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Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy

Evidence and Experience

Edited by Edward Bispham, Christopher Smith


Challenging the view that early Roman religions were conservative and ritualistic

The early religions of Rome have been the subject of perennial fascination, and considerable study. Roman religion has conveniently been seen as conservative and ritualistic, whose observances were kept for reasons of pragmatism rather than inspired by emotion and faith. This view is challenged in this book, which reflects the new interest and excitement in studies of Roman religion.

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Preface; List of contributors; List of abbreviations; List of figures

1. Introduction, Edward Bispham

2. An anthropologist's view of ritual, Nicole Bourque

3. Tuscan order: the development of Etruscan sanctuary, Vedia Izzet

4. Sacred Rubbish, Fay Glinister

5. Some thoughts on the 'religious romanisation' of Italy before the Social War, Olivier de Cazanove

6. From Concordia to the Quirinal: notes on religion and politics in mid-republican/hellenistic Rome, Emmanuele Curti

7. Prophet and text in the third century BC, J. A. North

8. The games of Hercules, T. P. Wiseman

9. Looking beyond the civic compromise: religious pluralism in late republican Rome, Andreas Bendlin

10. Worshipping Mater Matuta: ritual and context, Christopher Smith

Notes; Bibliography; Index 

About the Author

Edward Bispham is Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History, Brasenose College, Oxford.

Christopher Smith is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews.


A most stimulating book
this is a book that students of early Roman religion should read thoroughly and carefully. There is much here that is exciting…. The articles in this volume will surely spark dialogue and further research
The contributors have managed to write interesting and innovative chapters, and the book as a whole emerges as a counter to those who have downplayed elements like belief and emotion in the study of Roman religion in recent years."
The articles in this volume are well-written and the authors and editors have evidently taken care to ensure that their work is accessible to the widest possible audience. The majority of the papers contain a convenient appraisal of the current state of research including appropriate theoretical approaches…this is a volume that should be read by anyone with a serious interest in the religious history of archaic and republican Rome."

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