It couldn't be true, and yet there it was, printed for all to see: "Once in a

lifetime travel experience available only to a recent graduate who had majored

in history or classics.   Must be healthy, young and enthusiastic about Rome.   No

experience necessary.   Will pay all expenses and a $10,000 stipend upon return

and completion of a 10-page essay.   Email Professor Juno ASAP!"

    This was amazing!   I was desperate for money, needed a job for the summer

and crazy for all things Roman.   This assignment had my name on it.   Luckily,

when I called Prof. Juno, the assignment had not yet been filled.   What follows is

an account of what I learned about the religion of ancient Rome.   I was there in

387 B.C. to hear the speech of Camillus and how he urged the people to stay in

the city of Rome because of the sacred nature of the place itself.   The city of

Rome is inextricibly linked to its religious festivals and celebrations because the

ground has been the home of many of the gods from even before the arrival of

Aeneas.   The hills, groves and streams were sacred a long time ago, making the

place of worship just as important, if not more so than the actual ritual or festival


    Religion, as practiced in ancient Rome, was very different from what is

usually thought of in the modern, Western world.   Judeo-Christian religion is a

faith-based relationship between mankind and an all-powerful, all-knowing deity

who is everywhere and yet unseen.   Prayers can be offered up at any time and

in any place.   Not so for the religion of the ancient Romans.   They worshipped

dozens of gods and had hundreds of rituals and festivals to acknowledge them

each year.   Their calendar, which differed greatly from the one we know today,

had nearly every day or fasti (religious holiday) to honor and sacrifice to one god

or another.   Divination, in the form of augury and taking the auspices were of...