Religion and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

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Using the following sources and your own knowledge, discuss the importance of religion and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Religion and death was an important part of everyday life in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Romans, like the Greeks and Egyptians were polytheists who worshipped a variety of gods. This is evident in the temples, household shrines, cults and tombs that were found in the cities. Proper worship of the gods was believed to ensure peace, fertility and prosperity. All citizens were expected to be involved in religious rituals as they were believed to be necessary to win the favour of the gods. The Roman State Cult was centred on the worship of the gods Jupiter, the protector of the state, Juno, protector of women and Minerva, patroness of craftsmen. From the time of Augustus, an imperial cult developed under the influence of Greek hero cults and concepts of divine kingship. The emperor was worshipped at both Pompeii and Herculaneum and Augustales, who were the priests of Augustus, were appointed to administer the cult. As the empire grew, Romans were exposed to a variety a foreign cults introduced by traders, soldiers, migrating craftsmen and slaves. The cult of Isis was popular among Pompeians as she was the protector of women and children. At the Temple of Isis, there were daily prayers and rituals and throughout the year there were great festivals commemorating Isis' rescue and restoration of Osiris. In both Pompeii and Herculaneum, evidence has been uncovered of the cult of Sabazius, a god of from Trace (northern Greece) and Asia Minor. Objects associated with the cult were uncovered in Pompeii which included two hands holding a figure of Sabazius. Not only were gods worshipped at temples, but the lares, who were the household gods, were also idolised because they were associated with places of crossing or entry. The shrine of the lares was often placed in the entry of the house, in the atrium. Each day the...
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