Archives de catégorie : Bibliographie

New Publication: A.J.M. Kropp, Images and Monuments of Near Eastern Dynasts

booksNew Publication on the theme of the representations of Hellenistic monarchic power through monuments and their connection with rituals. The chronological and regional focus makes this study particularly interesting with regard to the Eastern Mediterranean world at the passage from Hellenistic to Roman times.  Chapter 5 offers a large overview of cults for rulers. Continuer la lecture de New Publication: A.J.M. Kropp, Images and Monuments of Near Eastern Dynasts

New publication: R. Strootman, Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires

New publication on the theme of court and elites in the Hellenistic Empire.  After being available online since 2007, R. Strootman’s PhD thesis finally appears as a book, now in a considerably revised version,  and is expected to become a reference for the study of Hellenistic political, social and cultural history. Scholars in Hellenistic religion will find this book of seminal interest for any research approaching Hellenistic religions from a sociological perspective. Continuer la lecture de New publication: R. Strootman, Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires

Nuova pubblicazione: G. Cordiano, M. Zorat, Diodoro Siculo

Nuova pubblicazione in edizione economica BUR dei libri IV-VIII di Diodoro Siculo, con introduzione e commento. Questi libri sono di particolare importanza per lo studio della cultura e della religione ellenistica. Contengono, fra l’altro, la trattazione diodorea di alcuni fra i principali cicli mitologici greci, nonché i frammenti della Hiera anagraphe di Evemero, uno dei testi più significativi in merito alla ricezione culturale dei culti regali in età alto-ellenistica. Continuer la lecture de Nuova pubblicazione: G. Cordiano, M. Zorat, Diodoro Siculo

New Publication: Y. Volokhine, Le porc en Égypte ancienne

Nouvelle publication sur le porc dans la religion égyptienne de l’époque pharaonique et gréco-romaine. Pour les intérêts de ce carnet de recherche, on voudrait attirer l’attention sur la discussion  de la documentation ptolémaïque, qui est destinée à faire référence dans les études sur la vie religieuse dans l’Égypte hellénistique. Continuer la lecture de New Publication: Y. Volokhine, Le porc en Égypte ancienne

What’s new on Arsinoe II: A review of research in 2013

Egyptian stele from private collection (Caneva 2013)
Egyptian stele from private collection (Caneva 2013)

New studies:

Caneva S.G., “Arsinoe divinizzata al fianco del re vivente Tolemeo II. Uno studio di propaganda greco-egiziana”, Historia 62.3, 280-322.

Carney E.E., Arsinoë of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life, Oxford.

Hauben H., “Callicrates of Samos and Patroclus of Macedon, Champions of Ptolemaic Thalassocracy”, in K. Buraselis, M. Stefanou, D.J. Thompson (eds), The Ptolemies, the Sea and the Nile: Studies in Waterborne Power, Cambridge, 39-65.

Meadows A., 2013, “The Ptolemaic League of Islanders”, in K. Buraselis, M. Stefanou, D.J. Thompson (eds), The Ptolemies, the Sea and the Nile: Studies in Waterborne Power, Cambridge, 19-38.

Olivier Julien, Lorber C., “Three Gold Coinages of Third-Century Ptolemaic Egypt”, RBN CLIX, 49-150.


– Carney’s biography of Arsinoe II between Macedon and Egypt fills a gap in scholarship by providing the first comprehensive study of the figure of this Ptolemaic queen since the study of G. Longega.1 For the first time, both the Greek and Egyptian side of the evidence is taken into account in an encompassing study, which has the merit of combining a broad overview of topics and up-to-date bibliography with a clear, easy-reading style. Carney wisely keeps from devoting long discussion to a fetish of scholarly debate on Arsinoe II: whether the queen died in 270 or 268 BC.2 For most respects, as Carney aptly observes (p. 169 n. 2.), this alternative date is irrelevant for our appreciation of her figure because we do not have precisely dated events concerning the career of Arsinoe, which could fit in this time span. Chapter 6 (Arsinoë’s Afterlife, p. 106-134), which deals with cults for the queen, provides a useful overview of the debate on the topic.

New Documents

– Caneva provides the first photograph and edition of a small Egyptian stele (22.5 x 20.5 cm) in a private Belgian collection, previously known only from a sketch published by J. Quaegebeur in 1978.3 The stele represents Pharaoh Ptolemy II in the act of presenting a bb collar to Arsinoe, depicted with her composite crown. A “horned” altar is represented in the center of the scene. The altar is of the same type known from the Alexandrian oinochoai and from two similar stelae preserved in Toronto (ROM 979.63) and in Moscow (I.1.a 5375). This specimen is omitted in the catalogue of scenes depicting Arsinoe II published by M. Nilsson in 2012.4

Social and political networks

– Meadows and Hauben offer two related studies in the role of the League of the Islanders and of Ptolemaic officials during the reign of Ptolemy II. The Aegean league and the careers of individual figures such as Kallikrates of Samos and Patroklos the Macedonian stand out at the crossroads of political and religious history: their action appears deeply intertwined with the organization of the Ptolemaic ruler cult in general, and in particular with the construction of the religious figure of the deceased Queen Arsinoe as the goddess Philadelphos, the divine patron of the Ptolemaic naval forces and of the Empire.

– Caneva’s reappraisal of the Chremonidean decree fits in this framework. The reference to Ptolemy II’s sister, who was dead by the time of the issue of the decree, as a forerunner of the living King in the philo-Hellenic policy of the Ptolemies must be read against the ideological background of the early 260s. In this period, Greek and Egyptian evidence shows that Ptolemy II centered his propaganda on the motif of dynastic continuity by representing himself together with his deceased and deified sister, who became the protectress of the Ptolemaic Empire. Thus the reference to the King’s ancestors and sister in the Chremonidean decree does not shed light on an assumed diplomatic role played by Arsinoe in her lifetime (a point which escapes us almost entirely), but on the religious and ideological figure that Ptolemy II and his court attributed to the deceased queen.

Chronology, ideology, cults

– Olivier and Lorber provide a new study of three golden Ptolemaic emissions from the 3rd century, which is destined to become the new reference on this subject. Of great importance for the present purpose is the treatment of the golden mnaieia with the jugate portraits of the Theoi Adelphoi and the ones depicting Arsinoe Philadelphos with the dikeras on the reverse. By fixing the beginning of the jugate bust coinage before August 272 BC, the authors confirm what already proposed by A. Cavagna,5 i.e. that this type was not issued after the death of Arsinoe II, but during her joint reign with Ptolemy II, thus as a part of the celebration of the deified ruling couple. The dynastic continuity suggested by the double couple of the Theoi Adelphoi and of the Theoi Soteres finds significant parallel in the court literature of the period.6 The beginning of the issue of the Arsinoe Philadelphos coinage can be plausibly dated to the end of the 260s, yet Troxell’s explanation that their emission coincided with the reformation of the apomoira to support the installation of Arsinoe’s cult in Egyptian temples is proved wrong.7 Rather, the increment of these mnaieia in the second half of the 250s is more convincingly put in relationship with Ptolemy II’s need to settle the veterans of the Second Syrian War in the Arsinoites nome. As a consequence, Arsinoe’s image on Ptolemaic golden coins continued to play an ideological function in her widowed brother Ptolemy’s plans down to the end of his reign.

– While the possibility that Arsinoe already received cultic honors in her lifetime cannot be excluded, especially as regards the Greek milieus close to the Alexandrian court, no evidence proves that she received a centralized cult as the goddess Philadelphos before her death. Caneva’s study of the sources mentioning or representing the living King Ptolemy on the side of Arsinoe Philadelphos shows that none of them can be surely dated to the joint rule of the Theoi Adelphoi. On the contrary, all the dated documents belong to the period after the death of Arsinoe. A plausible explanation is that the death of Arsinoe made the Theoi Adelphoi a somewhat obsolete configuration of the royal couple. Pre-existing cults of the Theoi Adelphoi, as well as the mnaieia representing them together with the Theoi Soteres, did not disappear, yet the formula “King Ptolemy and Arsinoe Philadelphos” was introduced as a more up-to-date solution to represent the royal couple as still symbolically unified at an ideological and religious level.

  1. G. Longega, 1968, Arsinoe II, Roma. []
  2. In recent scholarship, the early date is defended by H. Cadell in P.Sorb III, p. 14-21. The late date is reconsidered by B. Van Oppen, 2010, “The Death of Arsinoe II Philadelphus: The Evidence Reconsidered”, ZPE 174, p. 139-150, and by the late Ch. Bennett in the webpage []
  3. J. Quaegebeur, 1978, “Reines ptolémaïques et traditions égyptiennes”, in H. Maehler, V.M. Strocka (Hg.), Das Ptolemäische Ägypten, Mainz, p. 245-262, esp. 251-252, fig. I. []
  4. M. Nilsson, 2012, The Crown of Arsinoë II: The Creation of an Imagery of Authority, Oxford. []
  5. A. Cavagna, 2008, “L’oro dei Theoi Adelphoi”, in G. Zanetto et al. (eds), Nova Vestigia Antiquitatis, Milan, p. 161-182. []
  6. Cf. S. Müller, 2009, Das hellenistische Königspaar in der medialen Repräsentation Ptolemaios II. und Arsinoe II, Berlin, esp. p. 353-362. []
  7. H.A. Troxell, 1985, Arsinoe’s Non-EraANSMN 28, p. 35-70, esp. 55. []

New Publication: 4th Century Karia

A new publication on the topic of classical and Hellenistic Karia. Scholars in Hellenistic religion will be interested in the paper by G. Bockisch (†), P. Ruggendorfer, L. Zabrana, “Temple and altars for Greek and Carian gods. New evidence for religious life in Alinda during the late Classical and Hellenistic Period”, p. 129-163.

4th Century Karia

Defining a Karia Identity under the Hekatomnids

Ed. by Olivier Henry

Series: Varia Anatolica XXVIII

The origins, identity and political behaviors of the Karians remain the subject of intense discussion among specialists. The political organization of Western Asia Minor during the 4th century BC offers an opportunity to explore such questions; it was during this period that local dynasts, the Hekatomnids, reached a position of authority in the region that allowed them to fully express their political ambitions and to promote their own material culture.

Analyses of various aspects of this material culture have led scholars to describe the Hekatomnids in very different ways. They have been portrayed both as Persian dynasts and Proto-Hellenistic Kings, although they were neither Greek nor Persian. This ambiguity is the result of attempts to approach the cultural identity of 4th century Karia in the light of the cultural power of its neighbors, rather than as the result of an intricate process of cultural interaction that included both local traditions and foreign borrowings.

Hekatomnid Karia is representative of the complex phenomenon of hybrid cultures that would later flourish in the Hellenistic World. Gathering specialists on Karian research, each offering a different approach, this book aims to cover a wide number of sources, from archaeological to geographical and historical. The collection of essays provides an interdisciplinary perspective, intended to revitalize discussions of the cultural dynamics relevant to 4th century Karia.


New Publication: Archéologie et religion : le sanctuaire dionysiaque de S. Abbondio à Pompéi

New publication concerning the archaeological campaign held in 2008 at the Dionysiac sanctuary of Sant’Abbonio in Pompei

Mélange de l’Ecole française de Rome – Antiquité, 215.1

Index; English/French abstracts; full html texts; good quality pictures; final bibliography available at the following link:

Abstract of the introduction by W. Van Andringa

An archaeological campaign was carried out in the temple of S. Abbondio at Pompeii in 2008. As well as the methodological aspect, which concerned the interdisciplinary approach of a cult place dedicated to Loufir-Dionysos, the aim was to try to describe the phases and the history of this well-known sanctuary at Pompeii. One question was the dating of the Doric temple located on a small hill, today eroded away, overlooking the Sarno valley. The data collected seem to show that the hill had been occupied during the Bronze Age and in the Archaic period, but there is at the moment no evidence of an earlier cult place. The construction of the temple took place in the middle of the third century BC. Another important element is the dating of the ramp and the inscribed altar, which would be later than the temple. There is, however, no trace of a thiasos before the Imperial period. The study is completed by an analysis of the archaeological material discovered in the ancient and new excavations: inscriptions, reliefs of the pediment, pottery, animal bones and plant remains.


New Publication: M. Horster, A. Klöckner (eds), Cities and Priests

A new publication on the topic of priesthoods and cult personnel in Hellenistic and Roman times in Asia Minor and the Aegean islands. This volume is second to a first volume published in 2012, which was focused on Athens. See the BMCR review and the review in Kernos.

Cities and Priests. Cult Personnel in Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands from the Hellenistic to the Imperial Period, ed. by M. Horster, A. Klöckner, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2012 (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, 64)

Cultural records such as dedications, honorific statues and decrees are keys to understanding the manifold and diverse social roles and religious functions of priesthoods in the cities of Asia Minor and the Aegean islands from the classical period to late antiquity. These texts and images indicate how the priests and priestesses saw themselves and were viewed by others.
The approaches in this volume are historical, religious, and archaeological, and they elucidate the religious functions that the cult personnel fulfilled for the city, and the perception of priests and priestesses as citizens of the polis. The volume focuses on developments from the Hellenistic period into Imperial times. Subjects include: gendered priesthoods and family traditions, the topography of honorary statues and the presentation of funerary monuments, federal and civic priesthoods as well as priests of private cult-foundations, benefactions and social pressure, and the religious, social and political functions of priests and priestesses within cities.

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