The Deportation of Gods – Between Persian Policy and Ptolemaic Ideology

Recorded: February 19, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium

by Hilmar Klinkott (University of Kiel)

The Deportation of Gods – Between Persian Policy and Ptolemaic Ideology

In early Hellenistic Egypt, a set of Ptolemaic inscriptions reported on an intriguing phenomenon, namely, Ptolemaic kings bringing back “all the gods of the country,” which supposedly the Persians had once taken away from their sanctuaries. On the strength of these epigraphic testimonies, scholars have more recently opined on the movement of Ptolemaic military campaigns in the East and the religious policy of the Achaemenid empire. This paper will mainly focus on the general behavior and religious policy of the Achaemenid Great Kings towards local cults in the administration of the empire. Moreover, this approach will aid us more adequately to understand the tenets and background of these Ptolemaic texts.