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Abstract–Local Pantheons in Motion: Synoecism and Patron Deities in Hellenistic Rhodes

This paper addresses some of the limitations of the concept of patron deity through the case-study of the island of Rhodes after the synoecism of 408/7 BC, as well as, in a wider perspective, the impact of historical events on the religious landscape. Focusing on the main cults of Helios, Athena, and Zeus, it will assess how these cults were related, on different levels, to the concerns of political unity during the Hellenistic period. While Helios had a representative function of the unified polis of Rhodes in relation to the mythical past of the island, the cult configurations of Athena and Zeus and its local variations reflect the dialectic at play between unification and strong regional identities.

About Stéphanie Paul

Stéphanie Paul (PhD University of Liège) is a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Belgian National Fund of Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) at the University of Liège, Belgium. Her research focuses on ancient Greek religion during the Hellenistic period, and particularly the continuity and/or change seen in the epigraphic evidence. The topic of the transformations within pantheons is taken into consideration, notably through the study of votive inscriptions and cult-epithets. Her research interests also include the study of sacrificial practices as reflected in the inscriptions. She has published a book in 2013 entitled Cultes et sanctuaires de l’île de Cos (Kernos suppl. 28), issued from her doctoral thesis. Her research at the CHS/DAI will focus on the re-evaluation of the concept of patron deity in Greek cities.

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