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The Last Pagans of Rome$
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Alan Cameron

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199747276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199747276.001.0001

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Priests and Initiates

Priests and Initiates

Chapter:
(p.132) 4 Priests and Initiates
Source:
The Last Pagans of Rome
Author(s):

Alan Cameron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199747276.003.0005

Much of the evidence for the religious affiliations of pagan aristocrats comes from inscribed dedications—more indeed than most people probably realize. In simpler times it was taken for granted that inscriptions provided a peculiarly uncomplicated sort of evidence, bare facts not mediated by human art or bias. However, few facts are bare. This chapter examines what sort of monuments these dedications were inscribed on, where they were erected, by whom, and with what purpose. Topics discussed include Roman priesthoods, “oriental” cults, Bloch's thesis that it was oriental rather than state cults that inspired political resistance to Christianity, the taurobolium, and the decline of the priestly colleges.

Keywords:   pagan aristocrats, inscriptions, Roman priesthood, oriental cult, political resistance, Christianity, Bloch

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