The Roman view of Reality, c. 200 Bc

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by foundationist.org, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. foundationist.org

    foundationist.org New Member

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    When reading the work on Roman history by Livy (Titus Livius) I made some notes...

    ...because it’s completely fascinating to observe how the Romans, circa 200 BC, viewed the world.

    The Roman view:

    The world exists in a form of harmony, but only when the gods are happy. Reality is fragile. When the gods are unhappy then the entire fabric or reality begins to fall apart. The gods make apparent to all when they are unhappy by the occurrence of supernatural events.

    In Livy, these events included:

    * Monstrous animals being born ie, two heads, or five legs, or no determinate sex

    * The fall of material from the sky, especially stones, even blood

    * Mute babies calling out portentious words (either before or after birth)

    * Statues issuing bodily fluids, namely sweat or blood – or even the statues themselves moving

    * Anomalies in the sky, such as clouds being on fire, daylight at night, or even two suns being present

    * People and buildings being struck by lightening

    * Strange boats traversing the sky and humanoid forms in white walking the lands

    * The heads of Javelins (made of iron) spontaneously bursting into flames

    * Wolves overcoming their fear of people, such as entering a city through the main gate, or even stealing a sword from a sentries’ scabbard.

    * Talking animals

    Most of the above events make repeated appearances in Livy - except the close encounters with aliens[??!] which I've only seen once so far

    I find it fascinating that books on Roman mythology have never given myself the impresison that the Romans felt their entire world and existence depended so much on portents and miraculous events to indicate the will of the gods, and how incredibly insecure they were before their concept of the divine – to the extent that when Hannibal invaded Italy by crossing the Alps with elephants, the Roman consuls had to break off their armies from engagements and campaigns and return to make propitious offerings when and where the people of Rome demanded it.

    Although later writers, such as Plutarch, was quite derisive of common superstition, the state recognised the pacification – and reharmonisation of existence – as a matter of supreme important.

    Just thought I’d post that.
     
  2. foundationist.org

    foundationist.org New Member

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  3. maya

    maya New Member

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    Yeah but really, a talking fish? What were these people smokin? :scatter:
     
  4. foundationist.org

    foundationist.org New Member

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    Guess that's traditionalism for you. ;)
     
  5. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    * Monstrous animals being born ie, two heads, or five legs, or no determinate sex

    Can't explain where they got that idea from, unless they developed genetic engineering and of course just general freak of nature which still happens today.

    * The fall of material from the sky, especially stones, even blood


    Comets and asteroids can explain this today.

    * Mute babies calling out portentious words (either before or after birth)


    Could happen

    * Statues issuing bodily fluids, namely sweat or blood – or even the statues themselves moving


    Has been happening ever since, Christians experience this.

    * Anomalies in the sky, such as clouds being on fire, daylight at night, or even two suns being present


    Ancient UFO's maybe? We say they are Aliens, they said it was angry Gods, maybe something else is a few thousand years.

    * People and buildings being struck by lightening


    Yep sill happens

    * Strange boats traversing the sky and humanoid forms in white walking the lands


    Ghosts? Still happens today..

    * The heads of Javelins (made of iron) spontaneously bursting into flames


    Spontaneous combustion still happens today.

    * Wolves overcoming their fear of people, such as entering a city through the main gate, or even stealing a sword from a sentries’ scabbard.


    Yep still happens

    * Talking animals


    Parrots
     
  6. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    wasn't the earth flat then too?

    oh yah, it still is.:eek:

    & so reality today will be viewed just as strange in, oh, say, 100 years. or maybe only 20 as knowledge increases to a speed that no one is able to keep up with it all any more.
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Postmaster, I had to edit those spyware links out - you really got to clean up that computer!
     
  8. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    Although the Romans had a close afinity with their gods, it did not stop them from ignoring them or disparaging them. Whilst they found it necessary to make sacrifices when Hannibal crossed into Italy, they were perfectly capable of ignoring them when the predictions if they did not meet their needs - see the attack on Carthage, where (which general? sorry, can't remember), the general threw the entrails of the sacrifice into the sea and said he could manage without the oracles.

    Does anyone know of any work on the relationship between the interest of the state/civil and Gods? What we see here is a mixing of religion, the conflict between the Greco-Roman-Christian and the Greco-Roman-Pagan.
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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