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Rome, Diplomacy, and the Rituals of Empire - Foreign Sacrifice to Jupiter Capitolinus

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This article examines a ritual whereby foreign envoys, upon concluding treaties and alliances with the Roman Senate, offered sacrifice to Jupiter Capitolinus at his temple in Rome. I argue that the ritual symbolically acknowledged the superiority of Rome's power and its gods, and became an important symbol of empire. At the same time it was structured as a voluntary act, undertaken at the request of Rome's would-be allies. This allowed Rome's allies to cast Roman hegemony as a partnership between autonomous polities, and so served as an instrument of Roman imperialism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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