ROMAN RELIGION I: THE GODS

Characteristics of Ancient Religion

Animism

"animism": belief that natural phenomena, sites in landscape have souls, power

numen: intangible power of divinity

Numinous sites

A strangeness there filled country hearts with dread
And made them shiver at the wood and rock
"Some god," he said, "it is not sure what god,
Lives in this grove, this hilltop thick with leaves"
- Vergil, Aeneid Book VIII

"liminal": related to boundaries, edges

Non-Anthropomorphic Gods

General characteristics

Pastoral deities


Agricultural deities

Household deities Anthropomorphic Deities

Origins

Syncretism: merging of different religious systems or gods

Aspect: separate 'side' or persona of single god (usually indicated by suffix)

               (IE) *Dyaus

 (Etrusc.) Tinia            (Gk.) Zeus

     Jupiter Optimus Maximus
             " Capitolinus
              " Tonans  (etc.)

Indo-European

Italic & Etruscan Greek "Olympian" gods Later Developments

Eastern Imports

Abstractions Ruler-Worship


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