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  • Places significance on importance of tradition. Uses religion to enhance his own prestige
  • Restored temples. RES GESTAE: 'I restored eighty-two temples of the gods of the city'
  • References to the traditions of cult. RES GESTAE: 'My name was included in the hymn of the Salii'     'I ordered that the ponifices and the Vestal Virgins should there make an annual sacrifice'
  • Lists the priesthoods held e.g. Pontifex Maximus. RES GESTAE.
  • Augustus tried to increase religion but important to remember not everyone wanted the religious positions espec. those of hardships e.g. with vestal virgins you lose a daughter you could potentially marry off etc. 
  • Centennial games (Ludi Saeculares) celebrated every 110yrs designed to mark beginning of a new era: Augustus' in 17BC
  • surpressed the worship of Isis as a symbol of Egypt/East. DIO ROMAN HISTORY 53.2
  • Inscription of Augustus' dedication to the public Lares 4BC 
  • Forbade egyptian rituals to be celebrated within the city but he provided for the maintenance of the Roman temples DIO ROMAN HISTORY 53.2
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  • There are sources giving examples of foreign cults being expelled suggesting Tiberius' lack of tolerance towards them. 
  • Expulsion of Egyptians and Jews TACITUS ANNALS 2.85 and JOSEPHUS 18.81
  • Destroys temple of Isis after incident of Paulina (priest of Isis convinced Paulina that Mundus was an Egyptian God so she would sleep with him. She finds out, complains to husband who complains to Tiberius). If cult is corrupted Tiberius will get rid of it? JOSEPHUS
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  • Particularly remembered for encouraging worship of himself
  • Extends Saturnalia by a day - promotion of traditional cult SUETONIUS GAIUS 17
  • Bad Treatment of Jews (Philo's embassy and his recounts of the misfortunes of the Jews under Gaius)
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  • Like Augustus, he considers revival of older religious practises useful for social stability. 
  • Takes responsibility for purifying the city when ill-omened birds take up residence in the capitol. SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 22
  • Strikes a treaty acc. to the ancient rites of the fetiales (priests responsible for rituals of peace) SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 25
  • During his censorship he made sure Etruscan diviners were encouraged and maintained. TACITUS ANNALS 11.15
  • Sympathetic to foreign rites and practices as long as they had had a long and good relationship with Rome. 
  • Restored temple of Eryx in Sicily and thought of transferring the Eleusinian mysteries from Athens to Rome SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 25
  • purged less acceptable practices. e.g. astrologers were banished from Italy SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 25
  • Harsh with Jews but fair about their rights in Alexandria - doesn't treat them badly but they should behave well and not take advantage of that TACITUS ANNALS 12.53 SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 25
  • Apparently allows Roman citizens to be priests of Magna Mater - in order to do this he abolishes the rule that these priests needed to be castrated. 
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  • Persecution of the Christians after the fire of Rome in AD64 TACITUS ANNALS 15.44 very much part of why Nero has such a bad reputation. 
  • Rumour that the Christians had started the fire of Rome: 'Nero had self acknowledged Christians arrested' TACITUS. hard to tell whether the punishment was for the fire or just being Christians. Tacitus uses language like 'depraved' 'antisocial tendancies' Christians not seen in a favourable light by ancient Rome. 
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  • Foundations of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter - was restored by Domitian SUETONIUS DOMITIAN 5
  • Restored temple of Isis after damaged in fire in AD80 JUVENAL 9.22
  • Interesting anecdote recorded by (eyewitness) SUETONIUS about Jews being punished for avoiding a 'Jewish Tax'
  • Worship of Egyptian cults appears more popular under Flavians. During the Civil War Domitian escapes from Capitoline disguised as a priest of Isis SUETONIUS DOMITIAN 1 (one of Domitian's oblisks depict Domitian in Egyptian dress with inscription 'Domitian living forever'
  • Promotion of Isis doesn't mean Domitian was neglecting traditional cult - The Iseum is situated near the Temple of Minerva (a goddess Domitian had a particular affinity with). The dates of each religion's festivals also coincide.
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  • Like Augustus saw the need for religious ceremonies, the 'peace of the gods' and the security of the people restored
  • Vespasian heals a crippled man through the intervention of Serapis SUETONIUS VESP 7 TACITUS HISTORIES 4.81 DIO 66.8.1
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Priesthoods/Vestal Virgins

  • Augustus lists priesthoods in Res Gestae 
  • Account of the death of vestal virgin Laelia TACITUS ANNALS 15.22
  • Domitian founds a college of priests in honour of Minerva SUETONIUS DOMITIAN 4
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Foreign Cults/beliefs

  • Cybele Cult LIVY AUC 29.14.10 - explains introduction of this cult - Eastern goddess from phrygia in 205BC. Those initiated into her cult were promised immortality and there was an annual celebration which commemorated the resurrection of her consort Attis. Shrines to Magna Mater have been discovered at Ostia. 
  • Bacchus/Dionysus. LIVY book 39 records how senate attempted to abolish worship of Bacchus as it was seen as quite a dangerous cult. There is evidence of the worship continuing though e.g. the war paintings at villa of mysteries at Pompeii
  • Mithraism: not much known about this but involved worship of ancient Persian God Mithras (often linked with war) shrines to Mithras discovered at Ostia. 
  • Judaism: Claudius writes to Alexandrians telling them to be nicer to the Jews but the Jews should also not be asking for more things;  Under Domitian's rule Jews punished for avoiding 'Jewish Tax' SUETONIUS DOMITIAN 12;  Evidence of synagogue at Ostia;  In Philo's writings he recounts the misfortunes of the Jews under Gaius, noting particularly the embassy he embarked on from Alexandria and was met by laughter and ridicule when stood before Gaius. 
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Christianity and Isis/Egyptian Cults

  • Isis and Egyptian cults: Temple of Isis at Pompeii;  Domitian restored temple after a fire; Augustus suppresses worship of Isis DIO;  Story of Paulina JOSEPHUS JEWISH ANTIQUITIES 18.66
  • Christianity: persecution of the Christians by Nero TACITUS 15.41. Christians described as 'depraved' and 'mischief' - not seen favourably in Rome. Continued attitude PLINY LETTERS correspondence between Pliny and Trajan asking the correct procedure of questioning possible Christians - they must swear to not being Christians and swear worship to emperor. If not they would be tried at Rome. Romans didn't feel Christians were loyal to Rome. Christians arguably more of a problem than Isis worshippers because Isis worshippers would worship other gods but Christians would not and this was more dangerous - seemed like they were Christian before Roman citizen

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