RELIGIOUS DUALITY: Dissonance or fusion?
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RELIGIOUS DUALITY: Dissonance or fusion? book
One of the most fascinating yet intricate aspects of a culture is its religious beliefs and practices. The transfer in worship from indigenous deities to the gods of the classical pantheon is an obvious step in the Romanizing process, yet we must also consider changes in who performed the rituals, where they were performed, and what those rituals comprised. Assessing the impact of Roman religion on a provincial culture is no easy task. Why did people adopt Roman religion? Did they merely wish to appear Romanized, or was there a genuine attaction to the conqueror’s gods? Moreover, there is the recently posed problem of whether the syncretism of pre-Roman and Roman deities consists of ‘a neutral indigenous adaptation of a classical god’ or ‘submitting a Roman deity to the power of an important local’ one (J. Webster 1997: 327) – or, we might add, submitting an indigenous deity to the power of a Roman one. Other indigenous deities were not syncretized at all, and this fact also demands explanation: does the contemporaneous worship of indigenous and Roman gods indicate contradiction, or integration?