- Religious Continuity and Change in Parthian Mesopotamia: A Note on the Survival of Babylonian Traditions
- Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History
- Volume | Issue number
- 1 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
During the period of Arsacid domination, Mesopotamia was characterized by an extraordinarily varied religious landscape. Religion in Arsacid Mesopotamia has not received much attention so far and an all-encompassing study dealing with religious continuity and change in the region is still lacking. For most Assyriologists, religion in the Parthian period is quite different from the preceding periods. Graeco-Roman historians have not shown a great interest in the period either. In short, the study of religion in Parthian Mesopotamia is still split up in diverse cultural and linguistic traditions that are the result of the academic training of the researchers. A profound study of religion in Mesopotamia during this period has to break free from these traditional confines and study the various religious traditions in their social, cultural, and religious context, with a keen eye for religious interaction and diversity on a local level.
In present-day research, the focus is on continuity of Babylonian culture and religion. In the first part of this article, I shall argue that the case for continuity has been overstated of late. In fact, change was equally important and this change set in as early as the Achaemenid period. In the second part I shall argue that Babylonian culture was never confined to temples and cuneiform and that the Babylonian deities always had led a life outside their traditional homes as well.
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