Captive Gods: Romans and Athenian Religion from 229 B.C. to by Karen Lee Edwards

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By Karen Lee Edwards

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This, in tum, leads us to the other respect in which Delos may be considered a "crossroads": as commerce on Delos increased in volume and variety during the second century, so did the population, so that by the end of the century the island supported a large community of great ethnic diversity. Although she and her cults were controlled by Athens in this period, Delos was a truly cosmopolitan place, home to a variety of groups, both eastern and western. As Italians, and specifically Romans, comprised a community of considerable size and influence on the island, Delos provides an excellent opportunity for 37 the study of Romans living in the Greek world.

In 228, as a newly freed state, Athens received a delegation of Romans on a diplomatic tour after the first lllyrian War. These men, who had been allowed to participate in the Isthmian Games earlier in the year, became the first known Roman initiates of the Mysteries of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis. 47 The historical accuracy of the account, which is late, has been questioned because of the unlikely name Plautus ("Flat-foot") given for one of the delegates/8 but I think that there are good reasons to accept the story as genuine.

52 Tracy /Habicht 1991, 235. 53 Tracy /Habicht 1991 , 188-189, m 41: 001) TOl) Eliepyhal) i(J,Jepav [---ca. 10-- -]. 51 Tracy /Habicht 1991, 235. 7-11 (ref. Jvl). 31 5. Romans and Greek games The topic of games in general deserves some discussion here, since agonistic festivals, both local and panhellenic, played an important role in introducing Romans to Greek religious traditions on the Greek mainland. Many Roman visitors, in ever-increasing numbers in the second century, participated in Greek games.

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