The story

Rome (continued)


Science and technology

The development that the Romans achieved in the sciences was quite limited and was strongly influenced by the Greeks. Medicine only became scientific in nature after the first Greek doctors settled in Rome; The mathematics and geometry that the Romans knew did not make significant progress either.

In astronomy, the notions reached by the Romans also did not surpass those inherited from Greece. They knew of the existence of five planets and had not very precise ideas about the movement of the moon around the earth. His astronomical knowledge allowed Caesar's time (in 46 BC) to draw up a new calendar - the Julian calendar - which survived until the late 16th century (1582), and was replaced by the Gregorian calendar due to Pope Gregory XIII. This calendar, which is not unlike the Julian, was adopted because astronomers discovered some inaccuracies in the ancient Roman calendar.

Time measurement for the Romans presented difficulties that could only be overcome centuries later. The days were divided into 24 hours (12 day, 12 night). Existing clocks showed the time by shifting the shadow relative to the position of the sun during the day.

The Romans numbered the hours counting from sunrise. Thus the light of day dawned in the first hour; the sixth hour was noon; the ninth hour was mid-afternoon, and so on.

The days of the months were divided into fast and nefarious. Fast days were considered entirely favorable; ominous, negative days for some activities such as trading (for example, trading could not work in those days).

The early days of the month were called calendars; days 5 and 7 were called ninths; and the 13th and 15th were named after dos. The months of March, May, and half of June were considered bad luck.

Geography among the Romans was entirely based on the learned teachings of the Greeks, and cartography was limited to knowledge and the making of itineraries; rudimentary maps that indicated only the paths linking different places of the empire.

In history, the Romans were limited to the narration of events that occurred at certain times. Historians also sought to highlight a moral sense extracted from the episodes studied. Roman historians included Livy, Tacitus, and Suetonius.

It was in the science of law that the genius of the ancient Romans was revealed. In 450 BC, the Law of the Twelve Tablets was enacted, the first written code of laws drawn up in Rome. For almost a millennium, from that date, Roman law underwent continuous evolution, whose heyday was marked by the drafting of the Justinian Code in 535 AD, when the Western Empire had already been invaded by the barbarians.

Roman religion

In family worship a very common practice was the existence of domestic shrines, where the protective gods of the home and family were worshiped. The protective gods of the family were the Homes.

Goods and food were under the protection of special deities, the Panates or Penates. These gods were worshiped by the head of the family by the fireplace, where the fire always remained lit. At mealtimes, the Romans scattered food crumbs and drops of milk and wine by the fire as offerings to the deities. With that, they believed they could get the protection of the gods. At family celebrations the gods were offered the sacrifice of an animal (ox, ram or pig), which was then divided among all the people in the family.

In addition to the family gods, there were those who were worshiped by the inhabitants of the city. The public service was organized by the Senate. With him the faithful hoped to obtain from the gods good harvests or victories in wars.

Roman religious rituals were controlled by Roman rulers. The worship of a religion other than that of the empire was forbidden and condemned. Christians, for example, were persecuted and murdered in various provinces of the Roman empire.

The twelve chief gods of Rome corresponded to the chief Greek gods. The following table shows the correspondence:


Jupiter: God of the Gods of the Roman Religion

The Roman gods were the same as in Greece, but under other names.

Roman name

Greek name

Assignments

Jupiter

Zeus

Father of the gods; God of heaven.

Juno

Ivy

Mother of the gods; protector of mothers and wives.

Mars

Ares

God of War.

Venus

Aphrodite

Goddess of love.

Ceres

Demeter

Goddess of vegetation, crops, fertility of the earth.

Diana

Artemis

Goddess of the hunt.

Apollo

Apollo

God of light; protector of the arts.

Mercury

Hermes

Messenger of the gods; god of the roads; protector of merchants, travelers and thieves.

Vulcan

Hephaestus

God of fire; protector of blacksmiths and potters.

Vesta

Hestia

Goddess of domestic fire; protector of family and cities.

Minerva

Athena

Wisdom goddess

Neptune

Poseidon

God of the seas.

During the republican and imperial period, the Romans followed the polytheistic religion (belief in various gods), very similar to the religion practiced in ancient Greece. This religion was absorbed by the Romans, thanks to cultural contacts and achievements in the Balkan peninsula.

However, the Roman religion was not, as many claim, a copy of the Greek religion. The Romans incorporated Etruscan and other religious elements from the Italian peninsula.

Many emperors, for example, demanded personal worship as gods. This practice began from the government of Emperor Julius Caesar (annex).

Unlike Greek belief, the Roman gods did not act as mortals, that is, they did not have as Greek men and gods, virtues and defects. That is why there are no reports of their activities, as in Greek mythology.

In the early Middle Ages, with its significant growth, Christianity absorbed all beliefs and other practices related to the religion developed by the Romans and became considered the official religion of the Roman Empire, so the practice of polytheism was gradually abandoned. .

Christianity

In the Imperial period a new religion emerged in Rome: Christianity. Monotheistic, this religion preached eternal salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the reward of living in paradise after death. His god was one - God - and Jesus Christ, his son, was the messiah who had been sent to earth to spread his teachings.