The cult of Mercury in Roman Gaul and Roman Britain

According to Julius Caesar, of all the gods Celts revered Mercury the most, regarding him as the inventor of all arts. The cult of Mercury became widespread not only in Roman Gaul, which was one of the most thoroughly Romanised provinces of the Empire, but also in Roman Britain — the farthest western area governed by the Roman Empire. In both provinces Mercury was worshipped as the patron of commerce, which befitted him as the Roman god of trade and profit. At the same time, in both Gaul and Britain Mercury was syncretized with the Celtic horned god of fertility. Archaeological findings from these regions also suggest that the Mercury worshipped in Britain and Gaul during the Roman rule was also the guardian of military affairs — a role absolutely untypical of the original Roman god, but necessary for the supreme god of Celts who was the divine warrior-patron of Celtic tribes. Besides, the magical-chthonic aspect of Celtic Mercury likened him to Hermes, the god of eschatological and mystical endeavour of humankind in the religion of the Ancient Mediterranean.

Cicero on the gods and Roman religious practices

The article analyses Cicero’s attitude to gods, religion, divination, and superstition. Cicero follows tradition in acknowledging the existence of the gods, considering them immortal, blissful, animate, and anthropomorphic. He is ambivalent about the interaction between the gods and people. Cicero considers religion important for the Roman people because this was the popular belief — it was not his own viewpoint. Cicero thinks that people obtain divination from the gods. According to Cicero, there are two types of divination: artificial (auspices, haruspices, divination by lightning, stars, and other signs of nature) and natural (predictions in a dream, in a state of ecstasy, before death). In relation to divination, we see how multi-dimensional Cicero’s beliefs were: as a philosopher, he can accept or deny divination; as a Roman politician, he regards divination as an important instrument of the Roman religious rituals. Cicero opposes superstition to religion in his theological works, but in his secular works, he uses superstition and religion as synonyms.

Population dynamics at the spas of Roman Dacia. Case study: the population of Băile Herculane

The present study analyses the importance of the Băile Herculane spa resort, based on epigraphic discoveries and cartographic sources. Social mobility, along with the presence of urban elites from various towns, passing through, can shed some light on the renown enjoyed by the Băile Herculane hot springs during the Roman and Late Roman periods. The authors also attempt to research the local religious life, as well as the layout of the settlement’s sacred enclosures, an endeavour never before attempted. The results of such an analysis, in comparison with other spa resorts in Dacia, enables the possibility to understand how the town and its public edifices, dominant during the Roman period, developed, as well as the urban layout of Băile Herculane.

Women and « oriental » cults in Roman Dacia

Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica 18(1): 245-279 Juan Ramón Carbó García, Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, ABSTRACT An analysis of female religious preferences in the context of the cults of eastern origin is performed on these pages because of the need for specific studies on cults preferred by each social group in the provincial life of Roman Dacia. It should be a contribution to the objective of achieving a better perspective and understanding of the followers of each cult and the general structure of the religious life in the Dacian provinces. Autorul prezintă o analiză a preferinţelor religioase ale femeilor din Dacia romană în contextul cultelor de origine orientală. Articolul se poate dovedi util în perspectiva unei mai bune înţelegeri a practicanţilor fiecărui cult în parte şi a structurii generale a vieţii religioase din provinciile dacice.   KEYWORDS women, Dacia, society, religion, oriental cults, Cybele, Isis, Azizos, Deus Aeternus FULL(…)