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Author Topic: Happy to take questions from those interested in the Ancient Roman Religion  (Read 1346 times)

Roman Matrem

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Greetings / Salvete!

I've been a daily practitioner of the Cultus Deorum Romanum (Ancient Roman Religion) for the past 20 years. Our community of practitioners is much smaller than that of Hellenic Polytheism. So finding good information can take a little bit more effort. But there is a lot of great stuff out there! A lot more than when I started on this path!

Yes, there are some shared commonalities between the Greek and Roman traditions. Yet, there are some significant differences as well.

I'm more than happy to discuss this topic with anyone interested!

zasadilk

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Quote from: Roman Matrem;178740
Greetings / Salvete!

I've been a daily practitioner of the Cultus Deorum Romanum (Ancient Roman Religion) for the past 20 years. Our community of practitioners is much smaller than that of Hellenic Polytheism. So finding good information can take a little bit more effort. But there is a lot of great stuff out there! A lot more than when I started on this path!

Yes, there are some shared commonalities between the Greek and Roman traditions. Yet, there are some significant differences as well.

I'm more than happy to discuss this topic with anyone interested!
This may be too broad of a question,  but I'd love a basic overview of the main tenets and maybe daily rituals of the religion? I'm not too learned on the subject of Ancient Roman culture,  but I'm a Hellenic Polytheist and I'm interested in learning as much as I can about religio romana

Roman Matrem

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Quote from: zasadilk;178745
This may be too broad of a question,  but I'd love a basic overview of the main tenets and maybe daily rituals of the religion? I'm not too learned on the subject of Ancient Roman culture,  but I'm a Hellenic Polytheist and I'm interested in learning as much as I can about religio romana

 
zasadilk,

This is an excellent and significant question. But it is a big question with many answers. I will explain why this is a big question and also give you what I feel is the most widely held viewpoints.

The Religio Romana is defined as the religious practices, signs, ideas and traditions about the gods as practiced by the ancient Roman people.

At its core the Religio Romana is the idea that our mortal existence is shared with the gods. Every moment of our lives are under the influence of the gods in some form or way. We view the world as filled with gods and goddesses. Some of these we know by name, some of these we do not.

Ancient Rome was a diverse place, even from the very moment of its foundation, Rome was made up of people from outside Rome. This means the religious practices are diverse. Rome was the first massive cultural melting pots. Because of this you find many deities were worshiped that were originally not classically "Roman". Despite this, many of these deities became worshipped in a traditionally Roman manner and incorporated into the Religio Romana. If not fully adopted into the Religio Romana, such as Apollo, deities already popularly worshipped by Romans often became associated with those from elsewhere. The bottom line is that the Religio Romana is accepting of a diverse array of polytheistic beliefs and practices. These beliefs are respected, explored and celebrated.

There is no central dogma of the Religio Romana. However, traditional worship in the Roman way has some lose consistencies grounded in Roman tradition. I will try to explain some of these.

The Religio Romana does not have a central pantheon of deities. Again, our view is that the world is filled with gods. The importance of a particular god is somewhat dependent on the individual. Some gods are certainly viewed as more influential, yet not in the more formalized sense as in the Greek tradition.

Central to the Religio Romana is the concept of developing a relationship with the gods and goddesses. The deities do not force or demand worship. Instead, they are open to developing a client-patron relationship with mortals. Sometimes they invite us into such a relationship, sometimes we ask them into our lives.

This building of a relationship with the divine takes place on two levels.

The first is individually and domestically. A family or individual practicing the Religio Romana will have its own gods and goddesses that are patrons. This part of the Religio Romana is very personalized. Personal and household worship is focused on fostering this relationship with the deities associated with the intimate family circle. Through this process, the gods will protect, support and assist the family. Spacially, worship is centered around the household alter, the lararium.

There are some deities that are typically associated with every household. These are not unique deities, but categories of deities. Each family has its own unique deities belonging to these "categories". These are Lares, Genius and Penates.

The Lar is a deity associated with a particular household and protects and oversees the space in which an individual or family lives. Typically the Lar is worshipped by a family at the lararium on the Kalends (1st of the month), Nones (mid-month), and Ides (5th of 7th of the month). Additional worship of the Lares takes place during family events and celebrations.


The Genius is best thought of as the guardian spirit of the eldest male of the family. Likewise the eldest female has an equivalent guardian spirit called the Iuno. These were also worshipped at the lararium.

The Penates are additional gods and goddesses that are associated with the family. These can be deities that are popularly worshipped such as Venus or Minerva. But they could also be unique to a family. Often extended families worshipped the same penates. A family typically has between two and eight of these deities. The Penates act as divine family patrons and assistants. The relationship formed with these important deities is important towards ensuring domestic harmony between mortal and divine members of the family.

The second realm of worship within the Religio Romana is the community. A larger community develops a relationship with the gods and goddesses as well. This community level relationship helps ensure divine oversight over greater community affairs. This community can represent a community or group of fellow followers of this path. Today in modern times this could be within a local geographic area or online. There are some groups looking at establishing more community-level participation. In antiquity, the community would be one's neighbourhood, co-workers, city and state. At the community level, priests are appointed to lead worship. This worship takes place at public shrines or places designated as scared.  Various gods and goddesses would are worshipped at the community level. During ancient times, Rome had an unofficial group of deities called the Dii Consentes. This group was made up of commonly worshipped deities such as Iupiter, Mars, Diana, Vesta, etc. who were often worshipped at the community level.

In terms of daily rituals, that is a big topic. I'm happy to speak to that. Any particular questions regarding rituals or on anything I've mentioned already?

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