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On Roman ReligionLived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome$
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Jörg Rüpke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704703

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704703.001.0001

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Individual Decision and Social Order

Individual Decision and Social Order

Chapter:
(p.26) 2 Individual Decision and Social Order
Source:
On Roman Religion
Author(s):

Jörg Rüpke

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501704703.003.0003

This chapter looks at examples of individual interpretations of traditional priestly roles from the third until the first century BC. There was innovative behavior not only on the part of the plebeian Pontifices Maximi; among the patricians, there were also individuals who interpret a priestly role not in the traditional way but as a specifically religious role. Both case types demonstrate highly individual behavior. It seems that the actors intended to problematize the relationship between their priestly and political offices or to privilege a specific religious obligation over a political role. In each case, they did this by asserting the obligation of perfect religious performance. Basic, however, to these individual attempts to further develop given roles was a shared conviction: the religious framework of the Roman polity was to be provided by its patrician members in particular.

Keywords:   traditional priestly roles, Pontifices Maximi, patricians, religious role, individual behavior, political role, religious performance, Roman polity

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