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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines ancient Rome’s ties to Egypt via the goddess Isis. More specifically, it considers the political meanings of Isis and her place in Roman religion and ritual. It first provides an overview of the connection between Egyptomania and Roman Isis, taking as a point of departure the Temple of Isis in the city of Pompeii. It then explores competing explanations of the significance of Isis in Roman society: one account places Isis in the midst of political maneuverings among the Roman elite, and another presents Isis and things Egyptian as exotic and mysterious. The article also reveals how Isis problematizes scholarly notions of religion in ancient Roman society.

Keywords: ancient Rome, Egypt, Isis, religion, ritual, Egyptomania, Temple of Isis, politics, religiosity, elite

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