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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Faith)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Janus – god with two faces

Two faces do not have good associations with us today. Especially in Polish, “two-facedness” comes dangerously close to “two-facedness” – a very disliked human trait. The old Roman god with two faces even has a dark place in popular culture – one of the criminal organizations that fill the James Bond spy universe was called Janus (“Goldeneye” 1995). A certain Batman antagonist also refers to Janus.

Janus – god with two faces

Legend of Silvester

Certainly many of us celebrate the last day of the year, called New Year’s Eve. But how many people know exactly where this name actually comes from?

Constantine hands over imperial power to Sylvester

Victim or aggressor – Christianity in ancient Rome

In the popular consciousness, there are only two facts in the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity: first, the persecution of Christians (especially during the reign of Nero in the 1st century CE and Diocletian in the early 4th century), and then the adoption of Christianity by Constantine the Great, who made the whole the empire had converted to a new faith. The triumph of Christianity seems as sudden as it is obvious and historically just.

Tombstone of a certain Licinia Amias

Sulla’s divine guide

The Roman politician Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, also known as Sulla, lived from 138-78 BCE. In the history of Rome, he went down as one of the most controversial figures of the Roman Republic. As an efficient military and politician, he is known for the first Roman civil war and the adoption of the office of dictator (82 BCE) for life. He was cruel in getting rid of political opponents. A certain goddess of war, Bellona, ​​played a large role in Sulla’s enormous career.


Church wealth

After gaining a dominant role in the Roman world, the ecclesiastical hierarchy moved away from propagated poverty. Churches turned into expensive palaces and bishops into wealthy patricians. The contradiction between the teaching of Christ and the practice of life was striking.

Early Christian fresco depicting the Christogram

Fetials – Roman priests

Fetials (fetiales) were a twenty-member college of priests dedicated to Jupiter. Priests were elected for life. Their task was to declare war and conclude an alliance, which was associated with special magical formulas. Their activities were closely related to religious rites and surrounded by the highest secrecy.

Fetials - Roman priests

Bacchus and Christ

The first Christians, wanting to gain as many followers as possible and to hide from the persecution of the authorities, tried to find an equivalent for the person of Christ in a pagan culture. It turned out that the most similarities can be found in Bacchus, the god of wild nature, vine and wine, who appeared relatively late in Roman culture. Both gods were portrayed as young and feminine when they were young.


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