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CLAS 202 Textbook Summary [Full Course] File contains concise, easy-to-read summaries of assigned textbook readings. Readings arranged chronologically for ease of use; organized under the same headings used in the textbook for increased readability.


Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAS202
Professor
Daniel Hutter

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CLAS 202
Household Locations
- Many of the divine or semi divine forces that resided within the household were associated with
specific locations within the house
- Vesta was associated with the hearth, Janus was the God most associated with thresholds and
doorways, the Penates were spirits that protected the food storage areas. The Penates required
daily offerings usually given by throwing food or salt on the fire. Termina was associated with
property boundaries and worshipped in the Terminalia festival celebrated every February 23
Lemures and Manes
- The Lemures were the dangerous dead, hostile ghosts of people who died at a young age or
otherwise unexpectedly
- Manes were the benevolent spirits of ancestors, later on in Roman religion everybody was seen
as having individual manes (soul) but in the early days they were worshipped communally
through the Feralia and Parentalia festivals
The Roman Gods
- Not assumed to have direct contact with humans in the same manner that the Greek Gods did,
contacted through specific media
- Jupiter: The supreme God of the Roman, a God associated with weather and lightning (think
Zeus)
- Mars: Roman God of war and agriculture, more important in Roman religion than Ares was in
Greek religion, Mars was offered sacrificed before battles in order to curry his favour
- Quirinus: Existed long before the founding of Rome, not sure what he represented, either God
of war (another one) or the divine form of Romulus
- Juno: Came to be associated with the Greek Goddess Hera, associated with childbirth and
marriage. Festival of Matronalia (women only) involved Juno
- Minerva: Associated with the Greek Goddess Athena, was originally the patroness of arts and
crafts, came to be an important military deity
- Janus: The God of beginnings and also of thresholds and doorways

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- Saturn: Originally a Greek deity? Seemed to be an agricultural deity
- Vulcan: Roman God of fire and industry, fire was both destructive and productive in Rome
- Venus: Likely a Goddess of fertility and vegetation, became very powerfully associated with
Greek Goddess Aphrodite
- Mercury: Roman God of communication and trade
- Diana: Was a hunter associated with the woods and the moon, could also be invoked for
assistance in childbirth
- Ceres: A grain Goddess
Foreign Cults
- In general, Romans were tolerant of other religious traditions, the reason for their prejudice
against Jews and Christians was because those religions did not allow the worship of multiple
deities, leading to many accusations of atheism
Isis: The cult of Isis was very popular among the elite of Rome, she was an Egyptian deity. Eventually Isis
became an almost universal Goddess of feminine power
Apollo: Was always recognized as a Greek God, his influence was originally felt as a healing God and
oracle
Bacchus: Most of the worshippers of this deity were women who worked themselves into a frenzy
where they ate raw flesh. They were very secretive which led to beliefs that they were conspiring
against the state and thus assembly of the Bacchae was forbidden
Mithras: Zoroastrian deity whose worship was reserved exclusively to men, Mithras took the form of a
bull and there is evidence that bull sacrifice was an important component
Cybele: Goddess of the earth and fertility, led to crazy worship where men would castrate themselves
and women would slash their arms, Roman government soon outlawed these types of worship
Judaism: There were many important events in Jewish history during the Roman Empire, such as: the
destruction of the Jerusalem temple, completion of the Talmud and Hebrew bible
Christianity: Christianity began during Roman times; eventually it became the official religion of the
Roman Empire
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The State Cult
- The operation of the state cult was seen as an integral part of Roman governance, cultic officials
were appointed and had to maintain the pax deorum (maintenance of the proper relationship
between the citizens and the Gods, known as the ius divinum)
- Four major colleges of Roman cultic officials which would regularly b consulted by the senate:
the Pontifices (responsible for overall maintenance of the state cult), the Augurs (responsible for
asking and interpreting omens), the Sacris Faciundis (responsible to keep and protect the
Sibylline oracles) and the Epulones (responsible to administer feasts and games)
- Vestal Virgins: Organization of women responsible for the worship of Vesta, they were more
separated from society than other religious organizations but they were taken care of, involved
taking a vow of chastity for 30 years
- Arval Priests: Argued to be the oldest Roman religious organization, responsible for sacrifices
and other cultic acts
- Fetiales: Responsible for the religious components of relationships with other states and foreign
peoples, such as ratifying treaties or declaring war against other nations
- Haruspices: Responsible for interpreting signals and omens, involved the examination of animal
entrails or observation of meteorological phenomena
- Rex Sacrorum: One of the most important religious functions in Republic times, filled the gap
created by the expulsion of the kings, was appointed for life and could not hold other civic
positions, responsible for enacting various rituals and sacrifices
- Lupercalia: The best known Roman festival, but the significance of it is not clear. Was written
about by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar
- Saturnalia: A festival to honour Saturn the God
- Parentalia: A festival commemorating the dead, another festival for the dead was Lemuria
The Cult of the Emperor
- Living emperors were not worshipped as deities, the idea of deification was used by writers to
describe if the Emperor was well liked or not. After an Emperor would be deified cults
worshipping them would usually pop up but some Emperors were more worshipped than others
and some weren’t even deified
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