By Dr Nigel Pollard
Last updated 2011-02-17
Religion in the Roman provinces
Given the toleration of other religions by Roman authorities, the situation in a place like Britain - a province of the Roman empire - might well have been quite complex.
We can see evidence in Britain for the existence of Roman state religion - including both emperor worship and the worship of traditional Roman gods such as Jupiter. We can also see evidence for the worship of imported gods, who were neither British nor part of the Roman state cult - there is evidence, for example, of Mithraism and Isis-worship. We can also see the continuity and development of local gods.
Finally, very commonly all over the empire, we see Roman gods twinned ('syncretised') with local gods, just as the Romans had twinned their gods with Greek equivalents. For example, at Bath (Roman Aquae Sulis) in England, we see the worship of Sulis-Minerva, a goddess with twin Celtic (Sulis) and Roman (Minerva) identities. She was worshipped at a temple built near a thermal spring that had been the focus of a pre-Roman cult.
The image shown here depicts the modern bathing establishment built on the site of the Roman baths-temple complex at Bath/Aquae Sulis.
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