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Thread: The Roman Cult of Emperor Worship

  1. #1
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    Default The Roman Cult of Emperor Worship

    In Machabees, we read that the cruel King Antiochus invaded Jerusalem, entered the holy Temple, stole or destroyed all the holy vessels for worship, and forbade the Jews to offer their usual sacrifices, etc.


    King Antiochus also set up the abominable idol of desolation upon the altar of God, and his soldiers built more such altars all around Judea.

    The enemy defiled the holy place, the (faithful) inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away, and the (Temple) sanctuary was desolate like a wilderness.



    http://readingacts.wordpress.com/201...peror-worship/

    William Ramsay, writing at the turn of the 20th century:


    “…in no part of the world was there such fervent and sincere loyalty to the emperors as in Asia. Augustus had been a saviour to the Asian peoples, and they deified him as the Saviour of mankind, and worshiped him with the most whole-hearted devotion as the ‘present deity’.” W. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1909) 115.

    Julius Caesar allowed himself to be worshiped as a god, but his successor Augustus only allowed emperor worship outside of the city of Rome. Augustus is known in some inscriptions as CAESAR DIVI FILIUS, Son of God, that is, Son of eternal Caesar.

    Oaths were taken on the divine spirit of the emperor. His image was publicly adored. Worship of the image was a regular military duty. Caligula was the first emperor to demand to be worshiped, he demanded that citizens everywhere bow to his statue.

    Nero also claimed to be divine, although in neither case was there a requirement to worship the emperor. As Augustus had been Zeus incarnate, so Nero was Apollo incarnate. Even Seneca called him as the long-awaited savior of the world.

    Domitian took the title “lord and god” and ordered people to confess he was “lord and god” as a test of loyalty (Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars, Book 8: Domitian 13). Marital says the “beasts in the arena” hailed him as a god. While this is clearly legendary, it does reflect a contemporary writer implying divine honors for Domitian.

    Dio Cassius (Roman History 67.14)refers to Domition exiling a Flavius Clemens and his wife, Flavia Domitilla for “atheism.” Atheism is the charge made against those who drifted into “things Jewish.” Dio Chrysostom reported that Domitan liked to “be flattered” as “master and god.” Those who refused to flatter him in this way risked trouble. (In Oratorio 45:1, see also First Discourse on Kingship, 1.14-15).

    How prevalent was the imperial cult in Asia Minor? Of the seven cities mentioned in Revelation 2-3, five have imperial priests and altars (all but Philadelphia and Laodica) and six have imperial temples (all but Thyatira). At Pergamum an imperial temple was established as early as 28 B.C.

    The city was so central to the imperial cult that Revelation describes this city as having the “synagogue of Satan.” In short, a Christian in Asia Minor could not avoid the Imperial Cult.

    It was during the reign of Domitian when the imperial cult became a factor in unifying the empire in Asia Minor. The provincial cult allowed the Roman network of social obligations to be extended to virtually the whole population. If you lived within the empire, then you were a social client of the Emperor and owed him supreme allegiance.

    It is not hard to see, therefore, the struggle which Christians in the late first century would have showing allegiance to Rome – if that allegiance required worship of the Emperor, then the Christian must refuse or compromise their faith.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Margot View Post
    In Machabees, we read that the cruel King Antiochus invaded Jerusalem, entered the holy Temple, stole or destroyed all the holy vessels for worship, and forbade the Jews to offer their usual sacrifices, etc.


    King Antiochus also set up the abominable idol of desolation upon the altar of God, and his soldiers built more such altars all around Judea.

    The enemy defiled the holy place, the (faithful) inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away, and the (Temple) sanctuary was desolate like a wilderness.

    Yes, Antiochus is another type of 'Antichrist' just by his name, and his actions verified his type!.....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverDrive View Post
    Yes, Antiochus is another type of 'Antichrist' just by his name, and his actions verified his type!.....
    Antiochus just means stubborn.............

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Margot View Post
    Antiochus just means stubborn.............
    as is also.................Rebelliou s!
    Last edited by OverDrive; Mar 25 2012 at 05:35 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverDrive View Post
    as is also.................Rebellion !
    While worship of a living emperor was culturally acceptable in some parts of the empire, in Rome itself and in Italy it was not.

    There an emperor was usually declared a 'divus' only on his death, and was subsequently worshipped (especially on anniversaries, like that of his accession) with sacrifice like any other gods.

    Emperor-worship was a unifying factor in the Roman world, practiced not only by army units spread throughout the empire but also by individuals in the provinces, where there were collective imperial cult centres at places such as Lyons (Gaul), Pergamon (Asia) and (probably) Colchester (Britain).

    The imperial cult helped to focus the loyalty of provincials on the emperor at the centre of the empire, and in some regions (such as Gaul), there is evidence that Roman authorities took the initiative in setting it up, presumably for that very reason.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient...llery_06.shtml

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Margot View Post
    While worship of a living emperor was culturally acceptable in some parts of the empire, in Rome itself and in Italy it was not.

    There an emperor was usually declared a 'divus' only on his death, and was subsequently worshipped (especially on anniversaries, like that of his accession) with sacrifice like any other gods.

    Emperor-worship was a unifying factor in the Roman world, practiced not only by army units spread throughout the empire but also by individuals in the provinces, where there were collective imperial cult centres at places such as Lyons (Gaul), Pergamon (Asia) and (probably) Colchester (Britain).

    The imperial cult helped to focus the loyalty of provincials on the emperor at the centre of the empire, and in some regions (such as Gaul), there is evidence that Roman authorities took the initiative in setting it up, presumably for that very reason.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient...llery_06.shtml
    Well, that is exactly why it was done. For better, and often for worse, the Emporer was the seat of the immense power of Rome. Imagine what it would have looked like in Gaul to see the Emporer arrive, his large train if attendants - his legions, and, quite literally the power of life and death over the subjects.

    That power must have been quite impressive, and to an isolated and largely illiterate mass - may very well have appeared God like.

  7. #7
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    Fyi................

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