The Cult of the Emperor in the Roman Empire


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 03 August 2023

Did you know that Rome’s Imperial Cult never claimed the living emperor was a god? This video is all about the Imperial Cult or the cult of the emperor of ancient Rome, what it meant, and how it worked.

The Imperial Cult of ancient Rome was a state religion that deified the emperor (and sometimes members of his family) after his death and encouraged cultural and political unity. The emperor himself was not regarded as an immortal and all-powerful god but, while he held that title, he represented the divine authority of the Roman State. So the Imperial Cult actually encouraged the worship of the State as embodied in the emperor, not the individual person – though some emperors would claim otherwise.



0:00​ Introduction
0:46 The Cult of the Emperor or the Imperial Cult
3:40 Augustus & The Cult
5:10 Worship, Sacrifice, and How it Worked
6:39 Decline of the Cult and Christianity
8:35 Outro

Roman emperor
Visual Chronology of Roman Emperors: Augustus to Constantine
Reforms of Augustus
Rome's Response to the Spread of Christianity

Ancient Rome Playlist
Ancient Roman Ghosts, Spirits and Ghost Stories
History of Dogs in Ancient Roman Society and Mythology
Clothing and Fashion in Ancient Rome
Pompey the Great - Statesman and General of the Roman Republic

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

World History Encyclopedia

#history #ancientrome #romanempire

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, August 03). The Cult of the Emperor in the Roman Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Cult of the Emperor in the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 03, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Cult of the Emperor in the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 03 Aug 2023. Web. 17 Jun 2024.