Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Stocking, Rachel


The Roman idea of pietas was an important value during the Augustan revival of Rome in the first century. Ovid wrote about a unique ritual in the poem Fasti that focused on piety towards ancestors called Lemuria. The original meaning of the Lemuria ritual has changed through the centuries by the power of the Christian Church and modern Christian bias. The anachronistic language used in the translations of Ovid’s Fasti and the choice of words that historians have used to interpret it portrays the Lemuria in an occult-like expulsive way. The Lemuria is not comparable to Christian ritual as some have understood it. The Lemuria is simply a ritual of pietas, and Ovid’s version was to promote popular Roman moral values such as piety while gaining favor with Emperor Augustus.




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