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Roman Myths

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The myths of the Romans are rather different from those of other ancient cultures, such as the Greeks or the Egyptians. Most Roman myths do not consist of stories about the gods and their actions, nor were they presented as fictional, magic stories. Ancient writers such as Livy, Virgil, and Ovid treated myths as history: the history of Rome itself, of its rituals and religious practices, and of important, noble Roman families. Myths were valued as exempla--illustrations of moral...
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Overview

The myths of the Romans are rather different from those of other ancient cultures, such as the Greeks or the Egyptians. Most Roman myths do not consist of stories about the gods and their actions, nor were they presented as fictional, magic stories. Ancient writers such as Livy, Virgil, and Ovid treated myths as history: the history of Rome itself, of its rituals and religious practices, and of important, noble Roman families. Myths were valued as exempla--illustrations of moral truths.
Many myths centered around the founding of the city of Rome, such as those of Aeneas, Romulus and Remus, and the (largely imaginary) Seven Kings. Others provided models of virtuous behavior by citizens or added luster to family histories. The protagonists were often male, but sometimes female. Lucretia, who killed herself to expunge the shame of being raped and helped precipitate the founding of the Roman Republic, was a heroine who has exercised a particular fascination on later writers and artists. Still other myths grew up around particular deities (mostly Greek) who were taken into the Roman pantheon at different times or provided "historical" explanations for cult activities or festivals such as Lupercalia.
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Editorial Reviews

Classical World
Gardner, in Roman Myths, distills Roman mythological narratives drawn from numerous primary sources, and presents a coherent, tightly configured end product suitable for readers in high school and first-year college.... This book is very well done, eminently useful in a nascent setting and could be an excellent spring board in a Latin class where background lectures conjoin with reading standard authors, such as Ovid, Vergil, Horace, or Cicero.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292727687
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: Legendary past Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane F. Gardner is a senior lecturer, department of classics, University of Reading and curator of the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology.
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Table of Contents

Map
Introduction
Aeneas and the destiny of Rome
Founding fathers: Romulus and the kings of Rome
The hero and the state
Legendary ladies
Some gods old and new
Cults and festivals
Conclusion
Suggestions for further reading
Index
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