This book introduces students to the complex and foreign world of Roman religion and to major trends in its study.
Praised in the Enlightenment for its supposed tolerance, it has been vilified for persecuting the early Christians.
It professed a profound conservatism and yet received myths from Greece and Asia and gods from every corner of the Empire.
Clifford Ando presents fourteen papers on central topics in the study of Roman religion and its connections with Roman literature, history and culture.
Subjects treated include the nature and development of religious authority and religious institutions; the control of space and time; and religion's role in fashioning Roman identity.
Also under discussion is the narration and analysis of Rome's transition from Republic to Empire.
In introducing the volume and its individual parts, Clifford Ando considers issues of method and substance arising from the study of Roman religion and places each chapter in context.
His selection of papers illustrates a range from approaches from Europe, Britain and America during a century of scholarship.
Four papers are published in English for the first time. The book includes a chronology, biographical dictionary, glossary and guide to further reading; all passages of ancient languages are translated.