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The Peace of the GodsElite Religious Practices in the Middle Roman Republic$
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Craige B. Champion

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174853

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174853.001.0001

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Understanding Elites’ Religious Behaviors in the Middle Roman Republic

Understanding Elites’ Religious Behaviors in the Middle Roman Republic

(p.175) Five Understanding Elites’ Religious Behaviors in the Middle Roman Republic
The Peace of the Gods

Craige B. Champion

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses some theoretical positions and methodologies in order to elucidate the religious behaviors of republican elites in the Middle Roman Republic. Using the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance, it considers what the elites were doing in creating, practicing, and maintaining the state religion. To better understand the Roman ruling elite's religious behaviors, the chapter examines the military juncture during the First Roman–Syrian War, and particularly the action of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus at a critical moment in the campaign against Antiochus III. It also looks at the tradition of Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus' supposed evocatio of “Juno Caelestis” before the fall of Carthage before concluding with an analysis of accumulative civic polytheism and the idea of a dominant-cultural paradigm, arguing that both Roman elites and nonelites were held together only sporadically and tenuously as far as religious culture went.

Keywords:   religious behavior, cognitive dissonance, state religion, Roman ruling elite, Roman–Syrian War, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, Antiochus III, Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, evocatio, accumulative civic polytheism

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