Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2008

Capstone Advisor

Craige B. Champion

Honors Reader

Subho Basu

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

History | History of Religion | Other History


The focus of this study is an examination of the use of religion in Roman statecraft during the time of the Republic. Traditionally, scholars have viewed religion as a tool used by the aristocratic class to control the wills and actions of the general populace. This study examines five case studies which serve as counter-examples to this traditional notion and suggest that there existed in the aristocratic class a large number of individuals who genuinely subscribed to traditional Roman religious ideals.

The methodology used to conduct this study focuses primarily on careful exegesis of primary source material. More modern scholarship is used as a helpful lens through which to critique the ancient sources; this helps particularly in presenting arguments for and against the assertions of this study. Support for the argument is found through analysis of the historicity of the case studies, the biases of the authors themselves, and deductive logic.

The conclusion of the study is that the traditional “pragmatic” view of aristocratic approach to religion is flawed. While irreligious segments of the aristocratic class did exist, there is evidence for a far greater number of aristocratic individuals who still subscribed to the efficacy of religious rites and traditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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