The following list offers required readings and choices for the M.A. in Classical Antiquity, Special Field examination in Roman Mythology & Religion. Students are expected to consult with an advisor and finalize a list which will form the basis of their special field examination.

I. Primary Readings

All readings may be done in English. Note that the list assumes that you will devote most of your effort to literary sources. If you wish to devote substantial time to art and archaeology as sources for myth and religion, you may discuss modifications with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Cicero, De Divinatione, De Natura Deorum
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, Books 1-2
  • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, Book 1
  • Firmicus Maternus, On the Error of Profane Religions
  • Virgil, Aeneid
  • Lactantius, Divine Institutes
  • Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History
  • Ovid, Fasti
  • Plutarch, Isis and Osiris
  • Apuleius, Metamorphoses, Book 11
  • Minucius Felix, Octavius
  • Augustine, City of God, Books 4-7, Confessions
  • Beard, Mary, John North, Simon Price, Religions of Rome, Vol. II: A Sourcebook (Cambridge 1999).

II. Introduction: Mythology

A. Required

  • M. Grant, Roman Myths (New York 1971).

B. Choose at least one

  • Bremmer, J. and N.M. Horsfall, Roman Myth and Mythography (London 1987).
  • Cornell, T. J., The Beginnings of Rome. Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 B.C.) (London 1995)
  • Wiseman, T. P., Remus: A Roman Myth (Cambridge 1995).
  • Wiseman, T. P., Unwritten Rome (Exeter 2008).

III. Introduction: Roman Religion

A. Required

  • Beard, Mary, John North, Simon Price, Religions of Rome, Vol. I: A History (Cambridge 1998).

B. Choose at least one

  • Liebeschuetz, J. H. W. G., Continuity and Change in Roman Religion (Oxford 1979).
  • Rüpke, J., ed., A Companion to Roman Religion (Oxford 2007).
  • Scheid, J. An Introduction to Roman Religion (Edinburgh 2003).

IV. Topics in Roman Religion

Choose three items (spanning two different categories) in consultation with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

A. Republican Religion

  • Beard, M., The Roman Triumph (Cambridge, Mass. 2007).
  • Michels, A. K., The Calendar of the Roman Republic (Princeton 1967).
  • Orlin, E., Temples, Religion and Politics in the Roman Republic (Leiden 1997).
  • Scullard, H.H., Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (London 1981).
  • Vermaseren, M. J., Cybele and Attis: the Myth and the Cult (London 1977).
  • Takacs, S. Vestal Virgins, Sibyls and Matrons: Women in Roman Religion (Austin2008).
  • Weinstock, S., Divus Iulius (Oxford 1971).

B. Religion in the Empire

  • Ando, C. The Matter of the Gods: Religion and the Roman Empire (Berkeley, 2008)
  • Ferguson, J., The Religions of the Roman Empire (Cornell 1970).
  • Gradel, I. Emperor Worship and Roman Religion (Oxford, 2002)
  • MacMullen, R. Paganism in the Roman Empire (New Haven 1981).
  • Potter, David, Prophets and Emperors: Human and Divine Authority from Augustus to Theodosius (Cambridge MA and London 1994).
  • Price, Simon, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge 1984).
  • Rives, J. B., Religion and Authority in Roman Carthage from Augustus to Constantine (Oxford 1995).
  • Rives, J. B., Religion in the Roman Empire (Oxford 2007).

C. Eastern Cults

  • Beck, R., The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire (Oxford 2006).
  • Burkert, W. Ancient Mystery Cults (Cambridge, Mass. 1987).
  • Cumont, F. The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism (Chicago 1911).
  • Takacs, S. Isis and Sarapis in the Roman World (Leiden, 1995)
  • Turcan, R., The Cults of the Roman Empire (Oxford 1996).
  • Witt, R.E., Isis in the Ancient World (Johns Hopkins 1997).

D. Late Paganism

  • Elsner, J. and I. Rutherford. Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and early Christian antiquity: seeing the gods (Oxford, 2005)
  • Frede, M. and A. Fowden, eds. Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 1999)
  • Lane Fox, R., Pagans and Christians (London 1986).
  • MacMullen, R. Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (New Haaevn, 1997)
  • Salzman, M., On Roman Time: the Codex-Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity (Berkeley 1990).
  • Frankfurter, D. Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance. (Princeton, 2000)

E. Early Christianity

  • Brown, P. The Rise of Western Christendom, Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000. 2nd ed. (Malden, MA, 2003).
  • Cain, A. and N. Lenski (eds). The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity (Farnham, 2009)
  • Frank, G. The memory of the eyes : pilgrims to living saints in Christian late antiquity (Berkeley, 2000).
  • Harmless, W. Desert Christians: And Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism (Oxford, 2004)
  • Lee, A.D. Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook (London, 2000)
  • Markus, R.A. The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge 1990).
  • Meeks, W. A., The First Urban Christians. The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven 1983).

F. Magic

  • Bohak, G. Jewish Magic: A History (Cambridge, 2008)
  • Faraone, C. A. and D. Obbink, edd., Magika Hiera: Ancient Greek Magic and Religion (Oxford 1991).
  • Fowden, G., The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind (Cambridge 1986).
  • Gager, J.G., Curse Tablets and Binding Spells (Oxford 1992).
  • Graf, F., Magic in the Ancient World (Cambridge 1997).
  • Luck, G., Arcana Mundi (Johns Hopkins 1985).

V. Myth and Religion in Roman Literature.

Choose one in consultation with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Davies, J. P., Rome’s Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their God (Cambridge 2004).
  • Feeney, D., Literature and Religion at Rome: Cultures, Contexts and Beliefs (Cambridge 1998).
  • Feeney, D., The Gods in Epic: Poets and Critics of the Classical Tradition (Oxford 1991).
  • Fox, M. Roman Historical Myths: The Regal Period in Augustan Literature (Oxford 1996).
  • Levene, D.S., Religion in Livy (London 1993).
  • Newlands, C., Playing with Time: Ovid and the Fasti (Ithaca 1995).

VI. Landmark works

Choose one in consultation with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Brown, P., The Body and Society. Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (New York 1988).
  • Dumezil, G., Archaic Roman Religion, 2 vols. (Chicago 1970).
  • Wiseman, T. P., The Myths of Rome (Exeter 2004).
  • Wallace-Hadrill, A., Rome’s Cultural Revolution (Cambridge 2008)
  • Zanker, Paul, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor 1988).