By Franz Altheim

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This imperial presence existed even when the emperor was not physically present, as in the case of his statue or image. ) deification after his death, the apotheosis, a ceremony going back to the late republic, and presented in art and literature. The artistic depiction shows the emperor or in some cases a nobleman as he lived, then a panel or scene showing his cremation with eagles being released to take the spirit to the gods, and a final depiction of the new god in heaven. This ceremony joined religion, art, and the populace together to produce a religious basis for their rule.

He denounced all killings, including capital punishment and war, asserting that wars, including those on behalf of one’s own country, violated God’s law. A) and Augustine, wrote at the end of the fourth century, after Christianity’s legalization and triumph. Both wrote against Christian heresies and discussed how individuals ought to live. Jerome immersed himself in literature and his works indicate his training in the classics. Knowing Hebrew and Greek, he based his Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, on Hebrew rather than on Greek.

These monumental achievements attest that Roman culture maintained its vitality, which continued in the new capital in Constantinople for the next millennium, possessing the same types of structures found in the city of Rome, but using the Christian motif. Finally, religion was represented artistically. The worship of Isis, Serapis, and, above all, Mithras became more and more important. The worship of Mithras is perhaps the most interesting since the sculpture and relief work of Mithras killing the bull is not a cult statue, unlike those of Isis or Serapis.

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A History of Roman Religion by Franz Altheim


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