The Romans were bound up with the duty laid upon househould and state. Here is to be found the root of that sense of duty which marked the Roman at his best. It might have made him unintersting, but he could become a martyr for an ideal. He did not argue about what was honourable or just; his notions were traditional and instinctive and they were held with an almost religious tenacity. Thus the Roman was hard.
The man of firm and righteous will,
No rabble clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant’s brow, whose frown may kill,
Can shake the strengths that makes him strong
Romans had no sacred writings beyond the formula of prayer; there was no myth-made morality to be undone. The individual’s purpose was to establish right relations with the gods, not to speculate about their nature.
The Roman attitude was always the same – Tolerance, provided that no harm was done to public morals and that no attack was made upon the state.