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Document Details :

Title: No Place for Cult
Subtitle: The Sacred Landscape of Latium in the Late Republic
Author(s): ROUS, Benjamin D.
Journal: BABESCH
Volume: 84    Date: 2009   
Pages: 53-84
DOI: 10.2143/BAB.84.0.2041637

Abstract :
In this article, an attempt is made to reconstruct the sacred landscape of the region Latium in the late republican period purely based on archaeological sources. The image that emerges from the data is one of numerical decline and spatial concentration of cult places in this period. A religious ‘market’ model will be proposed to explain this development, based on the assumption that people tend to make rational choices with regard to religious behaviour. This model can be used as a heuristic tool to describe and conceptualise the situation in Latium, with competition between cult places as a central notion. A trend towards generalisation and standardisation of votive religion and a growing (economic) focus on the towns of Latium during the republican period fed into this competitive process and ultimately led to the demise of many cult places. In the end, it was integration into the urban infrastructure and the number and importance of services offered which determined if a cult place would ‘stay in business’. Existing data may benefit from the application of the model, providing fresh insights into familiar areas of research.

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