Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in Ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as religious, attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety in maintaining good relations with the gods; the Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists. The presence of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman culture, introducing some religious practices that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo; the Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks, adapting Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art, as the Etruscans had. Etruscan religion was a major influence on the practice of augury.
According to legends, most of Rome's religious institutions could be traced to its founders Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome, who negotiated directly with the gods. This archaic religion was the foundation of the mos maiorum, "the way of the ancestors" or "tradition", viewed as central to Roman identity. Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des, "I give that you might give". Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs; the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero, an augur, saw religion as a source of social order. As the Roman Empire expanded, migrants to the capital brought their local cults, many of which became popular among Italians. Christianity was in the end the most successful of these, in 380 became the official state religion. For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life.
Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered. Neighborhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city; the Roman calendar was structured around religious observances. Women and children all participated in a range of religious activities; some public rituals could be conducted only by women, women formed what is Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestals, who tended Rome's sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination. The priesthoods of public religion were held by members of the elite classes. There was no principle analogous to separation of state in ancient Rome. During the Roman Republic, the same men who were elected public officials might serve as augurs and pontiffs. Priests married, raised families, led politically active lives. Julius Caesar became pontifex maximus; the augurs read the will of the gods and supervised the marking of boundaries as a reflection of universal order, thus sanctioning Roman expansionism as a matter of divine destiny.
The Roman triumph was at its core a religious procession in which the victorious general displayed his piety and his willingness to serve the public good by dedicating a portion of his spoils to the gods Jupiter, who embodied just rule. As a result of the Punic Wars, when Rome struggled to establish itself as a dominant power, many new temples were built by magistrates in fulfillment of a vow to a deity for assuring their military success; as the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in general was to absorb the deities and cults of other peoples rather than try to eradicate them, since they believed that preserving tradition promoted social stability. One way that Rome incorporated diverse peoples was by supporting their religious heritage, building temples to local deities that framed their theology within the hierarchy of Roman religion. Inscriptions throughout the Empire record the side-by-side worship of local and Roman deities, including dedications made by Romans to local gods.
By the height of the Empire, numerous international deities were cultivated at Rome and had been carried to the most remote provinces, among them Cybele, Isis and gods of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, found as far north as Roman Britain. Foreign religions attracted devotees among Romans, who had ancestry from elsewhere in the Empire. Imported mystery religions, which offered initiates salvation in the afterlife, were a matter of personal choice for an individual, practiced in addition to carrying on one's family rites and participating in public religion; the mysteries, involved exclusive oaths and secrecy, conditions that conservative Romans viewed with suspicion as characteristic of "magic", conspiratorial, or subversive activity. Sporadic and sometimes brutal attempts were made to suppress religionists who seemed to threaten traditional morality and unity, as with the senate's efforts to restrict the Bacchanals in 186 BC; because Romans had never been obligated to cultivate one god or one cult only, religious tolerance was not an issue in the sense that it is for competing monotheistic systems.
The monotheistic rigor of Judaism posed difficulties for Roman policy that led at times to compromise and the granting of special exemptions, but sometimes to intractable conflict. For example, religious disputes helped cause the First Jewish -- the Bar Kokhba revolt. In the wake of the Republic's collapse, state religion had adapted to support the new reg
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
A goddess is a female deity. Goddesses have been linked with virtues such as beauty, love and fertility, they have been associated with ideas such as war and death. In some faiths, a sacred female figure holds a central place in religious worship. For example, the worship of the female force that animates the world, is one of the three major sects of Hinduism; the primacy of a monotheistic or near-monotheistic "Great Goddess" is advocated by some modern matriarchists as a female version of, preceding, or analogue to, the Abrahamic God associated with the historical rise of monotheism in the Mediterranean Axis Age. Polytheist religions, including Polytheistic reconstructionists, honour multiple goddesses and gods, view them as discrete, separate beings; these deities may be part of a pantheon. The reconstructionists, like their ancient forebears, honour the deities particular to their country of origin; the noun goddess is a secondary formation. It first appeared in Middle English, from about 1350.
The English word follows the linguistic precedent of a number of languages—including Egyptian, Classical Greek, several Semitic languages—that add a feminine ending to the language's word for god. Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth, a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers, links the image of the Earth or Mother Goddess to symbols of fertility and reproduction. For example, Campbell states that, "There have been systems of religion where the mother is the prime parent, the source... We talk of Mother Earth, and in Egypt you have the Mother Heavens, the Goddess Nut, represented as the whole heavenly sphere". Campbell continues by stating that the correlation between fertility and the Goddess found its roots in agriculture: Bill Moyers: But what happened along the way to this reverence that in primitive societies was directed to the Goddess figure, the Great Goddess, the mother earth- what happened to that? Joseph Campbell: Well, associated with agriculture and the agricultural societies, it has to do with the earth.
The human woman gives birth just as the earth gives birth to the plants...so woman magic and earth magic are the same. They are related, and the personification of the energy that gives birth to forms and nourishes forms is properly female. It is in the agricultural world of ancient Mesopotamia, the Egyptian Nile, in the earlier planting-culture systems that the Goddess is the dominant mythic form. Campbell argues that the image of the Virgin Mary was derived from the image of Isis and her child Horus: "The antique model for the Madonna, is Isis with Horus at her breast". Inanna was the most worshipped goddess in ancient Sumer, she was syncretized with the East Semitic goddess Ishtar. Other Mesopotamian goddesses include Ninhursag, Ninlil and Gaga. Goddesses of the Ennead of Heliopolis: Tefnut, Nephthys, Isis Goddesses of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis: Naunet, Kauket, Hauhet. Cybele: Her Hittite name was Kubaba, but her name changed to Cybele in Phrygian and Roman culture, her effect can be seen on Artemis as the Lady of Ephesus.
Hebat: Mother Goddess of the Hittite pantheon and wife of the leader sky god, Teshub. She was the origin of the Hurrian cult. Arinniti: Hittite Goddess of the sun, she became patron of monarchy. Leto: A mother Goddess figure in Lykia, she was the main goddess of the capital city of Lykia League In pre-Islamic Mecca the goddesses Uzza, Manāt and al-Lāt were known as "the daughters of god". Uzzā was worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Graeco-Roman goddesses Aphrodite, Urania and Caelestis; each of the three goddesses had a separate shrine near Mecca. Uzzā, was called upon for protection by the pre-Islamic Quraysh. "In 624 at the battle called "Uhud", the war cry of the Qurayshites was, "O people of Uzzā, people of Hubal!". In fact, in ancient times, the goddess and god were known as Allat and Allah, or what would better be termed as deities representing "husband and wife". According to Ibn Ishaq's controversial account of the Satanic Verses, these verses had endorsed them as intercessors for Muslims, but were abrogated.
Most Muslim scholars have regarded the story as implausible, while opinion is divided among western scholars such as Leone Caetani and John Burton, who argue against, William Muir and William Montgomery Watt, who argue for its plausibility. Pre-Christian and pre-Islamic goddesses in cultures that spoke Indo-European languages. Ushas: is the main goddess of the Rigveda. Prithivi: the Earth appears as a goddess. Rivers are deified as goddesses. Agneya: or Aagneya is the Hindu Goddess of Fire. Varuni: is the Hindu Goddess of Water. Bhoomi, Janani and Prithvi are names of the Hindu Goddess of Earth. Anahita: or Anahit, or Nahid, or Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā, or Aban: the divinity of "the Waters" and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom. Daena: a divinity, counted among the yazatas, representing insight and revelation, hence "conscience" or "religion". Spenta Armaiti: or Sandaramet, one of the Amesha Spentas, a female divinity associated with earth and Mother Nature, she is associated with the female virtue of devotion.
In the Iranian calendar, her name is on the twelfth month and the fifth day of the month. Ashi: a divinity of fertility and fortune in the Zoroastrian hierarchy of yazatas. Eleusinian Mysteries: Persephone, Baubo Artemis: Goddes
Juno was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. A daughter of Saturn, she is the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan and Juventas, she is the Roman equivalent of queen of the gods in Greek mythology. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni, she was said to watch over the women of Rome; as the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina and was a member of the Capitoline Triad, centered on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire, she is shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the'aegis'; the name Juno was once thought to be connected to Iove as Diuno and Diove from *Diovona. At the beginning of the 20th century, a derivation was proposed from iuven-, through a syncopated form iūn-; this etymology became accepted after it was endorsed by Georg Wissowa.
Iuuen- is related to Latin aevum and Greek aion through a common Indo-European root referring to a concept of vital energy or "fertile time". The iuvenis is he. In some inscriptions Jupiter himself is called Iuuntus, one of the epithets of Jupiter is Ioviste, a superlative form of iuuen- meaning "the youngest". Iuventas, "Youth", was one of two deities who "refused" to leave the Capitol when the building of the new Temple of Capitoline Jove required the exauguration of deities who occupied the site. Juno is the equivalent to the Greek goddess for love and marriage. Juno is the Roman goddess of marriage. Ancient etymologies associated Juno's name with iuvare, "to aid, benefit", iuvenescere, "rejuvenate", sometimes connecting it to the renewal of the new and waxing moon implying the idea of a moon goddess. Juno's theology is one of the most complex and disputed issues in Roman religion. More than other major Roman deities, Juno held a large number of significant and diverse epithets and titles representing various aspects and roles of the goddess.
In accordance with her central role as a goddess of marriage, these included Cinxia. However, other epithets of Juno are less thematically linked. While her connection with the idea of vital force, fullness of vital energy, eternal youthfulness is now acknowledged, the multiplicity and complexity of her personality have given rise to various and sometimes irreconcilable interpretations among modern scholars. Juno is the divine protectress of the community, who shows both a sovereign and a fertility character associated with a military one, she was present in many towns of ancient Italy: at Lanuvium as Sespeis Mater Regina, Tibur, Veii as Regina, at Tibur and Falerii as Regina and Curitis and Norba as Lucina. She is attested at Praeneste, Ardea, Gabii. In five Latin towns a month was named after Juno. Outside Latium in Campania at Teanum she was Populona, in Umbria at Pisaurum Lucina, at Terventum in Samnium Regina, at Pisarum Regina Matrona, at Aesernia in Samnium Regina Populona. In Rome she was since the most ancient times named Lucina and Regina.
It is debated whether she was known as Curitis before the evocatio of the Juno of Falerii: this though seems probable. Other epithets of hers that were in use at Rome include Moneta and Caprotina, Fluonia or Fluviona, the last ones associated with the rites of purification and fertility of February, her various epithets thus show a complex of mutually interrelated functions that in the view of Georges Dumézil and Vsevolod Basanoff can be traced back to the Indoeuropean trifunctional ideology: as Regina and Moneta she is a sovereign deity, as Sespeis and Moneta she is an armed protectress, as Mater and Curitis she is a goddess of the fertility and wealth of the community in her association with the curiae. The epithet Lucina is revealing since it reflects two interrelated aspects of the function of Juno: cyclical renewal of time in the waning and waxing of the moon and protection of delivery and birth; the ancient called her Covella in her function of helper in the labours of the new moon. The view that she was a Moon goddess though is no longer accepted by scholars, as such a role belongs to Diana Lucifera: through her association with the moon she governed the feminine physiological functions, menstrual cycle and pregnancy: as a rule all lunar deities are deities of childbirth.
These aspects of Juno mark the worldly sides of her function. She is thus associated to all beginnings and hers are the kalendae of every month: at Laurentum she was known as Kalendaris Iuno. At Rome on the Kalends of every month the pontifex minor invoked her, under the epithet Covella, when from the curia Calabra announced the date of the nonae. On the same day the regina sacrorum sacrificed to Juno a white lamb in the Regia, she is associated with Janus, the god of passages and beginnings who after her is named Iunonius. Some scholars view this concentration of multiple functions
The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill, between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known as Mons Saturnius, dedicated to the god Saturn; the word Capitolium first meant the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus built here, afterwards it was used for the whole hill, thus Mons Capitolinus. Ancient sources refer the name to caput and the tale was that, when laying the foundations for the temple, the head of a man was found, some sources saying it was the head of some Tolus or Olus; the Capitolium was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, was adopted as a symbol of eternity. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, Capitolium Campidoglio; the Capitoline Hill contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palaces that surround a piazza, a significant urban plan designed by Michelangelo. Influenced by Roman architecture and Roman republican times, the word Capitolium still lives in the English word capitol.
The Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. is assumed to be named after the Capitoline Hill, but the relation is not clear. At this hill, the Sabines, creeping to the Citadel, were let in by the Roman maiden Tarpeia. For this treachery, Tarpeia was the first to be punished by being flung from a steep cliff overlooking the Roman Forum; this cliff was named the Tarpeian Rock after the Vestal Virgin, became a frequent execution site. The Sabines, who immigrated to Rome following the Rape of the Sabine Women, settled on the Capitoline; the Vulcanal, an 8th-century BC sacred precinct, occupied much of the eastern lower slopes of the Capitoline, at the head of what would become the Roman Forum. The summit was the site of a temple for the Capitoline Triad, started by Rome's fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus, completed by the seventh and last king, Tarquinius Superbus, it was considered one of the most beautiful temples in the city. The city legend starts with the recovery of a human skull when foundation trenches were being dug for the Temple of Jupiter at Tarquin's order.
Recent excavations on the Capitoline uncovered an early cemetery under the Temple of Jupiter. There are several important temples built on Capitoline hill: the temple of Juno Moneta, the temple of Virtus, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus; the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus is the most important of the temples. It was nearly as large as the Parthenon; the hill and the temple of Jupiter became the symbols of the capital of the world. The Temple of Saturn was built at the foot of Capitoline Hill in the western end of the Forum Romanum; when the Senones Gauls raided Rome in 390 BC, after the battle of River Allia, the Capitoline Hill was the one section of the city to evade capture by the barbarians, due to its being fortified by the Roman defenders. According to legend Marcus Manlius Capitolinus was alerted to the Gallic attack by the sacred geese of Juno; when Julius Caesar suffered an accident during his triumph indicating the wrath of Jupiter for his actions in the Civil Wars, he approached the hill and Jupiter's temple on his knees as a way of averting the unlucky omen.
Vespasian's brother and nephew were besieged in the temple during the Year of Four Emperors. The Tabularium, located underground beneath the piazza and hilltop, occupies a building of the same name built in the 1st century BC to hold Roman records of state; the Tabularium looks out from the rear onto the Roman Forum. The main attraction of the Tabularium, besides the structure itself, is the Temple of Veiovis. During the lengthy period of ancient Rome, the Capitoline Hill was the geographical and ceremonial center. However, by the Renaissance, the former center was an untidy conglomeration of dilapidated buildings and the site of executions of criminals; the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is adjacent to the square, located near where the ancient arx, or citadel, atop the hill it once stood. At its base are the remains of a Roman insula, with more than four storeys visible from the street. In the Middle Ages, the hill’s sacred function was obscured by its other role as the center of the civic government of Rome, revived as a commune in the 11th century.
The city's government was now to be under papal control, but the Capitoline was the scene of movements of urban resistance, such as the dramatic scenes of Cola di Rienzo's revived republic. In 1144, a revolt by the citizens against the authority of the Pope and nobles led to a senator taking up his official residence on the Capitoline Hill; the senator’s new palace turned its back on the ancient forum, beginning the change in orientation on the hill that Michelangelo would accentuate. A small piazza was laid out in front of the senator’s palace, intended for communal purposes. In the middle of the 14th century, the guilds’ court of justice was constructed on the southern end of the piazza; this would house the Conservatori in the 15th century. As a result, the piazza was surrounded by buildings by the 16th century; the existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding palazzi was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546. At the height of his fame, he w
The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable; the works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are dedicated by their authors to the public domain; the term public domain is not applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission". As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another; some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country.
The term public domain may be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", the "information commons". Although the term "domain" did not come into use until the mid-18th century, the concept "can be traced back to the ancient Roman Law, as a preset system included in the property right system." The Romans had a large proprietary rights system where they defined "many things that cannot be owned" as res nullius, res communes, res publicae and res universitatis. The term res nullius was defined as things not yet appropriated; the term res communes was defined as "things that could be enjoyed by mankind, such as air and ocean." The term res publicae referred to things that were shared by all citizens, the term res universitatis meant things that were owned by the municipalities of Rome. When looking at it from a historical perspective, one could say the construction of the idea of "public domain" sprouted from the concepts of res communes, res publicae, res universitatis in early Roman law.
When the first early copyright law was first established in Britain with the Statute of Anne in 1710, public domain did not appear. However, similar concepts were developed by French jurists in the 18th century. Instead of "public domain", they used terms such as publici juris or propriété publique to describe works that were not covered by copyright law; the phrase "fall in the public domain" can be traced to mid-19th century France to describe the end of copyright term. The French poet Alfred de Vigny equated the expiration of copyright with a work falling "into the sink hole of public domain" and if the public domain receives any attention from intellectual property lawyers it is still treated as little more than that, left when intellectual property rights, such as copyright and trademarks, expire or are abandoned. In this historical context Paul Torremans describes copyright as a, "little coral reef of private right jutting up from the ocean of the public domain." Copyright law differs by country, the American legal scholar Pamela Samuelson has described the public domain as being "different sizes at different times in different countries".
Definitions of the boundaries of the public domain in relation to copyright, or intellectual property more regard the public domain as a negative space. According to James Boyle this definition underlines common usage of the term public domain and equates the public domain to public property and works in copyright to private property. However, the usage of the term public domain can be more granular, including for example uses of works in copyright permitted by copyright exceptions; such a definition regards work in copyright as private property subject to fair-use rights and limitation on ownership. A conceptual definition comes from Lange, who focused on what the public domain should be: "it should be a place of sanctuary for individual creative expression, a sanctuary conferring affirmative protection against the forces of private appropriation that threatened such expression". Patterson and Lindberg described the public domain not as a "territory", but rather as a concept: "here are certain materials – the air we breathe, rain, life, thoughts, ideas, numbers – not subject to private ownership.
The materials that compose our cultural heritage must be free for all living to use no less than matter necessary for biological survival." The term public domain may be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", the "information commons". A public-domain book is a book with no copyright, a book, created without a license, or a book where its copyrights expired or have been forfeited. In most countries the term of protection of copyright lasts until January first, 70 years after the death of the latest living author; the longest copyright term is in Mexico, which has life plus 100 years for all deaths since July 1928. A notable exception is the United States, where every book and tale published prior to 1924 is in the public domain.
Arnobius of Sicca was an Early Christian apologist of Berber origin, during the reign of Diocletian. According to Jerome's Chronicle, before his conversion, was a distinguished Numidian rhetorician at Sicca Veneria, a major Christian center in Proconsular Africa, owed his conversion to a premonitory dream. Arnobius writes dismissively of dreams in his surviving book, so Jerome was projecting his own respect for the content of dreams. According to Jerome, to overcome the doubts of the local bishop as to the earnestness of his Christian belief he wrote an apologetic work in seven books that St. Jerome calls Adversus Gentes but, entitled Adversus Nationes in the only manuscript that has survived. Jerome's reference, his remark that Lactantius was a pupil of Arnobius and the surviving treatise are all that we know about Arnobius. Against the Pagans was composed in response to Diocletian's persecution of Christians, was a rebuttal to Pagan arguments as to why the persecution was justifiable. Arnobius, "a practitioner of the coarse and turgid style, called African", is a vigorous apologist for the Christian faith, more earnest in his defence of Christianity than orthodox in his tenets.
His book has been occasioned by complaints that the Christians had brought the wrath of the gods on Ancient Rome. Thus, he holds the heathen gods to subordinate to the supreme Christian God, he says that a belief in the soul’s immortality would tend to remove moral restraint, have a prejudicial effect on human life. Never identifying his pagan adversaries, some of whom may be straw men, set up to be demolished, Arnobius defends and expounds the rightness of monotheism and Christianity and the divinity of Christ, by adducing its rapid diffusion, its influence in civilizing barbarians and its consonance with the best philosophy. Christianizing Plato, he refutes pagan idolatry as filled with contradictions and immoral, to demonstrate this point, his Books III through V abound with curious information gathered from reliable sources concerning the forms of idolatrous worship, temples and the Graeco-Roman cult practice of his time, to the historian and mythographer's cautious delight, but all held up by Arnobius for Christian ridicule.
Books VI and VII handle the questions of sacrifices and worship of images. In book 2 section 4 of Adversus nationes, Arnobius gives the first known version of the argument called Pascal's Wager, that in case of doubt about religion one should commit to it because of the rewards of doing so and risks of not doing so, he argues: Since the nature of the future is such that it cannot be grasped and comprehended by any anticipation, is it not more rational, of two things uncertain and hanging in doubtful suspense, rather to believe that which carries with it some hopes, than that which brings none at all? For in the one case there is no danger, if that, said to be at hand should prove vain and groundless; the work of Arnobius appears to have been written when he was a recent convert, for he does not possess a extensive knowledge of Scripture. He knows nothing of the Old Testament, only the life of Christ in the New, while he does not quote directly from the Gospels, he had read Plato. His statements concerning Greek and Roman mythology are based on the Protrepticus of Clement of Alexandria, on Cornelius Labeo, who belonged to the preceding generation and attempted to restore Neoplatonism.
Adversus nationes survived in a single ninth-century manuscript in Paris. The French manuscript contains the Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix. "Arnobius". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Borgeaud, Philippe. Mother of the Gods: from Cybele to the Virgin Mary. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-7985-X. Shahan, Thomas J.. "Arnobius". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Simmons, Michael Bland. Arnobius of Sicca: Religious Conflict and Competition in the Age of Diocletian. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814913-1; the only modern study. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Arnobius". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article: Arnobius Arnobii. Blasii Amata, ed. Adversus Nationes Libri VII; the Latin Library. Arnobius. Seven Books Against the Heathens. Trans. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. IntraText Digital Library.
Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Latina with analytical indexes Editio princeps: Disputationum adversus gentes libri VIII: Nunc primum in lucem editi, Rome, 1542, Online at the Bavarian State Library. With the Octavius of Minucius Felix as liber octavus