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Professor F. D. Allen's Lecture.

Ancient Religions and Christianity.


Professor F. D. Allen delivered an interesting address in the Divinity School Chapel last evening on the Roman worship of Jupiter and Mars. Professor Allen began by glancing rapidly through the list of religions which have stirred the world, and by mentioning their characteristics. Both civilized and uncivilized people have contributed to the religions. Not infrequently among the uncivilized ones a religion is developed which has admirable features. Indeed any religion which has stirred large masses of men is worthy of our consideration.

Among the early Romans in Keeping with their time there was much darkness and stumbling. There were of course in this confusion many cults. Two only are selected for special mention, those of Jupiter and Mars.

Jupiter was identified with the Greek god Zeus. He was the lightning god and various other functions were grouped around this one. The fear of lightning was very great among the Romans, and they held a lightning stroke to be a serious mark of the god's anger To appease it the necessary expiation was originally human sacrifices.

Mars was the sun god and around him was established the worship for the seasons. Elaborate ceremonies for the celebration of spring and autumn festivals were observed. The "October horse" was known to the early Romans as a corn demon or harvest divinity. He was slain in the fall but kept all winter and was believed to come to life again, in a manner, in the following spring.

Considerable analogy exists between the ceremony of "Manuralia" with the Greek "Pharmakos" and the Hebrew "scape-goat," a person supposed to possess evil influence or uncanny power.

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