The Brill Dictionary of Religion

Get access

Family Cult (Greek and Roman)
(311 words)

A family cult stands in a special relationship with a unit of kinship (Lat., gens). In practicing the cult, the kinship group presents itself as a unit, both to those within and those without. The concept comes from early Roman religion, where it stood for two kinds of cult: (1) a family can be responsible for the maintenance of a particular cult of general interest (sacra publica; Lat., ‘popular rite’). Thus, in Rome, the cult of the Sol (sun) was in the hands of the gens Aurelia. When this gens died out, the state took responsibility for the cult. Later, almost all such family cul…

Cite this page
Tepper, Leo, “Family Cult (Greek and Roman)”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 21 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

▲   Back to top   ▲