Ancient Rome: Religion

Essay by Mrs_BloomJunior High, 9th grade March 2004

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In the second century BC, the Romans conquered Greece and adopted lots of their culture, their myths, legends and gods. Religion was very important for Romans. It was a function of law. Religion for the Romans was not about their love for gods or of gods who loved them, nor was it about waiting for a happy life in the hereafter. For the Romans, devotion to the gods and pleasing the gods was a duty, an act of patriotism, an act of service and protection for the community. They didn't believe in a life after a death but they thought that if they did not believe in gods or did not make sacrifices for them gods would be angry and send a punishment for all the country.


Gods were mystical creatures who could not die, be sick or feel pain. The only way they could have felt suffering was if they had fallen in love with an our-world woman.

Their lives, which look like the fairy tails for us now, were the very important biographies for the ancient Romans. There were lots of gods in Roman religion. The most important ones were Jupiter (all-powerful god of the sky, "father" of all gods), Mars (god of war, father of Romulus and Remus), Janus (god of gateways and doorways, and the beginning and the end of journeys), Sarurn (watched over farmers and their harvest). There were different temples for each god, and special priests looked after them.


The most important person of Roman Religion was Pontifex Maximus. Under him was a college of Priests who were called poniffits. Poniffits were government officers who had to keep the city on good relations with the gods by implementing all religious traditions and making sure that all people maintained them. Every act...