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October 15, 2018 at 3:57 am #2811
It’s been a while since I’ve chatted here in the forum so I thought it might be nice to bring up a useful topic that has been addressed in the past but not as much recently. Since I am someone who is deeply interested in symbolism and aesthetics more generally, the intersection of such topics with Traditional Polytheism is of particular interest to me.
In the past, previous Roman Polytheists have suggested a number of official religious symbols, and in my opinion the present a number of issues. The most notable symbol used is the "Double R", which on the face of it is something that is only relevant to people who use the term Religio Romana to describe their adherence to the Roman cultus, and given that many people are moving towards CDR as a designation, I think we can safely move away from it’s use.
The most recent symbol used for Cultus Deorum Romanorum is the "gutus et lituus" (jug and crook). Though I think it is both an aesthetically pleasing and useful symbol – one that is historically attested in coinage in Ancient Rome, I think that it is really only appropriate for the priesthood, with the crook being especially relevant to the augurs specifically. Though it can not be understated how important it is for the ongoing development of the priesthood, I think that something more universal is warranted moving forward.
What I aim to suggest as a new symbol for Roman Polytheism, Cultus Deorum, and Religio Romana is a simple silhouette of a Roman temple or "templum", akin to the Torii used in Shinto. Though a templum is most notable for it’s associations with the priesthood, it also relates to public office and Rome more generally, without necessarily being as civically oriented as the aquilla or SPQR. But more importantly, the templum is also present in household religion in the form of the lararium, which is probably the most iconic representation of Roman Religion. Though symbols of specific deities are used in other Polytheist traditions, such as Thor’s Hammer in Heathenry or The Wheel of Taranis in Gaulish Polytheism, using a templum symbol allows us to broadly include all of the various sacred cults within CDR, which is a major plus.
Though Ancient Greek architecture helped to form the foundation of Roman temples, I think that the templum – both in private and public contexts are even more highly emphasized in CDR than in Hellenismos. In my experience the appeal of CDR over Hellenismos for many of us is that it is a tradition that focuses more on the particulars of ritual practice, and less on the complex drama of mythological and philosophical tradition. Using a Roman temple as our core symbol also allows us to have a distinct symbol apart from the laurel wreath most commonly used in Hellenismos. Of course, like many other symbols in Roman culture, particularly those of individual deities, there is considerable and meaningful overlap with Greek culture, and it is completely understandable for us to use symbols like the laurel wreath in other contexts.
Below I’ve included a silhouette I made of the Temple of Portunus using a CC image from Wikimedia Commons
I’ve always liked the elegance of the structure, and I think it’s ideal for this purpose
Let me know what you think of this concept, and any suggestions you might have
I am also interested to know if anyone knows of ways of obtaining Roman temple jewelry.
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