Ancient Idols: A sample of ancient Roman idols used in a home.
Bock

Roman Religion Sept 3

I already noted in an earlier post how in the Roman world the gods were everywhere. When it comes to Roman religion, there are also important differences with our own religious culture. A nice summary of ancient texts on Roman religion is found in Roman Religion: A Sourcebook, by Valerie M. Warrior (published in 2002; her book on the topic has the same title and was published in 2006).

I already noted in an earlier post how in the Roman world the gods were everywhere. When it comes to Roman religion, there are also important differences with our own religious culture. A nice summary of ancient texts on Roman religion is found in Roman Religion: A Sourcebook, by Valerie M. Warrior (published in 2002; her book on the topic has the same title and was published in 2006). In her intorductory chapter she notes the following six features of Roman Religion [my comments in brackets]:

(1) The gods exist but their benevolence cannot be taken for granted. [Thus the need for regular prayer and sacrifice].

(2) I give in order that you may give (do et des). [So there is a kind of barter relationship with the gods.]

(3) The gods communicate their will to man by sending messages – auspices, portents, prodigies, dreams, and prophecies – that were usually interpreted by various specialists in divination.

(4) Ritual and its correct performance are critically important.

(5) The gods’ concern is more with material success than ethical behavior. [This is a major difference between Roman religion and Judaism and Christianity]

(6) Religion and politics are interconnected.

[So the belief was the gods protected people and brought them success, but the amount of spiritual leading was minimal. This was somethign the philosophers gave to the culture in calling them to virtue and ethics. This makes the character of Roman religion very distinct from our own sense of reliion and spirituality.]

Ancient Idols: A sample of ancient Roman idols used in a home.

 

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