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Author Topic: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum  (Read 4353 times)

Mata

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The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« on: September 14, 2011, 02:51:00 am »
Hiya everyone,

I was wondering if any one has any useful links/book-lists/recommendations concerning Roman paganism? It's something that's been catching my attention recently, which I suppose is a long time coming since I've had a mild obsession with ancient Rome ever since I was a young child. :p

I've lurked around the Nova Roma site in particular and got some useful books I'm going to try to get my hands on, but I also wanted some advice in general about going about setting priorities in reading, how to go about getting started in practice, etc. And while we're on the subject, does any one have any experience with Nova Roma? From what I've read they're an... interesting group, lol.


Thank you for any bones that are thrown :)
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Fier

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 09:21:34 am »
Quote from: Mata;19873
Hiya everyone,

I was wondering if any one has any useful links/book-lists/recommendations concerning Roman paganism?

 
I have found this book to be very helpful in learning about how the ancient Romans practiced. It looks at Roman religion from a academic perspective. Another helpful book is Ovid's Fasti.

Roman religion seemed to be very much entwined with the politics of the city. There was no separation of church and state. While anyone and just about everyone worshiped their household gods at home, public cults were usually limited to men of high social class.

Nova Roma is not for me. I've poked around there too, looking for information on practices and the various gods, but they seem to be focused on not only recreating the religion of ancient Rome, but recreating the politics of ancient Rome, with a few modern changes. I do not find this useful for the world I live in. I want a religion that functions in my community in the modern times. I definitely think that the Roman gods can do that.

Livia Indica

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 03:28:58 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;19901


Nova Roma is not for me. I've poked around there too, looking for information on practices and the various gods, but they seem to be focused on not only recreating the religion of ancient Rome, but recreating the politics of ancient Rome, with a few modern changes. I do not find this useful for the world I live in. I want a religion that functions in my community in the modern times. I definitely think that the Roman gods can do that.

 
Ditto, ditto, ditto. Wish I had something more to add but I don't!

Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 04:07:20 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;19901
they seem to be focused on not only recreating the religion of ancient Rome, but recreating the politics of ancient Rome, with a few modern changes. I do not find this useful for the world I live in.

 
I've never understood why someone would advocate for a religion on the basis of the status quo of a society that hasn't existed for centuries.  Are the gods that stagnant?

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Fier

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 05:51:21 pm »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;20034
I've never understood why someone would advocate for a religion on the basis of the status quo of a society that hasn't existed for centuries.  Are the gods that stagnant?

Absent

 
It's something I don't get about recon religions in general. "We must do this because this is what was done in the past!"

Fier

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 06:33:30 pm »
Quote from: Mata;19873
I also wanted some advice in general about going about setting priorities in reading, how to go about getting started in practice, etc.

 
I was rushed in my reply earlier, so a few more things to add:

I would start with scholarly and academic books on Roman religion. Seeing how things were done then gives us guidelines on how the gods like to be worshiped. If you have access to a university library, go to the world history of religions section and start looking through books.

A few other 'primary' sources:
Ovid's Metamorphoses
Virgil's Aenid
Apuleius' The Golden Ass describes a Roman ritual to Isis
Homer's The Illiad - Yes it is a Greek story about Greek Gods, but because many of the Roman gods are based on their Greek counterparts, and because I seem to be coming across a lot of references to the heros and happenings of the Trojan war, it's good for background information.

Various things I've learned so far:
*Rituals were done capite velato, with covered head. An alternative was to wear a wreath of laurel.
*During prayer, the hands were held apart, palms facing the sky. Prayers were spoken aloud, clearly. Turning to the right signified the end of the prayer.
*Animal sacrifice (cattle, sheep, goats, horses) was huge. Gods received male victims, goddesses female victims. The gods received choice organs which were burned. The meat was consumed by the ritual participants, or sold in the markets.
* Roman divination related to rituals and the feelings of a god toward the general community was done by specialists who would take clues from lightening strikes, the flight paths of birds, and the condition of the entrails of the sacrificial victim.
*Public rituals usually often included a procession of the officials, a god statue, musicians, and dancers.
*The monthly calendar included three recurring days, the Kalends, Nones, and Ides, and each day of the month was designated as okay or not okay to do certain things (plant crops, hold lawsuits, ect) either for the entire day or during a certain time.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I just starting researching by the way, I am by no means an expert.

Mata

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 11:01:44 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;19901
I have found this book to be very helpful in learning about how the ancient Romans practiced. It looks at Roman religion from a academic perspective. Another helpful book is Ovid's Fasti.

Roman religion seemed to be very much entwined with the politics of the city. There was no separation of church and state. While anyone and just about everyone worshiped their household gods at home, public cults were usually limited to men of high social class.

Nova Roma is not for me. I've poked around there too, looking for information on practices and the various gods, but they seem to be focused on not only recreating the religion of ancient Rome, but recreating the politics of ancient Rome, with a few modern changes. I do not find this useful for the world I live in. I want a religion that functions in my community in the modern times. I definitely think that the Roman gods can do that.

 Thank you for the book recommendations :)

Yeah, I feel the same about Nova Roma. In some respects I think it's an interesting concept to think about; but in all practical ways, it's just a little too enthusiastic.
I totally agree that the gods of the Romans can function and be relevant in a modern, non-Imperial/Republic Roman culture & society.
" For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy..." - Socrates to Theaetetus.
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Asch

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 11:16:23 pm »
Quote from: Mata;20544
Thank you for the book recommendations :)

Yeah, I feel the same about Nova Roma. In some respects I think it's an interesting concept to think about; but in all practical ways, it's just a little too enthusiastic.
I totally agree that the gods of the Romans can function and be relevant in a modern, non-Imperial/Republic Roman culture & society.

 
IDK if it's what you're looking for but I've just started re-reading (I got about 1/4th in and had to put it down to pursue school reading) An Introduction to Roman Religion by John Scheid, it's organized in a more thematic vs chronological manner and really focuses on pointing out historical biases and overlays. It's also reasonably easy reading, not like novel easy, but far from the thick hip deep academic reading some books are lol.

Mata

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 11:22:32 pm »
Quote from: Asch;20547
IDK if it's what you're looking for but I've just started re-reading (I got about 1/4th in and had to put it down to pursue school reading) An Introduction to Roman Religion by John Scheid, it's organized in a more thematic vs chronological manner and really focuses on pointing out historical biases and overlays. It's also reasonably easy reading, not like novel easy, but far from the thick hip deep academic reading some books are lol.

 Thanks! I've stumbled across that book before but wasn't sure whether it'd be a good general introduction; now it seems like it's going to be near the top of my Roman-related reading list (sheesh, I need a time machine and a winning lotto ticket if I am ever going to get and finish all of the books my list is amassing. Thank the gods for Half.com :P).
" For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy..." - Socrates to Theaetetus.
Find me on Goodreads here

Castus

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2011, 09:02:13 am »
Quote from: Mata;19873
Hiya everyone,

 
Salve! I would first recommend Cicero's De Natura Deorum; which can be found online in it's entirety, and Cato the Elder's De Agri Cultura which can also be found online. As the Romans Did by Jo-Ann Shelton is an excellent repository of classic sources and is recommended.

Moving away from the classics, Religions of Rome: A History by Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Price looks to be excellent; however the cost is a bit high. If you do buy the book, stay with Volume One. Add to that The Matter of the Gods by Clifford Ando; which is at the top of my "Want-List" right now. I would also recommend joining the Religio Romana Yahoo Group. It is heavily affiliated with NR but I'me sure they would be happy to answer your questions.

Concerning where to start with practice; I would first advise more research into the Religio and perhaps some offerings made to your Lares and Penates. I myself am just a beginner when it comes to formally practicing the Religio and still have much learning to do; so we're in similar boats practice-wise. On the subject of Nova Roma it is a fine organization and one that I hold membership within. I believe the official logic for reconstructing the state along with the Religio is that the Religio was so heavily intertwined with the Roman State that you cannot fully reconstruct the Religio without it.

I agree with that, to an extent, but I also think that I bit of the reason for reconstructing the state is just for fun. After all, neither of the Consuls this year are cultores (Consul Venator is a Heathen and Consul Cato an Orthodoc Christian, IIRC) and a lot of the citizens simply enjoy the roleplay/reenactment aspect along with others who believe that the restoration of the Roman State is needed for reasons other than religious. What what I've seen so far, NR is well aware of it's modern state and has adapted the state structure quite well.

Vale bene!

Mata

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Re: The Religio Romana & Cultus Deorum Romanorum
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2011, 11:42:25 am »
Quote from: Castus;20588

*snip*
Vale bene!

 
Thank you Castus. I was thinking about starting De Natura Deorum the other night, since I've seen it online a few times. I appreciate the advice :)

I understand what you mean about Nova Roma. I think it's actually a pretty cool thing to do in some respects. But at the same time, I feel like reenactment being entwined to some degree with the modern religious practice and so forth can make it hard for the religion to appeal to a larger crowd; or give people the impression that it's either unwanted or impossible to adapt the religion to 21st century culture; which isn't necessarily the case (but it does require some back flipping at times, tailoring an ancient city-religion to secularist society).

But anyhow, thank you for the perspective and information! :D:
" For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy..." - Socrates to Theaetetus.
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