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Author: David Walsh
In The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity David Walsh explores how the cult of Mithras developed across the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. and why by the early 5th century the cult had completely disappeared. Contrary to the traditional narrative that the cult was violently persecuted out of existence by Christians, Walsh demonstrates that the cult’s decline was a far more gradual process that resulted from a variety of factors. He also challenges the popular image of the cult as a monolithic entity, highlighting how by the 4th century Mithras had come to mean different things to different people in different places.
This book examines the dress and personal appearance of members of the middle and lower classes in the eastern Mediterranean region during the 4th to 8th centuries. Written, art historical and archaeological evidence is assessed with a view to understanding the way that cloth and clothing was made, embellished, cared for and recycled during this period.
Beginning with an overview of current research on Roman dress, the book looks in detail at the use of apotropaic and amuletic symbols and devices on clothing before examining sewing and making methods, the textile industry and the second-hand clothing trade. The final chapter includes detailed information on the making and modelling of exact replicas based on extant garments.
This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.
Author: Henk Versnel
Inspired by a critical reconsideration of current monolithic approaches to the study of Greek religion, this book argues that ancient Greeks displayed a disquieting capacity to validate two (or more) dissonant, if not contradictory, representations of the divine world in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive manner. From this perspective the six chapters explore problems inherent in: order vs. variety/chaos in polytheism, arbitrariness vs. justice in theodicy, the peaceful co-existence of mono- and polytheistic theologies, human traits in divine imagery, divine omnipotence vs. limitation of power, and ruler cult. Based on an intimate knowledge of ancient realia and literary testimonia the book stands out for its extensive application of relevant perceptions drawn from cultural anthropology, theology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics.
Papers from the International Conference held at the University of Zaragoza, 30 Sept. – 1st Oct. 2005
How different was the practice of magic in the Latin West from that of the eastern Mediterranean basin? Was it just derivative from Greek practice, or did it have its own originality? The recent discovery of important new curse-tablets in Mainz and in the Fountain of Anna Perenna at Rome has made the question newly topical. This volume contains the first commented editions in English of most of these new texts as well as major surveys of new prayers for justice. Other sections are devoted to the discourse of magic in the West, to the linguistics and aims of cursing, and to the major field of protective and eudaemonic magic up to and including the Visigothic slates and the Celtic loricae. The essays are by well-known scholars in the field as well as by established and younger Spanish scholars.
Editors: Paul Mirecki and Marvin Meyer
This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptic and Islamic Egypt.
The strength of the present volume lies in the breadth of scholarly approaches represented. The book begins with several papyrological studies presenting important new texts in Greek and Coptic, continuing with essays focusing on taxonomy and definition. The concluding essays apply contemporary theories to analyses of specific test cases in a broad variety of ancient Mediterranean cultures.
Studies in Ancient Divination
This book thoroughly revisits divination as a central phenomenon in the lives of ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. It collects studies from many periods in Graeco-Roman history, from the Archaic period to the late Roman, and touches on many different areas of this rich topic, including treatments of dice oracles, sortition in both pagan and Christian contexts, the overlap between divination and other interpretive practices in antiquity, the fortunes of independent diviners, the activity of Delphi in ordering relations with the dead, the role of Egyptian cult centers in divinatory practices, and the surreptitious survival of recipes for divination by corpses. It also reflects a range of methodologies, drawn from anthropology, history of religions, intellectual history, literary studies, and archaeology, epigraphy, and paleography. It will be of particular interest to scholars and student of ancient Mediterranean religions.
Editors: Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki
This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptology.
Throughout the book the essays examine the terms employed in descriptions of ancient magic. From this examination comes a clarification of magic as a polemical term of exclusion but also an understanding of the classical Egyptian and early Greek conceptions of magic as a more neutral category of inclusion.
This book should prove to be foundational for future scholarly studies of ancient magic and ritual power.

This publication has also been published in hardback (no longer available).
Evidence of Cultural Interaction in the Roman Diaspora
Author: L.V. Rutgers
It was long believed that Roman Jews lived in complete isolation. This book offers a refutation of this thesis. It focuses on the Jewish community in third and fourth-century Rome, and in particular on how this community related to the larger, non-Jewish world that surrounded it. Jewish archaeological remains and Jewish funerary inscriptions from Rome are examined from various angles, and compared to pagan and early Christian material and epigraphical remains. The author has shown great comprehensiveness, thoroughness, and accuracy in examining this epigraphic evidence. He also discusses the enigmatic legal treatise called the Collatio.
This volume proposes a new way in which the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in late antiquity can be studied. As such, it is an important and useful addition to the literature on Roman Jewry in the middle Empire.
Author: Henk Versnel
This is the first of a two-volume collection of studies in inconsistencies in Greek and Roman religion. Their common aim is to argue for the historical relevance of various types of ambiguity and dissonance. The first volume focuses on the central paradoxes in ancient henotheism. The term 'henotheism' -- a modern formation after the stereotyped acclamation: #EIS O QEOS# ("one is the god"), common to early Christianity and contemporaneous paganism -- denotes the specific devotion to one particular god without denying the existence of, or even cultic attention to, other gods. After its prime in the twenties and thirties of this century the term fell into disuse. Nonetheless, the notion of henotheism represents one of the most remarkable and significant shifts in Graeco-Roman religion and hence deserves fresh reconsideration.