The Roman Empire is known as a vast Empire spreading from north-western Europe to the Near East. In this multicultural and multiethnic history, numerous religions could be found, which is why it is hard to use a singular form of the word “religion” because it unites a variety of small cultures and their beliefs. However, the religion of the Romans played a significant role in their social life, arts, and philosophy.
The perception of religion in the Roman Empire was the correct performance of the rituals, the right attitude to gods as well as showing correct social relations. The special importance of correctness in this religion refers to such terms as “religio” and “pietas” which, according to Bondoili, “express how action and ritual observation were more important than faith or belief when celebrating the gods and their power” (50). The balance that roman citizens needed to hold between the devotion to the rituals and well-being of the community formed the main characteristics of the roman citizen from ancient times.
The religion of Romans has had a big impact on art and literature. The mythology as a part of romans’ believes was closely connected with artistic production. Visual traditions representing gods such as sculptures and paintings, knowledge about events, places, myths, and stories shared through generations all together represent the everyday life of Romans.
However, Romans also had a very open religion with limited restrictions. This allowed the Roman citizens to make use of foreign thoughts and ideas in their daily lives. Having philosophical search of the nature of things, of divinity and divine powers, Romans were attached to different schools of thought. Contradictory to the many religions at the time, none of the views were banished or forbidden. This helped to develop such philosophical directions as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Neoplatonism, Academics, etc. (Bondoili 53).
To summarize, the religion of the Roman Empire played an essential role in the mortal world of its citizens. It contributed to developing correctness with rituals and social skills. It also had a positive impact on the development of the arts and philosophical views of the Romans. Religion reflects the Roman society in progressivism, which contributed to forming the Great Empire and the foundation of the western world today.
Bondoili, Nelson de Paiva. “Roman Religion in the Time of Augustus”. Numen, vol. 64, no.1, 2017, pp.49-63.