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Monographs on Roman religion: the big books of our field

April 22, 2018

There is no systematic history of Roman religious studies. Most of the studies were focusing on the 19th century or the 20th century and their dominant personalities, biographies, correspondances. Important to highlight the contributions of Corinne Bonnet, C. Robert Phillips III and  James B. Rives.

9783406034060-usDuring the 20th century there were at least 20 big books on Roman religion, each of them presenting original methods and approaches on the same topic, however few of these became paradigmatic. The first big book – and one of the most influential one – was the monumental work of Georg Wissowa from 1902 (second edition n 1912). His work was followed by important monographs by Vsevolod Basanoff[1], Albert Grenier[2], Herbert J. Rose[3], Franz Altheim[4], Jean Bayet[5], Kurt Latte[6], Georges Dumezil[7], John Fergusson[8], Robert Schilling[9], Robert Turcan[10] , Mary Beard-John North-Simon Price, John North and John Scheid[11]. From these 41P6jka-blL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_books, the most popular and paradigmatic work was that of Beard-North-Price from 1998, which is still one of the best manuals on Roman religion. Since the early 2000′ Jörg Rüpke and Clifford Ando produced numerous important works on Roman religion. Jörg Rüpke’s introduction on Roman religion from 2007 and the companion edited by him from the same year was also a paradigmatic work. His most recent synthesis on Roman religion presents a radically new approach on the topic, in slight contrast with Scheid’s  new work.




[1] V. Basanoff: Les dieux des Romains, Paris, 1942.

[2] A. Grenier: La religion romaine. In: Les religions de l’Europe ancienne III, Paris, 1948, 81-233.

[3] H. J. Rose: Ancient Roman religion, New York, 1948.

[4] F. Altheim: Römische Religionsgeschichte, Baden-Baden, 1951-3.

[5] J. Bayet: Histoire politique et psychologique de la religion romaine, Paris, 1957.

[6] K. Latte: Römische Religionsgeschichte, München, 1961.

[7] G. Dumezil: La religion romaine archaïque, Paris, 1966.

[8] J. Fergusson: The Religions of the Roman Empire, London, 1970.

[9] R. Schilling: Rites, cultes, Dieux de Rome, Paris, 1979.

[10] R. Turcan: The cults of the Roman Empire, New York, 1997.

[11] J. Scheid: La religion des Romains. Paris, 1998.


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