Roman religion

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The cultus deorum Romanorum ('cults of the Roman gods') is a collective term for the various cults and rituals which constituted the religious life of Rome until the edict of Theodosius. The cultus deorum began as the practices of the farmers of the village of Rome.

"I am quite certain that Romulus by instituting auspices, and Numa ritual, laid the foundations of our state, which would never have been able to be so great had not the immortal gods been placated to the utmost extent." -- Cicero "On the Nature of the Gods"

Influenced by their Etruscan, Greek and Phonecian neighbours, the Romans developed a complex state religion that emphasised the patron -client relationship between the gods and Romans: the pax deorum (religio) and maintaining it by scrupulous observance of rituals. [1]

Roman religion cannot be approached by inserting Roman deity names into Greek religion or any other system, for it is a unique product of the culture that created it. It is also difficult to talk about 'Roman religion' as a whole, since it is really composed of a large number of separate cults. In general it is a system that demands steadfastness and devotion to duty. It involves working in harmony with the eternal gods and with universal order, for the benefit not only of ourselves but also the world around us; with right action and attitudes towards the gods, both the state and the individual will prosper. Yet the cultus deorum involves more than pious action and worldly power; there are also mystery traditions which focus on inner spiritual growth.

As practised in Nova Roma

For details on how religio is practised in Nova Roma, see Category:Religio Romana (Nova Roma).

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