Roman emperor worship
The Roman Imperial Cult began with the first Caesar and continued until the final overthrow of paganism in the Empire. An exhaustive study of the Cult in all its ramifications would practically involve a survey of Roman history during the imperial epoch and would transcend all reasonable limits. A bald analytical review, merely, of the data which have passed under my own eye in the course of this investigation, would break bounds.
A rigid and somewhat painful process of elimination has, therefore, been exercised both in the use and presentation of the available data in this field. Particularly in the matter of the local origins and spread throughout the empire of the ruler-cult, I have been compelled to turn a deaf ear to many alluring suggestions. There are in this region many urgent problems awaiting solution, which I have not ventured even to broach.
They can be solved only by the examination and analysis of hundreds of additional inscriptions and historic references — an undertaking which waits upon occasion fit and appropriate opportunity for a more adequate and exhaustive presentation of the theme may at some future time offer itself. Meanwhile what is herein contained may be counted as vital prolegomena to a great and still largely unworked field of investigation.
"Ars longa, vita brevis est." The quite sufficient task, which I have actually set for myself, is two-fold. First, to exhibit the grounds upon which my conviction rests that the Roman system of imperial deification has a broader context in antiquity, and strikes its roots more deeply into the past than has often been realized even by those most conversant with the facts.
Second, to exhibit the fact and to unfold the significance of the fact, that the imperial cult, to a surprising extent, displaced and superseded, not only the hereditary and traditional gods of the Romans but also absorbed and subordinated the imported cults, both Greek and Oriental, which were superimposed upon the native worship, hastened the decay and overthrow of the entire syncretic aggregation and gradually gathered to itself the whole force of the empire, becoming, in the end, the one characteristic and universal expression of ancient paganism.
Some contents of the book:
I. THE RULER-CULT IN EARLY ANTIQUITY . 15
1. In Babylonia 15
2. In Persia 18
3. In China 20
4. In Japan 21
5. In Egypt 22
II. THE RULER-CULT IN THE MACEDONIAN- GREEK PERIOD 24
1. Alexander the Great 24
2. The Ptolemies 25
3. In Greece 31
4. Greek-Asiatic Dynasties 36
III. BEGINNINGS OF THE RULER-CULT AMONG THE ROMANS 37
1. The Universality of Deification in Paganism 37
2. Deification and Mythology 38
3. Deification Native to the Roman Genius. 42
IV. THE RULER-CULT AND JULIUS CESAR . . 53
1. Cesar and the Divi 53
2. The Divine Ancestry of Cesar .... 54
3. Divine Honors of Gssar During His Life-Time 56
4. Cesar As Divus. 58
5. The Julian Cult 60
6. The Worship of Roma 62
V. THE RULER-CULT IN THE REIGN OF AUGUSTUS 64
1. Life-Time Worship of the Emperors . . 64
2. The Worship of Augustus and the Augustan Cult 69
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