Roman Religion Essay
The religious practices in the ancient Rome goes back many centuries and with time becomes more diverse and complicated. Throughout the history of Rome, many cultures settled in Rome and they contributed their share in the religion and mythology. The dominant religion in Rome through history has been Paganism, Judaism and Christianity. There was existence of other religious practices as well. Apart from that Mithraism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism and many other religions were practiced. However, from the first century, there has been a significant shift towards Christianity which came from east, so much so that the Roman Pope was considered to be the highest in the Christian order. The religion practiced from antiquity till the ascendency of Christianity in 4th century A.D. is known as roman religion. This custom essay explores the religion in Rome through the ages and its evolution, from ancient to the modern age.
The early forms of belief system for Romans were animalistic in nature. They believed that everything around them, including people were inhabited by spirits and thus worshipped them. Gradually, with conquests of new areas, their religion and belief system started to influence the roman religion and the new Gods like Mars, the God of War, who was also considered to be the father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, Jupitar, the supreme God and Quirinus which was the deified form of Romulus, the guardian of Rome who watched over them.
Romans have followed a polytheistic pagan religion since antiquity. In this practice, Greco-Roman gods such as Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus were worshipped along with other spirits from their original belief system. Later, in the 8th to 3rd century BCE, the Etruscan civilization flourished in Italy and many other Greek influence came within the religion. Gods like, Juno, the wife of Jupiter, Minerva, daughter of Jupitar replaced, Mars and Quirinus. The presence of the Greek colonies in the lower peninsula of Rome led to deep Greek influence in culture and religion in Rome. Greek mythology too, was adopted by the Romans.
The Gods when adopted to the Roman religion became more anthropomorphic due to the Greek influence, having more human characteristics like jealousy, love, hate etc. the Roman society was established on a rigid set of rituals and rules and strict adherence was considered to be more important than expression of belief. Thus, their Gods showed similar characteristics. Each city could adopt their own patron deities and had their individual rituals. The temples were considered to be the homes of the Gods and worship was conducted outside the temples.
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The priests were the medium between God and men. In Rome, there were four kinds of priests, each having their exclusive role. There was no priestly class and priesthood was a public office. When emperor Augustus Caesar ascended the throne, this practice was changed and the emperor himself assumed the title of chief priest. There was another group of priests who read the will of the Gods. Roman religious belief was deep-rooted and were performed elaborately. They consulted and took approval of the Gods before battles or any other major events. Diviners also held an important position and they read animal entrails and flight of birds and interpreted omens.
The major Gods in Roman religion were Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Juno along with many minor Gods and Goddesses like Nemesis, cupid, Pax and the Furies. Jupitar was the roman equivalent of Greek Zeus and his wife is Juno. Jupitar is the king of the gods, the god of sky, the protector, controller of weather and natural forces, reigning the kingdom of heaven with his thunderbolts as his arm. His wife Juno was equivalent to Greek goddess Hera and the month of June has been named after her. The temple of Jupitar was situated in Capitoline Hill and Juno’s was situated in Esquiline Hill. She was the goddess of light and moon and an embodiment of matronhood in Greek culture and later the symbol of fertility and childbirth in Roman culture. Jupitar and Juno were considered to be the supreme God and Goddess reigning over other gods and humankind. If you face any kind of challenges while writing essay complicated then feel free to reach out to the experts of MyAssignmenthelp.com at the earliest. You can even log on to our website to view flawless samples that will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.
The next most important gods are Minerva the roman counterpart of Greek Athens and Mars, the God of war. Minerva is the goddess of commerce, education and industry and in later influence the goddess of war, doctors, craftsmen and musicians. Mars was not considered within the Capitoline triad and represented the Roman counterpart of Ares, the Greek god of war. Roman commanders made sacrifices to him before and after battles and Tuesday, which is called Martes in Latin is named after him. Among the lesser gods and goddesses were Apollo, Saturn, Diana, Vulcan, Janus and Venus. There was no Roman equivalent to Apollo and he was considered to be the Greek god of poetry, medicine, music and science. His temple was situated in the Palatine Hill. Diana was the sister of Apollo and the Roman equivalent to Artemis. She was the goddess of wild beasts, harvest moon and hunt. She was also the protector of women during childbirth and had a temple in Ephesus in Asia Minor.
Most of these gods and goddesses were brought by Etruscans from Greece to Rome during their rule. They also brought Saturn who was considered to be the god of agriculture who was called Cronus in Greek mythology. He was expelled by Jupitar and the Romans held a festival named Saturnalia every year in December. His temple was situated at the foot of Capitoline Hill and the public treasury and decrees of senate was housed within the temple. Venus was the next important goddess and was the equal of Aphrodite of Greek mythology. She was born out of foam of the sea and the mother of Aeneas, the hero of the Trojan war. Vulcan was also expelled by Jupiter. He was lame, ugly blacksmith as well as the God of Fire. Lastly there was Janus, who was the two-faced guardian of doorways and public gates. He could see both past and future with his two faces and was valued for his wisdom. Have you been asked to essay assignments on any topic? Don’t worry, our academic experts are here to help you out.
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With the ascension of Augustus in 63 BC, the Romans became indirect rulers of Judea and the influence of Jewish religion came into the Roman religion. Under this rule, the Jesus of Nazareth emerged and created a division within the Jewish groups. Jesus preached for greater fulfilment of the Jewish religion. Thinking of him as a threat to the Roman empire and had him crucified. His group of followers were called Christianity and were considered to be another sect of Judaism. Later, Paul the Taurus spread the words of Christ and preached that Christ was the son of God and the saviour of people. By 100 A.D., Christianity had been spread through the empire and already 100 churches were established.
The Christians were not paid much attention though when the Christians gradually started to refuse their participation in the public religious ceremonies, they were reconsidered as threats. In the next few centuries, the rise and repression of the Christians went on intermittently. However, Christianity prevailed and under Constantine’s rule, it became a prominent religion. By 395 A.D., under the rule of Theodosius, Christianity became the official religion of the roman empire. Since then, Christianity, especially after the fall of Roman empire became more powerful and popes assumed more civil authority becoming almost the political and religious rulers of the Christian people. Since this, the ancient roman religion slowly took a downward turn and Christianity took over.
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List Of Few Topics On Roman Religion Essay
- The role of the gods and goddesses in Roman religion
- The importance of sacrifice in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman pantheon in the daily lives of Romans
- The relationship between Roman religion and politics
- The role of the Vestal Virgins in Roman religion
- The role of divination in Roman religion
- The role of the College of Pontiffs in the administration of Roman religion
- The role of the emperor in Roman religion
- The relationship between Roman religion and the military
- The influence of Greek religion on Roman religion
- The role of mystery cults in Roman religion
- The role of magic in Roman religion
- The role of the family in Roman religion
- The role of festivals and celebrations in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman senate in the administration of Roman religion
- The relationship between Roman religion and law
- The role of the Roman priesthood in the administration of Roman religion
- The relationship between Roman religion and social status
- The role of myth and legend in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman calendar in the practice of Roman religion
- The relationship between Roman religion and gender
- The role of animal sacrifice in Roman religion
- The role of temples and shrines in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman state in the administration of Roman religion
- The role of oracles and prophecies in Roman religion
- The role of rituals and ceremonies in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman home in the practice of Roman religion
- The role of the Roman forum in the practice of Roman religion
- The role of the Roman military in the practice of Roman religion
- The role of the Roman family in the practice of Roman religion
- The role of ancestor worship in Roman religion
- The role of the Roman household gods in the practice of Roman religion
- The role of the Roman state in the suppression of alternative religions
- The role of the Roman state in the promotion of the official state religion