The myths of the Romans are stories not about the gods but about the Romans themselves. Writers such as Livy, Virgil and Ovid presented myths as if they were actual histories of the origins and early days of Rome. The stories of Aeneas, Romulus and Remus and the ‘Seven Kings’ give varying accounts of the founding of the city; Rome’s destiny—her divinely fore-ordained rise to power—is stressed in all of them. Some myths provided models of virtuous and public-spirited behavior which citizens (both men and women) were encouraged to emulate. They could also add lustre to the reputations of Rome’s ruling families, and stress their fitness for power, by describing past acts of heroism and civic duty. Roman myths were, in short, propaganda. Jane F. Gardner retells some of the best-known stories, and a few less well-known, examining their place in the society, religion and literature of ancient Rome. This book contains 39 illustrations
Jane F. Gardner is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History in the Department of Classics, University of Reading and former Curator of the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Roman society and Roman law.