Two thousand years ago, one civilisation held the entire Western world in its grasp. From Northern Europe to Africa and the Middle East. It imposed laws, ideas and a single language. Rome was the super power of the ancient world. Indeed later super powers never stopped learning the lessons of her spectacular rise and fall. Rome truly was a colossal empire. During the rise of the Roman Empire, it was not always easy to separate virtue from vice, or hero from villain. Indeed, all too often, they were one and the same.
Runtime: 55 minutes
Ancient Rome - Religion in ancient Rome - Netflix
Religion in Ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety (pietas) in maintaining good relations with the gods. The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists. The presence of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman culture, introducing some religious practices that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo. The Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks (interpretatio graeca), adapting Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art, as the Etruscans had. Etruscan religion was also a major influence, particularly on the practice of augury. According to legends, most of Rome's religious institutions could be traced to its founders, particularly Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome, who negotiated directly with the gods. This archaic religion was the foundation of the mos maiorum, “the way of the ancestors” or simply “tradition”, viewed as central to Roman identity.
Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des, “I give that you might give”. Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer, ritual, and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs. Even the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero, who was an augur, saw religion as a source of social order. As the Roman Empire expanded, migrants to the capital brought their local cults, many of which became popular among Italians. Christianity was in the end the most successful of these, and in 380 became the official state religion. For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life. Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered. Neighborhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city. The Roman calendar was structured around religious observances. Women, slaves, and children all participated in a range of religious activities. Some public rituals could be conducted only by women, and women formed what is perhaps Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestals, who tended Rome's sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination.
Ancient Rome - Domestic and private cult - Netflix
The mos maiorum established the dynastic authority and obligations of the citizen-paterfamilias (“the father of the family” or the “owner of the family estate”). He had priestly duties to his lares, domestic penates, ancestral Genius and any other deities with whom he or his family held an interdependent relationship. His own dependents, who included his slaves and freedmen, owed cult to his Genius. Genius was the essential spirit and generative power – depicted as a serpent or as a perennial youth, often winged – within an individual and their clan (gens (pl. gentes). A paterfamilias could confer his name, a measure of his genius and a role in his household rites, obligations and honours upon those he fathered or adopted. His freed slaves owed him similar obligations. A pater familias was the senior priest of his household. He offered daily cult to his lares and penates, and to his di parentes/divi parentes at his domestic shrines and in the fires of the household hearth. His wife (mater familias) was responsible for the household's cult to Vesta. In rural estates, bailiffs seem to have been responsible for at least some of the household shrines (lararia) and their deities. Household cults had state counterparts. In Vergil's Aeneid, Aeneas brought the Trojan cult of the lares and penates from Troy, along with the Palladium which was later installed in the temple of Vesta.
Ancient Rome - References - Netflix