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Trading the Symbols of the Goddess Nanaya

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Chapter Summary

In the marketplace of religions, the goddess Nanaya was a popular commodity among worshippers of various polytheistic traditions. Her cult was adopted and adapted by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Elamites, Arameans, Hellenistic Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, and the many Iranian groups. The author attempts to answer the question: What caused the goddess Nanaya to be "bought"? The inquiry focuses on her sacred symbols as one medium for conveying religious beliefs, since icons and images have always played an important role in the process of densification and diffusion of those beliefs. The basic axiom is that religious symbol systems are shaped gradually in cultural exchange and encounters by various forms of adaptation and transformation. The trade network to be surveyed constitutes the western part of the ancient trading network of Central Asia and of greater Central Eurasia, the so-called Silk Road.

Keywords: Central Asia; Central Eurasia; goddess Nanaya; Hellenistic Greeks; polytheistic traditions; sacred symbols

10.1163/9789004255302_008
/content/books/b9789004255302_008
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