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The Roman god Liber Pater (Bacchus)

In Italy the cult of Liber Pater had been widely established for centuries before the introduction of the worship of Bacchus (Dionysos) and his orgiastic rites in the early second century BC. The cult became so popular and its excesses so infamous, particularly in rural areas, that the senate tried to ban it throughout the country. Sanitized and regulated, the cult became a fundamental element of Roman popular religion, and Bacchic symbols and imagery are found in all areas of Roman art.

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Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99

Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99