ROMAN REFUSAL OF ISOTHEOI TIMAI IN THE LATE REPUBLIC AND EARLY PRINCIPATE
The refusal of isotheoi timai by some emperors and members of the imperial family, attested by literary, epigraphic and papyrological sources, has always attracted the attention of the scholars. In an article which has become the standard work on the subject, M.P. Charlesworth (PBSR 15, 1939) argued for an ‘Augustan formula’, a tradition of polite refusal set up by Augustus and followed by some of his successors. Cases of refusal attested earlier than the age of Augustus are often mentioned in later studies, but never deeply discussed. The present paper has a double purpose: on one hand it focuses on the rejection of cult honours by Marcus Tullius Cicero, examining closely ad Q. fratrem I.1.26 and ad Att. V.21.7, in order to understand the nature of Cicero’s concerns and to grasp similarities and distinctions with the later examples of refusals; on the other hand, in spite of some recent objections, it reaffirms the lasting existence of an ‘Augustan formula’, as a significant corollary of the two fundamental rules established by Augustus for the state cult: 1) the living emperor must be the privileged or exclusive beneficiary, not the direct addressee, of libations and sacrifices, always conceived as offers pro salute; 2) a true divine cult is possible only for the divi.