To those living in ancient Rome, the will of the gods controlled the destinies of all. There were deities for nearly every aspect of life such as a god of the hearth, Vesta, to keep the fire burning. There was a god of love, Venus. There was a god of war, Apollo, and multitude of other gods who controlled the lives of the people. At the same time, those gods were prone to the same emotions and feelings attributed to humans. For example, if a human were to anger a god in some way by not praying or sacrificing to that god, then that god could take favor away from that human. Ancient Romans had the comfort of believing that as long as they properly propitiated the gods, then the gods would treat their lives fairly.
Whenever Rome as a country was suffering, then the people believed they had not properly propitiated the gods. To ensure that the gods would keep favor on the country, there were temples built and strict laws for obeisance by the priests and priestesses. For example, the priestesses for Vesta, Vestal virgins, dedicated their lives to the worship of Vesta, and any priestess breaking from the bonds of her service to Vesta would face ultimate death. Service to the gods was necessary for life in Rome to ensure the gods would supply a good fate.