An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.




The Roman Empire at its height c. 117 AD
(From ThinkQuest)

[More map links: This is a great  animated map showing the growth of the Roman Empire; 1st century AD trade routes in the ancient world -- goes all the way to China; great detail and sweep; a lengthy 2 page collection of links to maps relating to Rome and ancient Italy from -- it even includes great maps of ancient language-areas.]


Fresco with Woman and Deer
Roman, First Century A.D.
(J. Paul Getty Museum)

From Dr. Larry A. Brown of the Lipscomb University Theater in Nashville comes a first rate series of pages summarizing Ovid's Metamorphoses.  Here is a passage from his introduction explaining the importance of Ovid's work:
Ovid's influence on Western art and literature cannot be exaggerated. The Metamorphoses is our best classical source of 250 myths. "The poem is the most comprehensive, creative mythological work that has come down to us from antiquity" (Galinsky). Based on its influence, "European literature and art would be poorer for the loss of the Metamorphoses than for the loss of Homer" (Hadas).  Ovid was a major inspiration for Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton. If Virgil is Rome's greatest poet, Ovid is the most popular (even in his own time; Ovidian graffiti has been found on the walls of Pompeii)....
The pages are beautifully organized and illustrated.  At the end of the last section (Books 12-15) are links to other Ovid sites, including an on-line text of the entire work.
This is an amazingly huge collection of Roman deities associated with specific aspects of life -- agriculture, money, landscape, pleasure, abundance, health, childbirth, weariness, food, business, etc, etc.  It comes from author Gregory Flood.  Here's how he introduces this page:
This table of gods and goddesses of the indigenous Latin religion is something that developed over the years as part of a fiction writing project I was involved with. It occurs to me now that it is far more complete than any other such listing I have ever encountered. So, I offer it to you, for whatever use you can put it to....
Venus reclining on her seashell
Pompeii, first century AD
(From the Ambrose Collection)
From "Aesculapius" to "Vulturnus," this is a useful listing of names for 57 Roman deities with their Greek Counterparts.  Each deity's name is clickable for further information written by volunteers -- quality is uneven but it's a good enough place to start.
This is "Roman Portraits from Egypt: The eye and eternity."  It's an extremely frustrating site if you're looking, as I was, for images of those exquisitely huge-eyed Roman tombpaintings from the Fayoum of Egypt (the page asks you to select a portrait and/or city, but gives you nothing to click on)!  Aargggggh.  The frame-trapped site also claims to offer comments in French but nothing happened when I clicked (I was hoping the portraits were "hidden" in the French section).

Of the 6 "General Information" links, the last 2 are dead but the first 4 do give an interesting account of the art form, Rome's role in Egypt, and much on Egyptian history itself.  The data really is worthwhile -- otherwise, this maddening site would never have made it to my pages.

Lovers -- Pompeii, 1st Century AD
(#14 from The Erotic Art of Rome -- see directly below)
In our current age, death, violence, rape, and spousal abuse are constantly made available to the very young through our media.  Oddly, the more benign dimension of Eros is prudishly repressed. Ancient Rome reversed this emphasis.  This site, "The Erotic Art of Ancient Rome," from Wladyslaw Kowalski of the Penn State Architectural Engineering Graduate Students Association, looks unashamedly at Roman erotic art (including much from Pompeii).  The lay-out is really clever: when you enter, you'll find a curving villa wall with small (clickable) paintings hung in niches along the wall.  When you click on the floor, the niches advance by one -- there are a total of 42.

The main flaw is that none of these works are identified as you go; for that, you'll need to go back to the opening page and click on the index -- it offers thumbnails with identifiers, but the thumbnails aren't clickable so if you're interested in seeing one, you'll need to return to the villa's wall and start clicking on the floor until the one you want appears.  Despite the awkwardness, the site is a fascinating window upon a culture with very different values from our own.
Again from Wladyslaw Kowalski of the Penn State Architectural Engineering Graduate Students Association (see above) comes this terrific page on musical instruments from ancient Rome.  There are many illustrations, so be patient as it loads.  (This site is cross-listed on my Common Themes: Music page and was, in fact, the catalyst for my finally creating that page.)


From ThinkQuest comes a very useful "Timeframe" for ancient Rome.
This is a fascinating little page by Bruno Klumpp called "The Forum-Romanum-Method":
...About the ancient romans we can read a lot of interesting stories. Their senators and lawyers knew and used mnemonics for their speeches in the roman senate....
Klumpp then explains their site-based method.  I loved it! <smile>


Masks painted on a Pompeii wall
These are two pages of well chosen, annotated links on Pompeii (and environs) from N. S. Gill, the Ancient/Classical history guide at A word to the wise: each page displays better if you click off's annoying top frame (on the far left they offer a link to do this); the downside is that if you then wish to return to, you have to wade back through all their slow-loads.  It's a trade-off but my own preference is to get rid of their top frame at every opportunity.
This is a general overview page on Pompeii's history, art, architecture, and more.  The images are too dark and high contrast for my taste, and the page takes forever to load, but if you're patient, you may find it worthwhile.  FYI: I don't mind waiting for slow images as long as I can read text in the meantime, but this site unfolds images and text together instead of allowing all the text to precede the slower images.  When it hadn't finished loading after 5 minutes today, and I was bored with what little text was available, I gave up and decided to write the annotation based on my memory of what I found there a few days ago.   The only reason I'm putting it on my page is that it offers more of the art (with useful commentary on the four stylistic periods) than any other Pompeii-oriented site I've found so far.  If I find a better one, I'll delete this one.


Area covered by the Etruscan League c. 530 BCE

From Italy comes "THE ETRUSCANS: A mistery disclosed."  It is an interesting (albeit unreferenced) series of linked pages covering:The Origins; The Birth of Cities; The domination of seas and the magnificence of the Orientalizing period; The deep Cult of the Dead, the striking Grandeur of Necropoles; Religion, Superstition and Rites; Life and society of the Etruscans; and The Boats sink... the Beginning of Decline.  The site hasn't been updated since 1996 and I sorely miss the almost total lack of illustrations, yet there is much valid data here on a little known ancient people.
This is an essay on Etruscan "Religion, superstition and rites" taken from the above site.  The presentation is a bit disorganized, but I still found it useful as a general overview of the subject.  For example:
...The relationship the Etruscans had with their divinities was quite different from the one of other peoples in the ancient world: while the Greeks believed the gods lived in their own world, often careless of the human world and accustomed to the same passions and weaknesses of humanity, the Romans had a relationship with gods merely based on juridical rules....
      On the contrary, the Etruscans had a relationship with the gods based on submission: the divinities lived in the sky or under the ground and it was necessary to understand their will by observing the ostenta, the signs that, through the haruspex and the augur priests, indicated the bahaviour one had to have....

More to come, still working:

Up to Europe's Opening Page

Up to Western Europe
Western Europe's Subdivisions:
Classical Traditions
Ancient Greece ////// Ancient Rome
Celtic Traditions
Icelandic, Nordic, & Teutonic Traditions
Medieval Life & TimesArthurian ThemesGrail  Lore
Alchemy, Gnosticism, HermeticsFairy Tales & Folk Lore

Down to Indigenous Peoples


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Text and Design:
Copyright 1998-2000 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Latest Updates after the 13 November 1998 launch:
10-12 + 18 + 20 September 2000