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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

IV. THE RISE OF ROME TO 264 B.C.

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 13

PRIESTHOODS

Roman priests, who conducted the state religion, did not form a separate class, as in some Oriental countries. They were chosen, like other magistrates, from the general body of citizens. A board, or "college," of six priests had charge of the public auspices. Another board, that of the pontiffs, regulated the calendar, kept the public annals, and regulated weights and measures. They were experts in all matters of religious ceremonial and hence were very important officials. [15]

[15] The title of the president of the pontiffs, Pontifex Maximus (Supreme Pontiff), is still that of the pope.

IMPORTANCE OF THE STATE RELIGION

This old Roman faith was something very different from what we understand by religion. It had little direct influence on morality. It did not promise rewards or threaten punishments in a future world. Roman religion busied itself with the everyday life of man. Just as the household was bound together by the tie of common worship, so all the citizens were united in a common reverence for the deities which guarded the state. The religion of Rome made and held together a nation.

 

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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