The Origins of the Universe Essays

1319 Words Mar 18th, 2013 6 Pages
Origins of the Universe
- For Rome's earliest period, history and myth are difficult to distinguish.
- The Roman mythological tradition is particularly rich in historical myths/legends, concerning the foundation/rise of the city.
- traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in legend/myth.
- most familiar myths, Romulus and Remus, the twins who were suckled by a she-wolf.
- Used to describe how rome came to be
- Once boys grown up, decide to establish a city where wolf had found them
- The brothers quarrelled over where the site should be Remus killed by Romulus
Principal Beliefs
- Romans though themselves highly religious
- early Rome:simple animistic
- Centered around non
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- Offerings may be spelt wheat and grain-garlands, fruits, cakes and honeycombs, wine and incense
- Their supposed underworld relatives, the malicious and vagrant Lemures, might be placated with midnight offerings of black beans and spring water.
- The most potent offering was animal sacrifice
- typically of domesticated animals as cattle, sheep and pigs.
- Each was best specimen of kind, cleansed, clad in sacrificial regalia and garlanded, horns of oxen might be gilded.
- Sacrifice sought the harmonisation of the earthly/divine, the victim must seem willing
- it must remain calm and be quickly and cleanly despatched.
- Sacrifice to deities of the heavens publicly performed in daylight
- Deities of the upper heavens required white, infertile victims
- Juno a white heifer/Jupiter a white, castrated ox
- Often followed with a banquet
- Unlike gods of underworld, given dark, fertile victims in nighttime rituals
- Animal sacrifice usually took the form of a holocaust or burnt offering
- no shared banquet, as "the living cannot share a meal with the dead"
Influence on Society
Funerals
- Funeral and commemorative rites varied according to wealth, status and religious context. - the well off sacrificed a sow at the funeral pyre before cremation.
- The dead consumed their portion in the flames of the pyre, Ceres her portion through the flame of her altar, and the family at the site of the cremation.
- For the less well-off, offerings of wine, incense, and fruit or crops

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