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The city, its gods, and its priests
Religion was important
Had its own protecting divinities
Households contained shrines to the lares, ancestral spirits, and the penates, the
protective divinities of the house, while old aristocratic families maintained their special
relations with major gods
Practices also focused on individuals and their concerns
Cult places: temples, altars, sanctuaries, and sacred groves
Animal sacrifices
Magistrates and priests led processions which could include the male and female
children of prominent families
Great festivals or feriae formed prominent elements in the religious year
Roman Games (ludi Romani) and the Plebeian Games (ludi plebeii)
consuls , praetors, censors, and other officials each had their own religious programs of
sacrifices, festivals, games, processions, and rites of divination
Priests came from many of the same families as the city’s political leaders, and many
priests also held elective offices
“Colleges” or groups of priests sharing the same function had an important role in Roman public
Pontiffs - headed by the pontifex maximus (general supervision over wide range
of rites)
Individual pontiffs advised officials on how best to perform rites and the college
could give an opinion on whether a ritual had been properly performed
Calendar - days on which rites were to be performed and identified they days
when it was permissible for magistrates to conduct public business or hold
Pontiffs served for life - first were auspices

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Decemviri sacris faciundis (ten men in charge of sacrifices) were concern with signs of
divine displeasure as revealed through prodigies
Decemvirs were custodians of the “Sibylline Books” - Books of Fate
Pax deorum - state of peace between Rome and its gods
Women posses a more prominent place in religious life of the city than politics
6 Vestal virgins performed rites of Vesta - Roman goddess of the hearth
Wives of pontifex maximus and of the flamen or priest of Jupiter shared in some
of their husbands’ ritual responsibilities
Women of elite families thought to have dedicated the temple of the Fortune of
Rome and Central Italy
Warfare and the Civic Order
4th century - Rome had evolved a pattern of warfare that centered on campaigns
undertaken almost every year - level of intensity and regularity
Military service - central duty
Direct attacks on cities or long sieges of fortified places were relatively rare
Offensive operations - before grain harvest
Rome in Latium and Campania
Rome’s victory over veii - changed relations among the cities of central italy
Exceeded Roman power over all of latium and northern Campania
Victorious groups of warriors from highlands adopted urban lifestyle
4th century - Samnites were the strongest group in central highlands
District governed by its own magistrate and assemble was the basic political unit
4 tribes that dominated pagus under Samnit confederacy
Aggressive and possessed formidable military reputation
Late 340s and early 330s - Roman armies fought Latins, Volsci, Campanians, and possibly
Confusing alliances
Latin War
Some cities joined to oppose Rome
Samnites joined Rome
Rome won in 340 in Northern Campania
Each town now bounded to Rome alone
Most latin communities incorporated into Roman state
Religion in Rome
Middle Republic: Samnite Wars
Religion = “That which binds together”
It binds together the community
Special features of Roman religion

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