Publication details

Attracting the Gods: How to Model the Spread of the Egyptian Cults in the Ancient Mediterranean



Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Early in the Ptolemaic era, the cult of Isis and Sarapis spread successfully to ports in the ancient Mediterranean. The reasons standing behind this process are however only partially understood. The main hypotheses in the academic discussion emphasize either the maritime trade network or Ptolemaic political propaganda as key factors in the spread of this cult. Both of these claims are supported by historical evidence. Ptolemaic Egypt was one of the main exporters of grain, Isis was a patron goddess of sailors and many cities in the ancient Mediterranean had close diplomatic relations with the Ptolemies. In order to clarify which factors could be advantageous for specific locations in the question of the spread of the cult of Isis and Sarapis, this paper introduces a model which based on environmental and political datasets determines the theoretical political and trade attractivity of these specific places for potential Egyptian visitors.
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