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1. An adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity, especially when viewed in contrast to an adherent of a monotheistic religion. 2. A Neopagan. 3. Offensive a.

One who has no religion. b. An adherent of a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. 4. A hedonist. [Middle English, from Late Latin p-a-g-a-nus, from Latin, country-dweller, civilian, from p-a-gus, country, rural district; see pag- in Indo-European roots.] paganism 1.pagan spirit or attitude in religious or moral questions. 2.the beliefs or practices of pagans. 3.the state of being a pagan. Origin: 140050; late Middle English pgnysme < Late Latin pgnismus, equivalent to Latin pgn(us) pagan + -ismus -ism Related forms paganist, adjective, noun paganistic, adjective
The history of Paganism began in about 10,000 BC, during the Paleolithic Age. It was a time when primitive people were nomadic, and had to hunt for their food, having to follow the herds of animals to survive. This is where the belief of the God of the hunt first appeared. The men worshipped the sun, the stag horned God, and the language of the animals, as hunting was crucial to their survival. The women, who were the child bearers and the healers, where those who took care of the tribe, and were looked upon as having more power, as they were the givers of life. It was during this time, that the women discovered that their bodies were in tune with the lunar phases, and therefore they worshipped the moon, and the Goddess diety, and they were the ones who led the rituals. There were some men however, who stayed behind from the hunt, with the women, as they were old, or sick or injured. And the women, shared these lunar mysteries with these men, and this is how there became priests in the lunar cult. In around 8000-7500 BC, agriculture was discoved quite by accident, as the food the women stored in the ground began to grow. With this realization, that the people could plant and grow their own food, came the realization of the mystery of fertility. Up until this time, the diety had been the Goddess of the lunar cult, as the men did not understand their role in the cycle of life until this point. The discovery of agriculture proved that the men also had a part in creation. Prior to this, there had been a division between the men and the women for the most part, and after this discovery, they had to work together and they no longer needed follow the herds for food to

survive. This was when they became "paganized", the word pagan meaning "country dweller" Now the people were able to settle in one place and breed animals, and grow their own food. This was when the people began exploring and discovering the mysteries of life, death and rebirth. Time went on, and people migrated from many places to settle in Rome, and those who came from Greece, came with many of the same beliefs that the Romans had....and though they worshipped different Gods and Goddess's, they shared in many similarities. With the migration, there also came to Rome the nomadic Eutruscans from Asia Minor who were very well versed in the aspects of magic and divinations, and they brought this knowledge with them to Rome. Than came the people of the British Isles, who had also discovered agriculture around the same time as the Indo-Europeans, and these are what we know now to be the Celts. Also, from the islands, came the peoples known as the Mediranian Cult of the Dead. These people were very spiritual and knowledgable on the theories of death and reincarnation, and they came and spread out all over New Europe. They shared their secrets with the Celts, and these people became the Druids, and they were the ones who oversaw all of the rites of the pagan people. The Druids were predominately men, with very few women. From the time of 6500-4500, there were still remenents of the solar/lunar cults that dealt with animals, herbs and the mysteries who intertwined in the pagan communities, and these people were known as the "wice" and they developed the power and understanding of life and the earth, and these were the keepers of the mysteries. So during this time of all these different people traveling back and forth and sharing information, three major groups of people developed, which were the Druids who mostly held the mens mysteries of the Cult of the Dead, the Wice, who held the mystery teachings of the solar/lunar cults, which remained mostly matrifocal, and was made up of mostly woman, and who worshipped the Goddess, and the pagans, who werethe comman folk, who were balanced and polaric, and sought out the wisdom and the knowledge of the Druids and the Wice. Than, from 0 ACE-650ACE, the old testament was being written in the Middle East. After the death of Christ, the people from the Middle East spread out across the land, spreading the word of Christianity, and eventually came to Rome, and this is when the mass conversion began. They started the conversions first with the rulers, the kings and the Queens first by using money and bribery. this way, the country dwellers would have to convert, as they depended upon the the rulers for their survival. Pagan temples were destroyed, and Christian churches were built upon the pagan holy grounds. The pagans however, forced to build churches over their pagan temples, incorporated many of their symbols into the building of these churches, which you can still see today. During this time the first scriptures of the pagans emerged, and was held by two Celts. In 1100, the dark ages began, and no writing went on during this time, and it was like the "lights went out", and when they came back on, the pagan texts were gone, and the Christian conversion continued to spread, and the Holy Wars began. When the Christians decided that the new ways were not catching on fast enough with the pagans, the Christian

leaders began asserting that the pagans worshipped and consorted with "the devil" and the inquistion began. Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities who influenced every aspect of both the natural world and human affairs. The establishment of these cults was credited to Rome's divine ancestors, founders, and kings, and to conquered nations and allies. Their temples provided the most visible and sacred manifestations of Rome's history and institutions. Participation in traditional religious rituals was considered a practical and moral necessity in personal, domestic and public life. Romans could offer cult to any deity or any combination of deities, as long as it did not offend the mos maiorum, the "custom of the ancestors," that is, Roman tradition. Good relations between mortals and the divine were maintained by piety; this meant the correct offering of ritual and divine honours, especially in the form of sacrifice. In return, the gods were supposed to benefit their worshipers. Impieties such as religious negligence, superstition and self-indulgence could provoke divine wrath against the State. The priesthoods and cult maintenance of major deities, like the highest offices of state, were regarded as the traditional preserve of the patricians, the hereditary elite whose privileges were said to have been chartered by the founding father Romulus himself. Early in the history of the Republic, however, many priesthoods were opened to plebeians, along with political office. Some Romans, both patricians and noble plebeians, claimed divine ancestry to justify their position among the ruling class, most notably Julius Caesar, who asserted his descent from the goddess Venus. Cult to Roman household deities was served by the paterfamilias and his familia, a broader term than the English word "family" that included kin, slaves, and others under the protection of his household. Some deities were served by women, others by freedmen and slaves. Rome's mystery cults were open only to initiates who were bound not to reveal the rites; little is known of them. As Rome extended its influence and presence throughout the Mediterranean world, it encountered and absorbed deities and practices by seeking (and often finding) their equivalence to its own or acknowledging their role in local identity and tradition. Some were officially embraced, others tolerated and a few might be condemned as alien hysteria, magic or superstition. Attempts were made periodically to suppress religions that seemed to threaten traditional morality and unity; the Dionysian mysteries provoked unseemly exhibitions of enthusiasm and wild behaviour, Christianity was superstition, or atheism, or both; and druidism was thought to employ human sacrifice. Judaism was merely tolerated. Many of Rome's own cult practices were explained or justified by myths, while others remained obscure in origin and purpose. All provided sources for theological and philosophical speculation on the nature of the divine and its relationship with human affairs. Even the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero acknowledged the necessity of religion as a form of social order despite its obvious irrational elements. Religious law offered curbs to personal and factional ambition, and political and social changes must be justified in religious

terms. Religion played an essential part in the political rivalries and civil wars of the Late Republic; it was also central to their settlement. Julius Caesar's heir Augustus claimed his principate as a restoration of peace, tradition and religious rectitude. His institution of the Imperial cult showed pious respect for tradition, and fostered religious unity and mutual toleration among Rome's newly acquired provinces. Traditional religious practice remained the core of Rome's foundation, development and continued success. Religious novelty remained a source of fascination and mistrust. By late antiquity, numerous foreign cults had gained vast popularity in the farthest reaches of the Empire, including the mystery cult of the syncretized Egyptian goddess Isis, and deities of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, found as far north as Roman Britain. The era of Christian hegemony began with the conversion of Constantine I. In 391, Christianity became the state religion of Rome under Theodosius I, to the exclusion of all other cults. Beginning with the patristic writers of the 4th century, the diverse traditional religions practiced throughout the Empire were condemned collectively as "pagan",[1] and were gradually transformed, absorbed or suppressed. Despite the Christianization of empire, many forms of traditional religious practice, particularly festivals and games (ludi), which could be divorced from specific theological implications, retained their vitality through the 4th and 5th centuries. Rome's religious hierarchy and many aspects of ritual influenced Christian forms, and many pre-Christian beliefs and practices survived in Christian festivals and local traditions.

Q: After Christianity became the official religion of Ancient Rome, what happened to the Pagans? Did they convert into Christians? Were there persecutions of Pagan priests and priestesses? Did they kill any Pagan that refused to convert? Or did they peacefully let the Pagans convert on their own? A: It is generally accepted that when Christianity (or any other religion) became the official religion of Rome, all its citizens also "officially" converted. That does not mean that people did not continue to practice the "old" religions in private, in their homes. However, they would be punished if they were suspected of or caught doing so. After the fall of the Roman Empire, in the 4th or 5th century (there is some dispute about the actual date of the end of the Roman Empire), many former citizens (especially in rural areas) returned to practicing the old religions, publicly. Gradually, this would change as Christianity was spread by the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire, under Charlemagne, emerged as the foremost power in the western hemisphere.

Source(s): This is covered quite well in a book called "Barbarians to Angels". Great source, none of the information is on this document yet but it is only because the document is really long. good source, there is some information here that i never even guessed at. The original religion believed in spirits not gods as the greeks the romans adopted the greek gods later this explains that greek religion was the earliest form of paganism i think i will try to argue grrek vs. roman paganism or alternatively i will focus on the switch froim paganism to christianity roman pagan festival ancient equivalent to valentines day harvest festival huge sidebar just for filler content