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Religion and the world of the gods

The religious world of antiquity was characterised by a mixture of cults and faiths. This enabled the individual to practice several different religions.

Although the Roman emperors preferred particular gods and cults, they were religiously tolerant. The most important thing was loyalty to the emperor, which took on aspects of an emperor cult with the worship of the Capitoline Triad - Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva - as the gods of the Roman Empire.

With the arrival of Roman soldiers in the northwestern provinces, the antique gods came face to face with those of the Germanic faiths. This resulted in a mixing of the gods, a synthesis that Tacitus described as "interpretatio Romana".

Many troops came from distant provinces, from Gaul and the Orient. In the 3rd century oriental cults spread into the empire. They involved promises of an afterlife and mystical practices. Examples include the cults of Mithras, Isis, Jupiter Dolichenus and Cybele.

The life of the individual was shaped by many religious rituals: festivities that can be identified from calendars, rituals at household altars, the larariums, sacrificial scenes at altars, ceremonies at official inaugurations, and burial rituals.

Literature:
Steidl 2008, 140ff. "Heeresreligion", Limes-Lexikon 2009, 53f.

Sacrifical scene in the beneficiarius station, Obernburg
1
Römermuseum Obernburg, reconstruction of the Jupiter column
2
Relief of the goddess Minerva, Museum der Stadt Miltenberg
3
1 Sacrifical scene in the beneficiarius station, Obernburg © Archäologische Staatssammlung München, Zeichnung Christoph Haußner, München 2 Römermuseum Obernburg, reconstruction of the Jupiter column © Photo Eva Kuttner, Linz 3 Relief of the goddess Minerva, Museum der Stadt Miltenberg © Museum der Stadt Miltenberg

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