Classical Greco-Roman mythology and Roman mythology or Greco-Roman mythology is both the body of and the study of myths from the ancient Greeks and Romans as they are used or transformed by cultural reception. Along with philosophy and political thought, mythology represents one of the major survivals of classical antiquity throughout Western culture; the Greek word mythos refers to the spoken word or speech, but it denotes a tale, story or narrative. Classical mythology has provided subject matter for all forms of visual and literary art in the West, including poetry, painting, sculpture and ballet, as well as forms of popular culture such as Hollywood movies, television series, comic books, video games. Classical myths are alluded to in scientific naming in astronomy and biology, in the psychoanalytic theory of Freud and the archetypal psychology of Jung. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, when Latin remained the dominant language in Europe for international educated discourse, mythological names always appeared in Latinized form.
With the Greek revival of the 19th century, Greek names began to be used more with both "Zeus" and "Jove" being used as the name of the supreme god of the classical pantheon. Classical mythology is a term used to designate the myths belonging to the Greek and Roman traditions; the myths are believed to have been acquired first by oral tradition, entering since Homer and Hesiod the literate era. A classical myth as it appears in Western culture is a syncretism of various versions from both Greek and Latin sources. Greek myths were narratives related to ancient Greek religion concerned with the actions of gods and other supernatural beings and of heroes who transcend human bounds. Major sources for Greek myths include the Homeric epics, that is, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides. Known versions are preserved in sophisticated literary works shaped by the artistry of individuals and by the conventions of genre, or in vase painting and other forms of visual art. In these forms, mythological narratives serve purposes that are not religious, such as entertainment and comedy, or the exploration of social issues.
Roman myths are traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins, religious institutions, moral models, with a focus on human actors and only occasional intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny. Roman myths have a dynamic relation to Roman historiography, as in the early books of Livy's Ab urbe condita; the most famous Roman myth may be the birth of Romulus and Remus and the founding of the city, in which fratricide can be taken as expressing the long history of political division in the Roman Republic. During the Hellenization of Roman literature and culture, the Romans identified their own gods with those of the Greeks, adapting the stories told about them and importing other myths for which they had no counterpart. For instance, while the Greek god Ares and the Italic god Mars are both war deities, the role of each in his society and its religious practices differed strikingly; the literary collection of Greco-Roman myths with the greatest influence on Western culture was the Metamorphoses of the Augustan poet Ovid.
Syncretized versions form the classical tradition of mythography, by the time of the influential Renaissance mythographer Natalis Comes, few if any distinctions were made between Greek and Roman myths. The myths as they appear in popular culture of the 20th and 21st centuries have only a tangential relation to the stories as told in ancient Greek and Latin literature. Chariot clock Classical tradition Classics Greco-Roman world Greek mythology in western art and literature LGBT themes in classical mythology List of films based on Greco-Roman mythology List of films based on Greek drama Matter of Rome Natale Conti, influential Renaissance mythographer Proto-Indo-European religion Vatican Mythographers Greco-Roman mythology in popular culture Greek Antiquity in art and culture Greco-Roman mythology in Marvel Comics Greco-Roman mythology in DC Comics Video games based on mythology Operas based on Greco-Roman mythology Ares in popular culture Icarus imagery in contemporary music Prometheus in popular culture
Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity. Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire; the Roman Empire underwent considerable social and organizational changes starting with the reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled by multiple emperors.
Beginning with Constantine the Great, Christianity was made legal in the Empire, a new capital was founded at Constantinople. Migrations of Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the Empire in the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms; the resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman and Christian traditions formed the foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe. The term Spätantike "late antiquity", has been used by German-speaking historians since its popularization by Alois Riegl in the early 20th century, it was given currency in English by the writings of Peter Brown, whose survey The World of Late Antiquity revised the post-Gibbon view of a stale and ossified Classical culture, in favour of a vibrant time of renewals and beginnings, whose The Making of Late Antiquity offered a new paradigm of understanding the changes in Western culture of the time in order to confront Sir Richard Southern's The Making of the Middle Ages.
The continuities between the Roman Empire, as it was reorganized by Diocletian, the Early Middle Ages are stressed by writers who wish to emphasize that the seeds of medieval culture were developing in the Christianized empire, that they continued to do so in the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire at least until the coming of Islam. Concurrently, some migrating Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths and Visigoths saw themselves as perpetuating the "Roman" tradition. While the usage "Late Antiquity" suggests that the social and cultural priorities of Classical Antiquity endured throughout Europe into the Middle Ages, the usage of "Early Middle Ages" or "Early Byzantine" emphasizes a break with the classical past, the term "Migration Period" tends to de-emphasize the disruptions in the former Western Roman Empire caused by the creation of Germanic kingdoms within her borders beginning with the foedus with the Goths in Aquitania in 418; the general decline of population, technological knowledge and standards of living in Europe during this period became the archetypal example of societal collapse for writers from the Renaissance.
As a result of this decline, the relative scarcity of historical records from Europe in particular, the period from the early fifth century until the Carolingian Renaissance was referred to as the "Dark Ages". This term has been abandoned as a name for a historiographical epoch, being replaced by "Late Antiquity" in the periodization of the late West Roman Empire, the early Byzantine empire and the Early Middle Ages. One of the most important transformations in Late Antiquity was the formation and evolution of the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism and Islam. A milestone in the rise of Christianity was the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great in 312, as claimed by his Christian panegyrist Eusebius of Caesarea, although the sincerity of his conversion is debated. Constantine confirmed the legalization of the religion through the so-called Edict of Milan in 313, jointly issued with his rival in the East, Licinius. By the late 4th century, Emperor Theodosius the Great had made Christianity the State religion, thereby transforming the Classical Roman world, which Peter Brown characterized as "rustling with the presence of many divine spirits."Constantine I was a key figure in many important events in Christian history, as he convened and attended the first ecumenical council of bishops at Nicaea in 325, subsidized the building of churches and sanctuaries such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, involved himself in questions such as the timing of Christ's resurrection and its relation to the Passover.
The birth of Christian monasticism in the deserts of Egypt in the 3rd century, which operated outside the episcopal authority of the Church, would become so successful that by the 8th century it penetrated the Church and became the primary Christian practice. Monasticism was not the only new Christian movement to appear in late antiquity, although it had the greatest influence. Other movements notable for their unconventional practices include the Grazers, holy men who ate only grass and chained themselves up. Late Antiquity marks the decline of Roman state religion, circumscribed in degrees by edicts inspired by Christian advisors such as Eusebius to 4th century emperors, a period of dynamic religious experimentation and spirituality with many syncretic sects, some formed centuries earl
Serena was a noblewoman of the late Western Roman Empire. In 384, Theodosius arranged her marriage to Stilicho. Stilicho's marriage to Serena ensured his loyalty to the House of Theodosius in the years ahead. A resident at the court of her cousin, she selected a bride for the court poet and took care of Honorius' half-sister, her cousin Galla Placidia, she and Stilicho had a son and two daughters and Thermantia, both of whom married Honorius. Zosimus records how Serena, a Christian, took a necklace from a statue of Rhea Silvia and placed it on her own neck. An old woman, the last of the Vestal Virgins, who rebuked Serena and called down punishment upon her for her act of impiety. Serena was subject to dreadful dreams predicting her own untimely death. Stilicho was executed on Honorius' orders in 408. During the siege of Rome by the Visigoths the following year, Serena was falsely accused of conspiring with the Goths, was executed with Galla Placidia's consent. Claudianus. Elogium of Serena. Santo Mazzarino.
Serena e le due Eudossie. Roma, Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, 1946 ISBN 978-88-7311-221-1
Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult and mysteries were combined from those of Libera, an early Roman goddess of wine, the Greek Persephone and Demeter, goddesses of grain and agriculture. The Roman goddess Libera was daughter of the agricultural goddess Ceres and wife to Liber, god of wine and freedom. In 204 BC, a new "greek-style" cult to Ceres and Proserpina as "Mother and Maiden" was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, was installed in Libera and Ceres' temple on Rome's Aventine Hill; the new cult and its priesthood were promoted by Rome's religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, may have subsumed the temple's older, native cult to Ceres and Libera. Just as Persephone was thought to be a daughter of Demeter, Romans made Proserpina a daughter of Demeter's Roman equivalent, Ceres. Like Persephone, Proserpina is associated with its ruler, her name is a Latinisation of "Persephone" influenced by the Latin proserpere, with respect to the growing of grain.
Her core myths – her forcible abduction by the god of the Underworld, her mother's search for her and her eventual but temporary restoration to the world above – are the subject of works in Roman and art and literature. In particular, Proserpina's seizure by the god of the Underworld – described as the Rape of Proserpina, or of Persephone – has offered dramatic subject matter for Renaissance and sculptors and painters. In early Roman religion, Libera was the female equivalent of Liber, she was an Italic goddess. She enters Roman history as part of a Triadic cult alongside Ceres and Liber, in a temple established on the Aventine Hill around 493 BCE; the location and context of this early cult mark her association with Rome's commoner-citizens, or plebs. Otherwise, her relationship to her Aventine cult partners is uncertain. Libera was identified with Proserpina in 205 BCE, when she acquired a Romanised form of the Greek mystery rites and their attendant mythology. In the late Republican era, Cicero described Libera as Ceres' children.
At around the same time in the context of popular or religious drama, Hyginus equated her with Greek Ariadne, as bride to Liber's Greek equivalent, Dionysus. The older and newer forms of her cult and rites, their diverse associations, persisted well into the late Imperial era. St. Augustine observed that Libera is concerned with female fertility, as Liber is with male fertility. Proserpina was introduced to Rome around 205 BCE, along with the ritus graecia cereris, as part of Rome's general religious recruitment of deities as allies against Carthage, towards the end of the Second Punic War; the cult originated in southern Italy and was based on the women-only Greek Thesmophoria, a mystery cult to Demeter and Persephone as "Mother and Maiden". It arrived along with its Greek priestesses, who were granted Roman citizenship so that they could pray to the gods "with a foreign and external knowledge, but with a domestic and civil intention"; the new cult was installed in the ancient Temple of Ceres and Libera, Rome's Aventine patrons of the plebs.
Their joint cult recalls Demeter's search for Persephone, after the latter's rape and abduction into the underworld by Hades. At the Aventine, the new cult took its place alongside the old, it made no reference to Liber, whose open and gender-mixed cult continued to play a central role in plebeian culture, as a patron and protector of plebeian rights and values. The female initiates and priestesses of the new "greek style" mysteries of Ceres and Proserpina were expected to uphold Rome's traditional, patrician-dominated social hierarchy and traditional morality. Unmarried girls should emulate the chastity of the maiden, their rites were intended to secure a good harvest, increase the fertility of those who partook in the mysteries. A Temple of Proserpina was located in a suburb of Melite, in modern Mtarfa, Malta; the temple's ruins were quarried between the 17th and 18th centuries, only a few fragments survive. The best-known myth surrounding Proserpina is of her abduction by the god of the Underworld, her mother Ceres' frantic search for her, her eventual but temporary restitution to the world above.
In Latin literature, several versions are known, all similar in most respects to the myths of Greek Persephone's abduction by the King of the underworld, named variously in Greek sources as Hades or Pluto. "Hades" can mean both the hidden Underworld and its king, who in early Greek ver
The Roman Forum known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or the Forum. For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men; the teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly. Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum; the Roman Kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia, the Temple of Vesta, as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.
Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal, developed into the Republic's formal Comitium. This is; the Senate House, government offices, temples and statues cluttered the area. Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia; some 130 years Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself. This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political and religious pursuits in greater numbers. Much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures to the north; the reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the Basilica of Maxentius. This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire two centuries later.
Unlike the imperial fora in Rome—which were self-consciously modelled on the ancient Greek plateia public plaza or town square—the Roman Forum developed organically, piecemeal over many centuries. This is the case despite attempts, with some success, to impose some order there, by Sulla, Julius Caesar and others. By the Imperial period, the large public buildings that crowded around the central square had reduced the open area to a rectangle of about 130 by 50 meters, its long dimension was oriented northwest to southeast and extended from the foot of the Capitoline Hill to that of the Velian Hill. The Forum's basilicas during the Imperial period—the Basilica Aemilia on the north and the Basilica Julia on the south—defined its long sides and its final form; the Forum proper included this square, the buildings facing it and, sometimes, an additional area extending southeast as far as the Arch of Titus. The site of the Forum had been a marshy lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained.
This was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima. Because of its location, sediments from both the flooding of the Tiber and the erosion of the surrounding hills have been raising the level of the Forum floor for centuries. Excavated sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was raising the level in early Republican times; as the ground around buildings rose, residents paved over the debris, too much to remove. Its final travertine paving, still visible, dates from the reign of Augustus. Excavations in the 19th century revealed one layer on top of another; the deepest level excavated was 3.60 meters above sea level. Archaeological finds show human activity at that level with the discovery of carbonized wood. An important function of the Forum, during both Republican and Imperial times, was to serve as the culminating venue for the celebratory military processions known as Triumphs. Victorious generals entered the city by the western Triumphal Gate and circumnavigated the Palatine Hill before proceeding from the Velian Hill down the Via Sacra and into the Forum.
From here they would mount the Capitoline Rise up to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the summit of the Capitol. Lavish public banquets ensued back down on the Forum; the original, low-lying, grassy wetland of the Forum was drained in the 7th century BC with the building of the Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that emptied into the Tiber, as more people began to settle between the two hills. According to tradition, the Forum's beginnings are connected with the alliance between Romulus, the first king of Rome controlling the Palatine Hill, his rival, Titus Tatius, who occupied the Capitoline Hill. An alliance formed after combat had been halted by the cries of the Sabine women; because the valley lay between the two settlements, it was the designated place for th