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The Dynamics Of Rituals In The Roman Empire

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Chapter Summary

A few characteristic cases, taken primarily from the Roman East, serve to exemplify some aspects of the dynamics of rituals in the Roman Empire: agency, transfer, emulation, and competition. This chapter discusses instances of ritual dynamics that were caused by the existence of the Roman Empire. After Actium, the most important new factor in the Roman Empire was the emperor. The existence of the emperor had consequences both for social and political rituals and for the practice of religion in Rome. The chapter mentions the efforts of the first princeps to reinforce traditional religion, including traditional rituals, and the way in which the establishment of the principate affected the celebration of the triumph and the organisation of spectacles by the Roman elite. The establishment of the principate introduced new ritualised forms of communication between subjects and emperor, including the celebration of the adventus of the emperor in a city.

Keywords: ritual dynamics; Roman Empire; traditional religion



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