Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Roman Emperor Worship

Louis Matthews Sweet - Roman Emperor Worship (1919)

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From our modern view there are some odd things about the Romans but their view of emperors as divine may be the most prominent.  Far from simple worship this is a widely debated topic - was it propaganda, tied to existing beliefs, a further fall from Republican values, was it even worship in the sense we mean today?  After all Suetonius indicates which of his subjects are deified then provides accounts that don't seem too deity-worthy.  This book is a look at the history of deification.  As you might expect from an adapted dissertation of this period the Latin isn't translated but it may not matter much since it's quite readable, even when the author goes on a small rant against polytheism.