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Religion in ancient Rome combined several different cult practices and embraced more than a single set of beliefs. The Romans originally followed a rural animistic tradition, in which many spirits were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the cosmos and human activities, such as ploughing. The early Romans referred to these gods as numina. Another aspect of this animistic belief was ancestor, or genius, worship, with each family honouring their own dead by their own rites. Rome had a strong belief in gods. When they took over Greece, they kept the same gods but they gave them different names.

Based heavily in Greek and Etruscan mythology, Roman religion came to encompass and absorb hundreds of other religions, developing a rich and complex mythology. In addition, an Imperial cult supplemented the pantheon with Julius Caesar and some of the emperors.

Eventually, Christianity came to replace the older pantheon as the state religion of Rome, and the original Roman religion faded, though many aspects of its hierarchy remain ingrained in Christian ritual and in Western traditions.


Roman Priest (above) and (left) a

Reconstruction of a Roman Temple (Archaeon, Netherland)

Click for Article: The Dissemination of Egyptian Religion in the Roman Empire

The Forum, where temples nestle with commerce