Livy And The Bacchic Crisis

1871 Words 7 Pages
In the Roman state, the citizens showed their devotion to the culture and values through respecting the government officials and worshiping the Roman gods. This was practiced ever since the beginning of the Roman republic in 509 BC. However, three hundred years later in around 200 BC, allegedly, a Greek priest arrived in Etruria and led the expansion of the Bacchic cult into Rome and the rest of the Italian peninsula. This cult was associated with many immoralities and was of major concern to the Roman government for a variety of both official and private reasons. In order to address to this rapidly growing cult which eventually grew in population similar to that of a second city, the Roman government passed a senatorial decree known as the …show more content…
Other issues important to the Romans were also addressed in this proclamation. Another source regarding the Bacchic crisis is Livy 's book thirty-nine. He writes this one hundred and sixty years after the crisis occurs and presents the events in a more dramatic fashion similar to that of a Roman or Greek comedy. The government 's concerns are also presented in Livy 's account. The variations between the two ancient sources can be reconciled based on the fact they were written at very different time periods: one during the actual happening of the event and one almost two centuries later. Livy 's story and the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus prioritize different issues such as the cult convening during the nighttime and women participating in the cult in Livy 's account and secrecy and size of the cult in the senatorial …show more content…
The men were directly affected by the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus because “...no man, whether Roman citizen or of the Latin name or one of the allies, [could] attend a meeting of Bacchant women without approaching the urban praetor and obtaining his authorization...” (506). This statement from the decree was aimed at the men to prevent them from engaging in nefarious activities in the night time, when the cult convened. Women are also addressed in the Senatus Consultum but they are only subjected to the same restrictions as men such as not being able to be priest, a master or being able to exchange formal religious “oaths, vows, pledges or promises” (507). The Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus instigated many restrictions on the Bacchic cult in order to make their worshiping more transparent to the government. The decree did not ban the act of worshiping Bacchus entirely, but rather made their rites and rituals no longer sworn to secrecy and for everyone to

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