Cult of the Egyptian Gods at Demetrias Wiznura, Adam
Demetrias was an important port city for the Macedonians and during the period of around 217-168 BCE, Demetrias grew as a commercial and political centre, with the port of Demetrias becoming very “international” with many peoples from around the Mediterranean world coming to Demetrias. Starting from the 3rd c. BCE Demetrias became the home to many Egyptian deities (such as Isis, Serapis, Anubis, and Harpokrates). Maria Stamatopoulou suggests worship of the Egyptian gods probably started as private among Egyptian migrants, or possibly Macedonian soldiers who had served in Egypt, but that worship became public during the 2nd century BCE. The worship of the Egyptian gods in Demetrias is known primarily from inscriptions and funerary stelae. No cult sites, however, have yet been identified archaeologically and it is still impossible to determine the material characteristics of their sacred spaces. A Serapeion is attested from an honorific inscription, although a location is still unknown. Apostolos Arvanitopoulos also identified a sanctuary to Harpokrates, but this identification is heavily debated. Sofia Kravaritou mentions that intermarriages between Egyptian and non-Egyptian inhabitants of Demetrias could have been a factor in the growth of the cult, as Hellenised Egyptian names can be found on Demetrian painted grave stelae. By the Roman period it appears that the cults of the Egyptian gods were firmly entrenched with the society of Demetrias.
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