"We Romans", said Cicero, "owe our supremacy overall other peoples to our piety and religious observances and to our wisdom in believing that the spirit of the gods rules and directs everything." Roman rites and observances took two main forms. One was the domestic reverence of the spirit or genius of the family. The other was the public attitude to the gods and goddesses by whom the destiny and welfare of the Roman people as a whole were supposed to be guided and controlled. During the Classical period, religious observance accompanied all important private and public events and transactions and, no successful outcome went without a vow of thanks or public dedication. Temples, priests and sacred rites were provided by the State. Nothing in the nature of religious services as we know them, in which the body of worshipers as a whole were able to participate, seems to have been celebrated in the temples. Any set forms of prayers, hymns or chants were performed solely by the official priests whose secrets they remained. The ordinary Roman man or woman had little personal part to play in such rites (Handbook To Life In Ancient Greece). While they were being undertaken and fulfilled it was the duty of the ordinary citizen not to interfere or make any disturbance and to refrain from any business affairs. When religiously minded Roman dropped in to a temple in order to worship the god or goddess whose house it was , they had some practical object in view : some personal favor or advantage. They came and perhaps burn incenses. When praying they stood with upturned palms. Sometimes they got as close to the image of the god as they could in order to whisper their pleas; the feet of some of the images were worn by the kisses of generations of worshipers. In addition to paying a fee for admission, the grateful petitioner for divine aid also brought sacrifices and thankful offerings to the temples. Enormous numbers of livestock and cattle went to augment the wealth of the...
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