Chapter

Ancestral cults

Menno Fenger and Paul Henman

in Rome in Late Antiquity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780748612390
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651009 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612390.003.0008
Ancestral cults

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Religion offers an additional element of variety in the Roman population up to the middle of the fifth century, the time when Christianity may be judged to have really triumphed over the religious elements in the city. What Christians belatedly termed ‘paganism’ was in fact a mosaic of cults adopted by Rome since the first centuries of the republic. There was nothing at all rustic about the pagans of the great Roman aristocracy in the fourth century, apart from their luxurious villas. In Rome, its leaders were illustres, of the highest social rank, who prided themselves on bearing titles and priesthoods steeped in tradition. Similarly, Roman Christianity should not be regarded as monolithic, in any case not before the end of the fifth century.

Keywords: religion; Christianity; paganism; cults; Rome; pagans; illustres

Chapter.  4604 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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