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The Cult of Silvanus

A Study in Roman Folk Religion

Series:

Dorcey †

The author collects and analyzes the enormous epigraphic and archaeological evidence for the cult of Silvanus, the Roman god of agriculture and forests. Silvanus is an important focus of investigation because his private and popular character sets him apart from other deities of the state pantheon.
The Cult of Silvanus traces the origin, spread, development and final suppression of the cult. Silvanus' nature as a Roman god and his identification with indigenous deities in the provinces are carefully examined. The evidence for temples, priests, collegia and sacred groves is presented along with a detailed treatment of the god's adherents and iconography.
This study adds to our imperfect knowledge of Roman domestic religion as practised by the lower classes. It challenges the widely-held view that private cult was somehow subordinate or inferior to civic paganism.

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Edited by 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.

Book III of the Sibylline Oracles and its Social Setting

With an Introduction, Translation, and Commentary

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Rieuwerd Buitenwerf

This volume contains a thorough study of the third book of the Sibylline Oracles. This Jewish work was written in the Roman province of Asia sometime between 80 and 40 BCE. It offers insights into the political views of the author and his perception of the relation between Jews and non-Jews, especially in the field of religion and ethics. The present study consists of three parts: 1. introductory questions; 2. a literary analysis of the book, translation, and commentary; 3. the social setting of the book. It aims to further the scholarly use of the third Sibylline book and to improve our knowledge of early Judaism in its Graeco-Roman environment.

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy

Paul G.P. Meyboom

The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.

Kykeon

Studies in Honour of H.S. Versnel

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Edited by H.F.J. Horstmanshoff, H. W. Singor, F. T. Van Straten and J. H. M. Strubbe

A collection of papers with new insights on ancient religion, read at a colloquium in honour of Professor H.S. Versnel ("Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion"). The contributions, presented by nine leading scholars in the field, cover many areas of the religious experience of the Greeks and Romans: myth and ritual (W. Burkert), the gods (F. Zeitlin), cult, festivals, sacrifice. Several papers consider methodological problems and the progress of scholarship; they highlight the contribution of H.S. Versnel to the field. The papers are based on a wide range of sources: pagan and Christian, literary and epigraphical and iconographical.
The collection will fascinate all scholars interested in ancient religion, whether they study malign magic, the Imperial cult or general theory.

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy

Series:

Paul G.P. Meyboom

The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.

Philostorgius

Church History

Series:

Philip Amidon

Philostorgius (born 368 C.E.) was a member of the Eunomian sect of Christianity, a nonconformist faction deeply opposed to the form of Christianity adopted by the Roman government as the official religion of its empire. He wrote his twelve-book Church History, the critical edition of the surviving remnants of which is presented here in English translation, at the beginning of the fifth century as a revisionist history of the church and the empire in the fourth and early-fifth centuries. Sometimes contradicting and often supplementing what is found in other histories of the period, Christian or otherwise, it offers a rare dissenting picture of the Christian world of the time.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

The Early Amazons

Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth

Series:

Josine Blok

The Early Amazons offers a new understanding of the ancient Amazon myth, situating mythical representations in the realm of cultural history.
The first section examines how the Amazons have presented a challenge to views on history, myth and gender in classical mythology from the late eighteenth century up to the impact of structuralism. Topics included are nineteenth-century historiography and the interest in linguistics.
The second section sheds new light on the culture of archaic Greece, offering a coherent assessment of literary and visual representations. Taking mythical narrative as a form of oral storytelling, it shows the emergence of the Amazon motif and its meaning in the world of epic. Iconographical analysis reveals how the visual arts have made a contribution of their own to the imaginary presence of the Amazons.

Dionysos in Classical Athens

An Understanding through Images

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Cornelia Isler-Kerényi

Dionysos, with his following of satyrs and women, was a major theme in a big part of the figure painted pottery in 500-300 B.C. Athens. As an original testimonial of their time, the imagery on these vases convey what this god meant to his worshippers. It becomes clear that - contrary to what is usually assumed - he was not only appropriate for wine, wine indulgence, ecstasy and theatre. Rather, he was present in both the public and private sphere on many, both happy and sad, occasions. In addition, the vase painters have emphasized different aspects of Dionysos for their customers inside and outside of Athens, depending on the political and cultural situation.

Isis on the Nile. Egyptian Gods in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt

Proceedings of the IVth International Conference of Isis Studies, Liège, November 27-29 2008 

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Edited by Laurent Bricault and Miguel John Versluys

The diffusion of the cults of Isis is recently again intensively studied. Research on this fascinating phenomenon has traditionally been characterised by its focus on L'Égypte hors d'Égypte, while developments in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt itself were often seen as belonging to a different domain. This volume tries to overcome that unhealthy dichotomy by studying the cults of Isis in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt itself in relation to developments in the Mediterranean at large. The book not only presents an overview of the most important deities, often based on new or unpublished material, but also pays ample attention to the cultural processes behind Isis on Nile, like relations between style and identity, religious choice, social- and cultural memory and Egypt’s view of its own past.