Religion of Rome is represented by several forms and has evolved through several stages. Initially, the Romans were pagans worshiped mainly Greek and to a lesser extent the Etruscan gods. Later mythological period was replaced by the pagan cults. Finally, the end of the evolution of religious beliefs in the ancient Rome was marked by the arise of Christianity, mainly by political reasons. This religion, in the IV century, after the division of the Roman Empire into the Eastern and the Western, has taken concrete shape of Catholicism with its unique philosophy and religious views.
Ancient religious ideas of the Romans were associated with agricultural cults deified, the cult of ancestors, and other magical rituals that are usually performed by the head of the family. In that period, state took the leading part in the organizing and carrying out rituals to create an official religion, which changed previous ideas about the gods. At the head of the Roman pantheon, in the sky the god Jupiter took his place, the god of wars Mars and Quirinus were later replaced by the triad: Jupiter, Juno (wife of Jupiter, the guardian of marriage) and Minerva (goddess of wisdom, arts and crafts). They were considered the defenders of the state, and their sanctuaries in the Capitol were the main centers of the state cult.
Religion in the period of Roman Empire was an extremely complex phenomenon, as patchy as heterogeneous was Roman Empire itself. Religious issues included the nature of people, tribes, different socio -economic structures, the variety of classes and social stratification. Besides, religion did not remain unchanged, and evolved under the influence of the evolution of social structures and government policies. A huge role official propaganda played that had both supporters and opponents, to respond to it the new roles of religion in the new ways.
All Roman religion is reduced to ritual, but these rites features a variety of petty details, none of which can be omitted. Any sacrifice in order to be effective, must be made on a certain ritual, and the only concern is that praying to accurately perform all the rules. True, the law of the Roman religion is so strict and complicated that the accuracy in the performance of his is considerable merit. If you want to ask the sky any mercy, then first of all necessary to inquire to what god in this case should contact. And this is no small difficulty, particularly in the Roman Olympus, very densely populated , very difficult to understand. Meanwhile, to know what God can come to us for help, is just as important as knowing where the baker or carpenter lives when we need them. At the same time , it is not enough to know the attributes of God , to which you want to apply, fir you must also know his real name, or they may not hear prayers. And it is extremely difficult science - know the real names of all the gods, and there's even theologians who claim that no one knows.
The research question for this essay is: “How and tow what extent the religion of Rome influenced on the society and with the help of which instruments?” So that to answer this question properly, the book “Livy, The History of Rome, Books I-V: The Early History of Rome” will be analyzed and cited.
“Now Brutus had deliberately assumed a mask to hide his true character. When he learned of the murder by Tarquin of the Roman aristocrats, one of the victims being his own brother, he had come to the conclusion that the only way of saving himself was to appear in the king's eyes as a person of no account. If there were nothing in his character for Tarquin to fear, and nothing in his fortune to covet, then the sheer contempt in which he was held would be a better protection than his own rights could ever be. Accordingly he pretended to be a half-wit and made no protest at the seizure by Tarquin of everything he possessed. He even submitted to being known publicly as the 'Dullard' (which is what his name signifies), that under cover of that opprobrious title the great spirit which gave Rome her freedom might be able to bide its time. On this occasion he was taken by Arruns and Titus to Delphi less as a companion than as a butt for their amusement; and he is said to have carried with him, as his gift to Apollo, a rod of gold inserted into a hollow stick of cornel-wood - symbolic, it may be, of his own character.”
It is not by coincidence that the rough character of Brutus is depicted as “natural” for that epoch in the history. He took care about his own interest, and even “his gift to Apollo, a rod of gold inserted into a hollow stick of cornel-wood - symbolic, it may be, of his own character.” (Livy)
However , the nature and the character of Brutus who is known in the Roman history as a traitor is vividly seen in his attitude to the powers of nature, particularly to the Earth that is compared to “the mother” in this passage. While some others hoped to win the authority by kissing the mother in direct meaning of this word, Brutus got the meaning of it like he should kiss the Earth to gain the power of Rome.
There is a passage in a book about three young men who reached Delphi, and carried out the king's instructions. When done, Titus and Arruns putt some other question to the oracle about who of them would become the next Roman king. Then they got the mysterious answer: 'He who shall be the first to kiss his mother shall hold in Rome supreme authority.' Thereafter, Titus and Arruns kept this prophecy in an absolute secret, in order to prevent their brother Tarquin who was left in Rome from knowing about the answer. “Thus he, at any rate, would be out of the running. For themselves, they drew lots to determine which of them, on their return, should kiss his mother first.” (Livy, 1960). Then Brutus interpreted Apollo's priestess words in his own way. He was fallen flat on his face to kiss the Earth that is the mother of every living being.This passage proves that the culture of Rome was closely related to the powers of nature rules by multiple gods who was believed to rule every power of nature – the sky, the Earth, the water of the seas and oceans. Throughout many century Roman religious beliefs were a background to discussion for many thinkers who treated Roman nature in their own way. However, their solid religious beliefs influenced on many upcoming generations, including modern western civilization.
“What was needed, was not merely a resolute man, but a man who was also free from the net of legal controls.” (Livy, 1960)
There is 100% out of doubt that many Roman people needed dictators to rule the nation. Dictators were described as resolute men who are “free from the net of legal control. Undoubtedly, this thought is closely related to religious beliefs of ancient Rome. From the modern perspective, Romans are supposed to believe that state power is similar to gods’ power, and of course, dictators are more similar to the gods who are ruling the powers of nature. In the latest versions, this thought was shaped better, so that to declare that humans are nothing if they are not ruled but superficial creatures.
In Roman history, religion was polytheistic. In spite of this, the notion about god-like dictators was typical even for monotheistic or atheistic societies. For instance, in the modern history, many Asian dictators call themselves artificial gods, or messengers that are sent to Earth for special mission. This works very well for poor countries, where people have nothing to hope for, except a dictator. In the past centuries, this rule also worked very well, especially in the age of old prophets. For instance, Moses spoke to people who had no other hope than hope for the God. They lived so poorly that they had even nothing to hope for in their life. And then, some prophet appeared to lead the nation to the Promised Land. Dictators’ role is similar to this.
In general, religious beliefs were of the greatest influence on the nature of the people of Rome. They believed in the mighty powers of nature, like the wind, the fire, the water. For the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, the Earth was believed to be the mighty mother (like in example with Brutus who kissed the Earth to become a powerful king of Rome). Kissing the Earth is a very meaningful act. Kissing the Earth is similar to kissing the mother, it means to accept the rules of nature and live according to them. This is what many people of the Roman Empire accepted as a rule and lived according to it.
Livy. The Early History of Rome. Penguin Books Limited, 1960, 487 p. Print.