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Beginner's Guide: Study

We encourage everyone to learn more. Only a tiny sliver of classical literature survives, but there is a lot of information there, especially when an effort is made to sort it out and understand it in its own terms. Both books and online resources are important for our work of reconstruction.

Online sources

Online resources include journals, databases and texts. A list of online resources is now maintained here.

The False - Door: dissolution and becoming in Roman wall-painting by Maurice Owen is "the first publication in 250 years to analyse the symbolic content of Roman wall-painting", from the point of view of Roman religion. No kidding! This concise online essay will change the way you view Roman painting!


Important References 

The latest generation of scholarly work are free of the cultural biases of the past. These are all excellent books with sound, modern scholarship.

0253216605.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgAn Introduction to Roman Religion 
John Scheid, Janet Lloyd (Translator). (2003). Indiana University Press. (ISBN 0253216605). This is an English translation of the book La Religion des Romains(ISBN 2200263775). This book is a must for all those who wish to know what theReligio Romana was and how it was practiced. It is written in the form of a manual, a small book, very easy to read, with lots of notes, quotations and illustrations.

0521316820.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgReligions of Rome, (2 Volumes) 
Mary Beard, John North & Simon Price. (1998). Paperback. Volume I (ISBN0521316820) is a history from early Rome down to the Christian emperors (the last chapter). Volume 2 (ISBN 0521456460) is a source-book with lots of pictures, including calendar, religious places, festivals and ceremonies, sacrifices and divination.

0195142330.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgDictionary of Roman Religion 
Lesley Adkins, Roy A. Adkins. (1995). ISBN 0195142330. Paperback. An excellent resource for general knowledge or just to look up that obscure temple or God. Includes a very good bibliography.

1585100307.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgRoman Religion: A Sourcebook 
Valerie Warrior. (2002). Focus Publishing. ISBN 1585100307.  English translations of key source materials. The ancient sources are to be viewed with the utmost respect as the primary means by which an accurate understanding of the past may be gained.

Important Primary Sources

"Primary sources" means the actual ancient literature itself. These are some very good English translations of a few of the very important documents that have survived to our time.

0199540063.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgCicero: De Natura Deorum
A philosophical dialog that displays the attitude towards the gods of the Stoic, Epicurean and Platonic (New Academy) schools of Cicero's day. This book is important as part of Cicero's program of giving Latin a philosophical vocabulary equivalent to that of Greek.

Cato: De Agri Cultura
A rather haphazard collection of things useful to Roman farmers of the mid-2nd century BCE. Cato is an important source for Roman ritual; he gives instructions and texts, making this essential for reconstructionists. (Still trying to find a good, modern, English translation.)

0140446907.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpgOvid: Fasti
A poem-calendar that details many festivals and many ideas about the gods. It covers only the first half of the year, unfortunately. The new A. S. Kline translation is online.