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The Myths of Rome Hardcover – January 11, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0859897037 ISBN-10: 0859897036

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Liverpool University Press (January 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0859897036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0859897037
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"... this brilliant book will create a storm of argument, raising again the old question: what do we mean by myth?"--BBC History

"The Myths of Rome is a richly produced work for the general reader, by a specialist in rarely visited corners of the theme; but its seductive illustrations, tables and chronologies should not disguise the book's passionate polemic, which places flagons of wine in the hands, and garlands of roses on the heads, of those beaky-nosed pieces of virtue who formed the Republic."--TLS

a splendidly civilized and civilizing work, ... He succeeds brilliantly, necessarily throwing light on shifts in modern perceptions of the Romans. As it uses painting, notably that of Tiepolo, to demonstrate earlier interest in Roman myth, the book is lavishly illustrated, the more so because unearthing the stories involves archaeological finds. [...] Piquant and illuminating observations from well outside Roman literature and Renaissance and Baroque painting, as well as friendly style, will retain the interest aroused in younger readers when they open the volume".--Greece and Rome

"The scope of this book is enormous and the subject matter potentially daunting in its complexity; yet every effort has been made to make the material accessible and illuminating for the non-specialist and classical scholar alike. In addition to a useful time-chart and uncluttered maps, the text is entirely free of diversionary numbered notes; instead, a wealth of additional details and references to sources and modern discussions is provided at the end of the book."--The Classical Review

"... it is a marvellous advertisement for what the best professional classicists can actually do these days, and for the pleasure and profit that Classics can accordingly offer its own students and those of the humanities in general. I recommend W's Myths of Rome with complete confidence to public libraries as well as to those of schools and universities that offer classical courses at any level."--The Journal of Classics Teaching

"... this eloquently written, artfully crafted, and highly original book... Everyone professionally engaged in the study of ancient Rome, or in myths of the ancient world, should read this book, even if, according to Wiseman, The Myths or Rome was written for a non-specialist audience."--Scholia

"In The Myths of Rome Wiseman gives us his most comprehensive account to date of the development of Roman myth or, as he calls it, the Roman 'story-world'. This brief selection hardly does justice to the elegance and breadth of this beautifully produced volume, which contains a further forty-one single and two-page divertimenti taking up themes in the main text, which is wonderfully illustrated. W.'s prose is engaging and committed. The fact that one looks for W.'s approach to be extended and refined, in spite of disagreement concerning the political interpretation of some of these stories, is an index of the importance of The Myths of Rome. Its readers will return to it repeatedly as both an inspiring and thought-provoking piece of innovative scholarship, and an engaging and vibrant piece of historical writing.--Journal of Roman Studies

About the Author

T.P. Wiseman is Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Exeter, where he contributes to the MA in Roman Myth and History, and a Fellow of the British Academy. Previous books include Remus: A Roman Myth (CUP) and, with University of Exeter Press, Flavius Josephus: Death of an Emperor; Talking to Virgil: A Miscellany; Historiography and Imagination: Eight Essays on Roman Culture and Roman Drama and Roman History.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MrJennings on April 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Myths of Rome is a very welcome addition to my library. Wiseman looks at the mythology of Rome not as a sad adjunct to Greek myths (a depressingly common theme in myth books), but as a generative and creative force in its own right. The book is gorgeously illustrated with b&w images throughout the text, as well as a stunning series of color plates, mostly of full-page reproductions of Renaissance paintings on (Roman) mythological scenes. The scholarship is impeccable, and I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anson Cassel Mills on August 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This lavishly produced book, the winner of the 2005 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit of the American Philological Association, is a curiosity in that both author and press seem to have anticipated that its market would be the general reader as well as the scholar. The prose is much better than most academic fare, and the color plates are certainly worth Wiseman's careful elucidation. But the argument, in all its learnedness, is in my opinion, pitched above what most educated readers will choose to grapple with over the long haul, even with the book's thirty-one sidebars written in an even more popular tone.

Wiseman's basic thesis is that Rome had her own myths independent of the Greek ones and that these myths (mostly historical legends, in fact) showed the Romans to have been more relaxed and leering than most moderns imagine them to have been. The myths of a nation do reflect its values, and Roman mythology provides some good illustrations of this truth. Nevertheless, the average general reader will probably call a halt when he begins to feel, as I did, that the author is piling supposition on supposition to make scholarly points against academic rivals.

If you are a student of ancient Rome then by all means read this one through. For the general reader, I recommend borrowing the book, looking at the pictures, and then determining if you have enough interest in the legends of Rome and their historical implications to sustain you through three hundred pages.
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