- Hardcover: 478 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 13, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521304016
- ISBN-13: 978-0521304016
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,122,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Religions of Rome: Volume 1, A History Hardcover – July 13, 1998
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"Finally, someone has written a readable history of the complex subject of Roman Religion. Beard, North and Price, professors from Cambridge, University College London and Oxford respectively, bring a wealth of expertise to the project, but their approach is, in their own terms `radical'. Throughout, this book is authoritative, well organized, interesting and eminently readable. It is highly recommended as a background to the important subject of religion as it is manifested in numismatic imagery." Wayne G. Sayles, The Celator
"Religions of Rome is a major work from a major press that will likely be widely read and cited for years to come. Often, it is worthy of such a status." The Journal of Religion
"A handsome, impressively illustrated two-volume set..." Lingua Franca
This book offers a radical new survey of more than a thousand years of religious life at Rome, from the foundation of the city to its rise to world empire and its conversion to Christianity. It sets religion in its full cultural context, between the primitive hamlet of the eight century BC and the cosmopolitan, multicultural society of the first centuries of the Christian era. The companion volume, Religions of Rome 2: A Sourcebook, sets out a wide range of documents, richly illustrating the religious life in the Roman world.
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Top customer reviews
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.