Religious Agency and Time Regimes in the Roman Empire: The Cult of Anubis as a Case Study Articles uri icon

published in

publication date

  • December 2020

start page

  • 39

end page

  • 76

issue

  • 1

volume

  • 68

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1568-5276

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 0029-5973

abstract

  • This article analyzes three different case studies related to the Graeco-Roman cult of Anubis, located in different historical periods (Early, Middle, and Late Roman Empire) and approached by the study of different types of material (namely literary, epigraphic/archaeological, and iconographic sources). The goal of this study is to explore the social dimension of religious practice, stressing its variety, creativity, multiplicity, fluidity, and flexibility of identities, changes in forms of individuality, and spaces for individual distinction. By means of a detailed inquiry of Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mische's schema of "disaggregation" of agency into three component elements (iteration, projectivity, and presentification), this analysis will stress the historical variability of religious agency and will show how, across time, emerging situations forced religious actors to select among alternative possibilities of action by recovering patterns belonging to past routines and creating new future options that responded to present hopes and fears. The results of this investigation will then be conceptualized according to the methodological framework of the Lived Ancient Religion paradigm.

keywords

  • anubis; isiac cults; i├žiteration; lived ancient religion; presentification; projectivity; religious agency; time