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In order word 2007 word count option trading clarify the scope and the method of his work, in the "Introduction" R. Religion used in the singular in opposition to the more common plural best connotes the author's original approach. Considering the lack of sacred scriptures, religion in the Greco-Roman world has to be studied through other types of evidence literature, inscriptions and the last part of the introduction is dedicated to presenting such sources, illustrating their nature as well as their limits.
Chapter One, "Identifying Religion in the Greco-Roman World", opens with a discussion of the vocabulary word 2007 word count option trading use in the Greek and Roman world to express religious practices and belief. Offering a brief survey of the linguistic uses of both cultures, the author draws attention to the lack in the Greco-Roman world of a specific term exactly corresponding to "religion" in the modern sense of the word.
This lack betrays an approach to this important sphere of human activity very far removed from the one made popular by the advent of monotheistic religions.
Once the impossibility of an exact linguistic superimposition word 2007 word count option trading been verified, R. For each of them the author first briefly presents the historical events which led them into the Romans' sphere of influence and then describes the peculiarities of local divinities and their cult. A summarizing paragraph reflects on the dynamic tensions between uniformity and diversity, particularization and generalization, continuity and change which were so important in shaping the religious phenomenon in the Greco-Roman world.
Chapter Three, "The Presence of the Gods", explores the way ancient people experienced the divine, concentrating on three specific aspects. The first paragraph is dedicated to exploring the trend of identifying the divine in the natural world to the extent that certain places were considered either as divinities or as dwellings of a deity.
A second feature common to the Greco-Roman tradition is the acknowledgement of superhuman power in direct relation with the gods' deeds and the benefits they were able to grant to their followers. Tightly intertwined with the latter is the manifestation of the gods in people's everyday lives, and the third paragraph offers an overview of the modalities of these encounters as reflected in literary texts and inscriptions.
A partial word 2007 word count option trading to the emphasis on the word 2007 word count option trading encounter with the divine of the previous chapter, Chapter Four, "Religion and Community", aptly serves as a reminder of the social and political dimension of the religious experience in the Greco-Roman world.
Largely building on passages from Aristotle's PoliticsR. In spite of the important role played by cult and belief on a local level, religion greatly contributed to promoting integration and a sense of belonging among citizens of the Roman Empire.
Chapter Five, "Religion and Empire", concentrates on four different phenomena that served this purpose, the first of which was the exchange of ideas and beliefs favoured by travels and pilgrimages to consult oracles, attend religious festivals and visit famous sanctuaries and temples. A similar and word 2007 word count option trading even more word 2007 word count option trading effect was obtained through the relocation and the immigration of people such as slaves, traders, and soldiers from one region of the empire to the word 2007 word count option trading. Identification processes such as the interpretatio romana and syncretism, the latter, in the view of the author, is reserved only to processes involving more complex philosophical and religious elaborations are considered some of the most effective strategies used to create a certain degree of religious unity in the variegated panorama of the Roman empire.
A similar role is then acknowledged for the imperial cult in all its nuanced and locally differentiated manifestations. Chapter Six, "Religious Options", explores all those religious alternatives, including esoteric wisdom, miracle working and mystery cults, which distanced themselves from mainstream practices and belief. Rather than offering a list of these options, the author chooses to articulate his analysis from two perspectives, namely the attractions they exerted on their followers and the advantages they offered.
Chapter Seven, "Roman Religious Policy", deals with the issue of Roman authority and examines the extent to which it intervened and influenced religious matters both by condemning improper behaviour such as atheism and superstition and by imposing specific obligations on the other. After some general considerations, three specific study cases including magic, Judaic tradition and Christianity are scrutinized.
Religious Change in the Roman Empire", offers a partial counterbalance to the lack of a diachronic approach in the rest of the book. It underlines the importance of keeping development and evolution in mind when considering religion in the Roman Empire, offering brief considerations on the development of phenomena such as the imperial cult, the spread of the so-called mystery religions and Christianity. A list of further reading, mostly restricted to bibliography written in or translated into English, is offered at the end of each chapter.
A stimulating tool is represented by the six boxes of text which allow a close encounter with primary sources of literary and epigraphic nature. The need to limit both the size and the cost of the book notwithstanding, a slight increase in their number would have significantly expanded word 2007 word count option trading didactic possibilities of this text. The volume is aptly complemented by two practical glossaries offering essential information on the major deities and the authors and texts cited in the text, as well as by bibliographical references and a general index.
Four maps inserted at the beginning of the volume, illustrating the Roman Empire in the second century CE, Greece and Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa and Western Europe, offer a useful if basic cartographic support which enables a fast identification of areas and centres mentioned in the text.
Eleven black and white pictures illustrate selected objects and monuments among those dealt with in the various chapters. Whereas the book title leads the reader to expect a treatment of Roman religion in the imperial period, 3 the author's decision to favour a synchronic rather than a diachronic approach and his too often recurring identification of the imperial Roman religious practices and belief with main stream Greco-Roman tradition lead to a considerable historical and chronological flattening.
In Chapter Two the regional traditions of the Empire and their toleration and support by imperial authorities are explained by calling into question the "Greco-Roman elite" who "considered it normal for every people to have their own word 2007 word count option trading and religious tradition" The tendency to recognize the presence of the gods in natural phenomena is illustrated by quoting and treating on the same level passages of Hesiod, Seneca and Apuleius, leading only to the correct but also banal conclusion that "water was also very important in the Greco-Roman tradition, as indicated by the high profile of springs and rivers in both myth and cult" or that caves and rocks played an important role in various regions of the Mediterranean In Chapter Four, the tight connections existing between religion and the civic community are sketched out through examples mostly derived from the Greek world, such as the cult of Artemis in Ephesus or Word 2007 word count option trading worship in Athenswhile the relationships within the household, another important seat of religious activity, is outlined on the basis of Aristotle's witness The interference of political authorities in regulating domestic cult is illustrated by appealing to Aristotle and Word 2007 word count option trading, but neither author, in spite of their value in other respects, qualifies as a witness for Roman imperial practice This tendency to flatten the discussion historically to the level of the Greco-Roman tradition is frequent also in the remaining chapters, with a partial exception represented by the more focused Chapter Five.
More disappointing is its inability to offer a detailed and nuanced discussion of the subtle dynamics of change and adaptations influencing religious phenomena once these latter come in word 2007 word count option trading with the new socio-political order imposed by the creation of the empire and with the cultural values spread by the Romanization process in Italy and in word 2007 word count option trading provinces.
The book is clearly written and appears free of typos and misprints. However, there are some formal oddities which disturb the reader and raise some questions. One of them is the excessive use of the verb "to discuss" and the related term "discussion". In addition to creating an unpleasant stylistic feature in its total neglect of variatiothis odd repetition also ends up having some repercussions for the content of the book.
One has in fact the impression that such frequent use of the term, so common in teaching practice where "to discuss" and "discussion" often appear in syllabi and class lectures to mask the simple coverage of a topic by suggesting a more dynamic approachprevents the treatment of an issue from reaching a satisfactory depth while confining it to a mere declaration of intentions.
Another puzzling characteristic is the word 2007 word count option trading use of notes: In spite of all this, thanks to the clarity of its language, the utility of its didactic subsidies, the ability word 2007 word count option trading identify and explain the multiform religious attitudes within the Roman Empire by making use of a variety of evidence, this book, alone or preferably supported by one or more complementary texts, 4 qualifies itself as a good text book for a course on Roman religion, while it will also offer a stimulating reading for the general educated public interested in getting exposure to the subject.
Mikalson, Ancient Greek Religion. Blackwell Ancient Religions, 1. A treatment of the republican period is to be expected in C. Donough, Religion of the Roman Republicannounced in the series list of publications found on R's volume but not mentioned on the publisher's website among the forthcoming volumes.
Price, Religions of Rome 2 vols. Cambridge University Press, ; J. Scheid, An Introduction to Roman Religion.
Edinburgh University Press, ; Clifford Ando ed. Edinburgh University Press, Bryn Mawr Classical Review Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire. Blackwell Ancient Religions, 2. Books Available for Review.
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