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CLA233H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Human Body, Epicurus, Legatus

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Carrie Fulton
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CLA233 Exam Readings
CLA233 Week 7: Religion & Philosophy
Shelton nos. 408, 409, 412, 418, 419, 420, 426, 428, 435, 437, 441, 442, 445, 446, 447, 448, 456,
459, 463, 466, 467
XV: Religion and Philosophy
- Common to all human cultures but differentiates in manifestation
- 6-dimensional framework of religion
o doctrine
o narrative or myth
o ethics
o rituals
o experience
o social institution
- Rome had state religion because most people accepted it and was believed to ensure the
preservation and prosperity of their state
- Priests were state officials and temples received state funding
- State priests assumed responsibility for maintaining good relationships with the gods
The Gods of the State Religion
- By late republic religion has been substantially modified
- New deities and practices were introduced by the Etruscans and the Greeks
o Etruscans ruled the Romans for 100+ years of monarchy
o Greek colonists
- Process through gradual assimilation rather than sudden import
Importing Gods
- in middle Republic, Romans imported several deities directly from Greece and Asia
Minor suddenly
- these imports came at times of crisis when Romans felt they needed extra help
Shelton 408: A Book about Famous Men (anonymous), 22
- Due to plague, Quintus brought Aesculapius from Greece
o In Greece, people were known to travel great distances to see temple of
o Priests were skilled in medicine, surgery, and pharmacology
- A snake joined the ship heading back to Rome then jumped onto an island where the
temple was built
- Plague subsided
Welcoming the Gods of Your Enemy
- Romans were sure to not offend any deity
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- When besieging an enemy, they invited protective deities of the city to leave and join
- When city was captured, statues were carefully removed from temples
Shelton 409: Macrobius, Saturnalia Conversations 3.9.7, 8
- Vow made by commanding officer of troops
- Ask for god or goddess to leave Carthage and join in protecting Rome
- In return temples will be built for them and games will be held in their honour
- Gods were natural neutral, therefore Roman religion must work to gain the good will of
divine forces
- Pax state of order, regularity, harmony, and discipline
- Since earliest rituals were effective in securing cooperation of gods, they were repeated
century after century
o No deviation was allowed
- Pietas scrupulous attention to maintaining a proper relationship with one’s parents,
relatives, ancestors, gods, friends, etc.
o Sense of duty
- Cultus deorum cultivation of gods, methodical performance of all rites and practices
that will make the gods favourably disposed
- Religion was concerned with material success rather than ethical behaviour
o Morality and ethical behaviour were function of pietas (family and civic
responsibility) rather than religion
- Romans used sacrifice, prayer, vow, and divination
- Prayers could be made by individual, paterfamilias, or magistrate on behalf of the
- Prayers were accompanied by a sacrifice to indicate seriousness of one’s desire to
o Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs were used by state-financed sacrifices
o Smaller sacrifices were made by the family
Shelton 412: Pliny the Elder, Natural History 28.2(3).10, 11
- No good to offer sacrifice or consult gods without prayer
- Different prayers for different practices
- Cannot allow mistakes in reciting
- Flute is played over extraneous sounds
The Sibylline Books
- Collection of oracular responses
- Believed to have been purchased by last of the Roman Kingsfrom a woman of prophetic
power called Sibyl
Shelton 419: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 4.62.5, 6
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- After expulsion of kings SB was entrusted to distinguished Roman citizens
- No one is allowed to inspect oracles without priests present
- Consulted whenever Senate decrees it
o In times of crisis
- Was guarded underground by 10 men until temple was burnt down and burnt down with
- The oracles that remain were copied by 3 envoys commanded by the Senate
- Festivals allowed Romans to renew their relationships with deities
- Embedded with prayer and sacrifices and must be celebrated
- Ceremonies only mattered in the correct performance of ritual not number of audience
Shelton 420: Cato the Elder, On Agriculture 141
- Cato describes a lustratio (purification ceremony)
- Pig, sheep, and bull and led around the land
- Ask for protection from crop loss and health
- Separate prayers for walking around land vs killing the animals
Officers of the State Religion
- Priesthoods were occupied by politicians
- Caesar was Pontifex Maximus
- Cicero was an augur
Shelton 426: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.73.1, 2
- Pontifices have authority in the most important matters in the Roman state
- Judge religious cases, make laws regarding rituals, scrutinize all priesthoods, punish
those who do not obey
- Are not accountable to the Senate or people and not liable to any prosecution or
Vestal Virgins
- Vesta was the deity of hearth fire which was important to Romans
o Every home had hearth as a central element so every private home was a temple
of Vesta
- Also had temple of Vesta where she was represented by eternal fire burning
- Vestal virgins had to keep it burning
Shelton 428: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.67
- Had to be virgins otherwise die shamefully
- Cult had gained popularity during early 2nd century BC
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