Smirnou SYNCRETISM IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF ANCIENT PALMYRA IN THE 3rd CENTURY СE
SYNCRETISM IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF ANCIENT PALMYRA IN THE 3rd CENTURY СE
S. M. Smirnou
PhD Student Belarusian State University 6, Krasnoarmeyskaya Str., Minsk, 220030, Belarus firstname.lastname@example.org
A study of religious syncretism in the Roman Empire in the third century CE allows us to understand new trends in the religious life of modern society. Such a study can help elucidate the general nature and essence of syncretism in the non-material culture of ancient civilizations. Manifestations of religious syncretism in the spiritual life of Roman Palmyra are noticeable in the pantheon of Palmyra gods. The main feature of the Palmyra pantheon is its syncretic nature. In this pantheon the influence of Arab, Phoenician, Babylonian and Hellenistic beliefs is noticeable. Residents of Palmyra worshiped the gods Baal-Hamon, Shadraffa-Apollo, Elqoner-Poseidon, Nergal, Tammuz, Ishtar, Atargatis, Persian Anahita and others. Among the Palmyrian gods stood out two triads of major deities. The first triad consisted of Bel, Yargibol, and Aglibol. The second triad consisted of the gods Baal-Shamin, Malakbel and Aglibol. Modern researchers have a problem explaining this fact. A possible reason for this situation in the Palmyrian religion is the complication and development of the images of the local gods – Bol-Bel and Yargibol. The images and cults of the supreme Palmyrian gods were syncretic. Evidence of local sacred art shows that Bel and Baal-Shamin were identified with the Greek Zeus. The solar gods Yargibol and Malakbel were associated with the Greek Helios and the Iranian Mithras. The Palmyrian goddess Allat, who was identified with the Greek Athena, had a syncretic image. The original feature of the religion of Palmyra was the worship of the so-called anonymous god. This cult may have been influenced by the beliefs of early Christianity or Judaism. Along with this archaeological material indicates the spread of the syncretic cult of the god Mithras in this region. On this basis, it can be seen that the Roman Palmyra in the 3rd century CE was a platform for intercultural dialogue in the Hellenistic East. The result of such a dialogue was a complex syncretic set of religious beliefs of ancient Palmyra.
Keywords: religious syncretism, pantheon of Palmyra gods, Bel, Baal-Shamin
Preislamic Near East 2021, (2):125-138
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