Roman Religion

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Religion played a significant role in the Roman civilization but, “many people believe that Rome was not a religious place. What they probably mean is that it was not a moral place.” (Burrell, 65) The Romans had innumerable gods that they worshiped which included giving gifts and sacrificing for their gods. Sacrificing animals was common for ancient Roman civilization. The idea of sacrificing came from the people before the Roman Empire was built. Religion primarily used sacrificing as a means of showing appreciation to the gods but later became a way to get things from the gods. The increases in the expansion of Rome lead to an increasing number of sacrifices. Roman sacrifice was done in many different ways and there were numerous rituals that had to be accurately preformed.

The origins of Roman religion were considered a family affair with the father, of the household being the priest of the family. Before the growth of Rome when most of the population resided on farms, the families would offer small amounts of grain or wine to the gods. On very special occasions a family may sacrifice an animal.

As the population and size of Rome continued to grow, rural areas declined. The religion developed by the rural communities was adopted and expanded by the Romans, “until every group, club, regiment, profession or organization had its own personal heavenly protector.” (Burrell, 64) Ceremonies developed by families before the expansion of Rome were taken over by the state and enlarged. As Rome became a republic, “kings of Rome were the first high priests, and the leading citizens took over their jobs” (Burrell, 64)

According to The Romans and Their World, the conquest of Italy brought more foreign gods that wer...

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...n benefit. The thing was that they were not killing animals for the gods they always expected something back in return. They were considered immoral because they only thought of themselves never actually sacrificed for the respect of the gods. In religion the point is to have god help you at all times while watching over you, the Romans did not think like that they believed that they should only worship god if they help them out in some way.

Works Cited

1. Adkins, Lesley, and Roy A. Adkins. "Sacrifice, ancient Roman." Dictionary of Roman

Religion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 1996. Ancient and Medieval History

Online. Facts On File, Inc.

ItemID=WE49&iPin=RREL1183&SingleRecord=True (accessed December 9, 2009).

2. Burrell, R. E. C. The Romans and their World. Great Britain: A. Wheaton & Co., 1970.


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