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Roman Religion$
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Clifford Ando

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615650

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615650.001.0001

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A Complex of Times: No More Sheep on Romulus’ Birthday

A Complex of Times: No More Sheep on Romulus’ Birthday

(p.273) 12 A Complex of Times: No More Sheep on Romulus’ Birthday
Roman Religion

Mary Beard


This chapter argues that one of the functions of Rome's calendar of rites – the sequence of religious festivals as they occurred throughout the year – was to define and delineate Roman power, Roman history and Roman identity; and that it did this by evoking events from different chronological periods of the Roman past and arranging them in a meaningful sequence of time; but not a sequence defined by linear, narrative, history. The chapter concerns itself principally with the practice of Roman ritual during the late Republic and early Empire; and its argument depends on taking seriously the discussions of the various festivals preserved in the writings of contemporary Romans and Greeks – men who practised or observed the rituals. All the chosen texts refer to the festival of the Parilia, which took place each year on the twenty-first of April.

Keywords:   Rome, calendar, rites, religious festivals, ritual, power, Roman identity, history, Greeks, Parilia

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