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Mos Maiorum - Ancestral Custom

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Thomas Wheeler

on 24 April 2017

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Transcript of Mos Maiorum - Ancestral Custom

The Values:
- Essentially trust, reliability and oathkeeping. Vital in a society where social contract was as much moral and legal. Deified concept that had been worshipped (according to myth) since the reign of Numa Pompilius.
- Respect and duty towards gods, state, family and self-purpose. Also a deified concept.
- the binding relationship between mortal and immortal, religious practices to maintain Pax Deorum.
- The process of enacting religious rituals, clear ancestor of 'cult'.
- The notion of having self control of mind and body, to be fit, knowledgable and well trained.
- To be dignified in your self control - especially in the face of adversity. To avoid giving in to cowardice.
- Steadiness and perseverence, again in the face of adversity.
- manliness, the qualities of a true Roman male ('vir'). While often reduced to ability in combat, it has been associated with moral understanding - distinctions between right and wrong for instance.
- worth and honour/prestige and respect. More nuanced than Greek concepts of kleos, these could be achieved by being exemplary of the range of values present in the Mos Maiorum and (usually) by being old enough to make that well known!

Mos Maiorum - Ancestral Custom
Religio & Cultus
Perhaps more of a culmination of the other aspects of the Mos Maiorum - to what extent can Aeneas be considered to hold great Gravitas?
Potential Decline?
Many Roman conservatives were critical of societal developments in the period spanning from the late 2nd to the end of the 1st Centuries BC for detracting from and moving away from the Mos Maiorum.

What political events and developments could have instigated this decline?
- forgiveness to enemies and others who have slighted you - particularly associated with Augustus.
- Wise forethought and planning.
- Endurance.
How does Virgil acknowledge Aeneas' Pietas alongside his commitment to religious process?
A lot of Roman story-telling, legacies and cultural values were not just based upon re-living the glory of ancestors, but to inspire Rome's youth to surpass them in all aspects.

To what extent is this a valid perspective on the Aeneid?
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