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Augustus And Emperor Worship Essay

821 words - 3 pages

ROMAN RELIGIONAUGUSTUS AND EMPEROR WORSHIPAugustus carried out various measures to revive traditional religion, but was careful to avoid the semblance of a dictator or tyrant. The very title 'Augustus' had religious connotations, meaning 'a person in whom numen was increased.' The concept of the ruler as a god, however, was new to Rome. Although statues of leaders were made during the republic, they were not regarded as gods. Julius Caesar set the precedent for emperor worship in Rome, and probably started a cult of himself. A statue was set up in a temple with the inscription: 'To the unconquered god.' It was decreed by senate that he have a house like a temple and a priest. He was also deified after his assassination: 'He died at the age of 55 and was declared a god" (Suetonius).Augustus had to be careful to avoid the errors of Julius Caesar and the resentment that he had engendered be claiming to be divine during his own lifetime. He called himself a 'son of a god'--- 'divi filius', but did not accept deification in his lifetime.) He did, however, capitalize on Julius Caesar's claim of descent from the gods). After Augustus, however, other emperors accepted or sought worship in their own lifetimes e.g. Nero and DomitianProcess by which a Roman Emperor became a god:Claim to divine descentStatues eg those of Augustus were adjacent to statues of godsImages of the genius of Augustus were placed next to those of the Lares( household spirits) at crossroads. The genius received honoursBeing honoured by poets---- Horace and Virgil praised Rome and linked Augustus to the gods: 'son of the Deified.' (Aeneid). They also reinforced the idea that he would be made a god on his deathA libation was offered to the genius of Augustus at every meal in Roman householdsAugustus was referred to as the father of the nation --- 'pater patriae.' "Pater' was also used to address godsThe Ara Pacis, the Altar of Peace, was consecrated by Augustus. It shows members of Augustus' family as well as Tellus Mater, the mother earth goddess, and Aeneas, father of the Roman raceAugustus's name was praised in hymns along with the godsThe Consuls offered prayers to his health every 5 yearsTemples were built to honour Augustus or his achievementsThe Temple of Apollo was linked to his home on the PalatineAugustus (and the emperors after him) was Pontifex Maximus, head of the college of Pontiffs. This...


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