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Lecture 7

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Michael J.Dewar

Lecture 7: Religion January 29 , 2013  Religion  Romans believed that they were the most loyal and respectful to the gods  They had many rituals  Most served as to reassure them that the gods were with them in their deeds  Others to protect them and their fulfill their needs  i.e. good harvest, safe trip, protect home etc R1: Ritual, Formalism, „Legalism‟ You should thin out a grove with the Roman ritual as follows. Sacrifice a pig as a propitiatory offering, and utter the following prayer: „Whether you are a god or a goddess, you whose sacred [grove] this is, as it is your right to be given a pig as an offering for the thinning of this sacred grove, therefore for these reasons, whether it is I who make the sacrifice or someone makes it on my instruction, on the condition that it be made correctly, for this reason therefore, in sacrificing this offering-pig, I pray you good prayers, so that you may be kindly and propitious to me and to my household and to the members of my family and to my children. For these reasons therefore be honoured by this sacrifice of an offering-pig. Cato the Elder („the Censor‟), On Agriculture 139  emphasis on roman rituals - romans  the only one who can show the correct ritual to the gods i) wasn‟t really spiritual (roman religion as a whole, in anitiquity)  moreso to fulfill needs ii) god of nature  significant in countryside  god‟s sex doesn‟t matter, but you must show respect to them (a)respect their right by offering them the correct sacrifice (b)list all those who are dependant to you in the household, yourself first iii)influenced by greek gods/goddesses  major ones: (a)Zuess = Jupiter, Hera = Juno, Demeter = Ceres, Hestia = Vesta, Poseidon = Neptunus, Aphrodite = Venus, Athena = Minera, Ares = Mars, Apollo = Apollo, Artemis = Diana, Hephaestus = Vulcanus, Hermes = Mercurius (i) Best temple in Rome  dedicated to Jupiter R2: Many Powers, Many Gods Next let us inquire, if you like, which god or which gods, out of the mighty throng worshipped by the Romans, they believe did most to extend and preserve their empire. For in such a glorious achievement and one so exalted in its importance they do not venture to assign any part to Cluacina (i. e. the goddess of the sewer, the cloaca), or to Volupia, who gets her name from 1 pleasure (voluptas), or to Lubentina, whose name is from lust (libido), or to Vaticanus, who presides over the wailing (vagitus) of infants, or to Cunina, who administers the department of cradles (cunae). But how is it possible in one passage of this book to record all the names of the gods and goddesses that they were scarcely able to find room for in the huge volumes in which they divided up the services of the deities among the departments, assigning each to his own? They did not reach the conclusion that they should put some god in charge of all their land, but assigned fields (rura) to the goddess Rusina, mountain peaks (iuga) to the god Jugatinus, hills (colles) to the goddess Collatina, and valleys (valles) to Vallonia….. I do not record them all, for I am bored by all this, though they are not ashamed of it… Everyone has a single doorkeeper for his house, and since he is a man, that is quite sufficient. But they put three gods there: Forculus for the doors (fores), Cardea for the hinges (cardo), and Limentinus for the threshold (limen). Thus Forculus was not competent to guard both the hinge and the threshold along with the door. Augustine, The City of God, 4. 8. (Tr. William M. Green, Loeb Classical Library, Volume II)  Augustine ridicules roman religion - Gives various examples of lesser, petty and ridiculous gods i) Cluacina = goddess of sewer ii) Volupia = goddess of all forms of pleasure (sexual, most often) iii)Lubentina = libido and lust - They didn‟t have a monotheist society but rather polytheist for mankind i) Need 3 gods to protect your household (both structure and the family members ie your daughter) ii) All the gods/goddesses  deities of property or activity  Elaboration of all the gods = too many! R3: Community Devotion O ye gods, give sound character to a young generation enabling them to learn; gods, give rest to the old ensuring their contentment; and to the people of Romulus give wealth and children and every blessing. What the glorious descendant of Anchises and Venus asks of you with white oxen, may he obtain; may he be victorious in battle over his foes yet merciful once they are down. Horace, Carmen Saeculare („Song for a New Age‟) 45-52. Tr. Niall Rudd, Loeb Classical Library. Slightly adapted.  Olympic gods = community gods (this is during Augustus‟ time) - They would worship together - Romulus also a community god even though he didn‟t exist R4: Private Devotion 2 For you, O Golden Ceres, my land would bear a crown of wheaten spikes to hang on your temple door. I‟d place a red Priapus to stand sentry in the orchard and scare away the birds with his reaping-hook. You, O Lares, also receive your gifts as guardians of a property once prosperous, now poor: once a slaughtered heifer purified uncounted steers; now my little acres offer a ewe-lamb. The ewe-lamb shall be yours and at her sacrifice the peasants can shout „O Lares, grant us good harvest and good wine.‟ Tibullus, Elegies 1. 1. 15-24. Tr. Guy Lee (Liverpool, 1975)  Multiple sources of spiritual connections to the gods on a personal level - Ie, poems, recitations or personal thoughts i) Ceres = agricultural goddess (Greek goddess Demeter)  Presided over grains and the fertility of the earth ii) Lares  god of the garden  Protects your crop by birds, pests, diseases, etc  Keeps it edible! - Ceres  first ranking gods, rest not so much i) Ceres helps you grow the crops, Lares keeps them alive  Duality ii) Animals  always female whne sacrificing  Fertility aspect - Poem  such poem were used in the Roman world to recite to the gods i) This is a love poem R5: Asking for Help To the god Nodens. Silvianus
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