The Early Spread of the Isiac Cults in the West Coast of Hellenistic Asia Minor: A Quantitative Evaluation of the Ptolemaic Political Influence

Authors

GLOMB Tomáš MERTEL Adam POSPÍŠIL Zdeněk

Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description During the reign of the first six Ptolemaic kings in Hellenistic Egypt (ca 305-145 BCE), the Isiac cults (i.e. the Egyptian cults related to the divine couple of Isis and Sarapis) spread initially to ports of the ancient Mediterranean and subsequently further into the mainland. This case study is focused primarily on the process of the spread of these cults in the west coast of Hellenistic Asia Minor where there is located a significant amount of archaeological evidence related to the Isiac cults. In the period of interest, the regions on the west coast of Asia Minor (i.e. Ionia, Caria and Lycia) were significantly involved in Ptolemaic political activities. Moreover in the proximity of this coast lies the island of Rhodos, one of the main economic partners of Ptolemaic Egypt. Prominent researchers of the Isiac studies acknowledge that the Ptolemaic presence and the influence of Rhodos probably played a positive role in the spread of the Isiac cults in Asia Minor. However, the hypotheses presented in the discussion are produced by established historiographical methods which are unable to disentangle the complex interplay of variables involved in the process of the spread of these cults. By application of quantitative methods of formalized modeling this study attempts to gain a better insight into the regional dynamics with respect to the spread of the Isiac cults. To test the hypotheses from the academic discussion, this study proposes a mathematical model which, based on geographical, political and transportation network datasets, determines which specific factors were responsible for the dissemination of the Isiac cults in the Hellenistic Asia Minor.
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