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Religions of the Constantinian Empire$
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Mark Edwards

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687725.001.0001

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Religions of the Vanquished

Religions of the Vanquished

(p.110) (p.111) Chapter 6 Religions of the Vanquished
Religions of the Constantinian Empire

Mark Edwards

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 collects what can be known about the cults of subject peoples in the Roman Empire, using as its template the invective of Firmicus Maternus Against the Error of Profane Religions. The testimony of Firmicus suggests that both Mithraism and the cult of Attis assumed a distinctive character in this period; in the case of Attis, Christian elements are visible, and connexions can also be drawn between Christianity and the worship of Serapis in this period. While these cults may have suffered a natural decline in the era of Constantine, he took positive measures to suppress the worship of the ‘Syrian goddess’. The cult of Theos Hypistos (‘God Most High’) can be related both to Constantine’s own use of the epithet Hypsistos and to his suppression of the shared ceremony in honour of the God of Abraham at Mamre. The chapter concludes with observations on Christian monotheism.

Keywords:   Mithraism, Isis, Serapis, Dionysus, Attis, Syrian goddess, Firmicus Maternus, Hypisistos, Mamre

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