Heaven and Hell
Etruscans And Romans
Archaeological evidence from before Roman dominance preserves Etruscan tombs modeled on homes, an indigenous tradition projecting earthly existence into the afterlife. Roman popular religion preserves not the dwelling, but the familial tie. The divine manes (parents and ancestors) rewarded piety (respect for family, divinities, and the state) with active inter-cession and a "better option" among the dead. Despite its formal state cult based on the Olympian pantheon, Roman religion had no central authority, hence no orthodoxy. Virgil incorporates a Platonic system in Book VI of the Aeneid, but only literati knew this cyclical, moral afterlife. Worship of the emperor was a small part of this complex whole, though it gained heaven for Christian martyrs executed for spurning it.