Chapter

From Republic to Principate:<sup>†</sup> Priesthood, Religion and Ideology*

Richard Gordon

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615650.003.0022
From Republic to Principate:† Priesthood, Religion and Ideology*

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Rome's religion is not so much about the objects of worship but the institutions that made possible Rome's greatness, among them the two key sacerdotal colleges, the pontifices, who supervised the sacra, the ensemble of rules and rituals which loosely group under the word ‘religion’, and the augures, who had responsibility for the auspicia, a major axis of communication between men and gods. This emphasis upon the importance of the priestly colleges to the maintenance of Roman religion and so of the Roman state reappears elsewhere in the late Republic and early Empire. In keeping with his basic assumption that, though a God of some sort truly pre-exists, civic religion is a thoroughly human creation, Marcus Terentius Varro devotes the three books after the general introduction to an account of the three major sacerdotal colleges. There follow three books on shrines and sacred places, three on festivals and three on rituals public and private.

Keywords: Rome; religion; colleges; pontifices; sacra; rules; rituals; augures; God; Marcus Terentius Varro

Chapter.  10082 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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