Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XII - Nationality, Religion, and Education


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 28

Practical Use Made of Religion

With this care on the part of the conservatives for the pure national religion, it was of course quite compatible that the circles of the highest rank should openly make a jest of it. The practical side of the Roman priesthood was the priestly cuisine; the augural and pontifical banquets were as it were the official gala-days in the life of a Roman epicure, and several of them formed epochs in the history of gastronomy: the banquet on the accession of the augur Quintus Hortensius for instance brought roast peacocks into vogue. Religion was also found very useful in giving greater zest to scandal. It was a favourite recreation of the youth of quality to disfigure or mutilate the images of the gods in the streets by night.(15)

15. Cf. IV. VI. The Equestrian Party

Ordinary love affairs had for long been common, and intrigues with married women began to become so; but an amour with a Vestal virgin was as piquant as the intrigues with nuns and the cloister-adventures in the world of the Decamerone. The scandalous affair of 640 seq. is well known, in which three Vestals, daughters of the noblest families, and their paramours, young men likewise of the best houses, were brought to trial for unchastity first before the pontifical college, and then, when it sought to hush up the matter, before an extraordinary court instituted by special decree of the people, and were all condemned to death.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :