Religion: Ancient Roman Temple Worship and Holy Places

Ancient Roman Temple Worship and Holy Places

Ancient Roman temples were not used to hold worshipers or religious gatherings. The inside of these Ancient Roman temples were used to house statues and religious relics of a particular god. The inside of these temples were kept sacred and pure, and worship was held outside of the temples rather than inside like today’s churches. Cults practiced their holy rituals to the pagan gods, sacrifices occurred, and offerings were made outside the temples and religious sites. Temples held statues of deities and treasures the priests used to aid in their worship and rituals to the gods. Since Rome placed a huge importance on their places of worship, only priests could worship and conduct holy rituals at these religious places. Like much of the ancient world, religious worship was mainly done by priests and cults dedicated to a particular god or deity. If Ancient Roman commoners wanted to worship their gods they could either keep personal shrines within their home or stop at a street side shrine. Some commoners were also dedicated to a local shrine not too far from their home.

Ancient Roman Worship, Sacrifice, and Rituals

Roman worship was quite simple. Most of the time, the Ancient Romans asked their desired god for a service through some kind of prayer, ritual, or sacrifice. This was usually done on a votum.

The votum (“vow”) is another form of a prayer; it is a deal or offer a person makes with a deity in exchange for a celestial favor. The human offering could be anything from building a shrine or temple to that god, a sacrifice, money, or other gifts. Once the votum was written on a docket, it was stored at the religious site. If the devotee believed the celestial favor was done, the sacrifice or contribution was given to the god. Many of Ancient Rome’s temples and shrines were covered with gifts. Because there were so many gifts, they ended up buried near these religious sites.

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