Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor
zette@cableone.net

 

The Research Shelf

By Lazette Gifford
2006,
Lazette Gifford


History

The Cults of the Roman Empire

Robert Turcan

Translated by Antonia Nevill

Blackwell Publishers

ISBN 0631200460

 

The Romanization of foreign Gods is a fascinating subject, and one that makes it easy to understand how Christianity so 'easily' won a place in the most powerful empire of its age.  It is also a very good way to study the creation of a religion for a fantasy or science fiction novel.

Turcan takes a look at a number of foreign cults that were popular with the Romans, including Cybele, Isis, Mithra, Dionysus and more.  He includes a brief history on the origin of each cult,  how it came to Rome, and how people celebrated their beliefs.

This is an expensive book and is probably best found at a library!

 Science

A Perfect Harmony

Roger A. Caras

Simon and Schuster

ISBN 0684811006

 

Caras believes that without the animal help-mates that humanity has domesticated down through the ages, we would not have become civilized.  While he may have some points in his favor, the book tends to be heavy-handed in the praise of animals and the evils of humans.  He even questions if the animals didn't, in fact, domesticate us -- and he has a point, in some ways.  It was probably a cooperative effort in some cases.

The book does offer some interesting views, and for the worldbuilding-writer, there are a few possibilities -- even in his over-the-top way -- that can spark ideas for writing.  This need not be just for the science fiction and fantasy crowd.  Anyone writing a (Pre)Historical fiction novel might want to look into some of these ideas.