Perceptions of divinity : the changing characters of Roman Venus.

Brealey, Frances (2014) Perceptions of divinity : the changing characters of Roman Venus. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

This dissertation examines how at Rome the characters of the goddess Venus changed from the fourth century BC to the first century AD. It is argued that the different ways in which she was perceived, and the associations, powers and responsibilities she was assigned, were significant for the Romans’ engagement with the goddess during the Republic and early Empire. A discussion of some theories of Roman religion since the nineteenth century shows how these views and their subsequent re-evaluation have influenced understandings of Venus. The belief that the Romans of this period took little interest in the characters of their gods is challenged, though it is suggested that traces of this remain as negative preconceptions in some modern approaches. Earlier theories of Roman religion saw the identities of the gods as late Greek imports. Four foreign goddesses known at Rome during the Republic (Aphrodite, Turan, Isis and Cybele) are examined to discover how their characters were represented and in what ways these might have influenced the character of Venus at Rome. The extent to which they were ‘mother’ or ‘women’s’ goddesses, and whether they and Venus had similar connections with fertility and childbirth are discussed. Evidence for the different representations of the character of Venus is drawn from a variety of sources including art, literature, numismatics and epigraphy. The changing characters are discussed in relation to women’s engagement with her and both external influence and internal developments are shown to have shaped perceptions of the goddess. In the Late Republic the role of Venus as protector and ancestor is demonstrated to have grown in significance through her connection with Aeneas, whilst during the Principate her popularity enabled her to be used in support of Augustan values.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations.;.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Venus
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2014 16:37
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2016 14:08
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/374

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