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Roman Myths

Roman Myths

Paperback Legendary Past

By (author) Jane F Gardner

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  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Format: Paperback | 80 pages
  • Dimensions: 172mm x 240mm x 7mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 1 January 1994
  • Publication City/Country: Austin, TX
  • ISBN 10: 0292727682
  • ISBN 13: 9780292727687
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: Univ of Texas PR ed.
  • Sales rank: 1,266,490

Product description

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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Review quote

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.

Back cover copy

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.