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Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
With this analysis of Sol images, Steven E. Hijmans paints a new picture of the solar cult in ancient Rome. The paucity of literary evidence led Hijmans to prioritize visual sources, and he opens this study with a thorough discussion of the theoretical and methodological issues involved. Emphasizing the danger of facile equivalencies between visual and verbal meanings, his primary focus is Roman praxis, manifest in, for instance, the strict patterning of Sol imagery. These patterns encode core concepts that Sol imagery evoked when deployed, and in those concepts we recognize the bedrock of Rome’s understandings of the sun and his cult. Case studies illustrate these concepts in action and the final chapter analyzes the historical context in which previous, now discredited views on Sol could arise.

This is volume II of a two-volume set.
With this analysis of Sol images, Steven E. Hijmans paints a new picture of the solar cult in ancient Rome. The paucity of literary evidence led Hijmans to prioritize visual sources, and he opens this study with a thorough discussion of the theoretical and methodological issues involved. Emphasizing the danger of facile equivalencies between visual and verbal meanings, his primary focus is Roman praxis, manifest in, for instance, the strict patterning of Sol imagery. These patterns encode core concepts that Sol imagery evoked when deployed, and in those concepts we recognize the bedrock of Rome’s understandings of the sun and his cult. Case studies illustrate these concepts in action and the final chapter analyzes the historical context in which previous, now discredited views on Sol could arise.

This is part I of a two-part set.
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume I
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume II
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume II
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume II
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume II
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume I
In: Sol: Image and Meaning of the Sun in Roman Art and Religion, Volume I