Just the facts on religion.

Roman cults and philosophies

Many, perhaps most, ancient Romans did not belong to any particular sect. The average person in the ancient world would likely worship the local city god, participate in the Roman imperial cult, honor the patron god of a profession, and pay special devotion to whichever deity seems most appealing or likely to help with a particular concern.

But there were also a number of special religious or philosophical groups in the ancient world to which one could belong. For example, an upper-class person might be drawn to a philosophy like Stoicism or Epicureanism, a Roman soldier might be initiated into Mithraism, and a person of any rank might be a special devotee of Dionysus. These specific cults, sects and schools are explored in this section.

  • Mithraism

    Mithraism was a mystery religion that flourished throughout the Roman Empire, especially among soldiers, in the second through fourth centuries CE. It centered on the Persian god Mithras, who is shown slaying a bull in many surviving reliefs. full article →
  • Stoicism

    Stoicism was one of the two principal schools of the Hellenistic era (the other being Epicureanism). Originally founded by Zeno in 4th-century-BC Athens, Stoicism later developed and changed into forms designated "Middle Stoa" and "Later Stoa," also known as Roman Stoicism... full article →