Emperor Cult

Roman State Religion

Created as a political necessity by the first Roman emperors, the cult of their worship is an important part of what makes the Empire Roman. The cult is particularly important in the provinces (notably Germania and Brittania), since it is there that efforts at Romanization are most intense and most needed. 

Only deceased emperors are divine. (The emperor Vespasian, who died in 79CE, said as he felt death's approach, "Oh dear, I think I'm becoming a god.") Insane emperors claimed divinity during their lifetime (Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Commodus), but that is part of what made them insane. In the East, where divine kings were the order of the day, Roman emperors were often offered divine honors, but they sometimes refused them. (Claudius did so in Alexandria, but when the governor published his refusal he referred to the emperor as "Caesar our god.") Because of the long tradition of god-kings there, the imperial cult was quite vigorous in Asia.

At this early date, there is only one emperor who has received full divine honors: Augustus. Claudius has his cultic centers in the East, but the cult really revolves around the founder of the Empire.

Alignment: Lawful Evil

Symbol: Eagle, wreath

Animal: Eagle

Place of Worship: Temple at cultic centers in each province.

Holy Days: Emperor's birthday (?). Libations poured at every banquet.

Goal and Purpose of the Faith: Political consolidation.

Requirements of the Priesthood

Alignment: Priests must be Lawful Evil.

Minimum Ability Scores: Wisdom 12. Wisdom 16+ gives +10& experience.

Races Allowed: Priests (flamines, the singular is flamen) must be human and male.

Nonweapon and Weapon Proficiencies: Nonweapon Proficiencies Required: Reading/Writing, Ancient History (Rome). Nonweapon Proficiencies Recommended: Religion. Weapon Proficiencies Required: None. Nonweapon Proficiency Group Crossovers: Priest, General.

Duties and Rights of the Priest: Guidance. Missions: Sometimes accompany the army to the frontiers to spread the cult with the state. State religion.

Restrictions and Limitations: Weapons Permitted: Dagger, javelin, knife, lance, spear. Armor Permitted: All armor, no shields. Other Limitations: None.

Spheres of Influence: Major Access to All, Charm, Divination. Minor Access to Combat, Creation.

Powers: Inspire Fear. Soothing Word.

Followers and Strongholds: 

Relations: Other Faiths: All-encompassing pantheism. One key to social climbing among the aristocracy is some kind of participation in this cult. But the common folk are active as well, sometimes more so than the emperors would like. The priesthood is not full-time and not necessarily permanent, but all priests are drawn from the nobility.

Requirements of the Followers

Alignment: Any.

Races Allowed: Any.

Restrictions: None.


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