This book was first published in 1996 by Facts On File. Although many dictionaries of classical mythology existed, we felt there was a great need for one on the many aspects of ancient Roman religion, such as priesthoods, sacrifices, temples, altars, cult objects, burial rites, superstition and magic, as well as the numerous deities and religions. Over 1,400 entries and 120 of our own line drawings and photographs are accompanied by suggestions for further reading, and an index gives easy access to the topics.This book is now published in paperback by Oxford University Press.
‘Lesley and Roy Adkins have succeeded in producing a clear and informative work of reference…. and I welcome its addition to both my library and personal bookshelves’ (Miranda J. Green in The Antiquaries Journal)
‘Dictionary of Roman Religion is a splendid volume on all the gods that the Romans ever worshipped or invented’ (Current Archaeology)
‘clearly and concisely written and refreshingly free of the unexplicated jargon or terminology that can intimidate novices’ (Choice)’The readable text and inviting layout make this an excellent choice for high school libraries’ (School Library Journal)
‘well written and will be a successful reference work for many classical specialists and the interested reading public’ (Daily News [Bowling Green])
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Excerpt: dictionary entry for ‘Sacrifice, human’
There is little evidence for human sacrifice, although it was practised in exceptional circumstances. Victims were usually paired couples (two men and two women). Following various disasters, a pair of Greeks and a pair of Gauls (two men and two women) were buried alive in the Forum Boarium at Rome, probably in 228 B.C., in accordance with instructions from the Sibylline books. This was repeated in the Forum Boarium after the battle of Cannae in 216 B.C. after consultation of the Sibylline books; Livy (22:57.6) describes this as a most un-Roman rite (minime Romano sacro). In 97 B.C. a senatorial decree outlawed human sacrifice….