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  1. Imperial cult of ancient Rome - Wikipedia

    The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority ( auctoritas) of the Roman State. Its framework was based on Roman and Greek precedents, and was formulated during the early Principate of Augustus.

  2. Imperial cult - Wikipedia

    The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State. The official offer of cultus to a living emperor acknowledged his office and rule as divinely approved and constitutional: his Principate should therefore demonstrate pious respect for traditional Republican deities and mores [ citation needed ]

  3. Talk:Imperial cult of ancient Rome - Wikipedia

    In my experience of WP practice, parenthesises are used to distinguish topics with the exact same titles, not distinguish sub-topics. In this case, the title implies that there was a term in ancient Rome that was explicitly named "imperial cult", rather than that there was practice in ancient Rome of what modern scholars refers to as imperial cults.

  4. Main article: Imperial cult  (ancient Rome) Augustus as Jove, holding scepter and orb (first half of 1st century AD). The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State.

  5. Imperial cult | Religion-wiki | Fandom

    In the Roman Empire the Imperial cult was the worship of the Roman emperor as a god. This practice began at the start of the Empire under Augustus, and became a prominent element of Roman religion. The cult spread over the whole Empire within a few decades, more strongly in the east than in the west.

  6. Tutela - Wikipedia

    Tutela and Imperial cult See also: Imperial cult (ancient Rome) The early Roman emperors drew on traditional sources of authority to consolidate their position, among them the potestas or power of the Roman head of household.

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  8. Religion in ancient Rome - Wikipedia

    In the early Imperial era, the princeps (lit. "first" or "foremost" among citizens) was offered genius-cult as the symbolic paterfamilias of Rome. His cult had further precedents: popular, unofficial cult offered to powerful benefactors in Rome: the kingly, god-like honours granted a Roman general on the day of his triumph ; and in the divine honours paid to Roman magnates in the Greek East from at least 195 BC.

  9. Imperial cult (ancient Rome) : definition of Imperial cult ... cult (ancient Rome)/en-en
    • Background
    • End of The Republic
    • Caesar's Heir
    • Religion and Imperium Under Augustus
    • The Imperial Succession
    • Imperial Crisis and The Dominate
    • The Context and Precedents For Imperial Cult
    • The Imperial Cult and Christianity
    • Historical Evaluations
    • See Also


    For five centuries, the Roman Republic did not give worship to any historic figure, or any living man, although surrounded by divine and semi-divine monarchies. Rome's legendary kings had been its masters; with their removal, Republican Romans could identify Romulus, the founder of the city, with the god Quirinus and still retain Republican liberty. Similarly, Aeneas was worshipped as Jupiter Indiges.[4] The Romans worshipped several gods and demi-gods who had been human, and knew the theory...


    When the Romans began to dominate large parts of the Greek world, Rome's senior representatives there were given the same divine honours as were Hellenistic rulers. This was a well-established method for Greek city-statesto declare their allegiance to an outside power; such a cult committed the city to obey and respect the king as they obeyed and respected Apollo or any of the other gods. The cities of Ionia worshipped the Spartan general Lysander, when he personally dominated Greece, immedia...

    Romans among the Greeks

    The Roman magistrates who conquered the Greek world were fitted into this tradition; games were set up in honor of M. Claudius Marcellus, when he conquered Sicily at the end of the Second Punic War, as the Olympian games were for Zeus; they were kept up for a century and a half until another Roman Governor abolished them, to make way for his own honors. When T. Quinctius Flamininus extended Roman influence to Greece proper, temples were built for him and cities placed his portrait on their co...

    In the last decades of the Roman Republic, its leaders regularly assumed extra-constitutional powers. The mos majorum had required that magistrates hold office collectively, and for short periods; there were two consuls; even colonies were founded by boards of three men;[32]but these new leaders held power by themselves, and often for years. The same men were often given extraordinary honors. Triumphs grew ever more splendid; Marius and Sulla, the rival leaders in Rome's first civil war, each founded cities, which they named after themselves; Sulla had annual games in his honor, at Rome itself, bearing his name; the unofficial worship of Marius is above. In the next generation, Pompey was allowed to wear his triumphal ornaments whenever he went to the Games at the Circus.[33] Such men also claimed a special relationship to the gods: Sulla's patron was Venus Felix, and at the height of his power, he added Felix to his own name; his opponent Marius believed he had a destiny, and that...

    An angry, grief-stricken crowd gathered in the Roman Forum to see his corpse and hear Mark Antony's funeral oration. Antony appealed to Caesar's divinity and vowed vengeance on his killers. A fervent popular cult to divus Julius followed. It was forcefully suppressed but the senate soon succumbed to Caesarian pressure and confirmed Caesar as a divus of the Roman state. A comet interpreted as Caesar's soul in heaven was named the "Julian star" (sidus Iulium) and in 42 BC, with the "full consent of the Senate and people of Rome", Caesar's young heir, Octavian, held ceremonial apotheosis for his adoptive father.[46] In 40 BC Antony took up his appointment as flamen of the divus Julius. Provincial cult centres (caesarea) to the divus Julius were founded in Caesarian colonies such as Corinth.[47] Antony's loyalty to his late patron did not extend to Caesar's heir: but in the last significant act of the long-drawn civil war, on 1 August 31 BC, Octavian defeated Antony at Actiumand was lef...

    Augustus appeared to claim nothing for himself, and innovate nothing: even the cult to the divus Julius had a respectable antecedent in the traditional cult to di parentes.[55] He re-invented the Roman Republic with due deference to the senatorial and consular tradition. His unique – and still traditional – position within the Senate as princeps or primus inter pares (first among equals) offered a curb to the ambitions and rivalries that had led to the recent civil wars: but Augustus' principate was unprecedented in its extraordinary breadth, totality and duration. As censor and pontifex maximus he was morally obliged to renew the mos maiores by the will of the gods and the "Senate and People of Rome" (senatus populusque romanus). As tribune he encouraged generous public spending, and as princeps of the Senate he discouraged ambitious extravagance. He disbanded the remnants of the civil war armies to form new legions and a personal imperial guard (the Praetorian Guard): the patricia...


    Even as he prepared his adopted son Tiberius for the role of princeps and recommended him to the senate as a worthy successor, Augustus seems to have doubted the propriety of dynastic imperium; this, however, was probably his only feasible course.[82] On his death, the senate debated and passed a lex de imperio which voted Tiberius princeps through his "proven merit in office", and awarded him the honorific "Augustus" as name and title.[83] Tiberius accepted the titles with apparent reluctanc...


    Nero's death saw the end of imperial tenure as a privilege of ancient Roman (patrician and senatorial) families. In a single chaotic year, power passed violently from one to another of four emperors. The first three promoted their own genius cult: the last two of these attempted Nero's restitution and promotion to divus. The fourth, Vespasian – son of an equestrian from Reate – secured his Flavian dynasty through reversion to an Augustan form of principate and renewed the imperial cult of div...


    The Senate chose the elderly, childless and apparently reluctant Nerva as emperor. Nerva had long-standing family and consular connections with the Julio-Claudian and Flavian families, but proved a dangerously mild and indecisive princeps: he was persuaded to abdicate in favour of Trajan. Pliny the Younger's panegyric of 100 AD claims the visible restoration of senatorial authority and dignity throughout the empire under Trajan, but while he praises the emperor's modesty, Pliny does not disgu...

    This section provides an overview of developments most relevant to cult: for a full listing of Emperors by name and date, see List of Roman Emperors. The end of the Severan dynasty marked the breakdown of central imperium. Against a background of economic hyperinflation and latterly, endemic plague, rival provincial claimants fought for supremacy and failing this, set up their own provincial Empires. Most Emperors seldom even saw Rome, and had only notional relationships with their senates. In the absence of coordinated Imperial military response, foreign peoples seized the opportunity for invasion and plunder. Maximinus Thrax (reigned 235–8 AD) sequestered the resources of state temples in Rome to pay his armies. The temples of the divi were first in line. It was an unwise move for his own posterity, as the grant or withholding of apotheosis remained an official judgment of Imperial worthiness, but the stripping of the temples of state gods caused far greater offense. Maximinus's a...

    The Augustan settlement was promoted by its contemporary apologists as restorative and conservative rather than revolutionary.[177] Official cult to the genius of the living princeps as "first among equals" elaborated the hierarchal honours of mos maiorumto justify the unprecedented range and permanence of his powers. The official gift of Caesar's apotheosis in a stable Republic justified the future cult of Imperial divi. The official offer of divine honours to the living princeps weighed his god-like powers against his self-restraint and pious respect for Republican tradition. "Good" emperors rejected the offer with every appearance of gratitude and humility, accepting the more modest offer of genius cult as an honour to the donor and the imperial office. Claims that later emperors sought and obtained divine honours in Rome reflect their bad relationship with their senates: in Tertullian's day, it was still "a curse to name the emperor a god before his death". On the other hand, to...

    To pagan Romans a simple act of sacrifice, whether to ancestral gods under Decius or state gods under Diocletian, represented adherence to Roman tradition and loyalty to the pluralistic unity of Empire. Refusal was treason. Christians, however, identified "Hellenistic honours" as parodies of true "worship".[235][236] Under the reign of Nero or Domitian, the author of the Book of Revelation represented Rome as the "Beast from the sea", Judaeo-Roman elites as the "Beast from the land" and the charagma (official Roman stamp) as a sign of the Beast.[237] Some Christian thinkers perceived divine providence in the timing of Christ's birth, at the very beginning of the Empire that brought peace, laid paths for the spread of the Gospels, and destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple to punish the Jews for refusing the Christ.[238] With the abatement of persecution Jerome could acknowledge Empire as a bulwark against evil but insist that "imperial honours" were contrary to Christian teaching.[239]...

    The nature and function of Imperial cult remain contentious, not least because its Roman historians employed it equally as a topos for Imperial worth and Imperial hubris. It has been interpreted as an essentially foreign, Graeco-Eastern institution, imposed cautiously and with some difficulty upon a Latin-Western Roman culture in which the deification of rulers was constitutionally alien, if not obnoxious.[249] In this viewpoint, the essentially servile and "un-Roman" Imperial cult was established at the expense of the traditional Roman ethics which had sustained the Republic.[250] For Christians and secularists alike, the identification of mortal emperors with godhead represented the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of paganism which led to the triumph of Christianity as Rome's state religion.[251][252] Very few modern historians would now support this point of view. Some – among them Beard et al. – find no distinct category of Imperial cult within the religio-political life of Empir...

  10. Genius (mythology) - Wikipedia

    The household cult of the Genius Augusti dates from this period. It was propitiated at every meal along with the other household numina. Thus began the tradition of the Imperial cult, in which Romans worshipped the genius of the emperor rather than the person.

  11. Dominate - Wikipedia

    See Imperial cult (ancient Rome). The last ruler to use the titles Dominus Noster was Justinian I (died 565), giving place to the title of Basileus ("King"). In the Eastern half of the Empire, and especially from the time of Justinian I , the system of the Dominate evolved into autocratic absolutism .