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Title: Roman household religion
Author: Mantle, Inga Catherine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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The subject is examined against the background of basic questions concerning the importance of private religion to the Romans, the extent to which it was native, the sacredness of the house building, the manner in which the family operated as a unit and the differing religious roles of members of the family. The house is shown to have had certain sacred areas from which animistic and anthropomorphic divinities gradually evolved to become the objects of household cult. The utensils and other paraphernalia of cult, the nature of offerings and of ordinary ritual are then examined together with the religious suitability of the human participants. A demonstration follows of the unity of the family (both excluding and including its attendant slaves), under its male head, in the civic and religious spheres, of the consequent importance of its continued existence and of the unifying elements of its private cult. The functions of the men, women, children and slaves within it are then severally examined according as their sex and sexuality, birth and civic status affected their general religious status. The headship is found to have been responsible for all major changes to the family's structure, for upholding its traditional sacra nriuata, and for conducting major festivals, while the other members performed supporting roles; the wife had a special function as child-bearer. In practice slaves apparently shared in household cult, any exclusion from it being due to their not technically forming part of the Roman family. Private Romans of every category are seen to have enjoyed considerable opportunities for personal piety. Finally, answering the questions posed at the beginning enables certain, more detailed, conclusions concerning Roman household religion to be drawn.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available