The Origins of the Universe: Notes

Topics: Ancient Rome, Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus Pages: 5 (1315 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Origins of the Universe
- For Rome's earliest period, history and myth are difficult to distinguish. - The Roman mythological tradition is particularly rich in historical myths/legends, concerning the foundation/rise of the city.

- traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in legend/myth.
- most familiar myths, Romulus and Remus, the twins who were suckled by a she-wolf. - Used to describe how rome came to be
- Once boys grown up, decide to establish a city where wolf had found them - The brothers quarrelled over where the site should be Remus killed by Romulus Principal Beliefs
- Romans though themselves highly religious
- early Rome:simple animistic
- Centered around non personified spirits
- Gods not taking human form till later on
- Early rome; no temples/statues to honor gods
- First temples built under reign of etruscan Kings
- First temple built on Capitaline hill - honored jupiter, juno, minerva - Religion seen as contact between man and gods
- Ceremonies performed with attention to detail
- Mistakes made = gods no longer holding their end of the contract between the gods and humankind
- Along with contract - Votum
- Specific bow to gods
- Favor/blessing, promise completion of rituals/sacrifices if prayers answered - Beginning of year, roman people offered collective vows for the salus (health, safety, wellbeing) if emperor.
- Also served as affirmation of political loyalty
- Success as a world power attributed to positive relationships with god - Public officials served as Augars and Pontiffs
- Julius Caesar became Pontifex Maximus before elected consul - Augars read will of gods, reflect universal order and supervised marking of boundaries - Exapnsion of rome this became matter of divine destiny

- The triumph at core religious procession
- victorious general displays his piety/willingness to serve public by dedicating a portion of spoils to the gods, especially Jupiter, who embodied just rule - Religion practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des, "I give that you might give."

- depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer, ritual, and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma
- Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero, a augur, saw religion source of social order. Supernatural powers and Deities
- no creation myth, little mythology to explain characteristics of deities, relationships/ interactions with humans
- Romans recognised di immortales (immortal gods) rule over heaven/earth - Gods of upper worlds, underworld, myriad of lesser gods inbetween - Roman gods influenced by greek gods
- Greek god zeus/ roman god jupiter (ruler of gods)
- Originally divine manifestations, faceless, formless and powerful - Gods anthropomorphised being later on, influenced by Eutruscan and greek patheons - Worshipped main pantheon, 12 gods/goddesses - Jupiter, juno, minerva, vesta, ceres, diana, venus, mars, mercurius, neptune, volcanus, apollo

prayers, vows, oaths
- Sacrifices/offering need accomaning prayer to be effective - Pliny the Elder declared that "a sacrifice without prayer is thought to be useless and not a proper consultation of the gods."
- Public prayers were offered loudly and clearly by a priest on behalf of the community - Public ritual had to be enacted by specialists/professionals faultlessly - mistake might require the action/entire festival, be repeated from the start - Prayer by itself, however, had independent power.

- private prayer by individual was formulaic, a recitation rather than personal expression, selected for a particular purpose/occasion
- Oaths of business, clientage and service, patronage and protection, state office, treaty and loyalty appealed to the witness and sanction of deities. - Refusal to swear a lawful oath, a sworn oath broken carried much the same penalty - both repudiated the fundamental bonds between the human and divine. Sacrifice

- Sacrifice...
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