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5 - Religion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2020

Emily A. Hemelrijk
Affiliation:
Universiteit van Amsterdam
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Summary

This chapter deals with women’s roles in the religious life of their cities, both as cult officials and as devotees. Apart from the Vestals, Roman cities had priestesses of a few, mostly female, deities, such as Ceres, Venus, Tellus and Juno, but also Isis, Cybele and Bona Dea. Priestesses of the imperial cult are amply attested accross the Roman West (but not in Rome) serving both the living and the deified empresses. They were mostly fromwealthy families of the local elite. Apart from priesthoods, a wide range of lesser religious functions were open to women of lower rank, most of them paid. For the performance of religious ceremonies, we find female musicians, dancers, basket-bearers and sacrificial attendants, as well as magistrae and ministrae, female temple-wardens and keepers of sacrificial animals. The last part of the chapter offers a sample of their dedications to male and female deities, both Roman and local, thus giving an impression of their religious allegiancies and their participation in rituals.

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Women and Society in the Roman World
A Sourcebook of Inscriptions from the Roman West
, pp. 221 - 265
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Religion
  • Emily A. Hemelrijk, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Book: Women and Society in the Roman World
  • Online publication: 06 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316536087.008
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  • Religion
  • Emily A. Hemelrijk, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Book: Women and Society in the Roman World
  • Online publication: 06 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316536087.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Religion
  • Emily A. Hemelrijk, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Book: Women and Society in the Roman World
  • Online publication: 06 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316536087.008
Available formats
×