Introduction: Religion, Law and Knowledge in Classical Rome

Clifford Ando

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI:
Introduction: Religion, Law and Knowledge in Classical Rome

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This chapter concentrates on the epistemology of the religion of Rome, arguing that this basis by its very nature conditions the manner in which Roman religion can be studied, and considers further problems of theory and practice. It begins by reflecting on the translation of religio. ‘Religion’ is but one possible rendering, and Valerius Maximus's lists suggest that it might here be rendered more accurately by ‘the sum total of current cult practice’. It is not that ‘religion’ does not capture the force of religio in one of its uses, but that this usage is not primary, and its field proves harder to map onto ‘religion’ than one might expect. Consider the description of the religio of the Roman people offered by Gaius Aurelius Cotta, the Academic pontifex, in the opening pages of Marcus Tullius Cicero's On the Nature of the Gods.

Keywords: epistemology; religion; Rome; theory; practice; religio; Valerius Maximus; cult; Gaius Aurelius Cotta; Marcus Tullius Cicero

Chapter.  7403 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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