Sodalitas Graeciae (Nova Roma)/Religion from the Papyri

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Egyptian papyri offer a rich source of information for Greek religion (including "magical") practice. While many "foreign" elements (Egyptian, Jewish, etc) suffuse these papyri, the syncretism itself helps us study the complex reception of Greek tradition in the Roman Empire.


PGM Hymns

In the back of volume 2 (237-266) of his essential reference, Papyri Graecae Magicae, Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1974), Karl Preisendanz listed thirty hymns reconstructed by Ernst Heitsch from various magical papyri. While at times somewhat arbitrary in his selection of what constitutes a unitary hymn, his work still offers an interesting point of departure for further study. The hymns as presented here provide both Heitsch's reconstruction and the original texts for the respective papyri as published by Preisendanz. Translations are those of Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri: Including the Demotic Spells (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992) unless otherwise noted.

Sortes Homericae

Divination by random citations from Homer was a popular method for finding oracles in antiquity.

Mithraism in Egypt?

While attestation for the Roman cult of Mithras is rather meager in Egypt, some papyri do exist. Their association with the cult is not always certain, but they may be useful either in shedding light on new aspects of the cult or helping confirm aspects otherwise attested.


Divine Statistics

Statistics of references to temples and divinities can provide interesting data for tracking the popularity of various cults in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.

Native Temple Decline

The decline of the Egyptian temples in late antiquity is one of the seminal events in late-antique Egypt. In terms of the history of the land, the phenomenon was sudden and precipitous. In a matter of four centuries a dramatic shift took place in the religious life of the population, not so much in terms of conversion to Christianity, but in terms of the organizational foci for religious observance.

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