What happens to the dead after death, and do other cultures try to answer this question in similar ways? Charles King, will discuss these issues in relation to his new book, The Ancient Roman Afterlife: Di Manes, Belief, and the Cult of the Dead (2020), on Oct. 14 at 6:00 P.M. in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom.
This event is free and open to the public.
Although, Roman poets sometimes borrow scenarios from theGreeks to portray an underworld divided into zones of punishment and reward, actual native Roman religious practices were much less concerned about where the dead might reside as they were about how much power the dead could have to take action in human affairs. The Roman afterlife was one in which Romans believed that death transformed ordinary dead people—men, women, and even children—into gods, the di manes, who would be worshipped individually by their surviving families and collectively by the Roman state. They believed that the deified dead could extend the lives of their worshippers, offer guidance in dreams, and intervene in the lives of the living in a wide variety of ways.
Roman religion thus offers a fascinating model of what an afterlife could be if the focus was not on where the dead go but on how the dead might help the living. Please join Dr. King and the Department of History as he discusses his recently published monograph.