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Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the oriental religions

Abstract : Contemporaries of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) often applied racial theories to the supposed cultural, spiritual and political decadence of Rome, holding Oriental immigrants and their religions responsible. In his Oriental Religions (1906) Cumont explicitly rejected Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Otto Seeck, arguing instead for spiritual progress in Late Antiquity, under Oriental influence. Our analysis shows certain ambiguities and stereotypes in Cumont's publications on the Orient. We also present unpublished archive material from the Academia Belgica in Rome, showing Cumont accepted, in the 1920s, racial theories (Tenney Frank). He now explained the religious transformations in Rome by a change in the population.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 8, 2021 - 1:11:31 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 6:38:16 PM

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Eline Scheerlinck, Danny Praet, Sarah Rey. Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the oriental religions. Historia. Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Steiner Verlag, 2016, 65 (2), pp.220-243. ⟨hal-03371088⟩

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