Modeling the spread of religion : The spread of Egyptian cults in the Agean Sea throughout the early Hellenistic period (323-167 BCE)

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Rok publikování 2018
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The paper presents results of the research conducted within the framework of the GEHIR project (Generative Historiography of Religion), investigated in the years 2015-2017 at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, by an interdisciplinary team including scholars of religion, computer scientists, geographers, and mathematicians. This project applied innovative methods previously used in the study of the dynamics of complex systems (e.g., mathematical and computational modeling, network science) to reach a better understanding of the history of four religious traditions active in the ancient Mediterranean: Egyptian cults, Mithraism, Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity. The presented case study focuses on the evaluation of the factors that influenced the spread of Egyptian cults (especially the cult of Isis and Sarapis) in the Aegean Sea throughout the early Hellenistic period (ca 323-167 BCE). Two main hypotheses were introduced, one accentuating the importance of political factors (Ptolemaic propaganda), the other of trade/economic factors (grain trade between Alexandria and island in the Aegean Sea), but outcomes of scholarly discussion remain inconclusive. A possible solution can be found in supplementing established methodological apparatus of historiography by formalized methods, e.g., the coding of relevant datasets, statistics, geospatial modeling, and network analysis. To be able to compare the possible impacts of political and trade/economic factors on the spread of Egyptian cults we 1) constructed a model of the ancient maritime transportation network as a platform for quantitative analysis, 2) transformed selected factors of possible influence into georeferenced parameters of the network, and 3) defined a mathematical model that allowed us to determine which parameters of the network explain the spatial dissemination of archaeological evidence connected to Egyptian cults in the most persuasive way.
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