Cults, Myths, and Politics at the Beginning of the Empire<sup>†</sup>

John Scheid and Philip Purchase

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI:
Cults, Myths, and Politics at the Beginning of the Empire†

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This chapter states that public religion was necessarily linked to politics for many years now, and even to questions of political advantage, as it expressed the relations of the people of Rome with the gods, their divine partners. The language of this religion was that of civic relations, its field of operation the political community of divine and human beings, its context that of internal and external politics. In other words, the operation of this religion was necessarily marked by a certain coldness, by calculation of advantage and by attention to reality: Roman religion was in good health and held in high esteem to the extent that it was linked to politics and the political. The chapter examines a set of cases dating, for the most part, from the beginning of the era of Christianity, by taking the perspective of cult activity.

Keywords: public religion; politics; Rome; gods; Christianity; cult; civic relations

Chapter.  10361 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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