The polytheistic religious systems of ancient Greece and Rome reveal an imaginative attitude towards the construction of the divine. One of the most important instruments in this process was certainly the visualisation. Images of the gods transformed the divine world into a visually experienceable entity, comprehensible even without a theoretical or theological superstructure. For the illiterates, images were together with oral traditions and rituals the only possibility to approach the idea of the divine; for the intellectuals, images of the gods could be allegorically transcended symbols to reflect upon. Based on the art historical and textual evidence, this volume offers a fresh view on the historical, literary, and artistic significance of divine images as powerful visual media of religious and intellectual communication.
Etruscans were deemed “the most religious of men” by their Roman successors and it is hardly surprising that the topic of Etruscan religion has been explored for some time now. This volume offers a contribution to the continued study of Etruscan religion and daily life, by focusing on the less explored issue of ritual. Ritual is approached through fourteen case studies, considering mortuary customs, votive rituals and other religious and daily life practices. The book gathers new material, interpretations and approaches to the less emphasized areas of Etruscan religion, especially its votive aspects, based on archaeological and epigraphic sources.
Reliance on essentialist or syncretistic models of cultural dynamics has limited past evaluations of ancient Jewish populations. This reexamination of evidence for Jews of North Africa offers an alternative approach. Drawing from methods developed in cultural studies and historical linguistics, this book replaces traditional categories used to examine evidence for early Jewish populations and demonstrates how direct comparison of Jewish material evidence with that of its neighbors allows for a reassessment of what the category of “Jewish” might have meant in different North African locations and periods and, by extension, elsewhere in the Mediterranean. The result is a transformed analysis of Jewish cultural identity that both emphasizes its indebtedness to larger regional contexts and allows for a more informed and complex understanding of Jewish cultural distinctiveness.