VIII. The Religious Manifestation


The province of Lusitania, as it happened in other parts of the Roman Empire, comprised different religions, which satisfied the needs of its inhabitants. It was the official religion, the traditional Roman one and the imperial cult allowed since the Augustan period and made official during the reign of his successor Tiberius, the one which took on greater importance for its eminently political sense since the beginning of the Principality. In several cities, at the Forum, the imperial deities showed their presence to the citizens, from their temples or altars or sacraria, located in the buildings for spectacles, as if they were scenic stages. The Romans allowed the continuity of genuine deities, of the territory, including the worship of Lusitanian gods, mainly Ataecina and Endovelicus, who had several shrines. The Eastern deities were also very prestigious, such as Mitra, with their religious practices fostered by a population coming to this region from the eastern Mediterranean area. Jews and Christians also left traces of their presence, especially in the final stage of the Empire, whether in the synagogues of Emerita or in the episode of the martyr of St. Eulalia of Mérida.

Learn more about the religious manifestations in Roman Lusitania in an article, present in the exhibition catalog, by José d’Encarnação.

Emperador divinizado
Effigy of a deified emperor
Scaenae frons, Theatre, Mérida
Claudio-neronian period (41 – 60 A.D.)
165 × 66 × 40 cm
Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida