Mystery religions, sacred mysteries or mysteries were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates. The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders; the most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late Antiquity. Due to the secret nature of the school, because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions and cross-cultural studies. "Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another". Much information on the Mysteries come from Marcus Terentius Varro.
Justin Martyr in the 2nd century explicitly noted and identified them as "demonic imitations" of the true faith, that "the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Kore". Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools, insofar as the "mystery schools too were an intrinsic element of the non-Jewish horizon of the reception of the Christian message". Beginning in the third century, after Constantine became emperor, components of mystery religions began to be incorporated into mainstream Christian thinking, such as is reflected by the disciplina arcani; the English word'mystery' appeared as the plural Greek Mystêria, developed into the Latin mysterium where the English term originates. The etymology of the Greek mystêrion is not clear though scholars have traditionally thought it to have derived from the Greek myo, meaning "to close or shut".
More a number of Hittite scholars have suggested that the Greek term derives from the Hittite verb munnae, "to conceal, to hide, to shut out of sight". Mystery religions formed one of three types of Hellenistic religion, the others being the imperial cult, or the ethnic religion particular to a nation or state, the philosophic religions such as Neoplatonism; this is reflected in the tripartite division of "theology"—by Varro—into civil theology, natural theology, mythical theology. Mysteries thus supplement rather than compete with civil religion. An individual could observe the rites of the state religion, be an initiate in one or more mysteries, at the same time adhere to a certain philosophical school. Many of the aspects of public religion such as sacrifices, ritual meals, ritual purification were repeated within the mystery, but with the additional requirement that they take place in secrecy and be confined to a closed set of initiates; the mystery schools offered a niche for the preservation of ancient religious ritual.
Though historians have given up trying to outline a rigid definition to categorize all mystery cults, a number of characteristics that the mystery cults shared can be outlined. All the mystery cults placed emphasis on the secrecy of their practices and an emotional initiation ritual for a new member to join the group; the members were voluntary participants, had nocturnal settings and preliminary purifications for their gatherings, there was an obligation to pay in order to participate, promised rewards for this life and the next, the older mysteries were located at a variable distance from the nearest city. Furthermore, they were all, with the exception of the Mithraic cult, open to all people, including men and women and freeman, the young and old, etc. However, the expenses required to participate in all the rituals precluded many from joining, and though the mysteries were secret, they were not mysterious. For this reason, what glimpses we do have of the older Greek mysteries have been understood as reflecting certain archaic aspects of common Indo-European religion, with parallels in Indo-Iranian religion.
The mystery schools of Greco-Roman antiquity include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, the Orphic Mysteries. Some of the many divinities that the Romans nominally adopted from other cultures came to be worshipped in Mysteries, for instance, Egyptian Isis, Persian Mithras from the Mithraic Mysteries, Thracian/Phrygian Sabazius, Phrygian Cybele; the Eleusinian Mysteries were the earliest and most famous of the mystery cults and lasted for over a millennium. Whenever they first originated, by the end of the 5th century BC, they had been influenced by Orphism, in Late Antiquity, they had become allegorized; these mysteries were more concerned with prosperity than eschatalogy and hope in the afterlife, so belief in an afterlife had always belonged to a minority and no person initiated into the mysteries made reference to it on their tombstones until the 2nd century BC. In the 15th of the month of Boedromion in the Attic calendar, as many as 3,000 potential initiates would have gathered in the agora of Athens, the gathering limited to those that spoke Greek and had never killed (as the emphasis on purity grew, this ban
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War referred to as The Hannibalic War and by the Romans the War Against Hannibal, was the second of three wars between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of Greek polities and Numidian and Iberian forces on both sides. It was one of the deadliest human conflicts of ancient times. Fought across the entire Western Mediterranean region for 17 years and regarded by ancient historians as the greatest war in history, it was waged with unparalleled resources and hatred, it saw hundreds of thousands killed, some of the most lethal battles in military history, the destruction of cities, massacres and enslavements of civilian populations and prisoners of war by both sides. The war began with the Carthaginian general Hannibal's conquest of the pro-Roman Iberian city of Saguntum in 219 BC, prompting a Roman declaration of war on Carthage in the spring of 218. Hannibal surprised the Romans by marching his army overland from Iberia to cross the Alps and invade Roman Italy, followed by his reinforcement by Gallic allies and crushing victories over Roman armies at Trebia in 218 and on the shores of Lake Trasimene in 217.
Moving to southern Italy in 216, Hannibal at Cannae annihilated the largest army the Romans had assembled. After the death or imprisonment of 130,000 Roman troops in two years, 40% of Rome's Italian allies defected to Carthage, giving her control over most of southern Italy. Macedon and Syracuse joined the Carthaginian side after Cannae and the conflict spread to Greece and Sicily. From 215–210 the Carthaginian army and navy launched repeated amphibious assaults to capture Roman Sicily and Sardinia but were repulsed. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans adopted the Fabian strategy – the avoidance of battle against Hannibal and defeating his allies and the other Carthaginian generals instead. Roman armies recaptured all of the great cities that had joined Carthage and defeated a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at Metaurus in 207. Southern Italy was devastated by the combatants, with hundreds of thousands of civilians killed or enslaved. In Iberia, which served as a major source of silver and manpower for the Carthaginian army, a Roman expeditionary force under Publius Cornelius Scipio captured Carthago Nova, Carthage's capital city in Iberia, in 209.
Scipio's destruction of a Carthaginian army at Ilipa in 206 permanently ended Carthaginian rule in Iberia. He invaded Carthaginian Africa in 204, inflicting two severe defeats on Carthage and her allies at Utica and the Great Plains that compelled the Carthaginian senate to recall Hannibal's army from Italy; the final engagement between Scipio and Hannibal took place at Zama in Africa in 202 and resulted in Hannibal's defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a great power and became a Roman client state until its final destruction by the Romans in 146 BC during the Third Punic War. The Second Punic War overthrew the established balance of power of the ancient world and Rome rose to become the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin for the next 600 years. Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War meant the loss of Carthaginian Sicily to Rome under the terms of the Roman-dictated 241 BC Treaty of Lutatius. Rome exploited Carthage's distraction during the Truceless War against rebellious mercenaries and Libyan subjects to break the peace treaty and annex Carthaginian Sardinia and Corsica to Rome in 238 BC.
Under the leadership of Hamilcar Barca and his family, Carthage defeated the rebels and began the Barcid conquest of Hispania from 237 BC onward. Control over Spain gave Carthage the silver mines, agricultural wealth, military facilities such as shipyards and territorial depth to stand up to future Roman demands with confidence; the Second Punic War was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome. After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC; the city called for Roman aid. Following a prolonged siege of eight months and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded, the Carthaginians took control of the city. Many of the Saguntians chose to commit suicide rather than face subjugation by the Carthaginians; the loss of Saguntum as a potential base of operations in Carthaginian Iberia was a serious setback to the main Roman strategic objective in Spain: the eviction of the Carthaginians from the peninsula.
The Roman Senate sent an embassy to the Carthaginian Senate that declared war on Carthage in early 218 BC over the attack on Rome's Saguntine ally. Before the war and Hasdrubal the Fair had made a treaty. Livy reports that it was agreed that the Iber should be the boundary between the two empires and that the liberty of the Saguntines should be preserved; the highest priority in Carthaginian strategy was to keep the war away from Carthage's agricultural heartland in Africa and protect the property of the wealthy Carthaginian landowners who controlled Carthaginian politics. Spanish mines and sources of manpower comprised the second pillar of the Carthaginian power base and their protection was essential to maintaining Carthage's status as an independent continental great power. Hannibal's invasion of Italy forced the Romans to abandon their intended invasion of Africa and de-prioritize the reinforcement of Roman armies in Spain. Most Roman troops during the war fought in Italy, which became the main theater of the war as a result of Hannibal's offensive.
Africa remained undisturbed by a Roman invasion army until 204 BC and the Roman military presence in Spain was confined to its northeastern corn
Augustus was a Roman statesman and military leader, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history; the reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession. Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia, his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir. Along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at the Battle of Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators.
The Triumvirate was torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC. After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward façade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, those of tribune and censor, it took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, instead called himself Princeps Civitatis; the resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire. Augustus enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Pannonia and Raetia, expanding possessions in Africa, completing the conquest of Hispania, but suffered a major setback in Germania.
Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in AD 14 at the age of 75 from natural causes. However, there were unconfirmed rumors, he was succeeded as emperor by his adopted son Tiberius. As a consequence of Roman customs and personal preference, Augustus was known by many names throughout his life: Gaius Octavius Thurinus: He received his birth name, after his biological father, in 63 BC. "Gaius" was his praenomen, "Octavius" was his nomen, "Thurinus" was his cognomen. His rival Mark Antony used the name "Thurinus" as an insult, to which Augustus replied, surprised that "using his old name was thought to be an insult".
Gaius Julius Caesar: After he was adopted by Julius Caesar, he adopted Caesar's name in accordance with Roman naming conventions. While he dropped all references to the gens Octavia, people colloquially added the epithet Octavianus to his legal name, either to differentiate him from his adoptive father or to highlight his more modest origins. Modern historians refer to him using the anglicized form "Octavian" between 44 BC and 27 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius: Two years after his adoption, he founded the Temple of Caesar additionally adding the title Divi Filius to his name in attempt to strengthen his political ties to Caesar's former soldiers, following the deification of Caesar. Imperator Caesar Divi Filius: From 38 BC, Octavian opted to use Imperator, the title by which troops hailed their leader after military success, his name is translated as "Commander Caesar, Son of the Divine". Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: Following his 31 BC defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on his own insistence, the Roman Senate granted him the additional name, "Augustus", which he added to his previous names thereafter.
Historians use this name to refer to him from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. While his paternal family was from the town of Velletri 40 kilometres from Rome, Augustus was born in the city of Rome on 23 September 63 BC, he was born at Ox Head, a small property on the Palatine Hill close to the Roman Forum. He was given the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, his cognomen commemorating his father's victory at Thurii over a rebellious band of slaves. Suetonius wrote: "There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; this man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town..." Due to the crowded nature of Rome at the time, Octavius was taken to his father's home village at Velletri to be raised. Octavius mentions his father's equestrian family only in his memoirs, his paternal great-grandfather Gaius Octavius was a military tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His grandfather had served in several lo
Titus Livius – rendered as Livy in English – was a Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people – Ab Urbe Condita Libri – covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional foundation in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime, he was on familiar terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and in friendship with Augustus, whose young grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, he exhorted to take up the writing of history. Livy was born in Patavium in northern Italy, now modern Padua. There is a debate about the year of his birth- either in 64 BC, or more in 59 BC. At the time of his birth, his home city of Patavium was the second wealthiest on the Italian peninsula, the largest in the province of Cisalpine Gaul. Cisalpine Gaul was merged in Italia during his lifetime and its inhabitants were given Roman citizenship by Julius Caesar. In his works, Livy expressed his deep affection and pride for Patavium, the city was well known for its conservative values in morality and politics.
"He was by nature a recluse, mild in averse to violence. The governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time, Asinius Pollio, tried to sway Patavium into supporting Marcus Antonius, the leader of one of the warring factions; the wealthy citizens of Patavium refused to contribute money and arms to Asinius Pollio, went into hiding. Pollio attempted to bribe the slaves of those wealthy citizens to expose the whereabouts of their masters, it is therefore that the Roman civil wars prevented Livy from pursuing a higher education in Rome or going on a tour of Greece, common for adolescent males of the nobility at the time. Many years Asinius Pollio derisively commented on Livy's "patavinity", saying that Livy's Latin showed certain "provincialisms" frowned on at Rome. Pollio's dig may have been the result of bad feelings he harboured toward the city of Patavium from his experiences there during the civil wars. Livy went to Rome in the 30s BC, it is that he spent a large amount of time in the city after this, although it may not have been his primary home.
During his time in Rome, he held a government position. His writings contain elementary mistakes on military matters, indicating that he never served in the Roman army. However, he was educated in rhetoric, it seems that Livy had the financial resources and means to live an independent life, though the origin of that wealth is unknown. He devoted a large part of his life to his writings, which he was able to do because of his financial freedom. Livy was known to give recitations to small audiences, but he was not heard of to engage in declamation a common pastime, he was familiar with the imperial family. Augustus was considered by Romans to have been the greatest Roman emperor, benefiting Livy's reputation long after his death. Suetonius described how Livy encouraged the future emperor Claudius, born in 10 BC, to write historiographical works during his childhood. Livy's most famous work was his history of Rome. In it he narrates a complete history of the city of Rome, from its foundation to the death of Augustus.
Because he was writing under the reign of Augustus, Livy's history emphasizes the great triumphs of Rome. He wrote his history with embellished accounts of Roman heroism in order to promote the new type of government implemented by Augustus when he became emperor. In Livy's preface to his history, he said that he did not care whether his personal fame remained in darkness, as long as his work helped to "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world’s preeminent nation"; because Livy was writing about events that had occurred hundreds of years earlier, the historical value of his work was questionable, although many Romans came to believe his account to be true. Livy had at least one daughter and one son, he produced other works, including an essay in the form of a letter to his son, numerous dialogues, most modelled on similar works by Cicero. Titus Livius died in his home city of Patavium in either AD 12 or 17. Livy's only surviving work is the "History of Rome", his career from his mid-life 32, until he left Rome for Padua in old age in the reign of Tiberius after the death of Augustus.
When he began this work he was past his youth. Seneca the Younger gives brief mention that he was known as an orator and philosopher and had written some treatises in those fields from a historical point of view. Livy's History of Rome was in high demand from the time it was published and remained so during the early years of the empire. Pliny the Younger reported that Livy's celebrity was so widespread, a man from Cadiz travelled to Rome and back for the sole purpose of meeting him. Livy's work was a source for the works of Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, Florus, Granius Licinianus and Orosius. Julius Obsequens used Livy, or a source with access to Livy, to compose his De Prodigiis, an account of supernatural e
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may refer to the modern study of these representations, to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period. The Romans treated their traditional narratives as historical when these have miraculous or supernatural elements; the stories are concerned with politics and morality, how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme; when the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual and institutions than with theology or cosmogony. The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, by the artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors.
In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks, to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks. While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse; because Latin literature was more known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical; because ritual played the central role in Roman religion that myth did for the Greeks, it is sometimes doubted that the Romans had much of a native mythology.
This perception is a product of Romanticism and the classical scholarship of the 19th century, which valued Greek civilization as more "authentically creative." From the Renaissance to the 18th century, Roman myths were an inspiration for European painting. The Roman tradition is rich in historical myths, or legends, concerning the foundation and rise of the city; these narratives focus on human actors, with only occasional intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny. In Rome's earliest period and myth have a mutual and complementary relationship; as T. P. Wiseman notes: The Roman stories still matter, as they mattered to Dante in 1300 and Shakespeare in 1600 and the founding fathers of the United States in 1776. What does it take to be a free citizen? Can a superpower still be a republic? How does well-meaning authority turn into murderous tyranny? Major sources for Roman myth include the Aeneid of Vergil and the first few books of Livy's history as well as Dionysius' s Roman Antiquities.
Other important sources are the Fasti of Ovid, a six-book poem structured by the Roman religious calendar, the fourth book of elegies by Propertius. Scenes from Roman myth appear in Roman wall painting and sculpture reliefs; the Aeneid and Livy's early history are the best extant sources for Rome's founding myths. Material from Greek heroic legend was grafted onto this native stock at an early date; the Trojan prince Aeneas was cast as husband of Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, patronymical ancestor of the Latini, therefore through a convoluted revisionist genealogy as forebear of Romulus and Remus. By extension, the Trojans were adopted as the mythical ancestors of the Roman people; the characteristic myths of Rome are political or moral, that is, they deal with the development of Roman government in accordance with divine law, as expressed by Roman religion, with demonstrations of the individual's adherence to moral expectations or failures to do so. Rape of the Sabine women, explaining the importance of the Sabines in the formation of Roman culture, the growth of Rome through conflict and alliance.
Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome who consorted with the nymph Egeria and established many of Rome's legal and religious institutions. Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, whose mysterious origins were mythologized and, said to have been the lover of the goddess Fortuna; the Tarpeian Rock, why it was used for the execution of traitors. Lucretia, whose self-sacrifice prompted the overthrow of the early Roman monarchy and led to the establishment of the Republic. Cloelia, A Roman woman taken hostage by Lars Porsena, she escaped the Clusian camp with a group of Roman virgins. Horatius at the bridge, on the importance of individual valor. Mucius Scaevola, who thrust his right hand into the fire to prove his loyalty to Rome. Caeculus and the founding of Praeneste. Manlius and the geese, about divine intervention at the Gallic siege of Rome. Stories pertaining to the Nonae Caprotinae and Poplifugia festivals. Coriolanus, a story of politics and morality; the Etruscan city of Corythus as the "cradle" of Trojan and Italian civilization.
The arrival of the Great Mother in Rome. Narratives of divine activity played a more important role in the system of Greek religious belief than among the Romans, for whom ritual and cult were primary. Although Roman religion did not have a basis in scriptures and exegesis, priestly literature was one of the earliest written forms of Latin prose; the books and commentaries of the College of Pontiffs and
Glossary of ancient Roman religion
The vocabulary of ancient Roman religion was specialized. Its study affords important information about the religion and beliefs of the ancient Romans; this legacy is conspicuous in European cultural history in its influence on juridical and religious vocabulary in Europe of the Western Church. This glossary provides explanations of concepts as they were expressed in Latin pertaining to religious practices and beliefs, with links to articles on major topics such as priesthoods, forms of divination, rituals. For theonyms, or the names and epithets of gods, see List of Roman deities. For public religious holidays, see Roman festivals. For temples see the List of Ancient Roman temples. Individual landmarks of religious topography in ancient Rome are not included in this list; the verb abominari was a term of augury for an action that rejects or averts an unfavourable omen indicated by a signum, "sign". The noun is abominatio. At the taking of formally solicited auspices, the observer was required to acknowledge any bad sign occurring within the templum he was observing, regardless of the interpretation.
He might, take certain actions in order to ignore the signa, including avoiding the sight of them, interpreting them as favourable. The latter tactic required promptness and skill based on discipline and learning, thus the omen had no validity apart from the observation of it. The aedes was the dwelling place of a god, it was thus a structure that housed the deity's image, distinguished from the templum or sacred district. Aedes is one of several Latin words that can be translated as "shrine" or "temple". For instance, the Temple of Vesta, as it is called in English, was in Latin an aedes. See the diminutive aedicula, a small shrine. In his work On Architecture, Vitruvius always uses the word templum in the technical sense of a space defined through augury, with aedes the usual word for the building itself; the design of a deity's aedes, should be appropriate to the characteristics of the deity. For a celestial deity such as Jupiter, Sol or Luna, the building should be open to the sky, thus in theory, though not always in practice, architectural aesthetics had a theological dimension.
The word aedilis, a public official, is related by etymology. The temple of Flora, for instance, was built in 241 BC by two aediles acting on Sibylline oracles; the plebeian aediles had their headquarters at the aedes of Ceres. In religious usage, ager was terrestrial space defined for the purposes of augury in relation to auspicia. There were five kinds of ager: Romanus, peregrinus and incertus; the ager Romanus included the urban space outside the pomerium and the surrounding countryside. According to Varro, the ager Gabinus pertained to the special circumstances of the oppidum of Gabii, the first to sign a sacred treaty with Rome; the ager peregrinus was other territory, brought under treaty. Ager hosticus meant foreign territory; the powers and actions of magistrates were based on and constrained by the nature of the ager on which they stood, ager in more general usage meant a territory as defined or politically. The ager Romanus could not be extended outside Italy; the focal point of sacrifice was the altar.
Most altars throughout the city of Rome and in the countryside would have been simple, open-air structures. An altar that received food offerings might be called a mensa, "table."Perhaps the best-known Roman altar is the elaborate and Greek-influenced Ara Pacis, called "the most representative work of Augustan art." Other major public altars included the Ara Maxima. A tree was categorized as felix; the adjective felix here means not only "fruitful" but more broadly "auspicious". Macrobius lists arbores felices as the oak, the birch, the hazelnut, the sorbus, the white fig, the pear, the apple, the grape, the plum, the cornus and the lotus; the oak was sacred to Jupiter, twigs of oak were used by the Vestals to ignite the sacred fire in March every year. Among the felices were the olive tree, a twig of, affixed to the hat of the Flamen Dialis, the laurel and the poplar, which crowned the Salian priests. Arbores infelices were those under the protection of chthonic gods or those gods who had the power of turning away misfortune.
As listed by Tarquitius Priscus in his lost ostentarium on trees, these were buckthorn, red cornel, black fig, "those that bear a black berry and black fruit," holly, woodland pear, butcher's broom and brambles." The verb attrectare referred in specialized religious usage to touching sacred objects while performing cultic actions. Attrectare had a positive meaning only in reference to the action