The Religious Experience of the Roman People - From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

The Religious Experience of the Roman People - From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Religious Experience of the Roman People, by W. Warde Fowler
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Title: The Religious Experience of the Roman People  From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus
Author: W. Warde Fowler
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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE OF THE ROMAN PEOPLE ***
Produced by Turgut Dincer, Ted Garvin and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
THE
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
OF THE
ROMAN PEOPLE
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE AGE OF AUGUSTUS
THE GIFFORD LECTURES FOR 1909-10 DELIVERED IN EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY
BY
W. WARDE FOWLER, M.A.
F ELLOW AN D LAT E SU B-R EC T OR OF LIN C OLN C OLLEGE, OXF O R D H ON . D .LIT T . U N IVER SIT Y OF M AN C H EST ER AU T H OR OF 'T H E R OM AN F EST IVALS OF T H E PER IOD OF T H E R EPU BLIC ,' ET C .
"Sanctos ausus recludere fontes"
MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 1911
TO
PROFESSOR W.R. HARDIE
AND MY MANY OTHER KIND FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY HEARERS IN EDINBURGH
PREFACE
Lord Gifford in founding his lectureship directed that the lectures should be public and popular,i.e.not restricted to members of a University. Accordingly in lecturing I endeavoured to make myself intelligible to a general audience by avoiding much technical discussion and controversial matter, and by keeping to the plan of describing in outline the development and decay of the religion of the Roman City-state. And on the whole I have thought it better to keep to this principle in publishing the lectures; they are printed for the most part much as they were delivered, and without footnotes, but at the end of each lecture students of the subject will find the notes referred to by the numbers in the text, containing such further information or discussion as has seemed desirable. My model in this method has been the admirable lectures of Prof. Cumont on "les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme Romain."
I wish to make two remarks about the subject-matter of the lectures. First, the idea running through them is that the primitive rel igious (or magico-religious) instinct, which was the germ of the religion of the historical Romans, was gradually atrophied by over-elaboration of ritual, but showed itself again in strange forms from the period of the Punic wars onw ards. For this religious instinct I have used the Latin wordreligio, as I have explained in the Transactions of the Third International Congress for the History of Religions, vol. ii. p. 169 foll. I am, however, well aware that some scholars take a different view of the original meaning of this famous word, w hich has been much discussed since I formed my plan of lecturing. But I do not think that those who differ from me on this point will find that my gene ral argument is seriously affected one way or another by my use of the word.
Secondly, while I have been at work on the lectures, the idea seems to have been slowly gaining ground that the patrician relig ion of the early City-state, which became so highly formalised, so clean and austere, and eventually so political, was really the religion of an invading race, like that of the Achaeans in Greece, engrafted on the religion of a primitive and less civilised population. I have not definitely adopted this idea; but I am inclined to think that a good deal of what I have said in the earlier lectures may be found to support it. Once only, in Lecture XVII., I have used it myself to support a hypothesis there advanced.
I have retained the familiar English spelling of certain divine names,e.g.Jupiter (instead of Iuppiter), as less startling to British readers.
I wish to express my very deep obligations to the w orks of Prof. Wissowa and Dr. J. G. Frazer, and also to Mr. R. R. Marett, whogave me usefulpersonal help
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in my second and third lectures. From Prof. Wissowa and Dr. Frazer I have had the misfortune to differ on one or two points; but "difference of opinion is the salt of life," as a great scholar said to me not long ago. In reading the proofs I have had much kind and valuable help from my Oxford friends Mr. Cyril Bailey and Mr. A. S. L. Farquharson, who have read certain parts of the work, and to whose suggestions I am greatly indebted. The whole has been read through by my old pupil Mr. Hugh Parr, now of Clifton College, to whom my best thanks are due for his timely discovery of many misprints and awkw ard expressions. The loyalty and goodwill of my old Oxford pupils never seem to fail me.
KIN GH AM, OXON, 3rd March 1911.
CONTENTS
LECTURE I
INTRODUCTORY
W. W. F.
Accounts of the Roman religion in recent standard works; a hard and highly formalised system. Its interest lies partly in this fact. How did it come to be so? This the main question of the first epoch of Roman religious experience. Roman religion and Roman law compared. Roman religion a technical subject. What we mean by religion. A useful definition applied to the plan of Lectures I.-X.; including (1) survivals of primitive or quasi-magical religion; (2) the religion of the agricultural family; (3) that of the City-state, in its simplest form, and in its first period of expansion. Difficulties of the subject; present position of knowledge and criticism. Help obtainable from (1) archaeology, (2) anthropology . . .
LECTURE II
ON THE THRESHOLD OF RELIGION: SURVIVALS
Survivals at Rome of previous eras of quasi-religious experience. Totemism not discernible. Taboo, and the means adopted of escaping from it; both survived at Rome into an age of real religion. Examples: impurity (or holiness) of new-born infants; of a corpse; of women in certain worships; of strangers; of criminals. Almost complete absence of blood-taboo. Iron. Strange taboos on the priest of Jupiter and his wife. Holy or tabooed places; holy or tabooed days; the wordreligiosusas applied to both of these
LECTURE III
ON THE THRESHOLD OF RELIGION: MAGIC
Magic; distinction between magic and religion. Religious authorities seek to exclude magic, and did so at Rome. Few survivals of magic in the State religion. Theaquaelicium. Vestals and runaway slaves. The magical whipping at the Lupercalia. The throwing of puppets from thepons sublicius. Magical processes surviving in religious ritual with their meaning lost. Private magic:excantatioin the XII. Tables; other spells or
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24-46
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carmina. Amulets: thebulla;oscilla
LECTURE IV
THE RELIGION OF THE FAMILY
Continuity of the religion of the Latin agricultural family. What the family was; its relation to thegens. Thefamiliaas settled on the land, an economic unit, embodied in apagus. The house as the religious centre of the familia; its holy places. Vesta, Penates, Genius, and the spirit of the doorway. TheLar familiaris on the land. Festival of the Lar belongs to the religion of thepagus: other festivals of thepagus.Religio terminorum. Religion of the household: marriage, childbirth, burial and cult of the dead
LECTURE V
THE CALENDAR OF NUMA
Beginnings of the City-state: theoppidum. The earliest historical Rome, the city of the four regions; to this belongs the surviving religious calendar. This calendar described; the basis of our knowledge of early Roman religion. It expresses a life agricultural, political, and military. Days of gods distinguished from days of man. Agricultural life the real basis of the calendar; gradual effacement of it. Results of a fixed routine in calendar; discipline, religious confidence. Exclusion from it of the barbarous and grotesque. Decency and order under an organising priestly authority
LECTURE VI
THE DIVINE OBJECTS OF WORSHIP
47-67
68-91
92-113
Sources of knowledge about Roman deities. What did the Romans themselves know about them? No personal deity in the religion of the family. Those of the City-state arenumina, marking a transition from animism to polytheism. Meaning ofnumen. Importance of names, which are chiefly adjectival, marking functional activity. Tellus an exception. Importance of priests in development ofdei. The four great Roman gods and their priests: Janus, Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus. Characteristics of each of these in earliest Rome. Juno and the difficulties she presents. Vesta114-144
LECTURE VII
THE DEITIES OF THE EARLIEST RELIGION: GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
No temples in the earliest Rome; meaning offanum, ara, lucus, sacellum. No images of gods in these places, until end of regal period. Thus deities not conceived as persons. Though masculine and feminine they were not married pairs; Dr. Frazer's opinion on this point. Examination of his evidence derived from thelibri sacerdotum; meaning of Nerio Martis. Such combinations of names suggest forms or manifestations of a deity's activity, not likely to grow into personal deities without Greek help. Meaning ofpater andmaterto deities; procreation not applied indicated by them. The deities of theIndigitamenta; priestly inventions of a later age. Usener's theory of Sondergötter criticised so far as it applies to Rome145-168
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LECTURE VIII
RITUAL OF THE IUS DIVINUM
Main object ofius divinumto keep up thepax deorum; meaning ofpaxin this phrase. Means towards the maintenance of thepax: sacrifice and prayer, fulfilment of vows, lustratio, divination. Meaning ofsacrificium. Little trace of sacramental sacrifice. Typical sacrifice ofius divinum: both priest and victim must be acceptable to the deity; means taken to secure this. Ritual of slaughter: examination andporrectio of entrails. Prayer; the phraseMacte esto and its importance in explaining Roman sacrifice. Magical survivals in Roman and Italian prayers; yet they are essentially religious169-199
LECTURE IX
RITUAL (continued)
Votahave suggested the idea that Roman worship was bargaining. (vows) Examination of private vows, which do not prove this; of public vows, which in some degree do so. Moral elements in both these. Other forms of vow:evocatioanddevotio. Lustratio: meaning oflustraresuccessive stages of Roman experience. in Lustratioof the farm andpagus; of the city; of the people (at Rome and Iguvium); of the army; of the arms and trumpets of the army: meaning oflustratioin these last cases, both before and after a campaign200-222
LECTURE X
THE FIRST ARRIVAL OF NEW CULTS IN ROME
Recapitulation of foregoing lectures. Weak point of the organised State religion: it discouraged individual development. Its moral influence mainly a disciplinary one; and it hypnotised the religious instinct. Growth of a new population at end of regal period, also of trade and industry. New deities from abroad represent these changes: Hercules of Ara Maxima; Castor and Pollux; Minerva. Diana of the Aventine reflects a new relation with Latium. Question as to the real religious influence of these deities. The Capitoline temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, of Etruscan origin. Meaning of cult-titles Optimus Maximus, and significance of this great Jupiter in Roman religious experience223-247
LECTURE XI
CONTACT OF THE OLD AND NEW IN RELIGION
Plan of this and following lectures. The formalised Roman religion meets with perils, material and moral, and ultimately proves inadequate. Subject of this lecture, the introduction of Greek deities and rites; but first a proof that the Romans were a really religious people; evidence from literature, from worship, from the practice of public life, and from Latin religious vocabulary. Temple of Ceres, Liber, Libera (Demeter, Dionysus, Persephone); its importance for the date of Sibylline influence at Rome. Nature of this influence; how and when it reached Rome. The keepers of the "Sibylline books"; new cults introduced by them. New rites: lectisternia and supplicationes, their meaning and historical importance248-269
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LECTURE XII
THE PONTIFICES AND THE SECULARISATION OF RELIGION
Historical facts about the Pontifices in this period; a powerful exclusive "collegium" taking charge of theius divinum. The legal side of their work; they administered the oldest rules of law, which belonged to that ius. New ideas of law after Etruscan period; increasing social complexity and its effect on legal matters; result, publication of rules of law, civil and religious, in XII. Tables, and abolition of legal monopoly of Pontifices. But they keep control of (1) procedure, (2) interpretation, till end of fourth century b.c. Publication of Fasti andLegis actiones; the college opened to Plebeians. Work of Pontifices in third century: (1) admission of new deities, (2) compilation of annals, (3) collection of religious formulae. General result; formalisation of religion; and secularisation of pontifical influence270-291
LECTURE XIII
THE AUGURS AND THE ART OF DIVINATION
Divination a universal practice: its relation to magic. Want of a comprehensive treatment of it. Its object at Rome: to assure oneself of thepax deorum; but it was the most futile method used. Private divination; limited and discouraged by the State, except in the form of familyauspicia. Public divination;auspicianeeded in all State operations; close connection with imperium. The augurs were skilled advisers of the magistrates, but could not themselves take the auspices. Probable result of this: Rome escaped subjection to a hierarchy. Augurs andauspicia become politically important, but cease to belong to religion. State divination a clog on political progress. Sinister influence on Rome of Etruscan divination; history of theharuspices292-313
LECTURE XIV
THE HANNIBALIC WAR
Tendency towards contempt of religious forms in third century B.C.; disappears during this war.Religiothe old sense takes its place, in i.e. fear and anxiety. This takes the form of reportingprodigia; account of these in 218 B.C., and of the prescriptions supplied by Sibylline books. Fresh outbreak ofreligioafter battle of Trasimene;lectisterniumof 216, without distinction of Greek and Roman deities; importance of this. Religious panic after battle of Cannae; extraordinary religious measures, including human sacrifice. Embassy to Delphi and its result; symptoms of renewed confidence. But fresh and alarming outbreak in 213; met with remarkable skill. Institution of Apolline games. Summary of religious history in last years of the war; gratitude to the gods after battle of Metaurus. Arrival of the Great Mother of Phrygia at Rome. Hannibal leaves Italy314-334
LECTURE XV
AFTER THE HANNIBALIC WAR
Religion used to support Senatorial policy in declaring war (1) with Philip of Macedon, (2) with Antiochus of Syria; but this is not the old religion. Use ofprodigiaand Sibylline oracles to secure political and personal objects; mischief caused in this way. Growth of individualism; rebellion of the
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individual against theius divinum. Examples of this from the history of the priesthoods; strange story of a Flamen Dialis. The story of the introduction of Bacchic rites in 186 B.C.; interference of the Senate and Magistrates, and significance of this. Strange attempt to propagate Pythagoreanism; this also dealt with by the government. Influence of Ennius and Plautus, and of translations from Greek comedy, on the dying Roman religion335-356
LECTURE XVI
GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND ROMAN RELIGION
Religious destitution of the Roman in second century b.c. in regard to (1) his idea of God, (2) his sense of Duty. No help from Epicurism, which provided no religious sanction for conduct; Lucretius, and Epicurean idea of the Divine. Arrival of Stoicism at Rome; Panaetius and the Scipionic circle. Character of Scipio. The religious side of Stoicism; it teaches a new doctrine of the relation of man to God. Stoic idea of God as Reason, and as pervading the universe; adjustment of this to Roman idea ofnumina. Stoic idea of Man as possessing Reason, and so partaking the Divine nature. Influence of these two ideas on the best type of Roman; they appeal to his idea of Duty, and ennoble his idea of Law. Weak points in Roman Stoicism: (1) doctrine of Will, (2) neglect of emotions and sympathy. It failed to rouse an "enthusiasm of humanity"357-379
LECTURE XVII
MYSTICISM—IDEAS OF A FUTURE LIFE
Early Pythagoreanism in S. Italy; its reappearance in last centuryB.C. under the influence of Posidonius, who combined Stoicism with Platonic Pythagoreanism. Cicero affected by this revival; his Somnium Scipionis and other later works. His mysticism takes practical form on the death of his daughter; letters to Atticus about afanum. Individualisation of the Manes; freedom of belief on such questions. Further evidence of Cicero's tendency to mysticism at this time (45 B.C.), and his belief in a future life. But did the ordinary Roman so believe? Question whether he really believed in the torments of Hades. Probability of this: explanation to be found in the influence of Etruscan art and Greek plays on primitive Roman ideas of the dead. Mysticism in the form of astrology; Nigidius Figulus380-402
LECTURE XVIII
RELIGIOUS FEELING IN THE POEMS OF VIRGIL
Virgil sums up Roman religious experience, and combines it with hope for the future. Sense of depression in his day; want of sympathy and goodwill towards men. Virgil's sympathetic outlook; shown in his treatment of animals, Italian scenery, man's labour, and man's worship. His idea of pietas. The theme of the Aeneid; Rome's mission in the world, and the pietas needed to carry it out. Development of the character of Aeneas; h i spietasin the first six books, perfected in the last six, imperfect resulting in a balance between the ideas of the Individual and the State. Illustration of this from the poem. Importance of Book vi., which describes the ordeal destined to perfect thepietas of the hero. The sense of Duty never afterwards deserts him; hispietas enlarged in a religious sense403-427
LECTURE XIX
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THE AUGUSTAN REVIVAL
Connection of Augustus and Virgil. Augustus aims at re-establishing the nationalpietas, and securing thepax deorummeans of the by ius divinum. How this formed part of his political plans. Temple restoration and its practical result. Revival of the ancient ritual; illustrated from the records of the Arval Brethren. The new element in it; Caesar-worship; but Augustus was content with the honour of re-establishing thepax deorum. Celebration of this in the Ludi saeculares, 17 B.C. Our detailed knowledge of this festival; meaning ofsaeculum; description of theludi, and illustration of their meaning from theCarmen saeculareof Horace. Discussion of the performance of this hymn by the choirs of boys and girls428-451
LECTURE XX
CONCLUSION
Religious ingredients in Roman soil likely to be utilised by Christianity. The Stoic ingredient; revelation of the Universal, and ennobling of Individual. The contribution of Mysticism; preparation for Christian eschatology. The contribution of Virgil; sympathy and sense of Duty. The contribution of Roman religion proper: (1) sane and orderly character of ritual, (2) practical character of Latin Christianity visible in early Christian writings, (3) a religious vocabulary,e.g. religio, pietas, sanctus, sacramentum. But all this is but a slight contribution; essential difference between Christianity and all that preceded it in Italy; illustration from the language of St. Paul452-472
I. II. III. IV. V. INDEX
APPENDIX
ONTHEUSEOFHUTSORBOOTHSINRELIGIOUSRITUAL PROF. DEUBNER'STHEORYOFTHELUPERCALIA THEPAIRSOFDEITIESINGELLIUS THEEARLYUSAGEOFTHEWORDSIUSANDFAS THEWORSHIPOFSACREDUTENSILS
LECTURE I
INTRODUCTORY
473 478 481 486 489 491
I was invited to prepare these lectures, on Lord Gifford's foundation, as one who has made a special study of the religious ideas and practice of the Roman people. So far as I know, the subject has not been touched upon as yet by any Gifford lecturer. We are in these days interested in every form of religion, from the most rudimentary to the most highly developed; from the ideas of the aborigines of Australia, which have now become the common property of anthropologists, to the ethical and spiritual religions of civilised man. Yet it is remarkable how few students of the history of religion, apart from one or two specialists, have been able to find anything instru ctive in the religion of the Romans—of the Romans, I mean, as distinguished from that vast collection of races and nationalities which eventually came to be called byname of the
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Rome. At the Congress for the History of Religions held at Oxford in 1908, out of scores of papers read and offered, not more than one or two even touched on the early religious ideas of the most practical and powerful people that the world has ever known.
This is due, in part at least, to the fact that just when Roman history begins to be of absorbing interest, and fairly well substantiated by evidence, the Roman religion, as religion, has already begun to lose its vitality, its purity, its efficacy. It has become overlaid with foreign rites and ideas, a nd it has also become a religious monopoly of the State; of which the essen tial characteristic, as Mommsen has well put it, and as we shall see later on, was "the conscious retention of the principles of the popular belief, which were recognised as 1 irrational, for reasons of outward convenience." It was not unlike the religion of the Jews in the period immediately before the Capti vity, and it was never to profit by the refining and chastening influence of such lengthy suffering. In this later condition it has not been attractive to students of religious history; and to penetrate farther back into the real religious idea s of the genuine Roman people is a task very far from easy, of which indeed the difficulties only seem to increase as we become more familiar with it.
It must be remarked, too, that as a consequence of this unattractiveness, the accounts given in standard works of the general fea tures of this religion are rather chilling and repellent. More than fifty years ago, in the first book of his Roman History, Mommsen so treated of it—not indeed without some reservation,—and in this matter, as in so many others, his view remained for many years the dominant one. He looked at this religion, as was natural to him, from the point of view of law; in religion as such he had no particular interest. If I am not mistaken, it was for him, except in so far as it is connected with Roman law, the least interesting part of all his far-reaching Roman studies. More recent writers of credit and ability have followed his lead, and stress has been laid on the legal side of religion at Rome; it has been described over and over again as merely a system of contracts between gods and worshippers, secured by hard and literal formalism, and without ethical value or any native principle of growth. Quite recently, for example, so great an authority as Professor Cumont has written of it thus:—
"Il n'a peut être jamais existé aucune religion aussi froide, aussi prosaïque que celle des Romains. Subordonnée à la politique, elle cherche avant tout, par la stricte exécution de pratiques appropriées, à assurer à l'État la protection des dieux ou à détourner les effets de leur malveillanc e. Elle a conclu avec les puissances célestes un contrat synallagmatique d'où découlent des obligations réciproques: sacrifices d'une part, faveurs de l'autre.... Sa liturgie rappelle par la minutie de ses prescriptions l'ancien droit civil. Cette religion se défie des abandons de l'âme et des élans de la dévotion." And he finishes his description by quoting a few words of the late M. Jean Réville: "The legalism of the Pharisees, in spite of the dryness of their rituali stic minutiae, could make the 2 heart vibrate more than the formalism of the Romans."
Now it is not for me to deny the truth of such statements as this, though I might be disposed to say that it is rather approximate th an complete truth as here expressed, does not sum up the whole story, and only holds good for a single epoch of this religious history. But surely, for anyone interested in the history of religion, a religious system of such an unusual kind, with characteristics so well marked, must, one would suppose, be itself an attractive subject. A religion that becomes highly formalised claims attention by this very characteristic. At one time, however far back, it must have accurately expressed the needs and the
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aspirations of the Roman people in their struggle for existence. It is obviously, as described by the writers I have quoted, a very m ature growth, a highly developed system; and the story, if we could recover it, of the way in which it came to be thus formalised, should be one of the deepest interest for students of the history of religion. Another story, too, that of the gradual discovery of the inadequacyof this system, and of the engrafting upon it, or substitution for it, of foreign rites and beliefs, is assuredly not less instructive; and here, fortunately, our records make the task of telling it an easier one.
Now these two stories, taken together, sum up what we may call thereligious experience of the Roman people; and as it is upon these that I wish to concentrate your attention during this and the foll owing course, I have called these lectures by that name. My plan is not to provide an exhaustive account of the details of the Roman worship or of the nature of the Roman gods: that can be found in the works of carefully trained speciali sts, of whom I shall have something to say presently. More in accordance with the intentions of the Founder of these lectures, I think, will be an atte mpt to follow out, with such detailed comment as may be necessary, the religious experience of the Romans, as an important part of their history. And this happens to coincide with my own inclination and training; for I have been all my academic life occupied in learning and teaching Roman history, and the fascination which the study of the Roman religion has long had for me is simply du e to this fact. Whatever may be the case with other religions, it is impossi ble to think of that of the Romans as detached from their history as a whole; it is an integral part of the life and growth of the people. An adequate knowledge of Roman history, with all its difficulties and doubts, is the only scientific basis for the study of Roman religion, just as an adequate knowledge of Jewish history is the only scientific basis for a study of Jewish religion. The same rule must hold good in a greater or less degree with all other forms of religion of the higher type, and even when we are dealing with the religious ideas of savage p eoples it is well to bear it steadfastly in mind. I may be excused for suggestin g that in works on comparative religion and morals this principle is n ot always sufficiently realised, and that the panorama of religious or quasi-religious practice from all parts of the world, and found among peoples of very different stages of development, with which we are now so familiar, nee ds constant testing by increased knowledge of those peoples in all their relations of life. At any rate, in dealing with Roman evidence the investigator of rel igious history should also be a student of Roman history generally, for the facts of Roman life, public and private, are all closely concatenated together, and spring with an organic growth from the same root. The branches tend to separate, but the tree is of regular growth, compact in all its parts, and you cannot safely concentrate your attention on one of these parts to the comparative neglect of the rest. Conversely, too, the great story of the rise and decay of the Roman dominion cannot be properly understood without following out the religious history of this people—their religious experience, as I prefer to call it. To take an example of this, let me remind you of two leading facts in Roman history: first, the strength and tenacity of the family as a group under the abs olute government of the paterfamilias; secondly, the strength and tenacity of the idea of the State as represented by theimperiumof its magistrates. How different in these respects are the Romans from the Celts, the Scandinavians, even from the Greeks! But these two facts are in great measure the result of the religious ideas of the people, and, on the other hand, they themselves react with astonishing force on the fortunes of that religion.
I do not indeed wish to be understood as maintainin g that the religion of the Roman was the most important element in his mental or civic development: far
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from it. I should be the first to concede that the religious element in the Roman mind was not that part of it which has left the dee pest impress on history, or contributed much, except in externals, to our modern ideas of the Divine and of worship. It is not, as Roman law was, the one great contribution of the Roman genius to the evolution of humanity. But Roman law and Roman religion sprang from the same root; they were indeed in originone and the same thing. Religious law was a part of theius civile, and both were originally administered by the same authority, the Rex. Following the course of the two side by side for a few centuries, we come upon an astonishing phenom enon, which I will mention now (it will meet us again) as showing how far more interest can be aroused in our subject if we are fully equipped as Roman historians than if we were to study the religion alone, torn from the liv ing body of the State, and placed on the dissecting-board by itself. As the State grew in population and importance, and came into contact, friendly or hostile, with other peoples, both the religion and the law of the State were called upon to expand, and they did so. But they did so in different ways; Roman law ex pandedorganically and intensively, absorbing into its own body the experi ence and practice of other peoples, while Roman religion expandedmechanically and extensively, by taking on the deities and worship of otherswithout any organic change of its own beingorb words of. Just as the English language has been able to abs Latin origin, through its early contact with French, into the very tissue and fibre of its being, while German has for certain reasons never been able to do this, but has adopted them as strangers only, without making them its very own: so Roman law contrived to take into its own being the rules and practices of strangers, while Roman religion, though it eventual ly admitted the ideas and cults of Greeks and others, did so without taking them by a digestive process into its own system. Had the law of Rome remained as inelastic as the religion, the Roman people would have advanced as little in civilisation as those races which embraced the faith of Islam, with its law and religion alike impermeable 3 to any change. Here is a phenomenon that at once attracts attenti on and suggests questions not easy to answer. Why is it that the Roman religion can never have the same interest and value for mankind as Roman law? I hope that we shall find an answer to this question in the cou rse of our studies: at this moment I only propose it as an example of the advantage gained for the study of one department of Roman life and thought by a pretty complete equipment in the knowledge of others.
At the same time we must remember that the religion of the Romans is a highly technical subject, like Roman law, the Roman consti tution, and almost everything else Roman; it calls for special knowledge as well as a sufficient training in Roman institutions generally. Each of these Roman subjects is like a language with a delicate accidence, which is always presenting the unwary with pitfalls into which they are sure to blunder u nless they have a thorough mastery of it. I could mention a book full of valuable thoughts about the relation to Paganism of the early Christian Church, by a scholar at once learned and 4 sympathetic; who when he happens to deal for a moment with the old Roman religion, is inaccurate and misleading at every point. He knew, for example, that this religion is built on the foundation of the worship of the family, but he yielded to the temptation to assume that the family in heaven was a counterpart of the family on earth, "as it might be seen in any palace of the Roman nobility." "Jupiter and Juno," he says, "were the lord and lady, and beneath them was an army of officers, attendants, ministers, of every rank and degree." Such a description of the pantheon of his religion would have utterly puzzled a Roman, even in the later days of theological syncretism. Again he says that this religion was strongly moral; that "the gods gave every man his duty, and expected him
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