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|Title:||Themes of Death in Roman Religion and Poetry|
|Keywords:||themes, death, after-life, poetry, Imperial ages, Roman literature,|
|Abstract:||The thesis investigates certain themes relating to death and after-life in the poetry of the late Republican and early Imperial ages within the wider context of Roman literature and religion. The emphasis on the evidence of literature rather than on that of epigraphy and art was prompted by the_ fact that the latter are by nature more static and formalized than the former. The investigation has suggested that the Roman poets register and enlarge, as a rule, the ideas on death and after-life current in their time and thus promote a tradition which can be traced back, through the Greek classical age, to Homer and Hesiod. Although genuine Roman concepts and feelings persist, the general impression is that we have to do with a body of Hellenistic ideas. The concept of the Di Manes seems to· preserve something of the early Roman feelings of respect and fear towards the souls of the deceased, but it is found enriched with new and varied connotations. We can hardly speak of native Roman divinities of the underworld, with the exception perhaps of Orcus. Instead, the Greek figures of Dis (Pluto), Proserpina (Persephone), and Hecate, are very prominent in Roman poetry. This applies also to the demonic figures of Hades like Charon, Cerberus, the Erinyes (Furies) and others. Nor could the Latin authors ignore the imaginative topography of the Greek lower world. Vergil gives to the traditional theme of catabasis, the descent of a hero to Hades, scime Roman colouring in Aeneid 6, but on the whole the descent of Aeneas is simply the fullest example of a motif popular with Greek and Latin authors. Roman poetry also reflects most of the ancient ideas about the destiny of the human soul after death. Moreover, hero-worship and divine honours paid to mortals seem to have found a fertile soil in the traditional Roman concept of the holy ancestors (D! Parentes). The fusion of Greek and Roman elements in this area is best expressed in the works of Vergil. In sum, the investigation confirms the impression of the fluency and mobility of religious ideas in the Roman-Hellenistic world of the first century B.C.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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