Recorded: February 20, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium
Citation: Strootman, Rolf. "The Marriage of Antiochos and Nanaia: Empire and Religion in Hellenistic Iran," Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium. February 20, 2020.
by Rolf Strootman (Utrecht University)
The Marriage of Antiochos and Nanaia: Empire and Religion in Hellenistic Iran
Starting with the example of Antiochos IV Epiphanes’ (intended) sacred marriage with the goddess Nanaia in Elam (2 Macc. 1.13–17), this paper explores the Seleucid empire’s relation with Iranian sanctuaries. Following the example of the Achaemenids, the Seleucid king and court interacted with local communities by protecting and patronizing indigenous sanctuaries. Moreover, the king and his itinerant court regularly visited cities. During such visits, the king would personally participate in cultic activities, providing offerings and often performing the crucial act of sacrificing to a community’s principal deity. The religious sphere thereby became a contact zone were local elites and the imperial court met under the impartial supervision of a mutually recognized divine power. Temples also functioned as repositories of wealth; but the various stories about royal temple robberies suggest that there was no general agreement as to the degree of access the king had to these riches.
About the Speaker
Stootman’s research focuses on imperialism, court culture and religion in Greece, the Middle East and Central Asia. He is also interested in east-west relations and the Western image of the “Orient”, the cultural aspects of warfare, the history and topography of the city of Istanbul and the impact of Antiquity in contemporary popular culture.Rolf Strootman studied history and archeology at Leiden University, and cultural heritage and museology at the Amsterdam School of the Arts (Reinwardt Academy). In 2007 he obtained his doctorate in Utrecht on The Hellenistic Royal Courts, a study of elites and monarchical ritual in the Hellenistic empires in a comparative perspective. His most recent books are After the Achaemenids: Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires (2014) and The Birdcage of the Muses: Patronage of the Arts and Sciences at the Ptolemaic Imperial Court, 305-222 BCE (2016), and the collections Persianism in Antiquity (2016; with MJ Versluys) and Empires of the Sea: Maritime Power Networks in World History (2019; with F. van den Eijnde and R. van Wijk).