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Gaius Julius Camillus

Cult of Bacchus

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The SC was issued in 186 BC, see Livius description of the event.




I was thinking about the date earlier this morning, my guts told me that it was far earlier than 86 Bc :P Had no time to check it up though.

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Pertaining to the 86 BC decree of the Senate — the so-called Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, are there any more instances where the Roman Republic or Empire banned or had problems with these people?



The cult which had largely been driven underground by the Senate decree made a public comeback during the time of Caesar and Antony. Antony, in fact, went so far as to compare himself to Dionysus (and Cleopatra was linked with Aphrodite, naturally).


The best evidence for the cult in imperial times actually comes from the upper classes, where Dionysian themes permeate the frescoes and mosaics of well-to-do houses, as well as adorn their sarcophagi. Robert Turcan, a French scholar, believes the cult had lost much of its revolutionary fervor, and some Dionysian cults were little more than upper crust drinking symposiums toasting the success of the Pax Romana.


Finally, the Hellenophile emperor Hadrian funded and united the various guilds of Dionysian actors and artists in the Greek east, and of course with that single stroke the Dionysian cult was now absorbed wholesale into The Establishment.

Edited by Ursus

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