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Artemis And Zeus Olympios In Roman Gerasa And Seleucid Religious Policy

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Chapter Summary

The well-known Roman city of Gerasa in the Decapolis was dominated by two large sanctuaries: the sanctuary of Zeus Olympios and the sanctuary of Artemis. The cult of Artemis in the sanctuary-complex in the centre of the city can?like the one of Zeus?be established through inscriptions, which have been found in its vicinity and which mention the goddess. There are reasons for the importance of Zeus Olympios for the Seleucids in the second century BC other than the (not existing) possibility of using him as interpretatio Graeca of Near Eastern indigenous gods. Zeus Olympios has thus to be seen more in the context of the self-representation of Seleucid rulers than in the context of Seleucid religious policy that interferes in civic affairs.

Keywords: Artemis; Decapolis; Roman Gerasa; Seleucid religious policy; Zeus Olympios



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