Religious Interactions between Persians and Egyptians in Achaemenid Egypt

Recorded: February 18, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium

by Damien Agut-Labordère (French National Center for Scientific Research)

Religious Interactions between Persians and Egyptians in Achaemenid Egypt

In this presentation, I shall not focus on the relationship of the Persian crown and Egyptian temples, but rather address the question of religious interactions between Persians and Egyptians during the first Persian domination (526–400 BCE), and in the first half of the 4th century BCE. My approach will be resolutely micro-historical. I will begin by examining how some Persians serving the Great King in Egypt adopted all or part of the Egyptian funeral rites, for it is in this context that the phenomenon of acculturation of Iranians living in Egypt is most apparent. Subsequently, I shall examine how Egyptians may have integrated Persian elements into their religious practices and worshiped the Great King as a god. Finally, I seek to demonstrate that these phenomena of acculturation do not occur in all of Egypt, but are inscribed within a geography that corresponds unsurprisingly to the centers of Persian power in the Nile Valley.