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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Religion of Numa, by Jesse Benedict CarterThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Religion of NumaAnd Other Essays on the Religion of Ancient RomeAuthor: Jesse Benedict CarterRelease Date: April 21, 2006 [EBook #18222]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE RELIGION OF NUMA ***Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Taavi Kalju andthe Online Distributed Proofreading Team athttp://www.pgdp.netTHERELIGION OF NUMAAND OTHER ESSAYS ONTHE RELIGION OF ANCIENT ROMEBYJESSE BENEDICT CARTERLondonMACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITEDNEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY1906 _All rights reserved_ TOK.F.C.
PREFACEThis little book tries to tell the story of the religious life of theRomans from the time when their history begins for us until the close ofthe reign of Augustus. Each of its five essays deals with a distinctperiod and is in a sense complete in itself; but the dramaticdevelopment inherent in the whole forbids their separation save as actsor chapters. In spite of modern interest in the study of religion, Romanreligion has been in general relegated to specialists in ancient historyand classics. This is not surprising for Roman religion is notprepossessing in appearance, but though it is at first sightincomparably less attractive than Greek religion, it is, if properlyunderstood, fully as interesting, nay, even more so. In Mr. W. WardeFowler's _Roman Festivals_ however the subject was presented in all itsattractiveness, and if the present book shall serve as a simpleintroduction to his larger work, its purpose will have been fulfilled.No one can write of Roman religion without being almost inestimablyindebted to Georg Wissowa whose _Religion und Cultus der Roemer_ is thebest systematic presentation of the subject. It was the author'sprivilege to be Wissowa's pupil, and much that is in this book isdirectly owing to him, and even the ideas that are new, if there are anygood ones, are only the bread which he cast upon the waters returning tohim after many days.The careful student of the history of the Romans cannot doubt thepsychological reality of their religion, no matter what his personalmetaphysics may be. It is the author's hope that these essays may have ahuman interest because he has tried to emphasise this reality and topresent the Romans as men of like passions to ourselves, in spite of alldifferences of time and race.Hearty thanks are due to Mr. W. Warde Fowler and to Mr. Albert W. VanBuren for their great kindness in reading the proofs; and the dedicationof the book is at best a poor return for the help which my wife hasgiven me.J.B.C.ROME, _November, 1905_.CONTENTSPAGETHE RELIGION OF NUMA 1THE REORGANISATION OF SERVIUS 27THE COMING OF THE SIBYL 62THE DECLINE OF FAITH 104
THE AUGUSTAN RENAISSANCE 146THE RELIGION OF NUMARome forms no exception to the general rule that nations, likeindividuals, grow by contact with the outside world. In the middle ofthe five centuries of her republic came the Punic wars and the intimateassociation with Greece which made the last half of her history as arepublic so different from the first half; and in the kingdom, whichpreceded the republic, there was a similar coming of foreign influence,which made the later kingdom with its semi-historical names of theTarquins and Servius Tullius so different from the earlier kingdom withits altogether legendary Romulus, Numa, Tullus Hostilius and AncusMartius. We have thus four distinct phases in the history of Romansociety, and a corresponding phase of religion in each period; and if weadd to this that new social structure which came into being by thereforms of Augustus at the beginning of the empire, together with thereligious changes which accompanied it, we shall have the five periodswhich these five essays try to describe: the period before theTarquins, that is the "Religion of Numa"; the later kingdom, that is the"Reorganisation of Servius"; the first three centuries of the republic,that is the "Coming of the Sibyl"; the closing centuries of therepublic, that is the "Decline of Faith"; and finally the early empireand the "Augustan Renaissance." Like all attempts to cut history intosections these divisions are more or less arbitrary, but theirconvenience sufficiently justifies their creation. They must be thoughtof however not as representing independent blocks, arbitrarily arrangedin a certain consecutive order, not as five successive religiousconsciousnesses, but merely as marking the entrance of certain new ideasinto the continuous religious consciousness of the Roman people. Thehistory of each of these periods is simply the record of the changewhich new social conditions produced in that great barometer of society,the religious consciousness of the community. It is in the period of theold kingdom that our story begins.At first sight it may seem a foolish thing to try to draw a picture ofthe religious condition of a time about the political history of whichwe know so little, and it is only right therefore that we should inquirewhat sources of knowledge we possess.There was a time, not so very long ago, when under the banner of thenew-born science of "Comparative Philology" there gathered together agroup of men who thought they held the key to prehistoric history, andthat words themselves would tell the story where ancient monuments andliterature were silent. It was a great and beautiful thought, and thescience which encouraged it has taken its place as a useful andreputable member of the community of sciences, but its pretensions tothe throne of the revealer of mysteries have been withdrawn by those whoare its most ardent followers, and the "Indo-Germanic religion" which isbrought into being is a pleasant thought for an idle hour rather than afoundation and starting-point for the study of ancient religion ingeneral. Altogether aside from the fact that although primitive religionand nationality are in the main identical, language and nationality areby no means so--we have the great practical difficulty in the case ofGreece and Rome that in the earliest period of which we have knowledgethese two religions bear so little resemblance that we must either

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