Ludi were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people. Ludi were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals, were presented as part of the cult of state; the earliest ludi were horse races in the circus. Animal exhibitions with mock hunts and theatrical performances became part of the festivals. Days on which ludi were held were public holidays, no business could be conducted—"remarkably," it has been noted, "considering that in the Imperial era more than 135 days might be spent at these entertainments" during the year. Although their entertainment value may have overshadowed religious sentiment at any given moment in late antiquity the ludi were understood as part of the worship of the traditional gods, the Church Fathers thus advised Christians not to participate in the festivities; the singular form ludus, "game, sport" or "play" has several meanings in Latin. The plural is used for "games" in a sense analogous to the Greek festivals of games, such as the Panhellenic Games.
The late-antique scholar Isidore of Seville, classifies the forms of ludus as gymnicus, circensis and scaenicus. The relation of gladiatorial games to the ludi is complex. All ludi seem to have been votive offerings, staged as the fulfillment of a vow to a deity whose favor had been sought and evidenced. In 366 BC, the Ludi Romani became the first games to be placed on the religious calendar as an annual event sponsored by the state as a whole. Games in the circus were preceded by a parade featuring the competitors, mounted youths of the Roman nobility, armed dancers, musicians, a satyr chorus, images of the gods; as the product of military victory, ludi were connected to triumphs. The first recorded venatio was presented in 186 BC by M. Fulvius Nobilior as part of his ludi votivi, for which he paid with booty displayed at his triumph; as religious ceremonies, ludi were organized at first by various colleges of priests. Although public money was allocated for the staging of ludi, the presiding official came to augment the splendor of his games from personal funds as a form of public relations.
The sponsor was able to advertise his wealth, while declaring that he intended to share it for public benefit. Although some men with an eye on the consulship skipped the office of aedile for the reason that massive expenditures were expected, those with sufficient resources spent lavishly to cultivate the favor of the people; the religious festivals to which the ludi were attached occasioned public banquets, public works such as the refurbishing or building of temples. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar at the Ides of March in 44 BC, Marcus Brutus realized that a significant segment of the populus regarded him not as a liberator, but as the murderer of a beloved champion, among other gestures of goodwill toward the people, he arranged to sponsor the Ludi Apollinares, held annually July 6–13. Caesar's heir Octavian at once upstaged him with Ludi Victoriae Caesaris, "games in honor of Caesar's victory," which ran July 20–28 in conjunction with a festival to honor Venus Genetrix, Caesar's patron deity and divine matriarch of the Julian gens.
It was during these ludi, which served as funeral games, that the comet famously appeared to "announce" Caesar's newly divine status. Octavian recognized the value of the festivals in unifying the people, as Augustus instituted new ludi within his program of religious reform; the ludi compitalicii were entertainments staged by the neighborhoods or community associations of Rome in conjunction with the Compitalia, the new year festival held on movable dates between the Saturnalia and January 5 in honor of the crossroads Lares. In the late Republic, performances were held at the main intersections of neighborhoods throughout the city on the same day. During the civil wars of the 80s, these ludi gave rise to unruly plebeian political expression by the neighborhood organizations. Freedmen played a leading role, slaves participated in the festivities. In 67 BC, the Compitalia had been disrupted by a riot at the ludi, which were the scene of disturbances in 66–65 BC; this unrest on the first occasion was a response to the trial of Manilius, who had backed reforms pertaining to the voting rights of freedmen, on the second is attached to the murky events referred to misleadingly as the First Catilinarian Conspiracy.
Along with some forms of occupational guilds and neighborhood associations, the ludi compitalicii were banned by the senate in 64 BC. An unnamed tribune of the plebs supported efforts to stage the ludi for 61 BC, but the consul-designate Metellus Celer squelched the attempt. In 58 BC, Clodius Pulcher, who had given up his patrician status to become one of the people's tribunes, restored the right of association, but before his law was enacted, his aide Sextus Cloelius had prepared the way by organizing new-year ludi; the consul Calpurnius Piso, father-in-law of Caesar, permitted the games though the organizations that ran them were still outlawed. Caesar banned the collegia and ludi again in 46 BC. In 7 BC, Augustus reorganized Rome for administrative purposes into 265 districts which replaced but which were still called vici. An image of the Genius of Augustus now
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
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions marginalized, segregated in death. Irrespective of their origin, gladiators offered spectators an example of Rome's martial ethics and, in fighting or dying well, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim, they were celebrated in high and low art, their value as entertainers was commemorated in precious and commonplace objects throughout the Roman world. The origin of gladiatorial combat is open to debate. There is evidence of it in funeral rites during the Punic Wars of the 3rd century BC, thereafter it became an essential feature of politics and social life in the Roman world, its popularity led to its use in more lavish and costly games.
The gladiator games lasted for nearly a thousand years, reaching their peak between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The games declined during the early 5th century after the adoption of Christianity as state church of the Roman Empire in 380, although beast hunts continued into the 6th century. Early literary sources agree on the origins of gladiators and the gladiator games. In the late 1st century BC, Nicolaus of Damascus believed. A generation Livy wrote that they were first held in 310 BC by the Campanians in celebration of their victory over the Samnites. Long after the games had ceased, the 7th century AD writer Isidore of Seville derived Latin lanista from the Etruscan word for "executioner," and the title of Charon from Charun, psychopomp of the Etruscan underworld; this was repeated in most early modern, standard histories of the games. Reappraisal of pictorial evidence supports a Campanian origin, or at least a borrowing, for the games and gladiators. Campania hosted the earliest known gladiator schools.
Tomb frescoes from the Campanian city of Paestum show paired fighters, with helmets and shields, in a propitiatory funeral blood-rite that anticipates early Roman gladiator games. Compared to these images, supporting evidence from Etruscan tomb-paintings is late; the Paestum frescoes may represent the continuation of a much older tradition, acquired or inherited from Greek colonists of the 8th century BC. Livy places the first Roman gladiator games in the early stage of Rome's First Punic War against Carthage, when Decimus Iunius Brutus Scaeva had three gladiator pairs fight to the death in Rome's "cattle market" Forum to honor his dead father, Brutus Pera; this is described as a munus, a commemorative duty owed the manes of a dead ancestor by his descendants. The development of the munus and its gladiator types was most influenced by Samnium's support for Hannibal and the subsequent punitive expeditions against the Samnites by Rome and her Campanian allies; the war in Samnium afterwards, was attended with equal danger and an glorious conclusion.
The enemy, besides their other warlike preparation, had made their battle-line to glitter with new and splendid arms. There were two corps: the shields of the one were inlaid with gold, of the other with silver... The Romans had heard of these splendid accoutrements, but their generals had taught them that a soldier should be rough to look on, not adorned with gold and silver but putting his trust in iron and in courage... The Dictator, as decreed by the senate, celebrated a triumph, in which by far the finest show was afforded by the captured armour. So the Romans made use of the splendid armour of their enemies to do honour to their gods. Livy's account skirts the funereal, sacrificial function of early Roman gladiator combats and reflects the theatrical ethos of the Roman gladiator show: splendidly, exotically armed and armoured barbarians and degenerate, are dominated by Roman iron and native courage, his plain Romans virtuously dedicate the magnificent spoils of war to the Gods. Their Campanian allies stage a dinner entertainment using gladiators who may not be Samnites, but play the Samnite role.
Other groups and tribes would join the cast list. Most gladiators were armoured in the manner of the enemies of Rome; the munus became a morally instructive form of historic enactment in which the only honourable option for the gladiator was to fight well, or else die well. In 216 BC, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, late consul and augur, was honoured by his sons with three days of gladiatora munera in the Forum Romanum, using twenty-two pairs of gladiators. Ten years Scipio Africanus gave a commemorative munus in Iberia for his father and uncle, casualties in the Punic Wars. High status non-Romans, Romans too, volunteered as his gladiators; the context of the Punic Wars and Rome's near-disastrous defeat at the Battle of Cannae link these early games to munificence, the celebration of military victory and the religious expiation of military disaster. The next recorded munus, held for the funer
In ancient Roman religion, a votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of the Latin verb voveo, vovere, "vow, promise"; as the result of this verbal action, a votum is that which fulfills a vow, that is, the thing promised, such as offerings, a statue, or a temple building. The votum is thus an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion, a bargaining expressed by do ut des, "I give that you might give." In everyday life, individuals might make votive offerings to a deity for private concerns. Vota privata are attested in abundance by inscriptions for the Imperial era; these are marked with the letters V. S. L. M. Votum solvit libens merito, noting that the person making the dedication "He has fulfilled his vow, willingly, as it should." William Warde Fowler found in these offerings "expressions of … religious feeling" and a gratitude for blessings received that go deeper than contractual formalism. During the Republican era, the votum was a regular part of ceremonies conducted at the Capitoline by a general holding imperium before deploying.
The triumph with its dedication of spoils and animal sacrifices at the Capitol was in part a fulfillment of such a vow. A general who faced an uncertain outcome in battle might make a votum in the field promising to build a temple out of gratitude for divine aid in a victory. In 311 BC, Junius Bubulcus became the first plebeian general to vow and oversee the building of a temple. A vow would be made in connection with the ritual of evocatio, negotiations with the enemy's tutelary deity to offer superior cult. An extreme form of votum was the devotio, the ritual by which a general sacrificed himself in battle and asked the chthonic deities to take the enemy as offerings along with him. In the Republic, vota pro salute rei publicae were offered at the beginning of the year, on the day the consuls took office. Under the Empire, the people assembled on January 3 to offer collective vows for the salus of the emperor. Offerings were made to Jupiter, Juno and sometimes other deities; these vows originated in 30 BC.
The vota for the state continued on January 1, while those on behalf of the emperor and his family became fixed on January 3. In Rome, these ceremonies were conducted by the consuls and pontiffs, in the provinces by governors and local priests and officials. Vota publica continued after Christianity had become the official religion of the Empire, as late as the 6th century; because the vows were as much affirmations of political loyalty as religious expressions, they were difficult to abolish without undermining the sacral aura of the emperor's authority. Ex-voto
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
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
The Porta Capena was a gate in the Servian Wall near the Caelian Hill, in Rome, Italy according to Roman tradition the sacred grove where Numa Pompilius and the nymph Egeria would meet. It was one of the main entries to the city of Rome; the origin of the name is unknown, although it may refer to the fact that the road leads to Capua, an important city in Campania, south of Rome. A well at the Porta Capena provided holy water for the yearly ceremony of Mercuralia. According to 1st century AD writer Juvenal, the Porta Capena was frequented by beggars. In particular, he says. Porta Capena square hosts the FAO headquarters. Between 1937 and 2004, it was home to the obelisk of Axum; the Porta Capena was featured as a location visited by the Cornelii family in the popular Latin textbook series, Ecce Romani