2nd c Roman Roman Imperial (Hadrianic) Architecture
(act. 117 - 138)
Roman Imperial (Hadrianic)
As the Roman empire expanded they encountered people with an incredible variety of religious beliefs. Not only were the people allowed to continue to worship their own gods and goddesses, but the Romans brought the them and their cults to Rome. The great Pantheon, the most magnificent Roman building still standing, was constructed in their honor. The name itself describes its function: "Pan" meaning "all", and "theos" referring to the gods, as in our word "theology." Thus a variety of gods, goddesses and their cults streamed into Rome. Believers were not limited to a single cult, and some people tried them all, looking for some meaning in their empty lives.
The Romans were extremely tolerant, and they were not concerned about which god a person worshipped, so long as they paid homage to the cult of the emperor. Statues of the Emperor came to be considered as symbols of the Empire itself. Statues were used as propaganda, and people swore oaths in front of statues of the Emperor. Both Christians and Jews were persecuted because they refused to pay homage. As far as the Romans were concerned, this had nothing to do with religious freedom; rather it was considered civil disobedience, which amounted to treason.
ROMAN IMPERIAL | Pantheon. Facade. | 118-125 | Roman | Roman Imperial