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Book on Religio Romana

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 3:08 am
by Quintus Servilius Priscus
I don't know if it has been mentioned here or not but there is a wonderful
book on the Religio named "An Introduction to Roman Religion by
John Scheid". It is available on It is a real good book that
can be used as a text book.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:54 pm
by Cleopatra Aelia
Salve Quinte,

I guess I have the French version of this book "La Religion des Romains". Yes, it's a good introduction into this topic but if you wanna go further/more indepth then it's hard to find any literature on this subject.

I was recommended recently "Religions of Rome" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Mary Beard and have put it on my wish list by amazon. Does anyone know these books and could tell me about it. Or could anyone recommend something else.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:15 pm
by Quintus Pomponius Atticus
Salve Cleopatra Aelia,

Scheid and Beard are indeed the best recent introductory works on Roman religion.

The Bibliotheca Classica Selecta ( calls Beard's work "the best general presentation in English" and also gives its table of contents :

VOL. I (text) : 1. Early Rome; 2. Imperial triumph and religious change; 3. Religion in the late republic; 4. The place of religion: Rome in the early Empire; 5. The boundaries of Roman religion; 6. The religions of imperial Rome; 7. Roman religion and Roman Empire; 8. Roman religion and christian emperors: fourth and fifth centuries; Bibliography.

VOL. II (sourcebook) : 1. Earliest Rome; 2. The deities of Rome; 3. The calendar; 4. Religious places; 5. Festivals and ceremonies; 6. Sacrifices; 7. Divination and diviners; 8. Priests and priestesses; 9. Individuals and gods: life and death; 10. Rome outside Rome; 11. Threats to the Roman order; 12. Religious groups; 13. Perspectives.

For a fine bibliography on Roman religion, see "Introduction bibliographique à la religion romaine" ( by Françoise Van Haeperen

Vale optime,

Q. Pomponius Atticus

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:05 am
by Aulus Flavius
Salve amici,

Adkins and Adkins have a wonderful book, "The Dictionary of Roman Religion", while it doesn't work on the same introductory basis that Sheid does it has information on supposedly every Roman god, holiday, religious impliment.

Basically if you can think about it it should be in there, incredibly useful reference book.

A. Flavius

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:51 am
by Lucius Tyrrhenus Garrulus

Why is there such a lack of sources on the Religio Romana and Roman culture? After all, we have more info on Rome than any other classical civilization. Such a strange contradiction.
Is it because the Romantic Era held up the ancient Greeks as a role model? Or maybe because few schools teach Latin anymore? Anyone know?


PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:35 am
by Horatius Piscinus
Salvete Aelia et omnes

Religions of Rome by Mary Beard et alia is an excellent overview of the transitions in the religio Romana and other religons in Rome. Its volumes have doubled in size, as I have filled them with book marks and notes, since I refer to them nearly every day. Best work on the subject in English. It can, however, be a little more than an introduction. The second volume is a source book, so that you can read excerpts from Roman and Greek authors to whom the first volume refers. That helps, but the book is still written more for someone who already knows something about the religons of Rome.

Another book I would recommend as an introduction to the Religio Romana is Robert Turcan's The Gods of Ancient Rome, its English title. There are overviews he offers with which I have some problems, but over all I find Turcan to be the most insightful of any author.

Scheid's book is an excellent text, well organized to assist in instruction on an introductory level. However, I think it needs to be accompanied by an instructor. Reading Beard and Turcan along with some other things will help overcome some things Scheid has to say.

Adkins and Adkins, sorry mi Flavi, I don't care for them. They are good as a quick reference, but I found they have errors and need to be double checked, and since they do not offer much in providing their sources, they are not very helpful at times. Just me perhaps, but I don't care much for encyclopedia or dictionary form of books. I like books that are well annotated that I may check on the sources cited. If I wanted an author who just tells me what he has to say then I would read fiction. I want to know what he thinks, why he thinks it, and what sources he uses to back up his argument. Then I'll form my own opinion.

And having said that, two Classical works useful for an introductory level on the religio are Ovid's Fasti and the works of Virgil. Find editions that are very well annotated and read the notes.

Valete optime

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:00 pm
by Horatius Piscinus

Here are some other books concerned with the Religio Romana. Some are special subjects while others deal with the religio in context with other subjects in Roman history.

Two books on the Roman festivals of the fasti:
Fowler, W. W. (1899) The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Roman Republic London.
Scullard, H. H. (1981) Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic, London.
Both have commentary that relies on dated interpretations. Fowler wrote before Rose or Dumezil, and instead refers to comparative studies like that of Frazer's Golden Bough. Scullard's comments are filled with Dumezil's ideas. So you need to be wary of some of the interpretations, but the information they present are valuable.

Cornell, T. J. (1995) The Beginnings of Rome New York.
This is a valuable book dealing with many political and religious issuses. It is interesting in that he presents the different sides to each issue, and then gives his reasons for favoring one or another. He refers to archaeological evidence, but interprets it as an historian. You might want to read what some archaeologists have to say.

Some others then:

Baistrocchi, M. (1987) Arcana Urbis Rome.

Beard, M., Crawford, M. (1985) Rome in the Late Republic Ithica

Gager, J. G. (1992) Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World Oxford.

Grandazzi, A. Todd, J. M. (1997) The Foundations of Rome: Myth and History

Kozloff, A. et alii, (1988) The Gods Delight: The Human Figure in Classical Bronze, CMU.

Le Bonniec, H (1958) Le culte de Ceres a Rome

Luck, G. (1985) Arcana Mundi, London.

MacMullen, R. (1981) Paganism in the Roman Empire

Meyer, M. (1987) Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook, New York

Momigliano, A. (1989) Roma Arcaica, Florence

Ogden, D. (2002) Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds, New York.

Rawson, E. (1985) Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic, Baltimore, Md.

Spaeth, B. S. (1996) The Roman Goddess Ceres, Austin, Tx.

Stewart, R. (1998) Public Office in Early Rome, Ann Arbor, Mi.

Toynbee, J. M. C. (1971) Death and Burial in the Roman World, Baltimore.

Turcan, R. trans. Nevill, A. (1996) The Cults of the Roman Empire, Cambridge.

Whitehouse, R. D. (1992) Underground Religion: Cult and Cultus in Prehistoric Italy, London.

And then to dig further:

Corpus Inscritionum Latinarum in 16 vols. (1862) Berlin.
De Romanorum Precationibus, Appel, Geo. (1975) New York
Grammatica Romanae Fragmenta, ed. Funaioli, G. (1969) Stuttgart
Regell, P. (1878) De Augurum Publicorum Libris
Regell, P. (1882) Fragmenta Auguralia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:28 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Salve Piscine

Perhaps we can also add the Religion in Ancient Etruria by Jean-Rene Jannot and Religion of the Etruscans by Nancy Thomson De Grummond. I heard great things about these books.


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:23 pm
by Horatius Piscinus
Salvete Orce et sodales omnes

I haven't heard, what is being used in universities these days in different parts of the world? Flavius in Australia has mentioned some authors I haven't heard about, and I have been told lately of some others used in Bulgaria and Finlandia. So, for any sodales currently at university, can you tell us which university you are at and what books on the religions of Rome, Greece and the Etruscans are being used where you are located?

Valete optime

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:41 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Salve Piscine

Since I don't go to any university, I'm affraid I can't help you out there. Perhaps Mus and my fellow countrymen could answer your question concerning what they use at the university.


Religion in Ancient Etruria by Jean-Rene Jannot

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:55 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus

After reading the book, I must say it is a good introduction to the beliefs and culture of the ancient Etrurians. The book itself isn't that large, but gives enough information without making it hard to read it.
I especially enjoyed the chapters on the Gods and on the divine and how the Etruscans saw the divine and their Gods.
I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn something more about Etruscan religion.


...Ancient Religion of the Etrurians

PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:06 am
by Valerius Claudius Iohanes
Salvete omnes -

Aurelii Orci praeclare, you mention two books but then tell us you have read and can recommend one of them - pray tell, which of the two?
    Religion in Ancient Etruria by Jean-Rene Jannot?

    Or Religion of the Etruscans by Nancy Thomson De Grummond?

In any case, I shall be checking out both on Amazon.

Multas tibi gratias ago. Omnibusque,


PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:04 am
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Well I have only read Religion in ancient Etruria by Jean-Rene Jannot and it is a fairly decent book on Etruscan religion. I can recommend both books on the subject, since I heard that the other book is good as well. I'm meaning to buy the other, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.


Fowler, W. W. (1899) The Roman Festivals of the Period of th

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:06 pm
by C.AeliusEricius
I just wanted to say that the Fowler book has recently been republished in trade paperback format. Costs less than an 1899 original, and much less fragile.

Valete bene.