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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A new translation of Lucian's De Dea Syria with a discussion of the cult at Hierapolis Darcus, Roy

Abstract

This thesis seeks to provide a new translation of Lucian's De Dea Syria, and a discussion of the cult at Hierapolis. The translation is intended to be a clear and simple rendition of the text. The location of Hierapolis, the city Lucian describes, in northern Syria makes it possible for the cult to be derived either from Asia Minor or from Syria. The discoveries of Ras Shamra, however, have provided a picture of a fertility cult of the second millennium B.C., and Hierapolis seems to exhibit a later version of this religious pattern. First of all, the names of the chief deities, Atargatis and Hadad, reflect a Syrian origin since both are Semitic. Second, the myths that Lucian relates of the Flood and of Stratonike and Kombabos also seem to derive from a Syrian or Mesopotamian background. Finally, the rites practised there fit in with the fertility cult of Syria satisfactorily. The possibility of influence from Asia Minor, especially in later times, must always be considered, however, and the presence of the Galli at Hierapolis, as well as some of the structure of the spring feast, may be a result of influence from there. In the main, however, the cult seems basically Syrian, and there seems no need to search for a non-Syrian origin.

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