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Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences$
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John Davies and John Wilkes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265062

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265062.001.0001

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Inscriptions and Identities of Rural Population Groups in Roman Asia Minor

Inscriptions and Identities of Rural Population Groups in Roman Asia Minor

(p.63) 5 Inscriptions and Identities of Rural Population Groups in Roman Asia Minor
Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences

Christof Schuler

British Academy

This chapter is an essay in cultural history, exploring the relationship between the forms of epigraphical expression and the expectations of the intended audiences. It does so by studying the (mostly religious) inscriptions of Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor, and seeks to modify recent interpretative notions of town and country as ‘worlds apart’ or of ‘collective identity’. With much illustrative detail, the chapter shows how anxieties about crops and livestock were reflected in epigraphic forms and terminology, not least in prayers to weather gods. A second section emphasises the prominence and powers accorded to local gods, as are visible both in the prayers offered on behalf of village communities, and in the texts of confession and expiation set up by individuals. The chapter ends by downplaying notions of serious tension between rural Anatolian cult practice and ‘an essentially urban cultural mainstream’.

Keywords:   cultural history, inscriptions, prayers, crops, livestock, weather gods, local gods, confession texts, expiation texts, Roman Asia Minor

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