Roman Reconstructionist Paganism

Roman Reconstructionism is a modern Pagan religious movement that bases its worship and cultic practices on the polytheistic pre-Christian Religio found in Rome and in surrounding cities and tribes.

As with any reconstructed religion, followers of the Religio refer first to primary sources (such as Ovid) and to historical and archaeological evidence. Some concessions are made to modern sensibilities. It is important to note that the Religion Romana is not simply Greek religion with Latinized names. While the Romans did indeed draw from Greek practices over the course of the religion's development, their gods and their rituals were uniquely Roman, from the household lararium to the complex State religion.

The Religio was a flexible entity, and the Roman pantheon often absorbed and renamed deities with which it came in contact. This syncretism should not be mistaken for eclecticism. The addition of unrelated cultural practices (as opposed to historical syncretism) to the Religio is not acceptable.

Reconstruction of the Religio is not an attempt to recreate Roman society.

Suggested Reading

(Links are to book pages at Amazon.com and may not be to the specific printing listed.)

Primary Sources


H. B. Ash (Translator), Marcus Porcius Cato on Agriculture: Marcus Terentius Varro on Agriculture (Harvard University Press). Unrivaled if you want to lift a ritual straight out of the text.

Ovid, Fasti (Loeb Classical Library). Ovid's poem is a quick and fairly accurate idea of what was celebrated in 1st Century Rome. Deals only with the first half of the calendar - January to June.

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 1-8 (Loeb Classical Library).
Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 9-15 (Loeb Classical Library). Metamorphoses provides good background from the dawn of creation down to the transfiguration of Caesar's soul into a star as well as material for prayers and hymns.

Gellius, The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius (Loeb Classical Library). Provides anecdotal information about Roman religion.

Horace, The Odes and Epodes (Loeb Classical Library). Good background as well, as material for prayers, hymns and circumstantial details about Roman worship.

Gilbert Lawall and Betty Nye Quinn, The Aulularia of Plautus: The Pot of Gold (Addison-Wesley). Good background as well, as material for prayers, hymns and circumstantial details about Roman worship.

Academic Sources


Lesley & Roy A. Adkins, Dictionary of Roman Religion (Oxford University Press) Over 1,400 entries and 120 line drawings covering many aspects of ancient Roman religion, such as deities, priesthoods, sacrifices, temples, altars, cult objects, burial rites, superstition and magic.

Lesley & Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome (Oxford University Press). The archaeology and ancient history of Rome and its empire from the 8th century BCE to the 5th century CE.

Mary Beard, John North and Simon Price, Religions of Rome, Volume 1: A History (Cambridge University Press). A new survey of more than a thousand years of religious life in Rome, setting religion in its cultural context.

Mary Beard, John North and Simon Price, Religions of Rome, Volume 2: A Sourcebook (Cambridge University Press). This volume presents a wide range of documents illustrating religious life in the Roman world.

Selected Links


Ancient Classical History - Primary Sources -- An About.com site listing many ancient texts, some in their entirety.

The Perseus Digital Libraries -- A large site of classical sources and other information.

Roman Neo-Pagan Calendar -- A site listing the many festivals associated with the Roman calendar.

Temple of Iuppiter -- Web site where visitors can leave public prayers to the God Iuppiter (Jupiter).

Organizations


Nova Roma -- A group dedicated to the restoration of Classical Roman religion.

SVR Collegium Religionis -- A group dedicated to the restoration of Classical Roman religion.

Mailing Lists


Religio Romana -- Official email list of the Collegium Pontificum of Nova Roma for the discussion of all aspects of the Religio Romana both theoretical and practical.

Mithras -- An email list that discusses all aspects of the Roman Mithraic Mysteries.

Weblogs


Rogueclassicism -- A daily weblog devoted to Classics and ancient Greek and Roman history maintained by David Meadows, editor of the Explorator newsletter.

We would like to thank Cinnabari for providing much of the information, references, and many of the links used in this page.
Interesting Books

 

Dictionary of Roman Religion cover illo

Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome cover illo

Religions of Rome, Volume 1: A History cover illo

Religions of Rome, Volume 2: A Sourcebook cover illo

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The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is looking for volunteers to help expand this site's material on Roman Reconstructionism. Most of the articles and features on this site have a strong Wiccan or general Neo-Pagan flavor because most of the articles and features we have been given are written by knowledgeable Wiccan or general Neo-Pagan authors. If you'd like to see some of your original articles and book reviews on Roman Reconstructionism published on this site, please contact Randall.

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