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The Religion of Numa And Other Essays on the Religion of Ancient Rome   By: (1872-1917)

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THE RELIGION OF NUMA

AND OTHER ESSAYS ON THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT ROME

BY JESSE BENEDICT CARTER

London MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1906

All rights reserved

TO

K.F.C.

PREFACE

This little book tries to tell the story of the religious life of the Romans from the time when their history begins for us until the close of the reign of Augustus. Each of its five essays deals with a distinct period and is in a sense complete in itself; but the dramatic development inherent in the whole forbids their separation save as acts or chapters. In spite of modern interest in the study of religion, Roman religion has been in general relegated to specialists in ancient history and classics. This is not surprising for Roman religion is not prepossessing in appearance, but though it is at first sight incomparably less attractive than Greek religion, it is, if properly understood, fully as interesting, nay, even more so. In Mr. W. Warde Fowler's Roman Festivals however the subject was presented in all its attractiveness, and if the present book shall serve as a simple introduction to his larger work, its purpose will have been fulfilled.

No one can write of Roman religion without being almost inestimably indebted to Georg Wissowa whose Religion und Cultus der Römer is the best systematic presentation of the subject. It was the author's privilege to be Wissowa's pupil, and much that is in this book is directly owing to him, and even the ideas that are new, if there are any good ones, are only the bread which he cast upon the waters returning to him after many days.

The careful student of the history of the Romans cannot doubt the psychological reality of their religion, no matter what his personal metaphysics may be. It is the author's hope that these essays may have a human interest because he has tried to emphasise this reality and to present the Romans as men of like passions to ourselves, in spite of all differences of time and race.

Hearty thanks are due to Mr. W. Warde Fowler and to Mr. Albert W. Van Buren for their great kindness in reading the proofs; and the dedication of the book is at best a poor return for the help which my wife has given me.

J.B.C. ROME, November, 1905 .

CONTENTS

PAGE

THE RELIGION OF NUMA 1

THE REORGANISATION OF SERVIUS 27

THE COMING OF THE SIBYL 62

THE DECLINE OF FAITH 104

THE AUGUSTAN RENAISSANCE 146

THE RELIGION OF NUMA

Rome forms no exception to the general rule that nations, like individuals, grow by contact with the outside world. In the middle of the five centuries of her republic came the Punic wars and the intimate association with Greece which made the last half of her history as a republic so different from the first half; and in the kingdom, which preceded the republic, there was a similar coming of foreign influence, which made the later kingdom with its semi historical names of the Tarquins and Servius Tullius so different from the earlier kingdom with its altogether legendary Romulus, Numa, Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Martius. We have thus four distinct phases in the history of Roman society, and a corresponding phase of religion in each period; and if we add to this that new social structure which came into being by the reforms of Augustus at the beginning of the empire, together with the religious changes which accompanied it, we shall have the five periods which these five essays try to describe: the period before the Tarquins, that is the "Religion of Numa"; the later kingdom, that is the "Reorganisation of Servius"; the first three centuries of the republic, that is the "Coming of the Sibyl"; the closing centuries of the republic, that is the "Decline of Faith"; and finally the early empire and the "Augustan Renaissance." Like all attempts to cut history into sections these divisions are more or less arbitrary, but their convenience sufficiently justifies their creation... Continue reading book >>




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