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Thread: Greek religion vs Roman religion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Greek religion vs Roman religion

    For sometime now I've considered myself a 'pagan without a path', studying a variety of spiritualities that interest me and whatnot. Recently I've had a strong connection to the Greek pantheon for 2 reasons

    1) I am an avid history junkie to the 10th power...the Greeks have Clio the muse of HISTORY. As well as other muses that I feel connected with since I'm also a writer but Clio is the big one.

    2) I am a proud gun owner, amateur marksmen and firearms instructor. Apollo is the father of the muses, which relates to the above, but Apollo is also the god of archery/marksmanship in a non-military sense according to my research.

    That's the Greek side of the equation...

    I'm also a full blooded Sicilian and thought that I'd find a place in the Roman path through a bloodline connection (reasonable conclusion right?). Trouble is I can't find much information that SEPARATES the two paths, I get that they may have similarities but their must have been some KEY differences in their theology and understanding of the Gods. THAT'S what I'm hoping to find.

    If a Greek and a Roman met in the local marketplace and were discussing the Gods what would they debate about concerning them.

    Anyone got any leads.

  2. #2
    Sr. Member Claude's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Greco Roman Polytheist and Dionysus Devotee
    There is no cure for madness when the cure itself is mad-Euripides

    Re: Greek religion vs Roman religion

    Sicily was a Greek colony for ages, so the connection could go either way.

    They would debate
    -the emphasis of tutelary deities like the lares and penates
    -the toga Gabinus
    -the solidarity of religious formulas (the Romans had the mos maiorum and each polis had its own code)
    -the selection of priests and their role in rites
    -the concern the Gods actually have for individuals
    -the acceptance of foreign deities and under what terms should they be accepted
    -the anthropomorphism of the Gods
    -who deserves the first offering
    -the domain of each deity in respect to the state

    There are tons of things that the Romans and Greeks had in common but far more things that they differed on. The culture of the two civilizations and the unity (or lack thereof) are the two biggest influences on how they viewed and practiced their religion.

    Think about the Greek and Roman gods who represented the ideal man. In Rome the ideal man was like Mars (Ares). He was agrarian, simple, loyal, dutiful and willing to bring savagery on the field to all Rome's enemies. In Greece the ideal man was like Zeus (Iuppiter). He was fertile, wise and stereotypically masculine.

    It'd be an over simplification to assume that the Romans just blatantly copied off from the Greeks making them virtually the same. The fact of the matter is, the Romans had a very rich, very independent culture far before they came into contact with Hellenic society. King Numa Pompilius and his codes forbid many of the things that had long been a part of mainstream Greek religious thought. Things like statues of the Gods, blood sacrifices and elaborate offerings were banned in favor of a much more simple, personal form of worship.

  3. #3
    Sr. Member SleepingCompass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Solitary Witch

    Re: Greek religion vs Roman religion

    I had kind of a similar problem when I was first deciding to go Greek or Roman; I'm a quarter Italian (my dad says that our Italian blood comes from parts of Italy very near Rome) so I kind of wanted to go with the Roman Pantheon. But when I was first researching and learning about the Gods, almost all the information seemed to be Greek based. When I tried meditating and talking to the Gods, the Greek ones were the ones who seemed to keep popping up, so I kind of just went with the flow.

  4. #4
    Sr. Member Louisvillian's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Cultus Deorum Romanorum

    Re: Greek religion vs Roman religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude View Post
    In Greece the ideal man was like Zeus (Iuppiter). He was fertile, wise and stereotypically masculine.
    I thought the Greek ideal was based on Apollo? Moderation and austerity, knowing yourself, love of high arts, intellect, et al.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Anyway, more onto the thread topic: I'm kinda feeling a little bit of this. I have a great deal of fondness for Roman customs. In part because of how inclusive they were towards foreign cults--which my veneration of Celtic gods and goddesses right alongside the Classical ones would be seen as. And in part because of how much material we have on animistic elements in Roman religion, such as the household gods and ancestor spirits that seem sparse in Greek religion. Things that speak to me very strongly, because of the role Hellenism plays in my religious life as the everyday, household practice. And on a minor note, I just like the Roman religious calendar a lot more than the Attic one.

    But, on the other hand, I have a much stronger affinity for the mythology and gods of the Greeks than I do for the Romans'.

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