Imported Cults

Gaëlle Tallet and Christiane Zivie‐Coche

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571451
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750540 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Imported Cults

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  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • Egyptian Archaeology


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This article discusses imported cults in Roman Egypt. Imported cults in Roman Egypt, though never fully integrated into the native pantheon, became part of religious constellations whereby Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods cohabited with and influenced each other. These shifting frontiers between Egyptian culture and Hellenism are to be understood in the context of a multicultural society: the former Graeco-Macedonian immigrants had long been integrated into Egyptian society, while newcomers, such as Roman soldiers and officials, were far less impervious to the local society and culture than has often been assumed. Imported cults also conveyed new ways of representing and addressing the gods that met the new expectations of Egyptian worshippers. In particular, in the second and third centuries ce, they fulfilled a need for a more direct relationship with gods, face to face, without an intermediary.

Keywords: Roman Egypt; religion; Egyptian culture; Hellenism; gods; Romans

Article.  9620 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology of the Near East ; Egyptian Archaeology

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