The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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The Gods of Ancient Rome

August 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on The Gods of Ancient Rome · christianity, culture, history, ritual

Turcan starts by providing an exquisite view of the private religious expressions of the Roman patricians. The gods of the house, the gods of the family, and the patron deities of individuals, all became part of a complex of divinity – a web which each Roman had to carefully traverse daily. Any mistake resulted in obligatory compensation to the gods in order to salvage the future welfare of the house.

The strength of the ancestors was keenly felt by the Ancient Romans. There was not a clear distinction between gods and the honored dead, and both were frequently called upon and celebrated. The spirit of the family, which had kept it continuing as a potent force, was honored as a distinct figure. The spirits of the house were also recognized and respected. In short, everything in every part of the Roman’s life was connected to divinity, and the Romans actively sought out knowledge for how to satisfy every god.

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