1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Reading List for Roman Paganism

By

If you're interested in following a Roman Pagan path, there are a number of books that are useful for your reading list. Many Roman Pagans use ancient writings as the basis of their practice, and most modern Roman Pagans value scholarly research as much as they do the spiritual. Some of the books on this list are ancient texts, while others are contemporary analyses of classical Roman magical and religious practice.

1. John Scheid: An Introduction to Roman Religion

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "Written by one of the world's leading scholars of the Roman world, An Introduction to Roman Religion offers students a complete portrait of religion in Rome during the late republic and early empire. It draws on the latest findings in archaeology and history to explain the meanings of rituals, rites, auspices, and oracles, to describe the uses of temples and sacred ground, and to evoke the daily patterns of religious life and observance within the city of Rome and its environs. The text is usefully organized around major themes, such as the origins of Roman religion, the importance of the religious calendar, the structure of religious space, the forms of religious services and rituals, and the gods, priests, and core theologies that shaped religious observance."

2. J Boardman: The Oxford History of the Roman World

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "In less than fifty-three years, Rome subjected most of the known world to its rule. Tracing the rise of Rome from its origins as a cluster of villages to the foundation of the Empire and its consolidation in the first two centuries AD, this book reproduces the text of the acclaimed Oxford History of the Classical World: Rome in a standard paperback form. Written by a team of specialist scholars, it includes chapters on social and political history, the Emperors, art and architecture, and the works of the leading Roman poets, historians, and philosophers. Retaining the original line drawings and maps, this edition contains a new eight-page plate section, specially selected by John Boardman."

3. Daniel Ogden: Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "In a culture where the supernatural possessed an immediacy now strange to us, magic was of great importance both in the literary and mythic tradition and in ritual practice. Recently, ancient magic has hit a high in popularity, both as an area of scholarly inquiry and as one of general, popular interest. In Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds Daniel Ogden presents three hundred texts in new translations, along with brief but explicit commentaries. This is the first book in the field to unite extensive selections from both literary and documentary sources. Alongside descriptions of sorcerers, witches, and ghosts in the works of ancient writers, it reproduces curse tablets, spells from ancient magical recipe books, and inscriptions from magical amulets."

4. Eli Edward Burriss: Taboo, Magic, Spirits

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "A study of primitive elements in Roman religion, this deals with such topics as witchcraft, taboo, incantations, magic, and the superstitions that affected every part of everyday life. Thoroughly well-researched, while avoiding being 'heavy' reading."

5. Valerie Warrior: Roman Religion - A Sourcebook

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "Roman Religion: A Sourcebook provides an introduction to the fundamentals of ancient Roman religious beliefs and rituals through a rich collection of ancient source readings. The ancient sources are to be viewed with utmost respect as the primary means by which an accurate understanding of the past may be gained. By contrasting Roman action and opinion with our own, we may come to better understand ourselves and the culture in which we live. The book includes maps, glossary, a chronological table and lists of important gods."

6. Robert Turcan: The Cults of the Roman Empire

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "This book is about the multiplicity of gods and religions that characterized the Roman world before Constantine. It was not the noble gods such as Jove, Apollo and Diana, who were crucial to the lives of the common people in the empire, bur gods of an altogether more earthly, earth level, whose rituals and observances may now seem bizarre. As well as being of wide general interest, this book will appeal to students of the Roman Empire and of the history of religion."

7. Simon Baker: Ancient Rome - The Rise and Fall of An Empire

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "Ancient Rome is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Focusing on six turning points in Roman history, Simon Baker's absorbing narrative charts the rise and fall of a political machine unmatched in its brutality, genius, and lust for power. From the conquest of the Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC to the destruction of the empire at the hands of barbarian invaders 700 years later, we discover the pivotal episodes in Roman history. At the heart of this account are some of the most powerful rulers in history—men like Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, and Constantine."

8. Thomas Bulfinch: Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

From the publisher: "Vivid, classic retellings of the myths of Greece and Rome, along with stories of the Norse gods and heroes. Zeus and Hera, Apollo, Jason and the golden fleece, the wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas, the deeds of Thor, many more seminal stories underlying Western culture."

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.