Antik Roma’da Din
CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı



Antik Roma’da Din


“Aeneas’ Flight from Troy” by Federico Barocci.

  • Roma dini Yunan mitolojisinden esinlenen bir mitoloji idi.
  • Yunan mitleri ozanlar tarafından halksal imgelemden türetilirken, Roma mitleri halksal temelden yoksun yapay yaratılar idi (Aeneas).
  • Roma dininde bir dinadamları sınıfı yoktu, ve rahiplik kamuya açıktı.
  • Romalıların tanrılarına derinden bağlılık gösterdikleri, içten dindarlar oldukları kabul edilir.
  • Aile ve topluluğa saygı ve bağlılık olarak Pietas Romalı için başlıca erdemlerden biri idi.
  • Pietas (Eusebia) insana özünlü ve içsel olarak geliştirilen bir erdem (Arete) idi ve tanrılardan gelen ya da dışsal olarak verilen bir inanç (Fides) değildi.
  • Romalılar için karakter tanrılara yaraşır davranışların anlatımı idi ve salt tapınağa sınırlı değildi.
  • Roma etiği güçlü bir ahlak üzerine, duyunç özgürlüğü üzerine dayanıyordu.


  • Kurumsal Hıristiyanlık zaman içinde duyunç özgürlüğünü bütünüyle ortadan kaldırdı, kitlelerin esenliklerinin yargıcı olan rahipler sınıfı moral gelişimi durdurdu, ve Roma tini yerini Orta Çağların duyunçsuz feodal kültürüne bıraktı.


  • Roma dini herşeyi yöneten tanrılar ve onları böyle anlayan ve kabul eden insanlar arasındaki karşılıklı ilişkinin işlevi idi.
  • Roma dininin amacı tanrıların destek ve yardımını elde etmekti ve bu nedenle tanrıları hoşnut eden bir tanrısal kurallar kütlesi doğdu (jus divinum).
  • Bu kurallar yalnızca ayinlerin nasıl doğru olarak yerine getirileceğini bildirmenin ötesinde insan için herhangi bir moral buyruk kapsamıyordu.
  • Bu nedenle böyle tanrısal buyrukların yerine getirilip getirilmediğini denetleyecek, bu amaçla bir ödül ve ceza dizgesi yaratacak bir dinadamları sınıfı gereksizdi.
  • Moral gelişim, neyin doğru ve neyin yanlış olduğunu saptamak özgür yurttaşın kendi duyuncuna düşen bir yükümlülük ve sorumluluk idi.


Pietas (W)

Pietas, translated variously as “duty,” “religiosity” or “religious behavior,” “loyalty,” “devotion,” or “filial piety” (English "piety" derives from the Latin), was one of the chief virtues among the ancient Romans. It was the distinguishing virtue of the founding hero Aeneas, who is often given the adjectival epithet pius ("religious") throughout Virgil’s epic Aeneid. The sacred nature of pietas was embodied by the divine personification Pietas, a goddess often pictured on Roman coins. The Greek equivalent is eusebeia (εὐσέβεια).

Cicero defined pietas as the virtue "which admonishes us to do our duty to our country or our parents or other blood relations." The man who possessed pietas “performed all his duties towards the deity and his fellow human beings fully and in every respect,” as the 19th-century classical scholar Georg Wissowa described it ( As quoted by Wagenvort, Pietas, p. 7). Cicero suggests people should have awareness of our own honor, we must always attempt to raise the honor of others by our dignified praise, such praise, admiration and honored actions must be beyond all our own desires, as Cicero said, we must choose our actions and words with respect to our friends, colleagues, family or blood relations. Cicero describes youth in the pursuit of honour: “How they yearn for praise! What labours will they not undertake to stand fast among their peers! How will they remember those who have shown them kindness and how eager to repay it!”.

As virtue

Pietas erga parentes (“pietas toward one’s parents”) was one of the most important aspects of demonstrating virtue. Pius as a cognomen originated as way to mark a person as especially "pious" in this sense: announcing one's personal pietas through official nomenclature seems to have been an innovation of the late Republic, when Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius claimed it for his efforts to have his father, Numidicus, recalled from exile. Pietas extended also toward "parents" in the sense of "ancestors," and was one of the basic principles of Roman tradition, as expressed by the care of the dead.

Pietas as a virtue resided within a person, in contrast to a virtue or gift such as Victoria, which was given by the gods. Pietas, however, allowed a person to recognize the divine source of benefits conferred.

The first recorded use of pietas in English occurs in Anselm Bayly’s The Alliance of Music, Poetry, and Oratory, published in 1789.

"A Roman with the virtue of pietas did not leave his religious duties at the door of the temple, but carried them with him everywhere, following the will of the gods in his business transactions and everyday life."

Pietas held importance in international relations and diplomacy, where the credibility of a commander was dependent on his cessation of all self-gain and to commit to the cause, without action of treachery. "Due to this reliance on credibility, the reputation of individual commanders and the Roman state itself held a practical role in negotiations and discussions.". The commanders belief in fides must be one of credibility by continuity of action, consistency in dealing with neighbours will be applied to the current parties. Ensure respect in existing contracts, means the pledges and oaths will be held, Rome will continue to do what is right and thus continue diplomatic strategies. Ending conflict was slim if perfidy was the norm of commander in the negotiation.



Denarius of Herennius, depicting Pietas and an act of pietas.

Pietas was represented on coin by cult objects, but also as a woman conducting a sacrifice by means of fire at an altar. In the imagery of sacrifice, libation was the fundamental act that came to symbolize pietas.

Pietas is first represented on Roman coins on denarii issued by Marcus Herennius in 108 or 107 BC. Pietas appears on the obverse as a divine personification, in bust form; the quality of pietas is represented by a son carrying his father on his back; the symbolism of which would be echoed in Virgil’s Aeneid, with Aeneas carrying his father Anchises out of the burning Troy. Pietas is among the virtues that appear frequently on Imperial coins, including those issued under Hadrian.


“Aeneas’ Flight from Troy” by Federico Barocci.


One of the symbols of pietas was the stork, described by Petronius as pietaticultrix, "cultivator of pietas." The stork represented filial piety in particular, as the Romans believed that it demonstrated family loyalty by returning to the same nest every year, and that it took care of its parents in old age. As such, a stork appears next to Pietas on a coin issued by Metellus Pius.

As goddess


Pietas was the divine presence in everyday life that cautioned humans not to intrude on the realm of the gods. Violations of pietas required a piaculum, expiatory rites.

A temple to Pietas was vowed (votum) by Manius Acilius Glabrio at the Battle of Thermopylae in 191 BC.

According to a miraculous legend (miraculum), a poor woman who was starving in prison was saved when her daughter gave her breast milk (compare Roman Charity). Caught in the act, the daughter was not punished, but recognized for her pietas. Mother and daughter were set free, and given public support for the rest of their lives. The site was regarded as sacred to the goddess Pietas (consecratus deae) because she had chosen to manifest her presence there. The story exemplified pietas erga parentes, the proper devotion one ought to show to one's parents.

Imperial women portrayed as Pietas

Pietas was often depicted as goddess on the reverse of Roman Imperial coins, with women of the imperial family on the obverse, as an appropriate virtue to be attributed to them. Women of the Imperial family might be portrayed in art in the goddess's guise.





Pietas, in Roman religion, personification of a respectful and faithful attachment to gods, country, and relatives, especially parents. Pietas had a temple at Rome, dedicated in 181 BC, and was often represented on coins as a female figure carrying a palm branch and a sceptre or as a matron casting incense upon an altar, sometimes accompanied by a stork, the symbol of filial piety.


  Palladium, Pallas, Truva
  • Roma’nın mitsel kurucusu Truvalı Aeneas’tır.
  • Pallas Athena da Truva’dan

When the Greeks captured Troy, Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, clung to the palladion for protection,[120] but Ajax the Lesser violently tore her away from it and dragged her over to the other captives.[120] Athena was infuriated by this violation of her protection.[112] Although Agamemnon attempted to placate her anger with sacrifices, Athena sent a storm at Cape Kaphereos to destroy almost the entire Greek fleet and scatter all of the surviving ships across the Aegean..

“Minerva” (detay; “The Dispute of Minerva and Neptune,” by René-Antoine Houasse (c. 1689 or 1706).



Palladium (W)

In Greek and Roman mythology, the palladium or palladion was a cult image of great antiquity on which the safety of Troy and later Rome was said to depend, the wooden statue (xoanon) of Pallas Athena that Odysseus and Diomedes stole from the citadel of Troy and which was later taken to the future site of Rome by Aeneas. The Roman story is related in Virgil’s Aeneid and other works. Rome possessed an object regarded as the actual Palladium for several centuries; it was in the care of the Vestal Virgins for nearly all this time.

In English, since around 1600, the word palladium has been used figuratively to mean anything believed to provide protection or safety, and in particular in Christian contexts a sacred relic or icon believed to have a protective role in military contexts for a whole city, people or nation. Such beliefs first become prominent in the Eastern church in the period after the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, and later spread to the Western church. Palladia were carried in procession around the walls of besieged cities and sometimes carried into battle.

The Trojan Palladium


The Trojan Palladium was said to be a wooden image of Pallas (whom the Greeks identified with Athena and the Romans with Minerva) and to have fallen from heaven in answer to the prayer of Ilus, the founder of Troy.

"The most ancient talismanic effigies of Athena," Ruck and Staples report, "... were magical found objects, faceless pillars of Earth in the old manner, before the Goddess was anthropomorphized and given form through the intervention of human intellectual meddling."

Arrival at Troy

The arrival at Troy of the Palladium, fashioned by Athena in remorse for the death of Pallas, as part of the city’s founding myth, was variously referred to by Greeks, from the seventh century BC onwards. The Palladium was linked to the Samothrace mysteries through the pre-Olympian figure of Elektra, mother of Dardanus, progenitor of the Trojan royal line, and of Iasion, founder of the Samothrace mysteries. Whether Elektra had come to Athena's shrine of the Palladium as a pregnant suppliant and a god cast it into the territory of Ilium, because it had been profaned by the hands of a woman who was not a virgin, or whether Elektra carried it herself or whether it was given directly to Dardanus vary in sources and scholia. In Ilion, King Ilus was blinded for touching the image to preserve it from a burning temple.


“Diomedes and Odysseus bearing off the Palladium,’ by Gaspare Landi (1756-1830).


During the Trojan War, the importance of the Palladium to Troy was said to have been revealed to the Greeks by Helenus, the prophetic son of Priam. After Paris' death, Helenus left the city but was captured by Odysseus. The Greeks somehow managed to persuade the warrior seer to reveal the weakness of Troy. The Greeks learned from Helenus, that Troy would not fall while the Palladium, image or statue of Athena, remained within Troy’s walls. The difficult task of stealing this sacred statue again fell upon the shoulders of Odysseus and Diomedes. Since Troy could not be captured while it safeguarded this image, the Greeks Diomedes and Odysseus made their way to the citadel in Troy by a secret passage and carried it off. In this way the Greeks were then able to enter Troy and lay it waste using the deceit of the Trojan Horse.

Odysseus, according to the epitome of the Little Iliad (one of the books of the Epic Cycle) preserved in Proclus's Chrestomathia, went by night to Troy in disguise and entered the city as a beggar. There he was recognized by Helen, who told him where the Palladium was. After killing some of the Trojans, he returned to the ships. He and Diomedes then re-entered the city and stole the Palladium.

Diomedes is sometimes regarded as the person who physically removed the Palladium and carried it away to the ships. There are several statues and many ancient drawings of him with the Palladium.

According to the Narratives of the Augustan period mythographer Conon as summarised by Photius, while the two heroes were on their way to the ships, Odysseus plotted to kill Diomedes and claim the Palladium (or perhaps the credit for gaining it) for himself. He raised his sword to stab Diomedes in the back. Diomedes was alerted to the danger by glimpsing the gleam of the sword in the moonlight. He disarmed Odysseus, tied his hands, and drove him along in front, beating his back with the flat of his sword. From this action was said to have arisen the Greek proverbial expression "Diomedes' necessity", applied to those who act under compulsion. Because Odysseus was essential for the destruction of Troy, Diomedes refrained from punishing him.

Diomedes took the Palladium with him when he left Troy. According to some stories, he brought it to Italy. Some say that it was stolen from him on the way.

Arrival at Rome

According to various versions of this legend the Trojan Palladium found its way to Athens, or Argos, or Sparta (all in Greece), or Rome in Italy. To this last city it was either brought by Aeneas the exiled Trojan (Diomedes, in this version, having only succeeded in stealing an imitation of the statue) or surrendered by Diomedes himself.

An actual object regarded as the Palladium was undoubtedly kept in the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum for several centuries. It was regarded as one of the pignora imperii, sacred tokens or pledges of Roman rule (imperium).

Pliny the Elder said that Lucius Caecilius Metellus had been blinded by fire when he rescued the Palladium from the Temple of Vesta in 241 BC, an episode alluded to in Ovid and Valerius Maximus. When the controversial emperor Elagabalus (reigned 218-222 AD) transferred the most sacred relics of Roman religion from their respective shrines to the Elagabalium, the Palladium was among them.

In Late Antiquity, it was rumored that the Palladium was transferred from Rome to Constantinople by Constantine the Great and buried under the Column of Constantine in his forum. Such a move would have undermined the primacy of Rome, and was naturally seen as a move by Constantine to legitimize his reign.

The Athenian Palladium

The goddess Athena was worshipped on the Acropolis of Athens under many names and cults, the most illustrious of which was of the Athena Poliás, "protectress of the city". The cult image of the Poliás was a wooden effigy, often referred to as the "xóanon diipetés" (the "carving that fell from heaven"), made of olive wood and housed in the east-facing wing of the Erechtheum temple in the classical era. Considered not a man-made artefact but of divine provenance, it was the holiest image of the goddess and was accorded the highest respect. It was placed under a bronze likeness of a palm tree and a gold lamp burned in front of it. The centerpiece of the grand feast of the Panathenaea was the replacement of this statue's woolen peplos (a garment) with a newly woven one. It was also carried to the sea by the priestesses and ceremonially washed once a year, in the feast called the Plynteria ("washings"). Its presence was last mentioned by the Church Father Tertullian (Apologeticus 16.6), who, in the late 2nd century AD, described it derisively as being nothing but "a rough stake, a shapeless piece of wood" (Latin original: "[] Pallas Attica [] quae sine effigie rudi palo et informi ligno prostat?"). Earlier descriptions of the statue have not survived.


  Religion in Ancient Rome


Marble relief on the exterior wall of the Ara Pacis, an altar in Rome dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of Peace.,
  • Roma dini Yunan mitolojisinin bir uyarlaması idi.
  • Politeistik din Roma kültürel dizgesinde özsel bir bileşendir ve kültürel bütünün geri kalan bileşenleri (tüzel, moral ve etik) ile uyum içindedir.
  • Politeistik din moral, etik ve politik istencin üzerinde değildir.
  • Hıristiyanlık 380’de imparatorluğun resmi dini oldu.
  • Mitolojik tanrılar sonlu doğal ve tinsel güçlerdir. Logos henüz Doğa ve Tin olarak tamamlanmış somutluğu içinde değildir.
  • Dinsel olarak Tanrının Doğa ile ilişkisi yaratıştır; mantıksal olarak, Logostan Doğaya geçiş ilişkisidir.
  • Tin Doğadan sonra gelir; ama Doğa Tini yaratmaz, çünkü Doğanın kendisi mantıksal olarak Logosa ikincildir.


Mezopotamya, Mısır ve Persia’nın yarı-insan ve yarı-hayvan tanrılarından sonra, Klasik dünyanın tanrıları arı ya da ideal biçime geçer, din doğal gerçekliğini kazanır. Sanat Dininde güzellik tanrısal-sonsuz belirlenim olarak insan güzelliğidir. Klasik tanrılar başlıca duyusal tanrılardır, güzel biçimlerdirler, ve içsel moral yandan yoksundurlar. Entellektüel olarak da sonludurlar ve herşeyi değil, belli şeyleri bilirler. Hıristiyanlıkta ve Müslümanlıkta Tanrı doğallığını bütünüyle terk etmez ve her-yerde-bulunma ve herşeyden-güçlü-olma belirlenimlerini kapsar. Ama bu doğallığın ötesine, arı tinsellik belirlenimine yükselir. Moral olarak en İyidir. Entellektüel olarak herşeyi-bilen sonsuz bilgeliktir.

Klasik tanrılar insan istenci ile, insanın tüzel, moral ve etik yaşamı ile ilgilenmez. Bu sonluluk dünyasında Klasik kültür bireyi kendi özgürlüğü içinde bırakır ve erdemli olmak bireyin kendisinin bir problemi olur. Bireyin üzerinde kendi duyuncundan başka hiçbir moral yetke yoktur. Bu sorumluluk moral büyümenin ve etik karakter geliştirmenin biricik olanağıdır. Bu nedenle Helenik, Helenistk ve Romanik dünyalar etik karakter ve etik yaşam açısından daha sonraki moral kölelik çağları ile karşılaştırılmayacak bir yükseklik gösterirler.

  • Din kavramı duyunç özgürlüğünü kapsar, ve özsel olarak bu iç özgürlük nedeniyledir ki dinin moral ilgisi varndır.
  • Din aynı zamanda bilinen gerçekliğe inanç olmalıdır, ve özsel olarak bu düşünsel yan nedeniyledir ki dinin entellektül ilgisi vardır.

Ön-modern despotik dönemde duyunç özgürlüğü yoktur ve insanlar moral normlarını içsel olarak kendi duyunçları aracılığıyla belirlemezler, ama dışsal moral yetkelerden ya da güçlerden alırlar. Antikçağda ise böyle moral dışsal yetkeler yoktur ve Yunan-Roma kültürlerinde moral ve etik problemler için çözüm erdem yoluyla aranır. Erdem özgür bireyin davranışlarını belirlemede biricik ölçüttür. (Kullar ve köleler durumunda özgürlük yoksunluğundan ötürü herhangi bir moral sorun ya da erdem sorunu yoktur.)


Din doğal olanın doğal olandan daha çoğu olduğu, tinsel olanın tinsel olandan daha çoğu olduğu inancı üzerine başlar. Tüm sonlular, oluş sürecinden doğan ya da yatılan herşey kaynaklarını kendilerinden başka bir öğede bulurlar. İkincil, geçici, sonludurlar. Kaynak ise yaratılmamış, dolaysız, sonsuz, ilksiz-sonsuz, bir vb.dir.

İnsan usu bu ayrımı yapmaya, kendi sonluluğunu duyumsamaya ve düşünmeye yeteneklidir, çünkü kendisi us olarak sonsuz olanın, ilksiz-sonsuz olanın, bir olanın tözünü taşır.




  • Din kavramı yaratıcı bir Tanrı kavramını kapsar.
  • Mitolojik din din kavramına uygun değildir.
  • Roma dini ‘etnik’ din değildir, çünkü mitoloji din kavramına uygun din değildir.
  • ‘Etnik din’ ya da ‘etnik tanrı’ terimleri din kavramına uygun değildir ve onun yerine ‘ilkel din’
  • Yahudilik bir kabile dini olarak etnik dindir.
  • Şamanizm, Druidizm, şintoizm, fetişizm din değildir.

Religion in Ancient Rome (W)

Religion in Ancient Rome (W)

Augustus as Pontifex Maximus
(Via Labicana Augustus)

Religion in Ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety (pietas) in maintaining good relations with the gods. The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists.

The presence of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman culture, introducing some religious practices that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo. The Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks (interpretatio graeca), adapting Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art, as the Etruscans had. Etruscan religion was also a major influence, particularly on the practice of augury. According to legends, most of Rome's religious institutions could be traced to its founders, particularly Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome, who negotiated directly with the gods. This archaic religion was the foundation of the mos maiorum, "the way of the ancestors" or simply "tradition", viewed as central to Roman identity.

Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des, "I give that you might give". Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer, ritual, and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs. Even the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero, who was an augur, saw religion as a source of social order. As the Roman Empire expanded, migrants to the capital brought their local cults, many of which became popular among Italians. Christianity was in the end the most successful of these, and in 380 became the official state religion.

For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life. Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered. Neighborhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city. The Roman calendar was structured around religious observances. Women, slaves, and children all participated in a range of religious activities. Some public rituals could be conducted only by women, and women formed what is perhaps Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestals, who tended Rome’s sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination.


Roman religion (B)

Roman religion (B)

Roman religion, also called Roman mythology, beliefs and practices of the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula from ancient times until the ascendancy of Christianity in the 4th century AD.

Nature And Significance

The Romans, according to the orator and politician Cicero, excelled all other peoples in the unique wisdom that made them realize that everything is subordinate to the rule and direction of the gods. Yet Roman religion was based not on divine grace but instead on mutual trust (fides) between god and man. The object of Roman religion was to secure the cooperation, benevolence, and “peace” of the gods (pax deorum). The Romans believed that this divine help would make it possible for them to master the unknown forces around them that inspired awe and anxiety (religio), and thus they would be able to live successfully. Consequently, there arose a body of rules, the jus divinum (“divine law”), ordaining what had to be done or avoided.

The Girdle of Venus, depiction of Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida, oil on canvas by Antoine Coypel.

These precepts for many centuries contained scarcely any moral element; they consisted of directions for the correct performance of ritual. Roman religion laid almost exclusive emphasis on cult acts, endowing them with all the sanctity of patriotic tradition. Roman ceremonial was so obsessively meticulous and conservative that, if the various partisan accretions that grew upon it throughout the years can be eliminated, remnants of very early thought can be detected near the surface.

This demonstrates one of the many differences between Roman religion and Greek religion, in which such remnants tend to be deeply concealed. The Greeks, when they first began to document themselves, had already gone quite a long way toward sophisticated, abstract, and sometimes daring conceptions of divinity and its relation to man. But the orderly, legalistic, and relatively inarticulate Romans never quite gave up their old practices. Moreover, until the vivid pictorial imagination of the Greeks began to influence them, they lacked the Greek taste for seeing their deities in personalized human form and endowing them with mythology. In a sense, there is no Roman mythology, or scarcely any. Although discoveries in the 20th century, notably in the ancient region of Etruria (between the Tiber and Arno rivers, west and south of the Apennines), confirm that Italians were not entirely unmythological, their mythology is sparse. What is found at Rome is chiefly only a pseudomythology (which, in due course, clothed their own nationalistic or family legends in mythical dress borrowed from the Greeks). Nor did Roman religion have a creed; provided that a Roman performed the right religious actions, he was free to think what he liked about the gods. And, having no creed, he usually deprecated emotion as out of place in acts of worship.

In spite, however, of the antique features not far from the surface, it is difficult to reconstruct the history and evolution of Roman religion. The principal literary sources, antiquarians such as the 1st-century-BCRoman scholars Varro and Verrius Flaccus, and the poets who were their contemporaries (under the late Republic and Augustus), wrote 700 and 800 years after the beginnings of Rome. They wrote at a time when the introduction of Greek methods and myths had made erroneous (and flattering) interpretations of the distant Roman past unavoidable. In order to supplement such conjectures or facts as they may provide, scholars rely on surviving copies of the religious calendar and on other inscriptions. There is also a rich, though frequently cryptic, treasure-house of material in coins and medallions and in works of art.


Apollo and Daphne, marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622–24; in the Borghese Gallery, Rome,
Early Roman religion

For the earliest times, there are the various finds and findings of archaeology. But they are not sufficient to enable scholars to reconstruct archaic Roman religion. They do, however, suggest that early in the 1st millennium BC, though not necessarily at the time of the traditional date for the founding of Rome (753 BC), Latin and Sabine shepherds and farmers with light plows came from the Alban Hills and the Sabine Hills, and that they proceeded to establish villages at Rome, the Latins on the Palatine Hill and the Sabines (though this is uncertain) on the Quirinal and Esquiline hills. About 620 the communities merged, and c. 575 the Forum Romanum between them became the town’s meeting place and market.

Deification of functions

From such evidence it appears that the early Romans, like many other Italians, sometimes saw divine force, or divinity, operating in pure function and act, such as in human activities like opening doors or giving birth to children, and in nonhuman phenomena such as the movements of the sun and seasons of the soil. They directed this feeling of veneration both toward happenings that affected human beings regularly and, sometimes, toward single, unique manifestations, such as a mysterious voice that once spoke and saved them in a crisis (Aius Locutius). They multiplied functional deities of this kind to an extraordinary degree of “religious atomism,” in which countless powers or forces were identified with one phase of life or another. Their functions were sharply defined; and in approaching them it was important to use their right names and titles. If one knew the name, one could secure a hearing. Failing that, it was often best to cover every contingency by admitting that the divinity was “unknown” or adding the precautionary phrase “or whatever name you want to be called” or “if it be a god or goddess.”

Veneration of objects

The same sort of anxious awe was extended not only to functions and acts but also to certain objects that inspired a similar belief that they were in some way more than natural. This feeling was aroused, for example, by springs and woods, objects of gratitude in the torrid summer, or by stones that were often believed to be meteorites — i.e., had apparently reached the earth in an uncanny fashion. To these were added products of human action, such as burial places and boundary stones, and inexplicable things, such as Neolithic implements (probably the mysterious meteorites were often these) or bronze shields (artifacts that had strayed in from more advanced cultures).

To describe the powers in these objects and functions that inspired the horror, or sacred thrill, the Romans eventually employed the word numen, suggestive of a god’s nod, nutus; though so far there is no evidence that this usage was earlier than the 2nd century BC. The application of the word spirit to numen is anachronistic in regard to early epochs because it presupposes a society capable of greater abstraction. Nor must the term mana, used by Melanesians to describe their own concept of superhuman forces, be introduced too readily. The two societies are not necessarily analogous and, besides, the deduction from such comparisons that the Romans experienced an impersonal, pre-deistic, primordial stage of religion that neatly preceded the personal stage cannot be regarded as correct. On the contrary, from the very earliest times, the supernatural forces that they envisaged included a number of deities in analogous human forms; among them were certain “high gods.” Foremost among these was a divinity of the sky, Jupiter, akin to the sky gods of other early Indo-European-speaking peoples, the Sanskrit Dyaus and Greek Zeus. Not yet, probably, a Supreme Being, though superior in some sense to other divine powers, this god of the heavens was easily linked with the forces of function and object, with lightning and weather, or with the uncanny stone that came from on high and was called Jupiter Lapis.

Purpose of sacrifice and magic

These gods and sacred functions and objects seemed charged with power because they were mysterious and alarming. In order to secure their food supply, physical protection, and growth in numbers, the early Romans believed that such forces had to be propitiated and made allies. Sacrifice was necessary. The product sacrificed would revitalize the divinity, which was seen as a power of action and therefore likely to run down unless so revitalized. By this nourishment he or it would become able and ready to fulfill requests. And so the sacrifice was accompanied by the phrase macte esto! (“be you increased!”).

Prayer was a normal accompaniment of sacrifice, and as a conception of the divine powers gradually developed, it contained varying ingredients of flattery, cajolery, and attempted justification; but it also was compounded by magic — the attempt not to persuade nature, but to coerce it. Though the authorities (e.g., c. 451-450 BC, Law of the Twelve Tables) sought to limit its noxious aspects, magic continued to abound throughout the ancient world. Even official rites remained full of its survivals, notably the annual festival of the Lupercalia and the ritual dances of the Salii in honour of Mars. Romans in historical times regarded magic as an oriental intrusion, but Italian tribes, such as the Marsi and Paeligni, were famous for such practices. Among them curses figured prominently, and curse inscriptions from c. 500 BC onward have been found in large numbers. There were also numerous survivals of taboo, a negative branch of magic: people were admonished to have no dealings with strangers, corpses, newborn children, spots struck by lightning, etc., lest harm would befall them.


📹 Roman Religious Traditions (VİDEO)

📹 Roman Religious Traditions (LINK)

In this video, I lay out the ways in which Roman traditional religion and the various "oriental" and "mystery" cults which were prevalent during the Roman Empire contributed some elements to Christianity.


📹 Religion im römischen Reich (VİDEO)

Religion im römischen Reich (LINK)

In diesem Video erklären wir dir die Religion im römischen Reich.

Die römische Religion war polytheistisch; das bedeutet, dass die Menschen an viele verschiedene Götter glaubten, die alle ihren eigenen Zuständigkeitsbereich haben. Und weil sich diese Götter überall einmischten, mussten sie durch Opfer milde gestimmt werden.

Die wichtigsten Götter im römischen Pantheon, das bedeutet Götterwelt, waren Jupiter, Juno und Minerva. Sie waren die drei Stadtgottheiten Roms.

Die kennst du vielleicht auch schon von den Griechen, nur unter den Namen Zeus, Hera und Athene.

Religion in der römischen Familie: Innerhalb der Familie wurden tägliche Rituale zur Verehrung der Gottheiten durchgeführt. Es gab bestimmte Hausgötter mit eigenen Aufgaben, die am sogenannten „Lararium“, einem Steinsockel, verehrt wurden.

Die meisten Rituale leitete der „pater familias“, also der Familienvater, doch manche wichtigen Riten führten Priester durch, zum Beispiel Bestattungen.

Die Geister von Verstorbenen spielten für die Römer nämlich eine wichtige Rolle. An speziellen Totenfesten bekräftigten sie ihre Verbundenheit mit verstorbenen Familienangehörigen und versuchten, Dämonen abzuwehren.

Öffentliche Kulthandlungen: Im Kapitol fanden öffentliche Kulthandlungen statt. Das Kapitol ist ein Tempel zugunsten von Jupiter, Juno und Minerva. Der oberste Priester im Tempel war der „pontifex maximus“. Daneben gab es weitere Priester und Priesterinnen, z. B. die Vestalinnen, die das Herdfeuer auf dem Forum Romanum hüteten, was als Symbol für das Zentrum des Staates angesehen wurde.

Die Verknüpfung zwischen Staat und Religion war bei den Römern sehr eng. Bevor sie in den Krieg zogen, befragten die Römer zunächst die Götter. Bestimmte Zeichen, wie z. B. ein Vogelflug wurden durch die Priester gedeutet, um den Willen der Götter zu erklären.

Fremde Gottheiten anderer eroberter Völker wurden in die eigene Götterwelt übernommen. Die Religion übernahm deshalb auch eine wichtige Rolle bei der Integration von anderen Kulturen.

Der Einfluss fremder Kulturen: Zwei fremde Kulturen hatten besonders großen Einfluss auf die römische Religion. Einerseits die Griechen – von denen übernahmen die Römer die Beziehung zu den Göttern, sowie deren Darstellung in menschlicher Gestalt. Vorher betrachteten die Römer ihre Gottheiten etwas nüchterner.

Der andere große Einfluss kam aus Ägypter und zeigte sich in der Anbetung der Göttin Isis. So wurden dadurch Themen wie Magie, Wunder und Unsterblichkeit in die Religion der Römer aufgenommen.

Bei den alten Römern waren Jupiter, Juno und Minerva die wichtigsten Götter und der Staat und die Religion eng miteinander verknüpft waren.

Besonders die Integration der Götter anderer Völker war ein wichtiges Werkzeug für den Religionsfrieden im römischen Reich.


Devlet ve Din Kavramları



The Townley Caryatid

Townley Caryatid (W)

The Townley Caryatid is a 7.25m high Pentelic marble caryatid, depicting a woman dressed to take part in religious rites (possibly fertility rites related to Demeter or Ceres, due to the cereal motifs on her modius headdress).

The Townley Caryatid is a 2.25m high Pentelic marble caryatid, depicting a woman dressed to take part in religious rites (possibly fertility rites related to Demeter or Ceres, due to the cereal motifs on her modius headdress).

It dates to the Roman era, between 140 and 160 AD, and is in the Neo Attic style adapted from 5th century BC Athenian workmanship. It is one of a group of five surviving caryatids found on the same site, arranged to form a colonnade in a religious sanctuary built on land fronting on the Via Appia owned by Regilla, wife of the Greek magnate and philosopher Herodes Atticus. This sanctuary was probably dedicated to Demeter. A fragmentary caryatid from the series, now in the Villa Albani, Rome, is signed by otherwise-unknown Athenian sculptors Kriton and Nikolaos

It was acquired with other purchases from the Villa Montalto in 1787 by Charles Townley, who bequeathed it to the British Museum in 1805, where its catalogue number is 1805, 0703 44. It was until recently in Gallery 84, but is now on the Main Stairs, replacing Townley's Discobolus.




  • Ön modern dönem imparatorluklar dönemidir.
  • Modern dönem uluslar dönemidir.
  • İmparatorluklar ulusların doğuş yeridir.


  • Kavramına göre, devlet hak ve ahlak kavramları temelinde somut etik yaşam biçimidir.
  • Ya da, devlet evrensel hak eşitliği ve duyunç özgürlüğü temelinde yasa egemenliğidir.


  • Kavramına göre, din estetik duyarlığı ve ussal düşünceyi kapsayan duygu sonsuzluğudur.


  • Din kavramı insan eşitliğini doğrulamasında evrensel insan haklarının bilincine götürür.
  • Din kavramı insan özgürlüğünü doğrulamasında duyunç özgürlüğünün bilincine götürür.
  • Din kavramı etik yaşam idealini doğrulamasında ideal politik yaşam istencine götürür.
  • Din kavramına uygun düşmeyen inanç biçimleri devletleri grotesk biçimler üstlenmeye zorlar (etnik devletler, din devletleri).


  • Roma İmparatorluğu bir tek-erklik olarak, egemenliğin tek bir bireyin istencinde yoğunlaşması olarak evrensel insan eşitliğinin yadsınması ve tüm bireyselliğin devlete adanması koşulu üzerine dayanıyordu.
  • Tanrıyı evrensel Logos olarak, İnsanı ya da İsa’yı Tanrı ile bir ve aynı tözü taşıyor olarak, ve İnsanlığı Tanrı ve Oğul ile bir ve aynı töz olarak kabul eden Hıristiyanlık neo-Platonistler tarafından formüle edildi.
  • Katolik ve Ortodoks inanç biçimleri tarafından anlaşılmayan ve tanınmayan Hıristiyanlık ancak Reformasyonun duyunç özgürlüğünü getirmesinden sonra din kavramına uygun inanç biçimi olarak yayılmaya başladı.

Christianity in the Roman Empire

Christianity in the Roman Empire (W)

Roman investigations into early Christianity found it an irreligious, novel, disobedient, even atheistic sub-sect of Judaism: it appeared to deny all forms of religion and was therefore superstitio. By the end of the Imperial era, Nicene Christianity was the one permitted Roman religio; all other cults were heretical or pagan superstitiones.

After the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, Emperor Nero accused the Christians as convenient scapegoats, who were later persecuted and killed. From that point on, Roman official policy towards Christianity tended towards persecution.

During the various Imperial crises of the 3rd century, "contemporaries were predisposed to decode any crisis in religious terms", regardless of their allegiance to particular practices or belief systems. Christianity drew its traditional base of support from the powerless, who seemed to have no religious stake in the well-being of the Roman State, and therefore threatened its existence. The majority of Rome's elite continued to observe various forms of inclusive Hellenistic monism; Neoplatonism in particular accommodated the miraculous and the ascetic within a traditional Graeco-Roman cultic framework. Christians saw these practices as ungodly, and a primary cause of economic and political crisis.

In the wake of religious riots in Egypt, the emperor Decius decreed that all subjects of the Empire must actively seek to benefit the state through witnessed and certified sacrifice to "ancestral gods" or suffer a penalty: only Jews were exempt. Decius' edict appealed to whatever common mos maiores might reunite a politically and socially fractured Empire and its multitude of cults; no ancestral gods were specified by name. The fulfillment of sacrificial obligation by loyal subjects would define them and their gods as Roman. Apostasy was sought, rather than capital punishment. A year after its due deadline, the edict expired.

Valerian singled out Christianity as a particularly self-interested and subversive foreign cult, outlawed its assemblies and urged Christians to sacrifice to Rome's traditional gods. In another edict, he described Christianity as a threat to Empire — not yet at its heart but close to it, among Rome's equites and Senators. Christian apologists interpreted his eventual fate — a disgraceful capture and death — as divine judgement.

The next forty years were peaceful; the Christian church grew stronger and its literature and theology gained a higher social and intellectual profile, due in part to its own search for political toleration and theological coherence. Origen discussed theological issues with traditionalist elites in a common Neoplatonist frame of reference — he had written to Decius' predecessor Philip the Arab in similar vein — and Hippolytus recognised a "pagan" basis in Christian heresies. The Christian churches were disunited; Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch was deposed by a synod of 268 both for his doctrines, and for his unworthy, indulgent, elite lifestyle. Meanwhile, Aurelian (270-75) appealed for harmony among his soldiers (concordia militum), stabilised the Empire and its borders and successfully established an official, Hellenic form of unitary cult to the Palmyrene Sol Invictus in Rome's Campus Martius.

In 295, Maximilian of Tebessa refused military service; in 298 Marcellus renounced his military oath. Both were executed for treason; both were Christians. At some time around 302, a report of ominous haruspicy in Diocletian's domus and a subsequent (but undated) dictat of placatory sacrifice by the entire military triggered a series of edicts against Christianity. The first (303 AD) “ordered the destruction of church buildings and Christian texts, forbade services to be held, degraded officials who were Christians, re-enslaved imperial freedmen who were Christians, and reduced the legal rights of all Christians... [Physical] or capital punishments were not imposed on them" but soon after, several Christians suspected of attempted arson in the palace were executed. The second edict threatened Christian priests with imprisonment and the third offered them freedom if they performed sacrifice. An edict of 304 enjoined universal sacrifice to traditional gods, in terms that recall the Decian edict.

In some cases and in some places the edicts were strictly enforced: some Christians resisted and were imprisoned or martyred. Others complied. Some local communities were not only pre-dominantly Christian, but powerful and influential; and some provincial authorities were lenient, notably the Caesar in Gaul, Constantius Chlorus, the father of Constantine I. Diocletian's successor Galerius maintained anti-Christian policy until his deathbed revocation in 311, when he asked Christians to pray for him. "This meant an official recognition of their importance in the religious world of the Roman empire, although one of the tetrarchs, Maximinus Daia, still oppressed Christians in his part of the empire up to 313.”

Emperor Constantine and Christianity


The conversion of Constantine I ended the Christian persecutions. Constantine successfully balanced his own role as an instrument of the pax deorum with the power of the Christian priesthoods in determining what was (in traditional Roman terms) auspicious — or in Christian terms, what was orthodox. The edict of Milan (313) redefined Imperial ideology as one of mutual toleration. Constantine had triumphed under the signum (sign) of the Christ: Christianity was therefore officially embraced along with traditional religions and from his new Eastern capital, Constantine could be seen to embody both Christian and Hellenic religious interests. He passed laws to protect Christians from persecution; he also funded the building of churches, including Saint Peter's basilica. He may have officially ended — or attempted to end — blood sacrifices to the genius of living emperors, though his Imperial iconography and court ceremonial outstripped Diocletian's in their supra-human elevation of the Imperial hierarch.

Constantine promoted orthodoxy in Christian doctrine, so that Christianity might become a unitary force, rather than divisive. He summoned Christian bishops to a meeting, later known as the First Council of Nicaea, at which some 318 bishops (mostly easterners) debated and decided what was orthodox, and what was heresy. The meeting reached consensus on the Nicene Creed. At Constantine's death, he was honored as a Christian and as an Imperial "divus". Later, Philostorgius would criticize those Christians who offered sacrifice at statues of the divus Constantine.

Transition to Christian hegemony


Christianity and traditional Roman religion proved incompatible. From the 2nd century onward, the Church Fathers had condemned the diverse non-Christian religions practiced throughout the Empire as "pagan". Constantine's actions have been regarded by some scholars as causing the rapid growth of Christianity, though revisionist scholars disagree. Constantine's unique form of Imperial orthodoxy did not outlast him. After his death in 337, two of his sons, Constantius II and Constans, took over the leadership of the empire and re-divided their Imperial inheritance. Constantius was an Arian and his brothers were Nicene Christians.

Constantine's nephew Julian rejected the "Galilean madness" of his upbringing for an idiosyncratic synthesis of neo-Platonism, Stoic asceticism and universal solar cult. Julian became Augustus in 361 and actively but vainly fostered a religious and cultural pluralism, attempting a restitution of non-Christian practices and rights. He proposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem's temple as an Imperial project and argued against the "irrational impieties" of Christian doctrine. His attempt to restore an Augustan form of principate, with himself as primus inter pares ended with his death in 363 in Persia, after which his reforms were reversed or abandoned. The empire once again fell under Christian control, this time permanently.

In 380, under Theodosius I, Nicene Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Christian heretics as well as non-Christians were subject to exclusion from public life or persecution, though Rome's original religious hierarchy and many aspects of its ritual influenced Christian forms and many pre-Christian beliefs and practices survived in Christian festivals and local traditions.

The Western emperor Gratian refused the office of pontifex maximus, and against the protests of the senate, removed the altar of Victory from the senate house and began the disestablishment of the Vestals. Theodosius I briefly re-united the Empire: in 391 he officially adopted Nicene Christianity as the Imperial religion and ended official support for all other creeds and cults. He not only refused to restore Victory to the senate-house, but extinguished the Sacred fire of the Vestals and vacated their temple: the senatorial protest was expressed in a letter by Quintus Aurelius Symmachus to the Western and Eastern emperors. Ambrose, the influential Bishop of Milan and future saint, wrote urging the rejection of Symmachus's request for tolerance. Yet Theodosius accepted comparison with Hercules and Jupiter as a living divinity in the panegyric of Pacatus, and despite his active dismantling of Rome's traditional cults and priesthoods could commend his heirs to its overwhelmingly Hellenic senate in traditional Hellenic terms. He was the last emperor of both East and West.


Vestal Virgins: Protectors of the city’s sacred flame

Vestal Virgins

Vestal Virgins (B)

Vestal Virgins, in Roman religion, six priestesses, representing the daughters of the royal house, who tended the state cult of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. The cult is believed to date to the 7th century BC; like other non-Christian cults, it was banned in AD 394 by Theodosius I.

Chosen between the ages of 6 and 10 by the pontifex maximus (“chief priest”), Vestal Virgins served for 30 years, during which time they had to remain virgins. Afterward they could marry, but few did. Those chosen as Vestal Virgins had to be of the required age, be freeborn of freeborn and respectable parents (though later the daughters of freedmen were eligible), have both parents alive, and be free from physical and mental defects. They lived in the House of the Vestal Virgins on the Roman Forum, near the Temple of Vesta. Their duties included tending the perpetual fire in the Temple of Vesta, keeping their vow of chastity, fetching water from a sacred spring (Vesta would have no water from the city water-supply system), preparing ritual food, caring for objects in the temple’s inner sanctuary, and officiating at the Vestalia (June 7–15), the period of public worship of Vesta. Failure to attend to their duties was punished by a beating; violation of the vow of chastity, by burial alive (the blood of a Vestal Virgin could not be spilled). But the Vestal Virgins also enjoyed many honours and privileges not open to married or single women of equivalent social status, including emancipation from their fathers’ rule and the ability to handle their own property.





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