To undestand the success of the Romans you must understand their piety. Dionysius of Halicarnassus. For over a thousand years, Roman religion satisfied the spiritual needs of a wide range of peoples throughout the empire, because is offered an intelligent and dignified interpretation of how the world functions. It was a firm, yet tolerant, religion whose adherents committed very few crimes in its name and who were healthily free of neuroses. In this short, perceptive study of Roman religious life between 80 BC and AD 69, Professor Ogilvie shows how intimately involved were the Roman gods with human activities. Drawing widely on original material (all of it quoted in translation), he tells us how the Romans prayed, what happened at a sacrifice, what sort of gods they believed in, and how seriously they took their religion - a religion in which actions, , not dogma, was paramount.
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(216mm x 138mm x 10mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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UK Kirkus Review »
An amiable book, but one that is seriously out-of-date. We cannot blame the author who has been dead for 20 years, but the publishers should at least have made the Map legible! The text is now 30 years old, and it shows. This is specifically an examination of the Roman State religion, from its agricultural origins, and on through the Greek-inspired Olympic tradition to the beginnings of Emperor-worship with the age of Augustus. Professor Ogilvie writes clearly about Roman attitudes to their gods, the importance of prayer and sacrifice, the roles of priests and their cults - though with a heavy Christian overlay that is at odds with the more neutral appreach of modern scholarship. What he does not cover are the other religions current in the Rome of this period such as Isis and Cybele, the soldiers' god Mithras, or even Christianity! For a wider view readers should turn to an author like Mary Beard, or to The Cults of the Roman Empire by Robert Turcan. Review by LINDSEY DAVIS (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - R.M. Ogilvie
R.M. Ogilvie, Headmaster of Tonbridge from 1970 to 1975, was Professor of Humanities at the University of St Andrews until his death in 1981, at the age of 49.