Books of Interest to Graeco-Roman Neopagans

This page contains information on books of especial interest to Neopagans following a Greek or Roman tradition.

General Background

One of the most informative discussions of the spirit of Greek religion is Walter F. Otto's Homeric Gods (Pantheon, 1954); he was a Neopagan in attitude and in fact. (His Dionysos: Myth and Cult is also worthwhile.) Other sympathetic surveys are Thaddeus Zielinski's Religion of Ancient Greece (Ares, 1975), which must be read critically, and Charles Seltman's Twelve Olympians (Crowell Co., 1960; orig. prod. by Pan Books Ltd).

Walter Burkert's Greek Religion (Harvard, 1985) is a good, reasonably up-to-date survey of Greek religious belief; His Home Necans contains important insights into the nature of Greek sacrifice, tracing it back to ancient hunting rituals. Also informative are his Creation of the Sacred, Ancient Mystery Cults, Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism.

For an insightful retelling of the myths I recommend Carl Kerenyi's Gods of the Greeks (Thames & Hudson, 1951), which has a Jungian slant, but has excellent citations for the sources of the myths. Also worthwhile are his Heroes of the Greeks, Dionysos, Eleusis, Hermes, Prometheus, Goddesses of the Sun and Moon, etc. etc.

M. L. West's books: Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, The Orphic Poems, Theogony, have a wealth of scholarly information if you want to delve deeper into the roots of Greek religion.

- Apollonius

Paris: Pagan Meditations and Pagan Grace

I highly recommend Ginette Paris' books, Pagan Meditations: The Worlds of Aphrodite, Artemis, and Hestia (Spring Pubs., 1986) and Pagan Grace: Dionysos, Hermes, and Goddess Memory in Daily Life (Spring, 1990). Although Professor Paris' concern is social psychology rather than religion, her understanding of the Gods is deep and profound. She seems to be very Pagan-sympathetic.

Kingsley: Ancient Philosophy, Mystery and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition

A very important book.
See my review for more information.

Books on Greek and Roman Dress

Patterns for Theatrical Costumes

The most comprehensive source I have found for Greek and Roman dress (tunics, dresses, robes, togas, etc.), including information on how to drape them, is Katherine Strand Holkeboer's Patterns for Theatrical Costumes; it also includes patterns for later periods (through the 19th century).

Older Studies

Other helpful (scholarly) sources are Ancient Greek Dress (Chicago: Argonaut, 1964), edited by Marie Johnson, comprising studies by Ethel Abrahams and Lady Evans, and Thomas Hope's Costumes of the Greeks and Romans (New York: Dover, 1962; previously published as Costumes of the Ancients, 1812), which also includes costumes from other people who came in contact with the Greeks and Romans (Egyptians, Parthians, Persians, Phrygians, etc.). This is a book of line drawings, most of which are based on ancient art.

The World of Roman Costume

For an up-to-date discussion, see The World of Roman Costume, edited by Larissa Bonfante and Judith Lynn Sebesta (Univ. of Wisconsin Press). It is the result of the NEH Summer Seminar held at the American Academy in Rome in 1988 directed by Larissa Bonfante, and it contains articles by all of the participants: Shelley Stone writing on the toga, Laetitia LaFollette on Bridal Costume, Norma Goldman on Footwear, Rick Gergel on military costume, Ann Stout on jewelry. There is a last chapter on reconstructing the costumes with patterns by Norma Goldman.

Let's Wrap video

Norma Goldman's videotape, "Let's Wrap" (catalog number V1) is available for $19.95 from:
American Classical League
Teaching and Resource Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056

Tel: 513-529-7741
Fax: 513-529-7742

They take credit card orders.
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Last updated: Mon Jul 6 10:47:28 EDT 1998