The Cult of Silvanus: A Study in Roman Folk Religion

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BRILL, 1992 - Religion - 193 pages
This book will interest students of Roman history, comparative religion, Latin epigraphy and folklore. The author collects and analyzes the enormous epigraphic and archaeological evidence for the cult of Silvanus, the Roman god of agriculture and forests. Silvanus is an important focus of investigation because his private and popular character sets him apart from other deities of the state pantheon.
Six chapters and a conclusion trace the origin, spread, development and final suppression of the cult. Silvanus' nature as a Roman god and his identification with indigenous deities in the provinces are carefully examined. The evidence for temples, priests, collegia and sacred groves is presented along with a detailed treatment of the god's adherents and iconography.
This study adds to our imperfect knowledge of Roman domestic religion as practised by the lower classes. It challenges the widely-held view that private cult was somehow subordinate or inferior to civic paganism.

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About the author (1992)

Peter F. Dorcey received his Ph.D. in Ancient History at Columbia University (1987). He published several articles on the cult of Silvanus.

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