Religion in Ancient Rome

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by arianascharff
Last updated 3 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
Ancient History
Grade:
5,6,7,8

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Religion in Ancient Rome

Huge temples were built to worship the different dieties. The Romans got thier layout of the temples from the Etruscans and Greeks. The temples also contained treasures won in battle or donated by individuals as a way to thank the gods. The common people could store their own gold in the temples, which was looked over by priests and priestesses. Sometimes Roman priests would look for messages from the gods.

Religion in ancient Rome

Beliefs / State Religion

Romans had many different gods and goddesses. All of them fell into different groups: ex.) Spirits that protected houses and were worshipped domestically. Roman gods were just like Greek gods only they got new names. For example, Zeus became Jupiter, the sky god, and Aphrodite became Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. The gods and goddesses of the formal state religion were worshipped at public ceremonies.

Fun Fact #2

Romans strongly believed in supernatural forces. Many different Romans had many different ways of foreseeing the future and learning the will of the gods. People preformed many different rituals to make sure of their safety. As well as preforming rituals, Romans also went to many many fortune tellers to ensure their well being.

Emperors were also worshipped. This practice strengthened support of the government

Temples and Ceremonies

Fun Fact #1

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Worship of the houshold spirits was the earliest form of Roman religion

Fun Fact #3

Romans could worship any amont of gods/goddesses and they did this by praying and making sacrifces.

Alternatives to the State religion

Animals were the ones who were always the sacrificed. The animals that were most commonly used were oxen, sheep, pigs, goats, and doves. Only Roman priests could conduct this ceremony,because it was a very complex ceremony. It was thought that if any part of the ritual went wrong the gods would not accept the sacrifice or peace making with the gods.This goes to show that priests were a very important part of Ancient Religion.

Making sacrifices

Foretelling the future

Funerals and burial

Fun Fact #4

Astrologers told fortunes by examining the position of the stars at the time of a person's birth. By imperial times the practice was very well spread.

Fun Fact #5

People thought that illness could be cured by miracles or by treatments suggested in dreams. To have such dreams the patient would sleep in the tmple of Aesculapius, the god of medicine.

Fun Fact #6

Haruspices were special priests who studied the innards of a sacrficed animal. iIt was thought that the shape and presence or absence of blemishes on it's liver would reveal the way the gods felt.

Many Romans lost faith in the state religion, as it offered little more than rituals and didn't statisfy their personal needs. Also when things went wrong or badly people found it more and more hard to believe that all the praying they were doing and sacrifices they were making made any difference at all. Eventually most people wanted other religous experiences and went to the other cults from other countries that came to Rome. These Religions required that people take part in ceremonies rather that just watching like they did in the state religion.

When someone died, Romans would perform rituals based on their beliefs on what happened after death. A lot of people thought that a dead person's spirit was rowed across a mythical river (the Styx), to the underworld. There the spirits would be judged, then sent to heaven or hell depending on how good or bad the spirits were. Funerals perpared the body for the journey. One coin was placed under the person's tongue to pay the ferry fare to Hades. This only happened after the death of very important person. When the funeral was done the body was placed on a portable bed (litter). After that, Eight men carried the litter to the forum (marketplace) as part of a procession.


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