In my thesis I study the origin and historical development at Rome of the cults of Virtues, namely divinities such as Fortuna, Ops, Salus, Victoria, Concordia, etc. Because of the close connection between these cults and the related concepts, I show that the study of these cults is an extremely important tool for investigating and understanding the process of identity-construction in Rome. An important part of my thesis is the study of modern scholarship. I carefully reviewed all the relevant scholarship starting from the 19th century, showing how the way the cults of virtues were explained and represented was heavily influenced by great Enlightenment myths and, in particular, by an evolutionist view of ancient religion. Even when evolutionism was seriously questioned by anthropologists, an evolutionist framework continued to be used for decades by specialists of Roman religion. If we look at Greek and Latin texts, we find out that the cult of virtues was explained as a purely religious phenomenon, whereas personifications existed as a rhetorical and literary technique, which consisted in creating fictional characters to move the audience of a performance. I argue that, without a specific reference to a cult, most literary evidence is useless to draw any reliable information about the cults of Virtues. In the analysis of ancient evidence I focus on three periods, choosing four case studies. The first is the archaic period (6th century BC): I demonstrate that Fortuna and Ops were not agrarian divinities and that their cult played an important role in establishing the political identity of the community. The second is 350–260 BC: I show that the introduction of the cults of Salus and Victoria was part of the process by which the emergent patrician-plebeian nobility attempted to legitimise its own rule. This pattern continues in the final period covered by this research, that of the Punic Wars, in which the cults of Salus and Victoria continue their development. The main conclusions of my thesis are as follows: 1) the cults of Virtues are a characteristic of Roman religion since the beginning of the historical evidence. Therefore, they cannot be used to formulate any evolutionistic or Hellenocentric argument on the history of Roman religion; 2) the (mostly epigraphic) Italian evidence shows that the cults were spread over a huge area already from the Mid-Republican period, both under Roman influence and independently. This suggests that processes of identity-construction built around the cults of Virtues occurred in other Italian cities and communities; 3) from 4th century BC Roman politicians founding temples dedicated to Virtues tried to establish a personal connection with that virtue. These connections, and the ways they are contested by others, are usually implicit rather than explicit. I believe that this depends on the competitiveness of Roman politics; 3) the foundation of the temples of Salus and Victoria do not favour the creation of exemplary stories centred around the founders, and this happens only for characters related to the far past, e.g. Servius Tullius and Fortuna.
The cult of Virtues in Archaic and Mid-Republican Rome / Miano, Daniele. - (2013 Nov 18).
|Titolo:||The cult of Virtues in Archaic and Mid-Republican Rome|
|Relatore/i esterno/i:||Cornell, Tim|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013-11-18|
|Corso PhD:||Storia antica|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||L-ANT/03 STORIA ROMANA|
|Parole chiave (inglese):||Ancient history|
Ancient Rome. Cults of Virtues
Ancient Rome. Histyory. Archaic period
Ancient Rome. Histyory. Mid-republican period
|Editore:||Scuola Normale Superiore|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||9.1 Tesi di Dottorato|