Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion

Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion

Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion

Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion

Excerpt

Roman religion, as we meet it in historical times, is a congeries of many elements. One of the problems of the modern scholar is to separate and interpret these various elements -- primitive, Latin, Etruscan, Greek, Oriental. Even the casual student of comparative religion, who is also familiar with Latin literature, cannot fail to recognize, running through the enormous mass of facts and ideas about religion and superstition, elements which are common to all religions, past and present, whether among savages or civilized men. Such elements, when discovered in a developed religion, may fairly be called primitive. In the study of the religion of any people, the starting point should be with these common elements.

However, it has usually been the habit of scholars to trace the development of gods and goddesses, rites and priesthoods, to their historical sources, and to describe and interpret the Roman calendar with its many festivals; and if primitive elements have been . . .

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