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October 26 , 2009

The Cult of the Emperor

Roman Emperor Worship in the Ancient World


THE Roman Imperial Cult began with the first Caesar and continued until the final overthrow of paganism in the Empire. An exhaustive study of the Cult in all its ramifications would practically involve a survey of Roman history during the imperial epoch and would transcend all reasonable limits. A bald analytical review, merely, of the data which have passed under my own eye in the course of this investigation, would break bounds. A rigid and somewhat painful process of elimination has, therefore, been exercised both in the use and presentation of the available data in this field. Particularly in the matter of the local origins and spread throughout the empire of the ruler-cult I have been compelled to turn a deaf ear to many alluring suggestions. There are in this region many urgent problems awaiting solution, which I have not ventured even to broach. They can be solved only by the examination and analysis of hundreds of additional inscriptions and historic references —an undertaking which waits upon occasion. A fit and appropriate opportunity for a more adequate and exhaustive presentation of the theme may at some future time offer itself. Meanwhile what is herein contained may be counted as vital prolegomena to a great and still largely unworked field of investigation…
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