Ancient Rome is both the city and the state it founded in Antiquity. This grouping of villages in the 8th century BC. BC managed to dominate the entire Mediterranean world and Western Europe from the 1st to the 5th century through military conquest and the assimilation of local elites. Its domination left important archaeological traces and numerous literary testimonies. It still shapes the image of Western civilization today. During these centuries, Roman civilization went from royalty to an oligarchic republic then to an autocratic empire.

The religion or religions of the Romans is the set of religious practices and beliefs that the Romans considered to be properly Roman (we can then speak of Roman religion), as well as the numerous cults imported or practiced by the populations forming part of the Empire. Roman. In Latin, the word religio does not mean religion but rather ritual obligation and is often used in the plural. This nuance must be kept in mind to avoid terminological confusion.

The Romans considered themselves deeply religious, and they attributed the success of their empire to their collective pietas (pietas) which allowed them to maintain good relations with the gods. According to the legendary history of Rome's early centuries, most religious institutions and rites date back to the early founders, particularly Numa Pompilius, the second king. Little by little, Roman law separated itself from religion.

ancient rome festivals

Festivals and Rites of Ancient Rome

Holidays of the month

  • March 1, 2024 (2 events)

    March 1, 2024

    Feriae Marti

    On this day, the Romans celebrated Feriae Marti. The month of Mars (in honor of the god) was dedicated to the army and the beginning of military campaigns. Numerous animal sacrifices and the process of the Saliens made it possible to bless the army. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #1March #March #Rome #FeriaeMarti

    March 1, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated Matronalia. This Mother's Day also covered the birth of Rome and Spring. On this day of March, the god participated in a work of peace to recall the reconciliation between the Sabines and the Romans. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #1March #rome #matronalia

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  • March 14, 2024 (1 event)

    March 14, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated Equirria in honor of the primordial god Mars. Horse or chariot races were organized to appease the god. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #rome #March #February 27 #March 14

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  • March 15, 2024 (1 event)

    March 15, 2024

    Ides of March

    On this day, the Romans celebrated the Ides of March. This day is special because it is the deadline for debt repayment, and especially the day of the assassination of Julius Caesar which marked a turning point in the Roman Empire. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #March 15 #Julius Caesar #March

  • March 16, 2024 (2 events)

    March 16, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated the Argei (or Argea). This cult dates back to the beginning of Rome with two ceremonies two months apart. The first ceremony consisted of a procession during which mannequins, called Argées, were placed in sanctuaries. The second consisted of a procession during which the mannequins were removed from the sanctuaries and then thrown into the Tiber from the top of the sacred bridge, the Sublicius Bridge. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #March 16 #May 15 #rome #argei #tibre

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    March 16, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated Bacchanalia in honor of Bacchus/Dionysus. The priestesses who organized these ceremonies were called Bacchantes and this name was later associated with Roman orgies. The primitive celebrations were exclusively feminine and originated from the original cult of the god Pan. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #Rome #Bacchanalia #16March

  • March 17, 2024 (1 event)

    March 17, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrate Agonium. Rites of early Rome, there are few sources describing the customs. Four Agonalia take place during a year. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #9January #21May #17March #11December #agonalia #rome

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  • March 19, 2024 (1 event)

    March 19, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated the Quinquatries in honor of Minerva. On the first day, the scholars gave thanks to the goddess. Then the warriors gave thanks for three days. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar 1TP5QMarch 19 #rome #quinquatries

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  • March 23, 2024 (1 event)

    March 23, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrate the Tubilustium. The month of March marked the beginning of the war season. The lustration ceremony accompanied by the sacred trumpets and the Saliens prepared the men and the city for future military campaigns. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #March 23 #May 23 #rome #tubilustrium

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  • March 24, 2024 (1 event)

    March 24, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated Sanguinaria. After two days of mourning for the annual death of the god Attis, Blood Day arrived. On that day, the galli, priests of the goddess Cybele, performed a ritual of self-flagellation by whipping themselves until they bled. Some are also said to have castrated themselves. The Day of Blood was followed by a Day of Joy and Relaxation to celebrate the resurrection of Attis (the third day). #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #Sanguinaria #attis #rome

  • March 25, 2024 (1 event)

    March 25, 2024


    On this day, the Romans celebrated Hilaria in honor of Cybele (continuation of Sanguinaria). These days were devoted to general rejoicing and public sacrifice, and no one was allowed to show the slightest symptom of grief or sorrow. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #25March #hilaria #cybele #rome

Cultural areas of ancient Rome

The main essential characteristic of Roman religious practices is orthopraxy, a cult based on the proper execution of rites and not on faith or belief in a dogma.

The Romans nevertheless had beliefs, starting with the effectiveness of their rites addressed to numerous divine powers, that is to say superhuman, the deities. These deities have fields of action which can be linked to a place or a function.

They can have a “topical power” (linked to a place) like Capitoline Jupiter (from the Capitoline Hill) or Olympian Zeus (Olympia in Greece). But they can also have a so-called “functional” specialty, like Mars who is the “god of War” (military combat as well as for harvests against insects).

The Roman religion is distinguished from other Indo-European religions by the almost total absence of religious myths featuring their gods. As a result, the Roman gods present a strange face in many respects: on the one hand attention is focused on their power of action (numen) and their intervention in history, because they do not have "over -history » metaphysics; on the other, as a consequence, they are only pale, poorly personalized figures. They are first of all powers. And the Romans, lacking their own myths, will then adopt Greek myths.

The founding myth is that of Romulus and Remus, two brothers abandoned on the banks of the Tiber and miraculously nursed by a she-wolf. Romulus, armed with the extraordinary omen of the gods constituted by twelve vultures, traced the contours of the city on the Palatine and killed his brother after the latter had crossed the furrow with a mocking air. So Rome became for the Romans not only a living space but also consecrated ground.

According to Livy, it was after the reign of Romulus that Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, established official religious practices. After the death of Romulus, he transferred part of the religious power of the king, then at the same time warrior, legislator and priest, to priestly colleges, selected from the Fathers, characters constituting the nobility chosen by Romulus. He founded the temple of Janus, extended the colleges of the Flamins, to Mars and to Quirinus, and created the order of the Salians. He appointed a high pontiff, religious leader responsible for the proper execution of the rites.