This book examines the organization of religion in the Roman empire from Augustus to Constantine. Although there have been illuminating particular studies of the relationship between religious activity and socio-political authority in the empire, there has been no large-scale attempt to assessit as a whole. Taking as his focus the situation in Carthage, the greatest city of the western provinces, J.B. Rives argues that the traditional religion, predicated on the structure of a city-state, could not serve to integrate individuals into an empire. In upholding traditional religion, thegovernment abandoned the sort of political control of religious behaviour characteristic of the Roman Republic, and allowed poeple to determine their own religious identities. The importance of Christianity was thus suited to the needs of the increasingly homogeneous Roman empire.