In the eighth century B.C., Ancient Rome grew from a small city into a massive empire which encompassed most of Europe, Britain, Western Asia, Northern Africa, and the Mediterranean Islands. The Roman Empire declined in 190 A.D., but Roman culture is still celebrated today. Ancient Rome is known for its riveting culture, particularly its religion and athletics. Ancient Rome had a distinct religion which held several different beliefs. The Latin word “religio” means “something that binds.” For Romans, religion was a binding force between families, peasants and their rulers, and people and the spirits. According to the journal “Roman Religion,” “Roman religion was animistic-- that is, it included the belief that spirits (called numina)
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Ancient Roman armies might have even backed down due to bad omens. Evidently, these numina were of extreme importance to the Ancient Romans. The ultimate goal of Roman religion was “by prayer, sacrifice, and scrupulous observance of ritual, to establish friendly relations with the numina governing the myriad activities of life, and thus to have reasonable assurance of their help and protection” (“Roman Religion” 1). Therefore, the Romans attempted to appease their gods and goddesses hoping that they would help them by, for example, making their crops fertile, or protecting their family.
Religion played a big role in the family, as well. The article entitled “Roman Religion” states that “family worship was centered in the house, fields, and boundaries of the farmstead. A host of numina … presided over the various parts of the house and the activities of house and farm” (1). Since many citizens of Ancient Rome were religious farmers, they were respectful of the many spirits that they believed dwelled within their houses and farms. They included them in much of their lives. Important life events, such as marriage, were even religious rituals in order to ensure the completion of the main goal of every religious Roman: the pacification of the numina (“Roman Religion” 1). Religion clearly played a significant role in everyday life in ancient Rome. Religion was just one of the several characteristics of Rome