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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.

Lemures – spirits of the dead Romans

Romans paid great role to the form of giving the final service to the deceased. It was believed that the spirits of the dead (lemures) were divided into good – lares (good people in life) and evil – larvae (people bad in life); often the harmful ones were simply identified with lemures.

Roman mosaic showing the skull

Cult of Mithra was popular among legionaries

The cult god Mithra was extremely popular among soldiers. This deity was to kill a bull whose blood became the foundation of the universe. At the end of the 2nd century and in the 3rd century CE his follower was Emperor Commodus (180–192 CE). As Sol Invictus (“Invincible Sun”), Mitra was worshiped primarily from the times of Aurelian by Roman emperors, among whom was also young Constantine I (306‒337 CE). With the flourishing of this last religion in the lands of the Roman Empire, Mithraism slowly disappeared to finally fall into total oblivion.

Mithra killing the bull

Asclepius – enemy of Christianity

Asclepius (Roman Aesculapius), who was the patron of doctors, was admitted to the pantheon of Roman deities in the 3rd century BCE. However, it was not until the second century CE he became an important god for the Romans, who was not only a healer of the body, but also a savior of souls. A morally correct attitude guaranteed his followers the initiation into a posthumous life. But where does the hatred of Christians to Asclepius come from?

Roman mosaic from the 2nd-3rd century CE showing Asclepius

Bacchanalia – the first persecutions?

Dionysus’s cult already been known in the second millenium BCE in the Minoan civilization. He was a god of opposites – kind and gentle, but also savage and cruel. He was broader known in the Romans as Bacchus. In 186 BCE was, connected with him, certain act, which remains unclear until today…


Romans and god Asclepius

Romans going to the temple of Asclepius (god of medicine and healing) sacrificed objects in the shape of a part of the body that was sick and needed healing. Those were votive offerings of healed parts of the body (eg. hands, legs).

Aesculapius with intertwined serpents

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