Book Review: Animals in Roman Life & Art

Image result for animals in roman life and art Animals in Roman Life and Art by J.M.C.Toynbee is fantastic source material for multiple historical study areas including: Art, veterinarian, agricultural, trade, and military. I personal found the use of animals in funerary and religious art particularly fascinating. The reader will also enjoy lots of colored and black & white photos of most of the ancient art the author refers to in the narrative. The author her self is a noteworthy archaeologist and art historian that to quote the back of the book, was a “leading British Scholar in Roman artistic studies in the mid-twentieth century and is  one of the most recognized authorities in the world.”

Break down chapters:

  1. General survey – discusses ancient sources and Roman attitude towards animals.
  2. Elephants
  3. Monkeys
  4. Felines
  5. Cat-Like Group (Ichneumons ans Hyenas)
  6. Bears
  7. Canine Animals
  8. Rhinoceroses
  9. Hippopotamuses
  10. Boars and Pigs
  11. Camels
  12. Giraffes
  13. Deer and Antelope
  14. Cattle
  15. Sheep and Goats
  16. Equine Animals
  17. Hares, Rabbits, and Mice
  18. Sea-Mammals
  19. Fish, Crustaceans ans Mollusks
  20. Frogs and Toads
  21. Reptiles
  22. Birds
  23. The Animal Paradise

Appendix: (I feel like this could have been a stand alone book)

Roman Veterinary Medicine by R.E. Walker, B. Vet., MRCVS

  • The practitioner
  • The practice in civilian life
  • Some notes on cavalry horses in the Roman army

 

Hope this brief book review was helpful in furthering your own studies in to Ancient roman history.

 

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Book Review: ‘Hellenismos Today’, and ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos’

Hellenismos Today by Timothy Jay Alexander is a book about Hellenic Reconstructionism, or in other words a a modern pagan religion based off ancient Greek religion. It is a hard polytheist moment  based that to quote the author ” focuses primarily in the public or popular religion of ancient Greece.” I feel like the author spends a lot of the book trying explain how it is not like Wicca / neo-paganism and poring out watered down Greek history and philosophy.  While an it is an interesting way to consider worshiping the Greek Pantheon it is just one way at looking at Greek reconstructionism.

Chapters

  • Introduction
  • Polythestic Reconstructionism
  • Ancient Greek Religion
  • Gods and Goddess
  • Cosmology
  • Ethics -(these are based off the Maxims of Delphi)
  • Role of Clergy
  • Rituals & Rites of Passage
  • Holidays & Festivals
  • Divination
  • Magick & Mysticism
  • Appendix I: Works and Days of Hesiod
  • Appendeix II: The Theogony of  Hesiod (note: both copies of Hesiod’s work presented in this book were translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix III: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Sovereign Sun (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos  by Timothy Jay Alexander is the complementary book to the Hellenismos Today. As you can tell from the Chapter list below there is a lot of copy paste from the previous book, although the Appendix offer greater variety and complement the ones provides in Hellenismos Today. This book places an even bigger emphases on orthopraxy than the previous one did but offer little profound insights.

Chapters

  • Preface
  • Intro to Hellenismos
  • Theology
  • Three dimensions of Worship
  • Prayer & Hymns
  • Offerings
  • Rites and Ritual
  • Festival Calendar
  • Mysticism
  • Temples, Shrines, Statues & Images
  • Afterthoughts
  • Appendix I: Sallustius : On the Gods and the Cosmos (translated by Gilbert Murry 1925, edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix II: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Mother of the Gods (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix III: The Homeric Hymns (translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
  • Appendix IV: Epithets of the Gods
  • Appendix V: A Glossery of Greek Words

Overall I felt Booth books fell a little flat for my taste. If you don’t already have a decent grasp on neo-paganism ideas and language the average reader may get lost. and the historical reverences and examples could really use some more fleshing out. In general I would say if you want to read these books get a copy from the library cause it is not really worth the purchase.

Book Review: Everyday Witchcraft

Today I am reviewing  ‘Everyday  Witchcraft; Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World’ by Deborah Blake. I should start by saying this is the first book I have read by this author so I came at it with no set expectations. I had bought it on a whim from Amazon because it had been a while since I had read any books of the subject of modern witchcraft (been focusing more on the historical research).

I felt it to be a refreshing read that over all left me feeling more centered. Deborah Blake has a easy going writing style that comes across a friendly conversation. The book has 11 chapters that are full of wonderful and simplistic suggestions on how to incorporate your spiritual path in to your everyday life. While a lot of her advise seems like common sense it gently reminds the reader how to take a step away from daily grind and nurture  your spirit. Personally ‘Chapter 3 Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World‘, and ‘Chapter 9 God and Goddess in Everyday Life‘ were the most useful to me. Chapter 3 is short but it reminds the reader the importance of making time for your faith and the positive effect it can have on your outlook. Chapter 9 is full of insight in to building a better relationship with the Divine.

While this book may follow and use a Wicca format I want to stress this is not another Wicca 101 book, but it is great supplemental reading for anyone following a neo-pagan path whether it be Wicca, Witchcraft, Druid or Reconstruction. I give it 2 thumbs up.