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Lecture 7

CLA233 Lecture 7 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael J.Dewar

CLA233 Lecture 7 Notes Religion - pax deorum – ‘peace of the gods’ – not forgetting to sacrifice a pig, or to pay back the gods for helping them - pontifex maximus – ‘highest bridge builder’ - quote by Polybius: “that we are people who set quite the highest store on reverence towards the gods, one might surmise especially from the favour vouchsafed to us by the divine power on that account; indeed we are persuaded also by many other considerations that our high regard for the divine power has manifest” - belief that Romans were the favourites of the gods because of this - success attributed by the gods’ favour - almost legal frame of mind regarding religion - could not do anything without the gods being on their side Ritual, Formalism, ‘Legalism’ - clear away dead wood to plant new trees in a grove – need to perform rituals and prayers to do so - ritual is Roman – Cato emphasizes that it is Roman – other people to not perform it correctly - clearly Roman religion is not truly spiritual – more guidance - assumption that grove must have a god in it – gods of the countryside – may not know if the spirit is male or female - in prayer – cannot offend the god – ensure that it is outlined what you would like done in return for prayer/worship - for harvest – cattle sacrifice – pig is not important enough for such a vital event - either Cato himself must perform the ritual, or someone does it for him at his request - makes sure that nobody is left out of the prayers – everyone under his patria potestas, as well as any member of the household who is not - very clear – make sure the god does not forget anyone - ask for protection/a favour - most people in the countryside – involved with spirits – nature – very old spirits - ‘big’ gods like Jupiter had temples by smaller gods were worshipped for farm preservation Many Powers, Many Gods - they understand that some of their gods are a little petty – according to Augustine - how can any intelligent person believe all of this – so many gods - one god not enough for protection of the door – a god for each part of the entrance - most gods are very minor - incredible elaboration of the gods – a god for each action or area - assumption by Augustine that the readers are all rich aristocrats – everyone has a door slave according to him - outside perspective – Christian Community Devotion - Anchises – father of Aeneas - Venus – goddess of love - join in celebration for the beginning of Augustus’ reign - Horace – given money by Rome to train a choir of children for the celebration Private Devotion - Ceres – goddess of agriculture - in honour – if goddess makes the crows grow – he will make her an offering in the temple in honour of her and their agreement - Priapus – scare birds with reaping hook – often represented by an erect phallus – scares birds and helps crops grow – not the most respectable god - only Ceres is a “first ranking” god - Lares – keeps food fresh, god of the larder - offering of female animals – honour female fertility - writer comes from a family that was once wealthier than it is currently - gods regularly appealed to in very mundane ways Asking for Help - Nodens – avatar of Mars, Roman god of war - best way to hurt someone else – take lead, scratch a curse on it, and put it in the earth by a temple - somebody has stolen his ring – Silvanius believes that a man named Senicianus stole it - asks the god to curse every man names Senicianus – so that the true thief is not left out – wants to make him return the ring to the temple - in return for this, Silvanius will sell the ring and give half the amount it is worth as an offering to the god Giving Thanks for Help - Tullia Superiana – lost hair, prayed to Minerva – hair grew back - must pay back favours – keep promises to the gods - gave a plaque in Minerva’s honour You’re Dead Means You’re Dead - what you believe is you
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