Roman State Religion in the Mirror of Augustan and Late Republican Apologetics<sup>†</sup>

Christopher Koch and Philip Barnes

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI:
Roman State Religion in the Mirror of Augustan and Late Republican Apologetics†

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This chapter secures a hypothesis that in the late Republic and Augustan period, no individual priest of the state religion, coming from the educated class, could carry out his duties with the credulity of an archaic man. Each perceived the discrepancy between the extent of his own spiritual freedom and the world of ideas that he had to reproduce in worship. The state religion for the contemporary Roman was not identical with the entire complex of religious possibilities that could have occupied him. The question regarding the degree of substance or, more accurately, the decay of substance in belief in the maiores system of rituals, constitutes only a partial inquiry into the problematic of late Republican and Augustan religion. This was hardly the most burning question for the average individual if he was not a priest, but it was a serious, pressing concern for the leadership of the state at the beginning of the Principate.

Keywords: priest; state; religion; Roman; maiores; rituals; Principate

Chapter.  15132 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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