For Salvation's Sake: Provincial Loyalty, Personal Religion, by Jason Moralee

By Jason Moralee

This booklet breaks new floor within the examine of cultural solidarity within the close to East from pre-Roman to early Islamic occasions (first century BC - 8th century AD). according to an intensive examine of approximately four hundred Greek and Latin inscriptions from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, this e-book indicates how the formulation 'for salvation's sake' (hyper soterias/pro salute) was once primary to the political, social and spiritual lives of thousands of civic and armed forces elites within the close to East. at first an expression of historic indigenous faith, this formulation expressed loyalty to the significant authority at Rome, whereas profiling social prestige and piety. With the arriving of Christianity and Islam, the formulation misplaced its political significance, yet persevered in its social and non secular functions between Christian and Jewish groups in overdue Antiquity. proposing a brand new physique of proof, Jason Moralee offers a clean examine how Romans used the inscriptions to safe the loyalty in their matters for hundreds of years. This research of fabric tradition via a number of sessions redefines notions of political loyalty within the heart East from antiquity during the center a long time, elevating new questions on lifestyles within the Roman provinces.

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Given this high percentage, the impulse is to imagine Italians arriving as an occupying force, imposing their culture on the region, and demanding ritualistic displays of loyalty to the state from a fair number of the Semitic locals. Names, however, can easily mislead. 9 None the less, names can provide clues regarding an individual’s social identity. For our purposes, The reception of the salutary ideology in the near east 33 the delineation of “Roman,” “Greek,” and “Semitic” names in this and the following tables points to cultural categories, not ethnic or racial ones.

These festivals commemorated historical acts of salvation and venerated both the heroes and the gods who had saved the cities in which the festivals were held. In the case of Delphi, the Sôtêria celebrated the salvation of the city from the advance of Brennos, a Celt who planned to sack the shrine and carry off its vast treasure as plunder. Delphi was an international cult-site that attracted Greeks from throughout the Mediterranean world. During the Sôtêria, therefore, sacrifices were made for the salvation of the shrine itself and of all Greeks.

Oaths taken by the genius (or tychê) of the emperor became part of everyday life, as in matters involving taxes and the sale of goods,55 as well as in judicial proceedings, such as those against the Christians. To give one example, in the trial of Polycarp, one senses the proconsul’s frustration as he presses the old man to mumble a few banal words: “Have regard for thine age…. ’”56 To Tertullian, this practice, however much a part of everyday life, was pure devil worship. His reasoning is that the genii are nothing more The salutary ideology 25 than daimones.

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