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Identifying the Divine in the Roman Near East

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Chapter Summary

In scholarly efforts to identify the multifarious inhabitants of the divine worlds of the Near East in the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods, the notion of syncretism has traditionally played a major part. The amalgamated divine inhabitants of the Commagenian royal pantheon may be unique in the Roman Near East, but the notion of syncretism that these figures so brilliantly exemplify has been applied elsewhere in the wider region as well. This chapter explores the multifarious ways in which the divine inhabitants of the Roman Near East could undergo identification, and attempts to answer the questions of who are the gods and goddesses (or who is the deity) and of how one can tell who they are. Religious life in the Roman Near East can only be approached properly by a full appreciation of the interplay between local and universal (or in any case supra-regional) tendencies.

Keywords: Commagenian royal pantheon; divine world; late Hellenistic period; religious culture; Roman Near East; syncretism



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