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Roman Religion

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Introduction

Task 3 The influence of fate and the gods on the lives of humans In the Roman world, fate and the gods played a massive part in the lives of humans; it was one of the great unchangeable powers that stood above even the gods in the hierarchy of the supernatural. Roman people believed that fate predetermined their destiny, and the gods influenced every area of their lives and surroundings. Fate was the course in which a person's life was meant to travel; he could not attempt to prevent this course, and any attempt to do so seemed to end up advancing his fate rather than stop it. However, while Romans generally lived a life of morals, they did not do this in order to please the gods. The gods themselves were neither good nor bad and did not seem to be too worried with the virtue of their people. ...read more.

Middle

Aeneas struggles to understand the different places where each soul goes after they die. The Sybil explains to him that where the souls are placed in the underworld, depends on whether they lived a good moral life or not. Most of the events of the Aeneid are initiated by the gods and fate. The connection between the gods and fate is a complex one and the two seem to be unavoidably linked. The gods cannot change fate but they can try hindering or helping it as much as possible. Juno attempts to hinder Aeneas and the Trojans at every turn; however it does not affect their fate. Jupiter, the king of the gods is the opposite of his wife in that he uses various methods to help, not hinder, the progress of fate. For both gods and mortals, fate always wins in the end. The direction and destination of Aeneas's course are preordained, and his various sufferings and glories in battle and at sea over the course of the epic merely delay this fixed destiny. ...read more.

Conclusion

It may well have been Deiphobus' fate to die in the battle of Troy because when Aeneas meets him in the underworld Deiphobus is used almost in a symbolic manner to help Aeneas on his journey to build a new greater city than Troy. Misenus' death shows how ones fate or downfall can be associated with ones nature and qualities. Through Palinurus' death, Virgil exposes the intensity of the sacrifices that must be made to ensure that fate is carried out. Although not just fate is obvious in Palinurus' death as the gods undeniably had a role to play, namely Venus, Neptune and Somnus. Fate is included by Virgil in the Aeneid to emphasize through the story that the foundation of Rome was divinely ordered, and that the city was destined to become a great empire. If not for Fate, Aeneas probably would have died in Troy. If not for Fate he would have lived out his days with Dido, Queen of Carthage, never founding the city from which Rome would one day spring. The list goes on; Fate is, undoubtedly, a major aspect in the Aeneid. ...read more.

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