After Life in Roman Paganism by Franz Valery Marie Cumont

By Franz Valery Marie Cumont

1922. Lectures introduced at Yale collage at the Silliman beginning. the writer was once invited to lecture at New Haven throughout the month of March 1921 on a subject matter when it comes to non secular heritage. He selected the guidelines present in Roman paganism about the lot of the soul after loss of life. Lectures incorporated are: ancient advent; after existence within the tomb; the nether global; celestial immortality; successful of immortality; premature dying; trip to the past; sufferings of hell and metempsychosis; felicity of the blessed.

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Quot; These verses express the same great thought in various forms death is disappearance into the depths of divine nature. It is not for the preservation of an ephemeral personality that we must hope. Our soul, a fleeting energy detached from the All, must enter again into the All as must our body both are absorbed by : : God, "When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. 46 The fiery breath of our intelligence is gathered, as are the matter and the humours of our organism, into the inexhaustible reser voir which produced them, as one day the earth and the heavens will be gathered thither also.

These passions are the Erinyes, of whom poets sung, that in Tartarus they burnt criminals with their torches and scourged them with their whips. For there was no subterranean hell Hades was in the air or on our earth, and the infernal sufferings described by mythology were the various tortures inflicted on the souls condemned to transmigration. 73 This religious philosophy, which, by a symbolism transforming the meaning of the traditional beliefs, reconciled these with men s intelligence, did more than any other to revive faith in : immortality.

It is certain that a definitely negative tendency showed itself in Rome among the sectaries of Zeno. , Consol. s* See Lecture IV, p. , end. s. AFTER LIFE IN ROMAN PAGANISM 14 masters and absolutely denied personal survival. 35 This attitude was subsequently that of many Roman Stoics of those who repre sented the school s tradition most purely. The master of the poet Persius, Cornutus, of whom a short work remains to us, declared that the soul died with the body, immediately. 36 Similarly, at a later date, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, although they some times seem to admit the possibility of survival, certainly incline rather to believe that souls are disintegrated and return to the elemental mass whence they were formed.

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