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Lecture 11

Lecture 11 - Religion through Literature and Philosophy

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CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Nov 28, 2012 Lecture 11 - Religion through Literature and Philosophy Christian Catacombs • First christians gathered together privately Would not have had a public space • • One place to gather for worship was catacombs (for burials) • Developed out of the practice of Jewish catacombs • Where could burials take place in Rome? - Outside the Pomerium If you’re poor you might have a tombstone • • Or a main centre for cremated remains housed in niches • Christians built underground chambers where you could bury your dead in sarcophagoi (means “eats-flesh” in Greek) • May have a number of sarcophagoi lined up • Community effort • Some are better quality than others, some decorated (either hired or community) • Christians depicted famous people • From Old Testament stories • Or from their own writings (our New Testament) • And images of Jesus • Classic image of persecuted image: couldn't worship in public • That is only true part of the time - persecution of Christians only really began in 3rd century AD • These catacombs were built from 1st centuryA.D. Onwards and are heavily used in times of distress • For early christians the surviving parts of people who died were called relics • Heavy emphasis on bodies • All people in ancient mediterranean took extreme care to make sure people were well buried • For christians, should they have lived a particularly holy life, if they leave a part of themselves behind they will be bodily raised from the dead • Some of their holiness can be communicated by touching these relics, or their clothing • So these catacombs were places of particularly intimacy with people who’d passed on to anoth- er world but sill held a personal relationship with you and kept their individuality • This is different from traditional Roman practice House Churches • House church of Dura Europus has a type of bath - believed to be for baptism • Shows that the community there was big and permanent enough to make an actual change in the structure of their house in order to accommodate the rituals in the christian community • This would be unique to christian households Christian Basilicas When it becomes the religion of Rome it makes sense to establish buildings • • Type of architecture for these buildings was taken from the Basilica • Not a roman or greek temple • Considered as secular as possible to the romans CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Nov 28, 2012 Lecture 11 - Religion through Literature and Philosophy • This is where people would all things • Or have lawyers gather Apublic space and not considered property of the gods • • They didn’t want to have any association with paganism • Considered pagan gods “demons” Hagia Sophia Built in Constantinople • • Transformed into a mosque after Constantinople fell to the turks • Islam does not allow images - only letters, so christian images are painted over • Has rounded arches which are derived from the basilica structure Literary and Philosophical Sources • All literary and philosophical sources will emphasize the elite experience • Elite views, attitudes and experiences • Have the benefits of education Perhaps are disillusioned, more rationalistic view • • Emphasis on theories and abstract concepts: fate, fortune, virtue, evil • Often attempt to present a coherent or rationalized picture of religious beliefs and practices, and their histories • May question or criticize the practices of the “masses” • May criticize, but may also advocate change or emphasis on following strict ritual vs. emo- tional • May uphold or reject “traditional” religion • Alot of people get the label “atheist” whilst still believing in some supernatural power People would get accused of that if they did not worship traditional gods • • Jews and christians received this title • Allegorizing may be present • May take traditional story and emphasize it’s hidden meaning • The characters or specific objects are symbols • Or make their own story • Plato’s cave • Happens in texts that use religious characters but not trying to make new myths but make philosophical point • Literary sources can be abused • Try and make bigger claims on religion by looking at little passages • Make inferences from little material • G. Martin goes through and explains selection 1 of Vergil, Georgics She assumes verses are Fescennine when he never says that • • She turns carmina laeta as a specific genre, when all Vergil said “they sing joyful songs” • Everything she presents is an educated guess - not based on anything Vergil Hercules kills local monster and is honored with a hero-cult • CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World Wednesday Nov 28, 2012 Lecture 11 - Religion through Literature and Philosophy • Cult for his heroic deeds, not as a deified mortal • After he kills the bad guy he gets the cult immediately In Rome, worship of Hercules takes place in Forum Boarium • • Augustus preserved the original • It is the oldest temple we have • The story that is linked to the temple: • The families Potitii and Pinari had been in charge of the worship • They then handed it over to public slaves • This passage seems more public • Why would vergil do this? • In vergils day this is a public ritual • As far as they know this was how it was supposed to be • But he includes these families at the foundation • Tries to make sense of conflicting accounts • Priests known as Salii • Old roman priests • Makes sense as he is talking about ancient times • Except the king is greek - how does he rectify this with his audience? • In old greek version hercules goes somewhere mythical where neither greeks or romans have claim • But vergil heres a story of a place that is near rome • Want to have claim upon him • Aeneas adopts the ritual and it becomes romanize • Paradoxical because they admit that he is Greek but it is supposed to be thoroughly roman • That is what is going on in this ritual • Hero-cult in vergils day: • Cannot be deified during life - like augustus, he doesn’t not get a cult during his lifetime • So th
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