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Volume 1, Number 1
June 1993


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RELIGION IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

University of New England, Armidale, Australia

1st-3rd July 1993

Convenor: Mr. M.P.J. Dillon,
Department of Classics & Ancient History,
University of New England,
Armidale, NSW 2351,
Australia.

SPEAKERS AND TITLES

J. BARLOW
Orthodox Catholicism and Social Legitimisation in Northern Gaul in Late Antiquity

P.R. BEDFORD
Early Achaemenid Monarchs and Foreign Cults: a policy of benevolence?

P.J. BICKNELL
Precession's Guarantee: beyond Ulansey on Mithraism

T.R. BRYCE
The Gods and Oracles of Ancient Lycia

V. CASTELLANI
Athena and Friends: one among the Greek religions

B. COLLESS
Baal's Relations with Canaanite Goddesses

H.E.J. COWDREY
The Structure and Meaning of Luke-Acts

J. COX
'Jesus the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee': Matt 21:11, 46 and the Historical Jesus

M.P.J. DILLON
Omens and Oracles in Ancient Greece

G. FREELAND
Reflections on the Curious Iconography of the Temple of Sulis Minerva, Aquae Sulis

D.J. GEAGAN
Who was Athena?

D. GREEN
To '. . . send up, like the smoke of incense, the works of the law'. The Similarity of Views on an Alternative to Temple Sacrifice by Three Jewish Sectarian Movements of the Last Second Temple Period

R. HANNAH
The Image of Cautes and Cautopates in the Mithraic Tauroctony Icon

T.W. HILLARD
Vespasian's Death-bed Attitude to his Coming Deification

R.L. HOHLFELDER
Religion in a Roman Provincial Capital: Archaeological Vignettes from Caesarea Maritima

A.W. JAMES
The Limitation of the Gods in the 'Iliad'

R.G. JENKINS
A Reassessment of the Greek Manichaeica

E.A. JUDGE
'Inter religionum diversitates medius' (Ammianus 30.9.5): the Emergence of the Modern Notion of Religion

A.G. KEEN
The Identification of a Graeco-Anatolian Hero-Cult Centre in Lycia

W. LEADBETTER
Imperial Policy and the Christians in the Late Third Century

R. LIM
By Word or by Deed? Public Disputation as a Mode of Religious Persuasion in Late Antiquity

H. LINDSAY
The Romans and Ancestor Worship

W.G. MADDOX
Religious Dissent and Political Opposition: the Twin Foundations of Modern Democracy

C. MACKIE
Ritual Aspects of Homeric Journeys

C.E. MANNING
Seneca and Public Religion at Rome

A. McDONALD
The Cult of El-gabal and its Homoerotic Impact

J. McDONALD
Megarian Cultivation of the Hiera Orgas

L. McKENZIE
Aspects of Religion in Seleucid Babylonia

R. PALMER
Origen and the Essence of Orthodoxy

E. PEMBERTON
Wealthy Corinth: Archaeological Evidence for Cult Investment in Greek Corinth

D. PHILLIPS
Popular Religion and the Athenian Empire

K. POWER
The Rehabilitation of Eve in Ambrose of Milan's 'de institutione virginis'

V. PROTOPOPESCU
The Geticus Polus and Zalmoxis: Some Reflections on the Dacian Religion

N. ROBERTSON
Festivals of Athena and the Origins of the Greek Polis

P. ROUSSEAU
Ambrose and the Christian Empire: Some Misgivings

U.W. Scholz
The Roman Calendar: Problems and History

D. SIM
Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism in the Ancient World

D.C. SMYTHE
Computerising the Study of Religion: the Case of the Evergetis Project

R.G. TANNER
The Rig Veda as a Stone Age Document

J. TAYLOR
Asherim: Cultic Representations of the Canaanite Goddess Asherah

P.G. TOOHEY
Jason, Pallas, and Domitian in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica

J. VANDERSPOEL
Merkabah Mysticism and Chaldaean Theurgy

D. WATTS
Paganism in Late Roman Britain

M. WILCOX
Jewish Elements in the Letter of James

B. WINTER
The Imperial Cult and Christianity in the Claudian Principate

C.I. WRIGHT
Myths of Poseidon: the Development of the Role of the God as Reflected in Myth

ABSTRACTS

JONATHAN BARLOW (University of Sydney)
Orthodox Catholicism and Social Legitimisation in Northern Gaul in Late Antiquity

The prime religious distinction in Late Antiquity was between Catholic and Arian Christian. A law of AD 380 made all Romans officially Catholic and promised vengeance, temporal and divine, on those who adhered to heretical doctrines. Arians, largely the Germanic aristocracies, were outside Roman law and society. The ideological conflict between Catholic and Arian has a geographical dimension. In the Mediterranean littoral, the Arian Germans could not be assimilated and social tensions were sharp. In north-east Gaul, however, transrhenane Germans had long been assimilated and there was no such ideological conflict. Thus, it is argued, religion illustrates a north-south divide in Late Antiquity. Catholicism explains the failure of the barbarian aristocracies in the Mediterranean littoral; the ability of the Franks in the European north to expand and maintain their hegemony; and the shift in focus from the Mediterranean civilisation of Classical antiquity to the northern European civilisation of the Middle Ages.

PETER BEDFORD (Edith Cowan University)
Early Achaemenid Monarchs and Foreign Cults: a Policy of Benevolence?

It has been widely accepted that before Cyrus the Great the empires of the ancient Near East has treated the cults of conquered peoples poorly through the destruction of shrines, the exile of populations, the spoliation of divine images, and the imposition of the worship of the chief god of the ruling nation. The reign of Cyrus has been viewed as inaugurating a new era in the treatment of foreign cults with Cyrusinstituting a policy of benevolence towards these cults and their devotees. Both Cambyses (despite the appraisal of Herodotus) and Darius I are held to have continued this policy. Benevolence is thought to be exemplified in the toleration of the worship of local deities by subject peoples, the repatriation of exiles in order for them to worship their god(s) on home soil and at their traditional shrines, and the (re) building of shrines for these deities. Research in the past decade has questioned how innovative many of these actions were and whether it is accurate to consider these actions as constituting a policy. This paper will briefly examine the relevant primary sources (literary texts, inscriptions, archaeological evidence) and the recent re-evaluation of the so-called 'policy of benevolence' of the early Achaemenid kings. It will be argued that the common view of benevolence arises from the desire of these kings to have themselves portrayed in literary texts and inscriptions as indigenous monarchs of the subject peoples who must be shown to be acting responsibly towards local gods. The relationship between this propagandist representation and reality is often tenuous, however. Nevertheless, such a portrayal is a departure from earlier imperial practice, as are some of the actions of these kings in support of local cults. These developments appear to be made possible by a changed view of the position of foreign deities relative to the deity worshipped by the great king. Concomitant with this was the establishment of a different means of relating to central power to the local subjects from that known in earlier empires.

PETER BICKNELL (Monash University)
Precession's Guarantee: beyond Ulansey on Mithraism

In a recent, remarkable book David Ulansey has proposed that the ultimate inspiration of what we label Mithraism was the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes. Confronted with Hipparchos' revelation, a circle of intellectuals in Cilicia hypothesised the existence of a divinity responsible for the precessional motion, a divinity capable of moving the entire structure of the universe. The new god, lord of the precession, was unoriginally, but purposefully, named Mithras. In time the conceptions and iconographical code of philosophical coterie came to play a central role within the complex system of a widespread religious movement. For his devotees in countless cells scattered throughout the Roman empire Mithras guaranteed deliverance from the forces of fate residing in the stars and protection of the soul after death during its ascent through and beyond the planetary and stellar spheres. Exactly how and why did Mithras come to be intimately associated with human destiny beyond the grave? Ulansey's only answer appears to be that a deity capable of controlling a fundamental movement of the whole cosmos would readily come to be perceived as all powerful at all possible levels including those of the human condition in this life and the next. While true, no doubt, as far as it goes, this explanation is neither fully illuminating, nor satisfying. In the paper a more specific, more concrete reason is suggested for discernment of a crucial connection between the precession for which Mithras was responsible, and the afterlife and its locale.

TREVOR BRYCE (Lincoln University)
The Gods and Oracles of Ancient Lycia

The paper will discuss the deities who figure prominently in ancient Lycia, in the south west corner of Asia Minor, and the roles and functions assigned to them in Lycian religion. While many of these deities had become largely Hellenised by the 4th century BC, it is clear that a number of them had their roots in the Anatolian Bronze Age, and preserved certain characteristics of their Bronze Age ancestry. A particular feature of Lycian religion is the oracular centres which are widely attested in Greek and Roman literature. The lecture will deal with the sites where these centres were located and the deities and practices associated with them. Although we have yet to identify references to the oracles in the native Lycian inscriptions of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, it is likely that some of them had their roots in oracular traditions extending back at least to the 2nd millennium BC.

VICTOR CASTELLANI (University of Denver)
Athena and Friends: One among the Greek Religions

Most persons are acquainted with an antithesis between ancient Greek Olympian and 'chthonic' religions, whether the latter is embodied in Eleusinian mystery or the horror of the Erinyes. Aeschylus' Oresteian trilogy is the classic text. Contrasted Apollonian and Dionysiac ideologies and even cultures have been familiar since Nietzsche. Under the powerful influences of the Odyssey, Hesiod, and Aeschylus, however, and overlooking-or misreading-indications in the Iliad and in Euripides, scholars of classical Greek literature have not recognized a fundamental opposition within the supposed 'system' of Olympus: Athena versus Apollo. This theme antedates Greece, to the conflict between Shamash and Ishtar over Gilgamesh, yet it is most developed in some Greek myths, with their philanthropic, or at least philheroic program. Especially notable in Attic vase-paintings of mid-late 6th and early-mid 5th centuries BCE and centered around Athena, the trend associates her in thought and action with two of her divine half-brothers, Hermes and Dionysus, because they share with her a love of humanity that disowns the divine jealousy and exclusiveness for which a third brother, Apollo, stands (with or without sister Artemis). In what ways Athena invisibly yet effectively supports her several heroic proteges according to epic and vase-painting, and how she collaborates now with Hermes (e.g., in the myths of Perseus), now with Dionysus (in the Athenian national religious establishment), sometimes with both (above all, in the mythography of Heracles), will be the subject of the argument, illustrated with slides of ancient Attic painted vases. Furthermore, although these others and Apollo co-operate as patrons to a certain type of hero (Jason, Odysseus), we shall see that Pallas may be explicitly at odds with Phoebus (over the careers of Heracles, Diomedes, Achilles - and that of 5th-century imperialist Athens).

BRIAN COLLESS (Massey University)
Baal's Relations with Canaanite Goddesses

In ancient texts from the Levant, the weather-god Baal Hadad is closely associated with three important goddesses: Anat Ashtart (Greek Astarte, Biblical Ashtoreth) Ashirat (Ugaritic Athirat, Biblical Asherah).Ashirat, also known as Elat ('Goddess'), is the consort of El ('God'), the supreme deity of the Canaanite pantheon. Since Ashirat is the mother of the gods, logically Baal would be a son of Ashirat, but Baal is sometimes said to be son of Dagan and sometimes son of El. (One solution would be to identify El with Dagan, but there are difficulties for this hypothesis.) Baal has numerous reported encounters with Ashirat (avoiding sexual relations, in a Hittite document). She is his advocate, pleading with El to permit a house to be built for Baal, so that his rains may come at the right time. Here, I suggest, is the vital connection between Baal and Athirat: they are both hydratic deities, concerned with supplying water to humans (epigraphical evidence from Sinai will be offered in support of this), and the presence of prophets of Baal and of Asherah together on Mount Carmel, at Elijah's rain-making ceremony in the name of Yahweh, may have significance in this regard. Anat is an assertive and occasionally violent goddess, who is said to be the sister of Baal, and who acts as his protector. She plays a major role in two of the Ugaritic myths. Ashtart makes only rare appearances in the myths, but she is thought to be Baal's consort; she has the epithet 'Name (shem) of Baal'. The title Baalat ('Lady', feminine form of Baal 'Lord') also crops up from time to time, and if Elat (Ashirat) was the consort of El, then Baalat ought to be the spouse of Baal. In the light of epigraphic evidence relating to Baalat, the question will be asked: Is she Ashtart or Anat or another goddess?

JOHN COWDREY (St. Edmund Hall, Oxford)
The Structure and Meaning of Luke-Acts

The paper will be concerned with the structure and meaning of Luke-Acts when considered as a single work. The orderliness of Luke's compositions is apparent in the topographical pattern which governs them. In the Gospel and in Acts, the ministries of Jesus and then of his apostles begin at a specific place and widen towards the centre of a world - in the Gospel of Nazareth to Jerusalem, the centre of the Jewish world, and in Acts from Jerusalem to Rome, the centre of the Roman world. Luke's overall presentation hinges upon the Ascension and Pentecost. It concentrates upon the Holy Spirit as the missionary Spirit, a power rather than a person; its emphasis is upon Jesus as now in heaven rather than here with his followers; and it represents the blessedness of the Christian upon earth as resting in deprivation rather then fulfilment. Comparisons with Matthew's Gospel are made. It is important that those who use Luke's writings as a source for the Judeao-Hellenistic world of the first century AD should bear in mind the mentalit - of its author. The austerity of Luke's Gospel goes far to explain why Matthew, rather than Luke became the 'liturgical Gospel', and why Matthew, not Luke, became the most frequently cited of the Gospels in patristic and medieval times.

JOHN COX (La Trobe University)
'Jesus the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee': Matt 21:11, 46 and the Historical Jesus

Recent discussions of popular prophetic movements have raised again the question of how Jesus was perceived by his contemporaries. Several passages in the gospels contain references to Jesus as a prophet. These references are usually from the perspective of non-disciples. It is possible that these passages reflect popular opinion about Jesus from the days of his ministry. In this paper I wish to explore the possibility in the context of a small, but significant part of Matthew's gospel, namely the two references to Jesus as profhvth' in chapter 21:11 and 46. Most recent commentators have ignored these references, yet they are important to the development of Matthew's plot and may preserve an authentic popular perception of Jesus as a prophet. Recent Matthean studies have focussed heavily on the Christology of the book. The references to Jesus as a prophet do not sit comfortably with the 'higher' christological titles favoured by modern Christian writers. This sort of approach does not give adequate attention to the role of prophets in Matthew. Analysis of prophetic roles is essential for understanding why Matthew refers to Jesus as one. Central to Matthew's characterisation of prophets is the destiny of righteous suffering. Jesus shares the prophetic fate as, it is expected, do his followers. Another Matthean tendency is to modify the patriarchal, militaristic themes which appear in the tradition. Thus, in order to counteract the military overtones of the Triumphal Entry, the evangelist uses a prophetic motif, reminding the reader of Jesus' suffering destiny. These themes show an interesting affinity with the careers of classical prophets such as Jeremiah and also 1st century prophets such as Theudas and the Egyptian. In the paper I hope to explore some of the complexities of these relationships and to develop a method for ascertaining the historicity of the popular perception of Jesus as a prophet.

MATTHEW DILLON (University of New England)
Omens and Oracles in Ancient Greece

The Greeks employed a wide variety of divinatory practices, such as interpreting the flight of birds, the appearance of the entrails of sacrificial animals, cosmological phenomena and dreams, and resorted to the consultation of professional mediums (as at Delphi, Siwah and Dodona). The uncertainties prompted by the complexities of human life led the Greeks to seek guidance for all their undertakings. At all levels of society omens and oracles were accepted. Condemnation did not fall on the practice as such, but on the type of practitioners and the interpretations of specific omens and oracles. While formal oracular practices have received much attention, other divinatory practices need further examination and it will be argued that these too are of crucial significance for an understanding of Greek religious beliefs.

GUY FREELAND (University of New South Wales)
Reflections on the Curious Iconography of the Temple of Sulis Minerva, Aquae Sulis

The central roundel of the pediment of the Temple of Sulis Minerva, Aquae Sulis (Bath) has been a source of puzzlement since its discovery in 1790. None of the attempted interpretations to date seem entirely satisfactory, although all have at least some supporting evidence. Having subjected earlier interpretations to critical analysis, the paper proceeds to a redescription of the iconography of the temple and temple precinct as a whole and, on this basis, to a reinterpretation of the central roundel of the pediment as an element in a total and coherent iconographic scheme. This reading of the iconography reveals the intrinsically cosmological character of the inspiration of what is arguably one of the most interesting and sophisticated iconographic schemes of Roman Antiquity known to us. The paper concludes with argument that the iconographic interpretation advanced is sufficient to provide at least prima facie case for suggesting that concepts of Stoic physics and cosmology, in particular, might lie behind the programme.

DAN GEAGAN (McMaster University, Ontario)
Who was Athena?

Quantitative analysis of the votive offerings and statue bases from the Athenian Acropolis reflected patterns in the history of Athena's cult and in the religious, cultural and political context of the city. There are five major phases. Votive monuments predominate during the archaic period through the fourth century. Statues of notable persons were relatively few. Athena entertained communal as well as individual votaries. Votaries represent a wide social range, from craftsmen to members of the city's political and religious elites, women as well as men. Votives record gratitude for military victories, for athletic achievement, for success in business. The goddess received both 'tithes' (dekatai) and 'first fruits' (aparchai). Some monuments resolved vows. In the fourth century new cults, like Asklepios and Egyptian gods, served personal religious needs and attracted most of the personal devotion, while bases for statues predominated the Acropolis. The craftsmen's cult persisted in Athena Ergane, and Athena Polias, the civic cult, attracted statues of young women who served as basket-bearers (kanephoroi). This latter cult continued into Roman times. The status of the people represented changed over the next three centuries, Athenians, non- Athenians, Romans, client monarchs, and finally Roman emperors. By the late second and early first centuries the inscriptions reflect the dominance of a small oligarchy, particularly in the numbers of statues of their daughters who served as kanephoroi. The Julio- Claudian dynasty favoured the Acropolis for dynastic statues, particularly for family members. Possibly related was a concentration of statues of the dynasties of client kings. Statues of Romans dominate over statues of Athenians. Statues of kanephoroi peak at this time, and then disappear. Later dynasties transferred their preferences to the cult of the Eleusinian goddesses. An epilogue on the place of the Acropolis during the second century will complete the paper.

DENNIS GREEN (Waikato University)
To '. . . send up, like the smoke of incense, the works of the law'. The Similarity of Views on an Alternative to Temple Sacrifice by Three Jewish Sectarian Movements of the Last Second Temple Period

With the realisation that the Damascus rule (CD) is an Essene work, and the discovery of the Temple Scroll (11QT), Josephus' claims on the Essene attitude to sacrifice at Herod's Temple have had to have been radically revised. This 'revised' Essene attitude to Temple sacrifice has subsequently been portrayed by many scholars as having a direct bearing on the development of nascent Christianity's doctrine on the same. However, besides the Essenes, one other pre- 70 sect held a similar ideology. I believe that it is amongst both groups, and not just the Essenes, that we ought to look for the influence on early Christianity's stance regarding the end of the sacrificial system. The other group was the Pharisees.

ROBERT HANNAH (University of Otago)
The Image of Cautes and Cautopates in the Mithraic Tauroctony Icon

It is becoming increasingly common to encounter interpretations of the Mithraic bull-slaying icon in which it is assumed that its figural elements carry astronomical symbolism. The various elements - bull, scorpion, dog, raven, crater, ear of grain, lion - are interpreted at one level as symbols of constellations or stars on or near the ecliptic between the equinoctial points - namely, Taurus, Scorpius, Canis Major (and Minor), Corvus, Crater, Spica in Virgo, Leo. Debate, however, continues on the meaning of the central character of Mithras himself (is he another such constellation - such as Orion, Perseus, or Leo - or the sun itself?), and of the framing figures, the torch-bearing Cautes and Cautopates. This paper examines the interpretation of the figures of Cautes and Cautopates. There has developed an understandable tendency to view them as representative of the constellation Gemini, which, with Libra, is missing from among the symbols of the zodiacal constellations already identified in the tauroctony, and which would capture the twin-like quality of Cautes and Cautopates. But is the view justified on iconographical grounds? The paper investigates in some detail the iconographical elements of these two figures and attempts to interpret these elements through reference to parallels from contemporary or traditional Graeco-Roman art. In the process the propriety of recourse to multivalent symbolism will be discussed: it is likely that these figures carried a variety of meanings?

TOM HILLARD (Macquarie University)
Vespasian's Death-bed Attitude to his Coming Deification

The ruler cult was firmly established at Rome by AD 79, yet the degree of its acceptance in some quarters was still a matter of great sensitivity - especially during the first reign of a new regime. If this was so with regard to isotheoi timai, it was certainly so with regard to outright deification, as might be evidenced by what seems to be the significant delay which Titus felt prudent, or which circumstances demanded, in the deification of his father Vespasian. This evidence is, of course, open to interpretation. Despite Price's useful warning against elevating anecdotal and idiosyncratic evidence, Vespasian's reported death-bed remark (Suetonius Vesp. 23-4) - 'alas, I think I'm turning into a god' - might yet offer a unique insight into the mind of the founder of Rome's second imperial dynasty on this matter. The scenario, where one would imagine that despite courageous attempts at gallow humour an ultimate sobriety reigned, might suggest a certain embarrassment which foreshadowed Titus' subsequent hesitation. Others have interpreted the remark as a sneer at the concept of deification (A.L. Abaecherli TAPA 63, 1932, 262), a simple statement of disbelief in the imperial cult, cynical scepticism, a mockery of impending deification (Hopkins), or, in the case of Fishwick, the 'ironic statement of a hard-headed administrator' which reflects 'a curious blend of credulity, scepticism, and cynical commonsense' and which suggests that 'we can never be completely certain what was the true meaning. . . ' (CQ 15, 1965, 155-57). My paper will suggest that in the context of contemporary satire, Vespasian's reference to apotheosis was cavalier indeed and that Suetonius knew what he was doing when he placed this item nowhere else than in a record of Vespasian's irrepressible (and rather rascally) humour, a humour that could not be dampened even by imminent death. Reference to apotheosis was casual and I suggest that in his dying hours deification, which Vespasian probably took for granted, was not of major concern to him.

ROBERT HOHLFELDER (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Religion in a Roman Provincial Capital: Archaeological Vignettes from Caesarea Maritima

King Herod's port city of Caesarea Maritima gloriously and suddenly entered the Mediterranean world late in the first century BC. Carved from the sand dunes of the Levantine coast in little more than a decade, it had both regional and international importance from its dedication in 10/9 BC to its demise as a classical metropolis in AD 640/641. Its religious life was influenced by the geopolitical realities of the world of Herod and his ambitions and aspirations. Although its founder was King of the Jews, Caesarea honoured the traditional deities of the Roman pantheon from its inception. Its focus was always west and away from Jerusalem. Its initial orientation was reinforced when the city ceased to be a royal possession and became a provincial capital in AD 6. It would serve both the Romans and the Byzantines in such a capacity until the coming of the Arabs in the mid 7th century. The various Israeli and foreign excavations that have explored this site from the 1950s to the present have provided some information about religion in this city, although not as much as one might expect. Our best archive for understanding the public religions of Caesarea remains the coin record of the city's municipal mint. Relevant physical evidence from the archaeological explorations on land and in the sea is spotty. Either the religious monuments of Caesarea's Roman era were thoroughly dismantled during the city's Christian incarnation, or archaeologists have so far simply missed the mark in their selection of zones of excavation. This report will review what we know and what we might expect to see uncovered in the next few years, as the excavation efforts of the Israel Antiquities Authority intensify.

ALAN JAMES (University of Sydney)
The Limitation of the Gods in the 'Iliad'

The paper will analyse the modes of divine intervention in the Iliad in terms of the extent to which they coincide with realistic human thought, action and experience, and so may be regarded at least partly as externalisations or projections of what is otherwise humanly feasible and naturally plausible. This is an undeniable aspect of the Homeric gods, and to emphasise its importance does not necessarily imply an intended reduction of them to symbols and personifications, even though the dividing line between the latter and 'real' divine beings may seem to disappear at times. The attempt will be made to assess the extent and character of this function of divine intervention and to compare it with the role of the Homeric deities as machinery for bringing about what is not possible or credible in realistic terms. A further step will be to consider how far, if at all, the Iliad admits the humanly unrealistic and incredible without divine machinery. The study should clarify the contribution of religious attitudes to the distinctive balance that is achieved in the Iliad between the rival claims of realism and exaggeration, in which it is often stated that realism prevails to an unusual degree for primary heroic epic in spite of the very large role accorded to divine agency.

GEOFFREY JENKINS (University of Melbourne)
A Reassessment of the Greek Manichaeica

Manichaeism is a remarkable example of the phenomenon of translation, with attendant adaption, of religious texts in the ancient world. As a world religion, both in intention and in practice, Manichaeism was obliged to cross many linguistic boundaries, and to deal with cultural and religious borders in the process. In this paper we consider in general the significance of Manichaeism for the study of the translation of religious texts in ancient times. Especially interesting for Manichaeism is the question of the original language of its corpus, and which of the preserved texts are evidence for translation, and which are evidence rather for original composition in another language. Here the Greek manichaeica are of particular importance, since they (until recently really only the Cologne Mani Codex) are generally assumed to have been translated from a Semitic original (presumably Syriac). We examine in detail the case of the CMC, compared with other recently discovered Greek manichaeica, to determine how justified this assumption is from the materials themselves, and how likely it is from our knowledge of Manichaeism in the earliest period. Manichaeism is best known from the Coptic text from Medinet Madi. We consider the conclusion that these may be translations of Greek Vorlagen (themselves translated from Syriac originals) in the light of the recently discovered bilingual texts from Kellis in the Dakhleh Oasis.

EDWIN JUDGE (Macquarie University)
'Inter religionum diversitates medius' (Ammianus 30.9.5): the Emergence of the Modern Notion of Religion

The modern concept of 'religion' sees it as an option in life that marks one network of people off from others. It is an alternative commitment to a set of patterns of belief and behaviour. Implied in it is rejection of the way other people in the wider community live. One's religion may lead one to confront even the State. It is, at least implicitly, disruptive. By contrast, the classical cults were essentially local, and intended to secure the solidarity of family, city or nation. They do not pose questions either for belief or for life. They are entirely conservative. The use of the generic term 'religion' is therefore a source of deep-seated confusion amongst historians. As in many other cases, we have taken a term from ancient usage, filled it with a meaning applicable only from a certain period, and then in effect required our predecessors to conform to our new assumptions. The origin of this confusion may be witnessed in the history of Ammianus Marcellinus, the last great classical historian, who lived through the changes which generated it, but without of course being in a position to recognise it. Why did he not speak of Christianity as a 'religion'?

ANTONY KEEN (Victoria University of Manchester)
The Identification of a Graeco-Anatolian Hero-Cult Centre in Lycia

Three buildings (Buildings F, G and H) on the ancient acropolis of the Lycian city of Xanthos are usually described as 'monumental' or 'heroon-type tombs', and assumed to be tombs of ruling dynasts of the historical period, though the original excavators identified them as cult buildings. Drawing from this author's previous attempt to associate the known monumental tombs at Xanthos with the known dynasts ('Dynastic tombs of Xanthos', Anatolian Studies 42, 1992, 53-63), this paper argues that these buildings predate the general use in Lycia of monumental tombs on this scale for historical rulers by a sufficient period to call into question such an interpretation. It seems rather that the original excavators were correct, and that these buildings were a cult centre. A hero-cult centre of the Homeric figure Sarpedon is known from literary sources to have been at Xanthos, and it will be shown that topographic evidence drawn from these sources fits the location of Buildings F, G and H well. The art-historical evidence contained in the relief sculptures that survive from these buildings will then be examined, the intention being to suggest some implications for the nature and evolution of hero-cults in this area of interaction between Greek and Oriental cultures.

BILL LEADBETTER (Macquarie University)
Imperial Policy and the Christians in the Late Third Century

In the latter half of the third century, there is a marked vacillation in the policy followed by the emperors to the Christians. Decius became a persecutor by default, and Valerian by design. Gallienus decreed a measure of toleration. Aurelian decided a dispute over the see of Antioch, and then contemplated persecution. Diocletian commenced the most systematic of all attacks upon the Christian church. This paper traces the nature of those persecutions, and the purpose for them. It will argue that the Sacrifice Edict of Decius is the key to understanding the imperial motive for persecution, in so far as an imperial theology was expressed to which Christians, as heterotheists, could not subscribe. Valerian's persecution can then be seen as a response to this, and a continuation of the policies of Decius. Gallienus' apparent Edict of Toleration was a deliberate reversal of that policy, since his conception of a theology of power was more traditional. Aurelian's religious policy was a product of his attempt to restate a theology of power, and in this context persecution became inevitable. Only his death prevented it. It is with this history in mind that one comes to the origins of the so- called 'Great Persecution' in the time of Diocletian. Perceived by some as a sign of Diocletian's weakness in the face of a triumphant and assertive Galerius, it is in fact nothing of the sort, but a continuation of the policy pursued by Diocletian's predecessors in seeking to establish a consensus for their new theologies of power.

RICHARD LIM (Smith College, Massachusetts)
By Word or by Deed? Public Disputation as a Mode of Religious Persuasion in Late Antiquity

In Christianizing the Roman Empire, Ramsay MacMullen proposes that deeds of wonder, or rather, stories of successful miracles, constituted a major factor in the conversion of the Roman population to Christianity. The visible signs of power exhibited in miracles decisively asserted the superior claims of the Christian God and secured credibility for the early missionaries. In contrast, according to MacMullen, due to their lower social status and educational accomplishments, public religious debates between early Christians and others whom they were attempting to convince with reasoned words were infrequent and unimportant as a mode of religious persuasion. My paper examines the limitations and ramifications of such a model by drawing upon the Pseudo- Clementine literature, the Adversus Judaeos material, and the history of the interactions between Manichaeans and other religious groups. I argue that the dichotomy advanced by MacMullen is premised on an unbalanced comparison. We are asked, on the one hand, after dismissing the miracles themselves as 'historical', to turn to analyze the stories of miracles for their significant contribution to religious persuasion; on the other hand, to focus our attention on the historicity of public debates and thereby to refuse to look at the functions of stories of successful disputation. In short, we should employ the same approach as we study religious persuasion by word and by deed. I argue that accounts of both served similar functions: by attributing religious change to the persuasive effects of an instantaneous public triumph, they made sense of and justified what was likely to have been a much more gradual and inchoate process of change in allegiance; they blunted criticisms of arbitrary defection from ancestral customs or traditional beliefs; and, not least, they gave particular religious figures credibility to compete for converts in the pluralistic religious world of Late Antiquity.

HUGH LINDSAY (University of Newcastle)
The Romans and Ancestor Worship

Death is a prerequisite for ancestorhood, but it does not of itself guarantee worship. Most modern authorities have doubted whether the Romans of the late Republic and early Empire were engaged in active worship of the ancestors. Important distinctions have to be made between true ancestor worship and cults of the dead. Worship can also be differentiated from mere commemoration. Various tests can be applied to known institutions to separate out these different levels of interest in the ancestors. Unfortunately, the most important tests relate to ritual: to prove ancestor worship we would have to show the existence of prayer, libation, sacrifice, and other like activities. By their very nature ritual observances are seldom felt to be an appropriate subject for casual comment. I shall investigate the function of the imagines kept by a Roman noble in the atrium of his ancestral home, and discuss the changing attitudes of the Romans to their ancestors with special reference to the transition from Republic to Empire. In particular, I shall challenge the stages of decline in the role of the ancestors as adumbrated by A.N. Zadoks-Josephus Jitta in 1932.

CHRIS MACKIE (University of Melbourne)
Ritual Aspects of Homeric Journeys

This paper is concerned with journeys into the wild, especially those described in the Homeric poems. It commences with an examination of Priam's journey to Achilles in Iliad 24. An assessment is conducted of suggestions made by various scholars (Whitman et.al) that this journey has 'catabatic' elements. Some of these elements are quite prominent and have a unique function in Book 24; the role of Hermes as psychopomp, the coming to a river, the disarming of the guards, and the prominence of large gates and doorways which they encounter on the way. These are all common motifs in journeys to the afterlife, some of which are referred to in the Homeric poems themselves. An attempt is made to interpret these catabatic elements, partly by referring to other Homeric journeys into the wild (for instance, those of Telemachus and Odysseus in the Odyssey), and partly by drawing on some early anthropological approaches like that of Van Gennep (Rites of Passage). Thus, we see that these journeys, in common with many journeys into the wild in various traditions, have a tripartite structure corresponding to the transition rites in archaic society (separation, initiation and return). The journey into the wild is a journey into death, a consequence of which is that the hero has moved forever from one stage in life to another. One aspect of this is that having crossed the boundary into the wild he has renewed vigour and a new vision. To some degree it is these archaic ideas of death and rebirth that are at the heart of the Homeric journey into the wild.

CHARLES MANNING (University of Canterbury)
Seneca and Public Religion at Rome

Late Republican Stoicism had, in general terms, provided a justification for all the traditional religious practices of the Roman state. The Stoic, while repudiating the traditional myths about the Gods, was prepared to allegorise the stories and to participate in the worship of the Gods under the names which custom has handed down (Cic. D.N.D. 2.70). Moreover the Stoic doctrine of sumpavqeia tw`n wJlw`n enabled Cicero's Stoic spokesman in De Divinatione to justify every form of divination from dreams to extispicy. The attitude of Seneca is rather more complex. At times he seems an enthusiastic supporter of the imperial cult which had been added to the state's practice, but at others, for example in the De Superstitione, he is critical both of some of the official ceremonies involved in the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus, and at others of the lavishness of sacrifice offered. There is in any case a much greater emphasis on interior understanding than exterior practice, and a greater contrast between the two, apparent in Seneca's than in previous Stoic writing, sometimes even expressed in Epicurean language. This paper seeks to explore the reasons for this in terms of the changed nature of religious practice itself, with the incorporation of both the imperial cult and various imported religious practices, and in terms of the changed role of philosophy amongst the Roman aristocracy. Members of the Roman aristocracy in the early principate were sometimes pillars of the establishment, and sometimes critics of and sufferers under the imperial regime. It was no longer necessary for philosophy to offer constant support for the state's practices, and during this time Stoicism developed a rather more cynicising approach.

ANDREW McDONALD (University of New England)
The Cult of El-gabal and its Homoerotic Impact

In this paper an attempt will be made to explain the negative 'image' in the Latin sources for the Emesan cult of El-Gabal. The focus of the examination will be the homoerotic aspects of the emperor Elagabalus (and his supposedly abherrant combination of homoeroticism, religious idolatry and political instability). This will be arrived at by considering firstly the sources for Elagabalus, as seen in the Roman History of Dio Cassius, and the separate accounts of the 'Vita Elagabalus' and 'Vita Severus Alexander' in the Scriptores Historia Augusta. Following upon this there will be an analysis of the Roman perception of homoerotic 'deviance' (as constructed in their unique socio-sexual perspective), and a discussion of the hostility conservative Roman religious attitudes generated against supposedly mollis or cinaedic religious practices supposedly dominant in the Emesan cult. Brief reference will be made to the similar revulsion prevalent in Roman attitudes towards the early Christian church (as seen in charges denounced by Minucius Felix). From the process of analysis as outlined above it will be shown that the Syrian cult of the imperator Elagabalus was rejected not so much because of its supposed homoerotic abherrance. Instead, the 'image' of the cult as constructed by our sources and conservative senatorial attitudes conveniently provided an excuse to damn both the emperor and the cult upon the distinct prejudice held by Romans against eastern mystical religions which could not be syncretized.

JAMES McDONALD (University of New England)
Megarian Cultivation of the Hiera Orgas

The paper will deal with the significance of the cultivation of the Eleusinian hiera orgas, specifically the dispute between Athens and Megara over this sacred land. Especial attention will be paid to IG II2 204. Evidence from other sacred sites will be examned as an aid to the interpretation of this dispute.

LEAH McKENZIE (University of Melbourne)
Aspects of Religion in Seleucid Babylonia

The empire of the Seleucid kings was extremely diverse, inhabited by many different people with strong cultural traditions. The varied ethnic make-up of the empire was reflected in Babylonia, the heartland of the Seleucid empire. Babylonia stood at the crossroads of the empire placed between the eastern satrapies of Media, Susiana and Bactria, and the western Mediterranean satrapies of Syria and Asia Minor. Two of the major cities of the empire, Babylon and Seleucia on the Tigris were in close proximity to each other. It has been said that the two cities represented two major cultural elements of the Seleucid empire, the old dying indigenous culture and the young vibrant Greek culture. Recently it has been realised that this is not simply an oversimplification but a misrepresentation. Both in terms of literature and material the evidence strongly supports the idea that not only did the Seleucids support the local religions, through participation and funding, but that in Babylonia a syncretisation of the two religious cultures occurred. The syncretisation of the religions of Mesopotamia and Greece is reflected in the archaeological record. Statues and terracotta figurines which have been found in excavations are often Greek in style although production of Mesopotamian terracottas continued. The old gods appear to have been worshipped simply in a new Greek guise. This paper will examine evidence of the religious practices through an examination of the archaeological evidence.

ROBERT PALMER (La Trobe University)
Origen and the Essence of Orthodoxy

Origen, the third-century Christian and church leader of Alexandria, has been variously received throughout the intervening period from his time to our. He enjoyed a wide influence and reputation as a great teacher of God's truth, an oracle of sorts. While his influence remained strong after his death, his name and status were gradually eroded culminating in his official condemnation in the sixth century. In spite of his heretical status, there were brief revivals of interest in Origen but it has not been until the last century, due to a more highly developed historical consciousness, that he has been able to throw off the stigma of heterodoxy, being understood afresh in the context of the earlier development of Christian belief and practice. How is it that Origen could be the greater defender of orthodoxy in his lifetime with widespread influence and support, and become a heretic after his death? In the eyes of some modern interpreters, Origen is again presented as a pillar of orthodoxy. It is not adequate to explain the changing fortunes of Origen's stature as a theologian in terms of his failure to foresee certain later developments in Christian doctrine. This belies a number of assumptions concerning the nature of Christian orthodoxy and its development, assumptions which this paper will seek to critique and challenge. Many scholars working in the area see orthodoxy as something which was worked out in the centuries after Origen and assess him in terms of his contribution, or his failure to contribute, to this development. The interpretation of Origen, indeed of the patristic period generally, remains held captive by various conceptions of orthodoxy, both the assumed orthodoxies of the period as well as those of the modern-day interpreters. Drawing methodological support from the history of religions school and the sociology of religion, this paper will re- evaluate the nature of Christian orthodoxy and some of the implications for the interpretation of Origen and his work.

ELIZABETH PEMBERTON (University of Melbourne)
Wealthy Corinth: Archaeological Evidence for Cult Investment in Greek Corinth

Material offerings are essential to Greek religion. Both cities and individuals often dedicated buildings and other gifts to the gods as a declaration of wealth, power and piety. The building programme of the later 5th century in Athens is an obvious example of this, but many cities show similar lavish cult investment in different periods. The Panhellenic shrines of Delphi and Olympia obviously received many religious gifts. Yet at Corinth, excavations over the last 100 years have failed to uncover many religious buildings or other dedications that one could describe as spectacular, despite the wealth of the city recorded in ancient texts, a wealth based on fertile land and geographical position. Two reasons could be given: the Roman destruction of 146 BC and the lack of excavation in the probable area of the Greek agora. But both seem inadequate as explanations. The Romans would not have taken away all the statue bases, nor all the blocks of major temples; earthquakes of the pre-Roman period should have left traces of dedications in the debris of over 100 wells so far excavated. The agora may not yet be known, but the site of the major city shrine has been found on Acrocorinth; indeed, there are many excavated sanctuaries in other parts of the city and the Corinthia, including the Panhellenic site of Isthmia and the early sanctuary of Hera at Perachora. A survey of the finds from these and other Corinthian shrines, compared with similar shrines elsewhere, suggests that the Corinthians may not have built and dedicated works as expensive in size and material as in other Greek cities. The most lavish work was apparently carried out by the Cypselid tyrants, but a conservative and stable oligarchic society may not have needed to offer such expensive gifts to the gods. Perhaps the Corinthian attitude reflects the words of Theophrastus: 'The gods like what is cheap and the deity attaches more importance to the ethos of the sacrificers than to the plethos of the sacrifices'.

DAVID PHILLIPS (Macquarie University)
Popular Religion and the Athenian Empire

Thucydides' critical judgements of the Athenian empire have had a negative influence on the ways in which Athens' relations with her allies have been judged. In this context the role of religion has tended to be viewed negatively as well, being cited as yet a further instrument of Athenian imperial propaganda and exploitations. This paper sets out to reassess some of the evidence for the role of religion in the relationship between Athens and her allies. Inter alia it reconsiders the role of Delian cult, of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Panathenaia, the Theseus myth, Athena Nike and the cult of Athena Athenaion Medeousa. It will be suggested that a model which emphasises not exploitation and propaganda but reciprocity between the centre (Athens) and the periphery (the allies) more accurately explains the role of religion in the social and political relations between Athens and her allies. Further, by way of analogy, the relationship between deme cult and polis cult in Attika might provide a way of exploring the nature and role of popular religion within the Athenian empire (arche).

KIM POWER (La Trobe University)
The Rehabilitation of Eve in Ambrose of Milan's 'de institutione virginis'

The paper is part of research into the construction of Christian sexuality in the ascetic texts of St. Ambrose. I will briefly review the patristic use of the concept of the new Eve in order to illustrate the individuality of Ambrose's position in De institutiones virginis. He presents Eve as progressively released from her punishment for primal sin in the heroic women of the Hebrew Scriptures. Mary is not antithetical to the first Eve, but is Eve created afresh, sinless and a model for spirituality. She is immediately present to the church in the person of the consecrated virgin. This symbolism indicates his understanding of the ecclesia as the new Eden. Ambrose's treatment of Eve illuminates the prevailing Christian attitudes to women, and he argues for a change in the structure of male-female relationships. The motivation for Ambrose's arguments, the reasons why his remained a minority opinion, and the reception of his theology by Augustine will be explored.

VLAD PROTOPOPESCU (Sydney)
The Geticus Polus and Zalmoxis: Some Reflections on the Dacian Religion

The author believes that the references to 'Geticus Polus', or to the proximity of the Getians to the Ursa Major found in the ancient poets are not mere literary conventions. They rather indicate a widespread belief in Antiquity in the central position - religious and traditional - of the Carpathian-Danubian space. The identification of Zalmoxis with Kronos points to the great antiquity of this belief.

NOEL ROBERTSON (Brock University, Ontario)
Festivals of Athena and the Origins of the Greek Polis

Athena as goddess of the citadel, polis, goes back to the Late Bronze Age, when the citadel, with the ruler's palace, was the administrative centre of each community. The statue of the goddess is the focus of two ancient festivals at the turning of the year, the cleansing of the statue and the presentation of a robe. The statue in effect personifies the citadel and also the palace economy, for textiles and other goods were manufactured by corps of women artisans who resemble their patron goddess. When Mycenaean civilisation collapsed, the Dark-Age survivors moved away from the citadel to lower ground nearby, which now became a virtual polis. They took the goddess with them in the form of a crude statue, a small wooden pole wrapped in a magic goatskin and called by a magic name, 'Little Pallas'. The Palladium was installed at the edge of the new settlement as a talisman. This development is reflected in various myths that associate the Palladium with the turmoil at the end of the heroic age.

PHILIP ROUSSEAU (University of Auckland)
Ambrose and the Christian Empire: Some Misgivings

Ambrose has been traditionally presented as an architect of the 'Christian Empire': the man who forged a special relationship between Church and State, during the reign of Theodosius I, whom in many ways he brought to heel. This paper attempts to make a preliminary contribution to a more sceptical view, particularly by examining Ambrose's correspondence and some of his homilies and other public statements. The suggestion will be that Ambrose, together with some contemporary churchmen, was uneasy with Church/State relations, as they had developed since the reign of Constantine, and was more anxious to develop and preside over a different sort of Christian society, which needed less rather than more the structures of the empire. This 'disenchantment' was a deliberate stance, not a mere reaction to strategic instability and barbarian settlement.

UDO SCHOLZ (University of Wurzburg)
The Roman Calendar: Problems and History

The long history of research on the Roman calendar could not solve the difficulties of understanding its history and structure, as all scholars (from Mommsen to Kirsopp Michels or Bickerman) would find the key to the problems in Greek and/or oriental astronomical and calendar systems. But the key is to be found in Roman, especially religious, traditions. Before the Caesarian reform (the 'Julian' calendar: 45 BC) the so-called 'Numan' calendar was in use (known by literary testimonies and the inscription fragments of the fasti Antiates maiores), which had superseded - at an unknown time between 600 and 300 BC - the legendary 'Romulean' calendar whose existence is contested by many scholars. The scanty testimonies of all those calendars combined with Roman religious and juridical traditions allow the sketch of a calendar whose history begins before the regal period of Roman history (the epoch of the curiae) with a lunar month system. It was followed by the 'Romulean' calendar, the calendar of a more developed community in the regal period, being composed of a sequence of the hitherto existing lunar months (10 months = 1 year) in accord with a preponderance of Juno and lunar worship. About 540/520 BC the 'Numan' calendar as a solar time system came into use together with a new importance of Jupiter and the Sun veneration. The mismanagement by the priests of the 'Numan' calendar was not only the origin of modern misinterpretations of this time system, but that of the Caesarian reform.

DAVID SIM (La Trobe University)
Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism in the Ancient World

This paper will examine in very general terms a neglected tradition of both second temple Judaism and early Christianity, the socio- religious phenomenon of apocalypticism. We will be concerned with providing answers to a number of related questions. Can we define 'apocalypticism' in its Jewish and Christian contexts? Does this phenomenon entail the adoption of a distinctive religious perspective? What social or historical circumstances contributed to the embracement of apocalypticism by ancient authors and groups? What is the relationship between the social phenomenon apocalypticism and the literary genre apocalypse? To what extent did apocalypticism influence the development of second temple Judaism and primitive Christianity? An examination of these questions will place us in a position to appreciate more fully the important role of this social phenomenon in the evolution of these two ancient religious traditions.

DION SMYTHE (Queen's University, Belfast)
Computerising the Study of Religion: the Case of the Evergetis Project

The Evergetis Project is an international collaborative research effort, funded by the British Academy, into eleventh- and twelfth- century Byzantine monasticism focused on the monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis in Constantinople. A feature of the Evergetis monastery as an object for historical study is the large body of textual evidence - hypotyposis, synaxarion, synagoge, and katechesis - which survives giving a contextual picture for each of the elements of administration, daily life and economy; liturgy; spiritual life; learning and instruction. I have been employed to implement the computerisation of the project's research output. This involves the computerised storage and analysis of data as text files, but also the creation of a number of databases. The long term objective is the creation of an 'expert system' dealing with monasticism in the period. My specific research work involves the design and implementation of a computerised relational database to store prosopographical information on monastic personnel in eleventh- and twelfth-century Byzantium. The result (in autumn 1993) will be an alpha-test version with a limited data-set derived from the surviving published typika. In the long term, the goal is a computerised analysis of the social networks of monastic personnel (broadly constructed) of eleventh- and twelfth-century Byzantium. In the presentation, I outline the principles of designing a relational database for religious personnel, concentrating on the choice of the relational format rather than the 'flat' database, the allocation of fields to objects and relations and the vexed question of normalisation. I shall mention only briefly the choice of database packages as this is largely the subject of hardware constraints.

GODFREY TANNER (University of Newcastle)
The Rig Veda as a Stone Age Document

The neglected work of the eminent Indian Vedic Scholar Tilak ('The Arctic Home of the Vedas') published in Poona at the end of the nineteenth century drew attention to elements of both the content and the vocabulary of the Rig Veda (and indeed also the Manavadharmas'astra) which suggest that the Indo Aryan ancestors once lived towards the Arctic Circle. As the most practicable era for such habitation would have been either the Riss- Wrm Interglacial or some shorter mild period in Magdalenian times, this argues some likely elements of Old Stone Hunter- Gatherer culture may be embedded in our traditional text. This paper examines the hypothesis with particular reference to RV. viii.85 and AB.iii.21, and also possible implications for our understanding of the traditions underlying the Spanish Bullfighting Festivals.

JOAN TAYLOR (Waikato University)
Asherim: Cultic Representations of the Canaanite Goddess Asherah

Asherim (not asherot) were the cultic representations of the goddess Asherah found in association with massebot (stone pillars) at Canaanite high places. They are usually thought to have been some kind of wooden objects or poles. New evidence found at archaeological sites in Israel may indicate that asherim were in fact living trees which had been cut and pruned into a particular cultic form. Asherim were therefore both natural and, to an extent, artificial; they were both 'planted' and 'made'. Supporting evidence for this comes from the Mishnah's description of asherim. In Canaanite religion they were quite different from trees in general, or even the great trees (e.g. elim) which were found at high places. It is likely that they could have been 'made' out of a variety of small to medium sized trees. The very livingness of an asherah was fitting for a goddess who was mother of the gods, 'lady of the sea' and a vegetation goddess combined. She seems to have been a goddess of the life principle itself. Asherah's double role as mistress of the sea and of vegetation is shown in a representation from Mari which shows her as a woman-tree growing out of a primordial sea. Interestingly, the forms of asherim may have born a striking similarity to the menorah: the golden lampstand of the Temple which was in the form of a cut and pruned almond tree.

PETER TOOHEY (University of New England)
Jason, Pallas, and Domitian in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica

Minerva is at the very heart of things in Valerius' epic. As far as we can tell this was deliberate; Apollonius' earlier version of the same legend, by contrast, consistently foregrounds Apollo. Minerva's appearances, however, change as Valerius' epic unfolds. The goddess is particularly prominent in the second half of the poem. I will argue that this is the result of the influence of the enthusiasm of the emperor Domitian for this Olympian divinity. Minerva's role changes in other more subtle ways. Initially protector of Jason she comes to withdraw her approval from the hero - markedly so in books 7-8. This no doubt is one result of a myth in which Jason seldom fares well. But more still is involved. Valerius, by appealing to the Argonautic legend, seeks a mythic, heroic prototype for the Roman emperor and his empire (much as Virgil does with the Aeneas legend). Valerius' optimistic equation was ill chosen, for Jason was too ambiguous a hero for such an analogic function. Minerva's growing disapproval registers this. Myth, therefore, unexpectedly undermines the imperial paradigm. But so did real life. Can any optimistic rendering of Roman history be sustained during Domitian's principate?

JOHN VANDERSPOEL (University of Calgary)
Merkabah Mysticism and Chaldaean Theurgy

In this paper, I investigate the links between Chaldaean theurgy and Judaic, specifically Merkabah, mysticism. A number of coincidences between the two methods of religious expression clearly suggests that a relationship exists. A close similarity in meaning between the Hebrew ma'aseh merkabah (the 'finely- wrought chariot' of Merkabah mysticism) and the Greek yuch'' lepto;n o[chma (the 'delicate vehicle of the soul' as it is found in the Chaldaean Oracles [fr. 120 in R. Majercik's new edition of the oracles]) seems to indicate the knowledge of one tradition by the other. Similarities also occur in the respective angelologies, the use of charms, amulets and incantations by the practitioners, the descriptions of the spheres through which the soul passes on its descent (ascent), and other times. Some of the similarities are to be attributed to participation in common cultural experiences in the Near East, including the effects of Hellenism and Greek philosophical ideas, specifically those of the Platonic tradition. Nevertheless, it does seem that some concepts common to both mystic traditions travelled from one perspective to the other. The question of which influenced the other naturally depends on the dates assigned to them. I will suggest that the Chaldaean tradition developed at or near the school of Iamblichus at the end of the third century. Chaldaean theurgy thus developed later than some of the main tenets of Merkabah mysticism and took some of its ideas from the Judaic tradition.

DOROTHY WATTS (University of Queensland)
Paganism in Late Roman Britain

Paganism in the fourth century was under siege, owing to the adoption of Christianity by the emperors from Constantine I on. Throughout the century, Christianity made advances; it was checked only briefly in the short reign of the pagan Julian (AD 360- 63). In Roman Britain, after initial enthusiasm there appeared to be some lessening of commitment in the second half of the century. This seems to have coincided with the pagan revival promoted by Julian. This paper examines the nature and extent of paganism in Roman Britain in the second half of the fourth century, and looks at possible impact on the development of Christianity.

MAX WILCOX (Macquaire University)
Jewish Elements in the Letter of James

The letter of James displays a number of interesting affinities with the teaching of Jesus reflected in parts of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Probably the most striking case of this is Jas. 5:12, where it quotes the saying of Jesus on oath-taking found in Matt. 5:34-37, albeit in a less expanded form. Further evidence of this kinship with the thought and outlook of Jesus may be found in its social emphasis and in its use of what may be termed the 'exemplary mode' of use of Scripture. However, examination of these and other related features suggests that the basic link between James and Jesus is to be traced to their shared Jewish heritage.

CHRIS WRIGHT (University of Newcastle)
Myths of Poseidon: the Development of the Role of the God as Reflected in Myth

In some fragmentary Greek cosmogonical myths (notably the Arkadian myth in Paus. 8.8.1-2), Poseidon takes a role similar to that of Zeus in the usual story of kingship in heaven. The 'succession myth' is a common theme in Indo-European myth; there are Near Eastern parallels in e.g. the Hurrian/Hittite myth of Kumarbi and the Babylonian Enuma Elish and Theogony of Dunnu. Poseidon fathered many children in myth, with only Zeus being able to compete in numbers of progeny. Among these myths there are several recurrent motifs: giant (usually earth-born) sons and other monstrous offspring, horses and divine twins. There are also Indo- European parallels here, e.g. the Arkadian myth of the birth of Despoina and Areion to Poseidon and Demeter (Paus. 8.25.4-10, 8.42.1-2) cf. the birth of the Ashvins, the Vedic horse-god twins. Another category of myths is that in which Poseidon loses disputes with other gods over the patronage of no less than eight cities, e.g. the dispute with Athena over Athens. Indeed, Poseidon is often portrayed as the opponent of both gods and mortals, e.g. in Homer. Such myths portray Poseidon as a deity who obstructs, but cannot ultimately defeat, the established order of Zeus. As we can see reflected in myths concerning him, Poseidon over time became increasingly limited in function, being categorised as a god of the sea, earthquakes and horses, with his earlier role as a consort of the earth goddess evidently no longer being understood. That this is so we can see from the portrayal of the god in Greek literature, e.g. the Greek poets would seem to use epithets such as gaiavoco' and ejnnosivgaio' of Poseidon for metrical purposes rather than for the fact that the epithet is particularly relevant for the context.

Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 1 - June 1993
edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington
antiquity-editor@classics.Server.edu.au
ISSN 1320-3606



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