Priests and Initiates

Alan Cameron

in The Last Pagans of Rome

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199747276
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866212 | DOI:
Priests and Initiates

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Much of the evidence for the religious affiliations of pagan aristocrats comes from inscribed dedications—more indeed than most people probably realize. In simpler times it was taken for granted that inscriptions provided a peculiarly uncomplicated sort of evidence, bare facts not mediated by human art or bias. However, few facts are bare. This chapter examines what sort of monuments these dedications were inscribed on, where they were erected, by whom, and with what purpose. Topics discussed include Roman priesthoods, “oriental” cults, Bloch's thesis that it was oriental rather than state cults that inspired political resistance to Christianity, the taurobolium, and the decline of the priestly colleges.

Keywords: pagan aristocrats; inscriptions; Roman priesthood; oriental cult; political resistance; Christianity; Bloch

Chapter.  21028 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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