• Early Roman Religion
• Sky God; War God
• Numina (means spirit, or things that are animated- everything has a
spirit) : animism
• Etruscans influence, they were influenced by them by reading livers.
• Greek culture poured into Rome, and the Romans quickly adopted.
• It’s not much of an exaggeration that when Rome conquered greece,
roman religion/literature/philosophy disappears, and is replaced by all
• “The conquered Greeks conquered the Romans”
• Sky God: Jupiter
• War God: Mars
Ancestors; Pietas (look at text book for this; religion in home/farm and
• How did they predict the future?
• Ancestors play a big role.
• every house would have a small shrine
• Each family would claim that it would have its own particular spirit
creatures, looking out for it. Example: snake head; which shows a sign of
help. They would call these gods the “genius”- comes from genitals. or
• This is how the Romans explain why a roman family acts a certain
• They believed that every family had a particular skill
• Modern day genetics as an actual force that must be respected.
• They tend to ignore the qualities that don’t fit into the family identity.
• The ancestor influences it greatly
• Pietas is a latin word for piety. (religious)
• Pietas means that you are obligated to another person, such as your
wife, family ancestors.
• Romans prided themselves to the devotion of filling their obligations Religious Formalism
-Formalism means what matters is the form, less so the content, and
observing the proper forms
• modern democracy is based on formalism
• Religious formalism is really marked, when they would pray, if at any
point, a priest messes up, he must go all the way back and re do it, etc.
• Romans invented an engineering device
• They were a great force in the science of engineering.
• roman roads are straight, and is composed in the same way, built to
• They were all done perfectly because of religious purpose.
• The pig has to be a certain colour
• certain cultures teach certain attitudes. the romans taught that you
must do the thing correctly, perfectly and sufficiently
• very obsessive - compulsive, it was a sign of piety.
• Maker of the Bridges
• it was built by priests
• they were doing it for the sake of their religion
• Roman forts HAD to be built a certain way.
• a main avenue leading to the commanders area. you always kept
things in a certain place, etc.
Church and State
• Non-professional priests
• Politics and Priesthoods
• Your political prominent was getting one of the priesthoods.
• the priesthoods didn’t really recieve money for this. th
Priestly Colleges - 4 different groups
- administer what you need, they didnt provide what you need, they would
just instruct you on what to do. They oversaw the calandar, and went through
the holy days, when would the festivals be held. s.
- took omens, oversaw the oracles
- They were experts in interpreting thing
- Dismissed meetings
-priests to specific gods
• they wear odd hats
• the flamen carries out actual ceremonies for gods.
• women for a period of their life who remains virgins and lived at this
temple of the goddess Vesta; god of the fireplace / home fire.
• kept the home fire of Rome burning.
• sacred place that no man was allowed to go in
• there is a place where the women would put their wills. No one
would disturb it.
• Roman tolerance- very tolerant.
• Roman piety and pragmatism- do what you have to do. If you want
something, this is what you are obliged to do.
• Rome: the religious capitol. • Astrology and the paranormal are absolutely believed in.
• They believed in magic
• as wel as ghosts
• They didn’t have a skeptical attitude
• only offered you a manual on what you wanted to get
• If you made the slightest mistake, it could ruin the prayer
• The religions offered you...
• Moral code- there were lots of mystery religions, that have morality;
this is what you should want in life
• Personal contact
• Hope for life after death
Bacchanalian cult: Dionysus
• Roman intolerance
• people went off and took oaths to kill people who are opposed to the
• the romans shut down the worships and made it illegal to practice this
Magna Meter, Isis, ( seen as aphrodite or cleopatra) unofficial temples at
Rome), were Gods that were worshipped. There was a sensory overload.
• Mithras was very popular with soliders, a persian religion that became
popular in rome, the god of zoroastrian. Mithras was killing a bull, and
roman soldiers would worship him. He was virgin birthed.
• December 25th comes from the Mithras myth, not from the bible.
• Judaism is viewed as another mystery religion, “Yahweh” was their
• there was tolerance for the jews
• rome had more problems with jews than any other people
• They finally said, not only can you practice judaism, but we are going
to eliminate the jewish nation.
• Celebrating the loot of jerusalem th
• Romans were skeptical against scam artists.
• there is a large transformation that occurs when emperor August
• He saw the popularity of mystery religions
• he tries to create a public religion that provides security and comfort
to show that there are answers to everything.
Roman Conquest of Italy
War w/ the Latin League
• people banded together and formed a federation to take Rome down.
• this lasted 5-6 years
• this information is pretty approximate.
• Rome alternates leadership with other cities, make war with other
cities but not with each other.
• Rome gets half of all spoils taken in war
• All cities have free trade. No taxes
• You can also intermarry
• You can immigrate to any other city within this region.
• The latins accepted this.
• Rome is now part of a much larger entity.
• its so typical of this roman pragmatic attitude.
Creation of a Professional Army
• they start to pay their soldiers
• if you’re drafted, you’ll get paid while you’re on duty.
• when you fought, it was part of your duty
• Rome decides to encourage their citizens that they will get