Sacrifice In Ancient Rome

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Throughout ancient Rome, Romans shared a set of ideals that defined many aspects of their lives. Once a small tribe in Italy, the Roman civilization grew, and at its peak, spread far and wide throughout the Mediterranean. In their growth, they developed strong ideals of how to conquer and what to do with the religions of others. In a process called evocatio deorum, the calling to or summoning of another people’s gods, the Romans gained a vast arrangement of gods and ritualistic practices for their religion. Religious practices were ingrained into their society and were taken very seriously. Romans viewed religion a bit differently than most belief systems today; Their religion was focused on the ceremonies and sacrifices rather than any moral …show more content…
This is very similar to how Romans perceive sacrifice for the gods. Romans saw the sacrifice of animals, food, and/or goods as a trade with gods and believed that an economic loss was needed in order to please them. Sacrifice was very formulaic and believed to required complete precision in order for the gods to get the message. According to Pliny the Elder in Natural History 28.2(3).10, 11, a ritual can be ruined if “an error has been made in the strict wording of the prayer” (Shelton, pg. 371-372). The marriage rituals were also formulaic, and usually consisted of many different aspects such as having a Flammeum, the deductio procession, the involvement of torches in the deductio procession, the matron-of-honor, and the linking of hands to solidify the marriage. Both marriage and religious shared parallels in the importance of the rituals involved. Additionally, the relationships between a husband and wife were similarly circumstanced. Due to the fact that the marriages were not love based, husband and wife were more focused on living in concordia. (i.e.: Harmony) Roman men were looking for a wife whom had good household skills, could bare many children, participate in social affairs, and one who could remain faithful. In exchange, Roman women were given a stable lifestyle to perform the functions expected of them. Both marriage and sacrifice were beneficial to the Roman people. Romans …show more content…
The slave industry was highly regulated by the Roman government and required paperwork to be filled out for every slave. Slaves were obtained by trading with other nations, debt, crime, and kidnapping, and were then sold into markets. A rather ugly part of slavery, that was like religion, was the sacrificing of a child to a slave master in order to pay a debt. Children were sometimes sold if the parent was unable to feed them or if money was needed. Furthermore, when being captured, slaves were stripped of their names and with that their identity. On the contrary, gods obtained through evocatio deorum were associated with similar gods and gained multiple names. Like Catullus does in Poems 34, Romans would recite multiple names of the god in prayer and used the expression “whatever name it is that you prefer” (Shelton, pg. 366-367) as a way to make sure they have addressed the god in the proper form. This is very different to slaves as they were given a slave name as a way to degrade and remove some of their identity. Another aspect of slavery that was businesslike was the manumission (i.e.: Freeing) of a slave. The manumission process had a ceremony where the magistrate touched the slave with a rod and the slave was given a pileus (i.e.: freedom cap) to symbolize their freedom. This is similar to marriage and religion as they all have ceremonial or ritualistic

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