in the time of jesus of nazarene, did the romans believe in the gods jupiter, neptune, venus?

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  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Certainly...at least, the legitimate, State-sponsored pantheon included these primary deities- recipients of prayer and sacrifice, often for particular purposes, and gods associated with important calendar festivals and observances. For Romans during the Early Empire though, daily personal devotions oft-times emphasized "lesser" deities- especially the small gods of the hearth and home, who required frequent propitiation for bestowing good fortune upon the faithful. A sort of ancestor worship, too, was prevalent, particularly among the Roman aristocracy.

    Subordinate "cults" and so-called "mystery" religions, often of Asiatic origin, enjoyed particular popularity during the First Century CE. The Egyptian goddess Isis had many adherents, while the worship of Mithras, an ancient, pseudo-messianic deity of probable Mesopotamian origin (with many parallels to the Christian messiah) was especially popular among the soldiers of the Empire. While official acknowledgement of the State gods (to include recognition of the Emperor's deity) was a duty of any Roman citizen, it can be said that the religious culture of the Empire was fairly egalitarian, and relatively tolerant...at least during the reign of Tiberius- when the Nazarene was ostensibly executed. The vastness of Rome at this time meant that the cultural (and religious) influences of other peoples was quite inevitable. Rome's remarkable ability to assimilate various aspects of foreign cultures was one important reason for her success...to include the capability of bringing conquered nations under Roman dominion, and keeping them there. it is often noted that the superior deities like Jupiter/Zeus or Venus/Aphrodite were themselves assimilated, with minor modification, from conquered nations around the Adriatic and Mediterranean, although analogues of these archetypal deities were probably important in pre-Roman (Etruscan) society as well.

    How literally the average Roman believed in these gods is perhaps a matter for some debate, but there is little doubt that religious superstition and augury played an important role in Rome at all social levels, and that religious power and authority were inextricably entwined with the civic and political powers.

    Source(s): Tacitus is always a fair contemporary source for such stuff.
  • 9 years ago

    Actually, by the time of the Jesus, many Romans only paid 'lip service' to the gods. Much like many Christians do these days. They went on the holy days, paid their offerings, did all the expected things, but really didn't believe that the gods were 'real'.

    Does this sound at all familiar to anyone? Our civilization today is much like the Roman Empire just before it's great descent into darkness. I fear history is about to repeat itself...

  • 9 years ago

    The traditional religion of Rome was the state religion well into the third century of the common era, when it was replaced by Constantine by Christianity.

    A typical Roman citizen probably paid much more attention to the household gods than to the state gods, but all were generally acknowledged after some fashion.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Many peoples in the Old Testament times believed in gods of all kinds - gods of the shy, water, rocks, sand, animals, etc, etc...................they were quite mixed up

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