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Isis, cult of

Source:
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity
Author(s):
Richard L GordonRichard L Gordon

Isis, cult of 

A shorthand expression for the religious dimension, focused on Isis, Serapis, Osiris, Harpocrates, and Anubis, of a much wider long-term interaction between Hellenized Egypt and the rest of the Empire. The cult was always strongest in the east Mediterranean, where it often continued to form part of local practice until the late 4th century. At Rome, vota publica coin issues with Isiac motifs were struck until ad 379 and cult practice in the Iseum Campense seems to have continued until Theodosius I, but explicit evidence for worship is limited to private houses of the aristocracy. The Serapea of Menouthis and Alexandria were destroyed by Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, in 389 and 391/2. Justinian I ordered the closure of the Temple of Isis at Philae, a centre of pagan practice, in 535/7. A synthetic treatment of the topic in Late Antiquity is a desideratum.

Richard L. Gordon

Bibliography

L. Bricault, Atlas de la diffusion des cultes isiaques (2001).Find this resource:

    L. Bricault, Sylloge Nummorum Religionis Isiacae et Sarapiacae (2008).Find this resource:

      S. Ensoli, ‘I santuari di Iside e Serapide a Roma e la resistenza pagana’, in S. Ensoli and E. La Rocca, eds., Aurea Roma: dalla città pagana alla città cristiana (2000), 267–87.Find this resource:

        J. Hahn, ‘Die Zerstörung der Kulte von Philae’, in J. Hahn et al., eds., From Temple to Church: Destruction and Renewal of Local Cultic Topography in Late Antiquity (RGRW 163, 2008), 203–42.Find this resource:

          K. Kleibl, Iseion. Raumgestaltung und Kultpraxis in den Heiligtümern gräco-ägyptischer Götter im Mittelmeerraum (2009).Find this resource:

            S. Takács, Isis and Sarapis in the Roman World (RGRW 124, 1995).Find this resource: