Polis-<i>Religion and its Alternatives in the Roman Provinces</i><sup>†</sup>

Gregory Woolf

in Roman Religion

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748615650
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650989 | DOI:
Polis-Religion and its Alternatives in the Roman Provinces†

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This chapter examines one ordering principle that has recently become especially prominent in the study of the cults of the provinces in Rome, referred as the ‘polis-religion model’. However, that model of ancient religion itself has an ideological component. The chapter considers what difference it makes to our understanding of the cults of the Roman provinces if the polis-religion model is regarded not as the key to understanding their organisation, but simply as one among several ordering principles, and an interested one at that. It begins by outlining the main features of the polis-religion model. Those who make use of it begin from seeing ancient religion as essentially homologous with the social and political structures of ancient societies. The spread of the city-state in Greece, through the Mediterranean basin and in Hellenistic and Roman empires, led to the extension of polis-religion.

Keywords: cults; Rome; polis-religion; city-state; religion; Greece; Mediterranean; provinces

Chapter.  6704 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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