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Religious Frontiers In The Syrian-Mesopotamian Desert

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Chapter Summary

The author has challenged the idea that the material culture of all the cities in the Syrian-Mesopotamian desert was fundamentally the same. This chapter states that the religious worlds of these cities were more or less identical. It compares the material from two cities on either end of the scale: Roman Palmyra and Parthian Hatra. The evaluation is based mainly on the archaeological remains from the two cities that date from the first three centuries of the Common Era. The chapter starts with a brief overview of the political and social history of the two cities. This serves to put the subsequent discussion of the religious situation into perspective, for religion in each city was largely determined by its individual political and social situation. Because of the different character of both cities, their religious worlds differ as well. However, political alliances influenced the religious culture of both cities too.

Keywords: Parthian Hatra; Roman Palmyra; Syrian-Mesopotamian desert



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