The Incorporation of Foreign Cults by the Romans: A Study of the Cults of Juno Sospita, Aesculapius, and the Magna Mater
Access rightsWorldwide access
MetadataShow full item record
The Roman religious system was structured to be continually open to innovations, especially the introduction of new gods and goddesses into their pantheon. This thesis focuses on three cases of this phenomenon and examines the motivations for and effects of incorporating foreign cults. Utilizing a variety of archaeological, literary, and epigraphic evidence, I examine the attitude of the Romans themselves towards these gods, who occupy an unusual space between full acceptance into the Roman state and distance due to their exotic origins. The Romans use these cults to influence their religious, social, and political spheres; advancing their position in the Mediterranean and maintaining peace with the gods simultaneously. In all three cases, the Romans create and maintain a balance between the cult’s original, foreign characteristics and Roman practices to create a new Roman identity for the cult.