Chapter

Interpretatio Romana

Clifford Ando

in The Matter of the Gods

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520250833
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933651 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520250833.003.0003
Interpretatio Romana

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The terms interpretation Graeca and interpretation Romana commonly refer to the “broad identification among Greeks and Romans of a foreign godhead with a member of their own pantheons.” These identifications are generally studied at the level of naming. The problem of identification lies within recognizing and theorizing the identity of gods across landscapes and linguistic and iconographic traditions. The phrase interpretation Romana occurred in extant Latin literature only once in a famous passage of Tacitus' Germania.Interpretation Romana has generally been studied not for what it reveals about a specifically Roman form of polytheism, or, in particular, about its epistemic and linguistic premises, but rather as a phenomenon of religion in the provinces of the empire.

Keywords: interpretation; iconographic traditions; interpretation Romana; Tacitus; identification

Chapter.  6623 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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