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Religions of Rome: Volume 1, A History. Paperback – 28 Jun 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (28 Jun. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521316820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521316828
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 2.2 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'These books are the result of years of patient scholarship and intellectual questioning. No other volume has covered such a time span so effectively and made such clear use of maps, illustrations and archaeological evidence.' Robin Lane-Fox, British Museum Magazine

Book Description

Religions of Rome offers the first full account of the history of the official cults of Rome from the 5th and 4th centuries BC to the 4th century AD. Volume 1, A History, is an analytic history, organised mainly chronologically, and covers such themes as 'imperial triumph', 'the place of religion', 'the boundaries of Roman religion', and 'the religions of imperial Rome'. Together with its companion volume, A Sourcebook, this is the most important survey of more than a thousand years of religious life at Rome.

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The origins of Roman religion lay in the earliest days of the city of Rome itself. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is the first stop for the student, and possibly the only stop needed for the casual reader wanting to know more about Roman religion.
In an easily readable and highly enjoyable style (far removed from the weighty and dull style that marks so many classics books) the authors successfully lay out Roman religion from its dark origins to the rise of Christianity, covering and discussing a multitude of issues.
The notes, giving the student references to all the ancient sources, are at the bottom of the page. Personally, endnotes are the bane of my life - I hate having to constantly turn to the back of the book whilst trying to read - and so I was really rather pleased by this.
In addition to the text, this book provides many photographs and diagrams useful to the study of temples and religious art.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Essential History of a Millenium of Changing Roman Religion. 1 Jun. 2010
By mirasreviews - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Religions of Rome, Volume 1: A History" presents a millennium of Roman religion, following the place and practice of religion in Roman society from the primitive village to the Christian capitol, the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD. This is an impressive collaborative effort by Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Pierce. The prose is dense with information but always interesting and articulate. The authors provide a fascinating window on how religion and its place in society adapted over many centuries and, therefore, valuable insight on how religion functions in human societies, not just ancient Rome. They only occasionally quote a primary source, as primary sources are found in "Religions of Rome, Volume 2: A Sourcebook" and are referenced in footnotes by chapter number in bold font, so readers can easily locate the document in Volume 2.

The history is arranged chronologically into eight chapters: Roman religion before the 2nd century BC, changes brought about by Rome's becoming the dominant power in the Mediterranean in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, religion of the late republic in a state of reputed decline, Augustan reforms and the religion of the early Empire, the boundaries of acceptable practice of religion in three centuries of Imperial Rome, alternative cults in the principate, the dissemination of Roman religion outside of Rome in towns with Roman status and without, and the relationship between paganism and Christianity in Rome of the 4th and 5th centuries AD. There are no accounts of Roman religion written before the 1st century BC, so early Roman religion is somewhat conjectural.

The authors don't offer much detail of the particulars of religious ritual. Their focus is on how religion related to Roman society as a whole, the social and political role it played. I found the chapter on acceptable practice particularly insightful, as it describes the ever-changing concepts of what is "religio" versus "superstitio" and religion's role in the evolving view of "Roman-ness", or Roman identity. The co-existence of traditional religion and various foreign cults, including Judaism and Christianity, in the Empire is discussed in some detail and is also especially interesting. The politics surrounding the Christianization of Rome and Christian theological disputes are not treated in detail. Emphasis is on the degrees and ways in which Christianity and paganism co-existed in Christian Rome.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
excellent book on the culture of religion in ancient Rome 25 Jun. 2012
By Ingela - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very worthy tome on the cultural history of religious life in ancient Rome. I suspect the target market comprises academics and university students of ancient history - and it is perhaps for this reason that I found the text dry, though informative and, no doubt, reliable. This is a valuable addition to my library (if it can be called thus) on ancient Roman religion. I do not give it 5 stars because I would have preferred more discussion on the individual Gods themselves (dealt with within their own topic areas).
Great text for Roman religion 28 Jun. 2013
By Phoenix - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A solid text dealing with the religions of ancient Rome. Beginning with the early cults during the period of monarchy, then republic and empire; Beard, North and Price take an easy to follow and informative route that seeks to examine the religions and cults of Rome and its citizens. With iconographies included, the reader is able to see how the many districts within the empire both adored and loathed the religious institutions of the empire. From the earliest cult imports to pagan giants which were ultimately strangled by emperors dedicated to Christian belief, Religions of Rome is a worthwhile purchase.
Quite Good! 1 Mar. 2013
By Nick - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is detailed enough to make it a good read. Well, of course, there is another volume. The book begins with Early Rome and ends with the Christian emperors, in terms of the Religion of Rome, that is.
Mary Beard et al again 10 Feb. 2013
By Shel - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The perfect match to the source book this book is also a winner, exploring the diversity and intricacies of Roman religion.
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