Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Mission and ConversionProselytizing in the Religious History of the Roman Empire$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Martin Goodman

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263876.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 April 2021

The Diffusion of Cults and Philosophies in the Pagan Roman Empire

The Diffusion of Cults and Philosophies in the Pagan Roman Empire

(p.20) 2 The Diffusion of Cults and Philosophies in the Pagan Roman Empire
Mission and Conversion


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether any pagan at any time felt a sense of mission to encourage others to share his beliefs, whether such mission was educational, apologetic, informative, or proselytizing, and whether it was universalistic or directed to specific groups. The investigation looks first at the diffusion of pagan cults. In the second half of the chapter, it considers the spread of philosophical ideas. The attitudes to mission vary greatly in ancient polytheism. When it occurred, mission was usually apologetic and propagandistic. The inscriptions found in shrines proclaiming the power and benevolence of the divinity may be included in these categories. Such attitudes simply praise the god, on the assumption that the gods, like men, love to be honoured. There was no evidence that their ambitions were universalist in scope.

Keywords:   pagan cults, diffusion, ancient polytheism, apologetic mission, propaganda, shrines

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .