Chapter

<i>A Feature of Roman Religion</i><sup>†</sup>

Arthur Darby Nock

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615650.003.0024
A Feature of Roman Religion†

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The myth of a mythless Rome has had an especially pernicious influence on the discussion of Roman religion, for two reasons. On the one hand, the studies of myth in general, and of myth and religion in particular, have been enormously fruitful areas of research both inside and outside classical studies; but within Classics, Romanists have had to watch with envy as their Hellenist colleagues came to view the religion of Greece as coterminous with its myths and rituals. That view of archaic religion produced a fatal syllogism: religion lies somewhere at the nexus of myth and ritual; Rome had no native myths; therefore Rome had no religion. In no small measure, scholarship in this vein has sustained a fallacy which originated in an ideologically motivated misconstrual: namely, the insistence that ‘rites’ are merely enactments or performances of ‘rituals’.

Keywords: myth; Rome; religion; Classics; Romanists; Greece; rituals; rites

Chapter.  7801 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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