Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 September 2022
In monarchical courts, religious rituals and celebrations have often been crucial moments bringing courtiers into contact with the monarch and society at large. There was no specific ‘court religion’ at the Roman court; rather, the household religious practices of emperors and resident members of his court were not differentiated from those in aristocratic households, and individual emperors and courtiers could choose their cult practices. However, certain rituals and festivals within the imperial house were still court occasions, especially the rites connected with the toga virilis ceremony and the Saturnalia. Furthermore, religious rituals in the civic spaces of Rome brought the emperor and members of his court into contact with the populace at large. Roman ideas about the divine realm included ideas about divination. As a result, astrologers and other individuals claiming expertise in divination at times had great power and influence at court.
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