The Ancient Romans were very successful because they allowed the people of the lands they had conquered to worship as they wished. In addition, the Ancient Romans would adopt some aspect of these foreign religions into their own Roman belief system. What the Ancient Romans did not like was religion or beliefs that created disorder, or those that were out of line with the Ancient Roman’s way of life. Teachings with opposing views in this sense posed the threat of citizens not behaving as expected by the Ancient Roman government. For example, if a religion, god, or cult was creating too much attention or uproar in Ancient Rome, the Ancient Roman’s looked down upon this simply because it might threaten their geographical expansion or political plans.
If the citizens of Ancient Rome found a new calling or religion to follow that was not in line with Ancient Rome’s interest or quest, it was not tolerated. This meant that the customs were not accepted by the government and it was not legal to practice. However, if a new god or religion helped the Ancient Romans on their quest to rule the world, they welcomed and celebrated it.
Like many cultures, religion was used as an excuse to gain followers and back political interests. Emperors of this time were aware that religion, being deeply rooted in Ancient Roman life, would be beneficial to use to get what they needed from citizens. Emperors needed to ensure that they had the support of their fellow citizens in order to maintain power. Religion was a good way to ensure citizens backed the emperor as he could use the gods as a way of persuading opinion and loyalties. During these ancient times, people had very few choices about religious practices, especially if the Kings, Emperors, or governments were not in favor of a particular religion. Although Ancient Rome practiced religious tolerance to a degree, it was generally for self-seeking reasons and not for the better of all the people. This is why religious disorder was not tolerated or accepted in Ancient Rome. Punishments for disorderly conduct were severe, so citizens were careful to maintain peace with their emperor as well as the gods.