De natura religionis Romanum: A Re-appraisal of the Role of Roman Private Cult and Practice
1 online resource (124 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
This study questions the contemporary privilege afforded Roman civic cult and its relationship with the divine over the private cult of the individual or group. Exploring the historical underpinnings of the civic cult theory as exemplified by such works as that of produced by Beard, North, and Price, Religions of Rome (1998), the study traces the civic cult theory's connection to and rejection of early developmental theories championed by theorists like W. Warde Fowler and Harry J. Rose. The study claims that while both the civic cult theory and its predecessor were right to emphasize the importance of ritual in Roman cultic practice, both were in error in their positions regarding the place of private cult in Roman society by the late Republic and Early Empire. As such, it is claimed that the position presently assigned to Roman private cultic practice by contemporary scholarship requires re-evaluation and its role in Roman culture requires interpretation using contemporary theory as well as material, epigraphic, and textual evidence. The study re-evaluates the role of private cult as well as undertakes a reinterpretation of such cult in terms of how it advances its agenda through ritual practice in part by documenting the widespread evidence of private cult practices in everyday Roman life. The study furthermore advances the claim that private cult was an autonomous and legitimate sphere of Roman cult which involved individuals, families and small groups and was integrally connected with public cult in a number of fundamental ways. This argument has several parts. First, the study argues that participation in private cult was robust, involving ritual undertaken by a host of individuals not affiliated with the Roman State cult, and was manifest in diverse fashion, from ritual acts undertaken at sacred groves and domestic lararia to innovative ritual performance in festivals and processions. Secondarily, private cult, while not an evolutionary stage on the way to the civic cult, was nonetheless integrally connected with public cult through the use of ritual and individual participation in the civil cult. Finally, the study argues that both private cult and the civic cult, through orthopraxic ritual, sought to create a "subjunctive" reality.
ANCIENT ROMECIVIC CULTPRIVATE CULTRITUAL
Schott, JeremyTabor, JamesMcCloud, Sean
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2014.
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