Professor Robert Parker of Oxford University will deliver the 99th Sather Lectures at UC Berkeley this spring on the topic of “Greek Religion Abroad”.
By the second century AD Greek gods, or at least gods bearing Greek names, had spread, along with the Greek language, throughout the Greek East; they were partly carried by settlers but also to a large extent taken up by the indigenous populations. How much of the god’s familiar personality travelled along with the name is always open to debate. The religious systems that emerged were a complicated and variable blend of Greek, indigenous (and Roman). These lectures are an attempt to come to grips with this religious mixing, driven from both sides; the particular focus will be on the abundant evidence from the vast and diverse region of Anatolia, both cities and countryside. An underlying issue is the ‘system compatibility’ between different ancient polytheisms, which made them in a sense into a single universal polytheism.
The first lecture will be delivered on February 7 entitled “The Universal Polytheism: Interpretatio Graeco-Romana”, with lectures to follow for the next five Thursdays. Further information can be found on the Berkeley Classics website.