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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 15

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 15.—That It Was Vanity, Not Reason, Which Created Some of the Roman Gods.

But is it not manifest that vanity rather than reason regulated the choice of some of their false gods?  This Plato, whom they reckon a demigod, and who used all his eloquence to preserve men from the most dangerous spiritual calamities, has yet not been counted worthy even of a little shrine; but Romulus, because they can call him their own, they have esteemed more highly than many gods, though their secret doctrine can allow him the rank only of a demigod.  To him they allotted a flamen, that is to say, a priest of a class so highly esteemed in their religion (distinguished, too, by their conical mitres), that for only three of their gods were flamens appointed,—the Flamen Dialis for Jupiter, Martialis for Mars, and Quirinalis for Romulus (for when the ardor of his fellow-citizens had given Romulus a seat among the gods, they gave him this new name Quirinus).  And thus by this honor Romulus has been preferred to Neptune and Pluto, Jupiter’s brothers, and to Saturn himself, their father.  They have assigned the same priesthood to serve him as to serve Jove; and in giving Mars (the reputed father of Romulus) the same honor, is this not rather for Romulus’ sake than to honor Mars?


Next: Chapter 16

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