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Drawn from the acclaimed Oxford Classical Dictionary, The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion offers a fully rounded guide to all aspects of religious life and thought in ancient Greece and Rome. Highly authoritative, this new book covers not only Greek mythologies and Roman festivals, but also devotes attention to topics such as Greek and Roman religious places, monuments, authors and texts, religious organization, imagery, divination, astrology, and magic. Unlike many other references on ancient Greece and Rome, the Dictionary also includes many entries on Judaism and Christianity in the classical world.
The editors, area advisors for the third edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary, have selected, revised, edited, and in some instances completely recast a large number of entries from the OCD to create this handy and accessible reference. The main text is supplemented by an important introductory essay providing overviews of mythology, religious pluralism in the ancient world, and the reception of myths from antiquity to the present. In addition to a helpful thematic index and extensive cross-references, the text is further supported by three maps and six genealogies.
Backed by the authority and scholarly rigor of the renowned Oxford Classical Dictionary, The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion is a valuable A-Z reference and is as ideal a tool for students and teachers of ancient history as it is for all classics lovers.
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Simon Price has been teaching Ancient History at Oxford since 1981 and is the author of numerous books on religion in ancient Greece and Rome. He has worked extensively on ancient religions, primarily Greek and Roman, but he is also interested in the relations between those religions and Judaism and Christianity. Emily Kearns has held various teaching appointments in Oxford and London since 1990 and has been lecturer in Classical Languages and Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford.
The content of this encyclopedia is a selection of entries from the third edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary (3d ed., 1996). The entries are broad in range, covering not just mythology but also "religious places and religious officials, divination, astrology, and magic." In addition, there are many entries on Judaism and Christianity, providing broader context to religious life in the Greco-Roman world.
Although entries have been taken from The Oxford Classical Dictionary, changes have been made. Some entries have been shortened. Untransliterated Greek, references to ancient texts within the body of an entry, and what the editors term obscure language have been deleted. Supplemental bibliographies have also been eliminated, although entries for individuals (e.g., Hecuba, poseidon) often conclude with some references to their appearance in ancient texts by such authors as Homer, Hesiod, and Livy. The work also includes a short annotated bibliography to serve as a guide for further reading. An introductory essay describes local, Panhellenic, and Roman myths and their reception throughout history. A thematic index groups entries by broad subject area (e.g., "Gods and Heroes," "Places"), and there are see references throughout the work. A few maps serve as the only illustrations.
Libraries owning The Oxford Classical Dictionary will not gain much by purchasing The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion. The elimination of much of the scholarly content may diminish its usefulness to academic collections. On the other hand, some public and high-school libraries may find the work more accessible and thus of greater benefit. In this case, consideration ought to be given first to the Cassell Dictionary of Classical Mythology (1998). Although its scope is somewhat narrower, the entries are thorough, scholarly, and accessibly written; there are many illustrations; and the scholarly apparatus of references to ancient texts and other supplemental material is unobtrusively included for those wishing to pursue their research further. RBB
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