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Imperialism, Cultural Politics, and Polybius$
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Christopher Smith and Liv Mariah Yarrow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600755

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600755.001.0001

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Rome, Pessinous, and Battakes: Religious Encounters with the East

Rome, Pessinous, and Battakes: Religious Encounters with the East

(p.252) 13 Rome, Pessinous, and Battakes: Religious Encounters with the East
Imperialism, Cultural Politics, and Polybius

Hugh Bowden

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the visit of Battakes, priest of the Mother of the Gods at Pessinous, to Rome in 102 bc. It argues that the cult of Magna Mater in Rome had originally been imported from Pergamon. Whatever the precise purpose of his embassy, Battakes will have used the shared cult of the Mother as a reason for closer ties to be established between Rome and Pessinous. The Roman tradition that the cult of Magna Mater was introduced from Pessinous developed in the wake of Battakes' visit. The whole episode suggests that Roman religion in the second century bc was not, as scholars have generally argued, becoming increasingly conservative, but remained open to eastern influence.

Keywords:   Battakes, Magna Mater, Pergamon, Pessinous, Roman religion

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