caesar • Deified Iulus • Worshipped by the Julian Clan as Vediovis (little Jupiter, or anti-jupiter) • Minor cult and tied up with julian clan • Becomes a problem come Caesar • Quirinus: deified Romulus • Romans sometimes referred to as Quiritais • Depicted almost like mars in a chariot • You wonder if the story of Romulus being torn apart is put in there at time of Caesar’s assas
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