Roman MythsBook - 1993
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.
Publisher: Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 1993
Characteristics: 80 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm