Emperor Worship and Roman Religion

Paperback | July 13, 2005

byIttai Gradel

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While Roman religion worshipped a number of gods, one kind in particular aroused the fury of early Christians and the wonder of scholars: the cult of Roman emperors alive or dead. Was the divinity of emperors a glue that held the Empire together? Were rulers such as Julius Caesar and Caligulasimply mad to expect such worship of themselves? Or was it rather a phenomenon which has only been rendered incomprehensible by modern and monotheistic ideas of what religion is - or should be - all about?This book presents the first study of emperor worship among the Romans themselves, both in Rome and in its heartland Italy. It argues that emperor worship was indeed perfectly in keeping with Roman religious tradition, which has been generally misunderstood by a posterity imbued with radicallydifferent notions of the relationship between humans and the divine.

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While Roman religion worshipped a number of gods, one kind in particular aroused the fury of early Christians and the wonder of scholars: the cult of Roman emperors alive or dead. Was the divinity of emperors a glue that held the Empire together? Were rulers such as Julius Caesar and Caligulasimply mad to expect such worship of themsel...

Ittai Gradel is Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Copenhagen.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.91 inPublished:July 13, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199275483

ISBN - 13:9780199275489

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Before the Caesars3. Caesar's Divine Honours4. Beyond Rome: `By Municipal Deification'5. The Augustan Settlement6. The Augustan Heritage and Mad Emperors7. The Emperor's Genius in State Cult8. `In Every House'? The Emperor in the Roman Household9. Corporate Worship10. Numen Augustum11. A Parallel: C. Manlius, Caeretan `Caesar'12. `Heavenly Honours Decreed by the Senate': From Emperor to Divus

Editorial Reviews

`Most impressive (and refreshing) is Gradel's ability to identify the biases and suppositions of prior scholarship and to pose alternate questions and practical answers based not on assumptions about beliefs (ancient and modern), but on Roman social and religious practices.'Bryn Mawr Classical Review