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Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the Oriental religions

Eline Scheerlinck (UGent) , Sarah Rey (UGent) and Danny Praet (UGent)
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Abstract
Contemporaries of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) often applied racial theories to the supposed cultural, spiritual and political decadence of Rome, holding Oriental immigrants and their religions responsible. In his Oriental Religions (1906) Cumont explicitly rejected Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Otto Seeck, arguing instead for spiritual progress in Late Antiquity, under Oriental influence. Our analysis shows certain ambiguities and stereotypes in Cumont's publications on the Orient. We also present unpublished archive material from the Academia Belgica in Rome, showing Cumont accepted, in the 1920s, racial theories (Tenney Frank). He now explained the religious transformations in Rome by a change in the population.
Keywords
orientalism, orient, racial theories, racism, cumont

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Chicago
Scheerlinck, Eline, Sarah Rey, and Danny Praet. 2016. “Race and Religious Transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and Contemporaries on the Oriental Religions.” Historia-zeitschrift Fur Alte Geschichte 65 (2): 220–243.
APA
Scheerlinck, Eline, Rey, S., & Praet, D. (2016). Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the Oriental religions. HISTORIA-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ALTE GESCHICHTE, 65(2), 220–243.
Vancouver
1.
Scheerlinck E, Rey S, Praet D. Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the Oriental religions. HISTORIA-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ALTE GESCHICHTE. Steiner Verlag; 2016;65(2):220–43.
MLA
Scheerlinck, Eline, Sarah Rey, and Danny Praet. “Race and Religious Transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and Contemporaries on the Oriental Religions.” HISTORIA-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ALTE GESCHICHTE 65.2 (2016): 220–243. Print.
@article{5905077,
  abstract     = {Contemporaries of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) often applied racial theories to the supposed cultural, spiritual and political decadence of Rome, holding Oriental immigrants and their religions responsible. In his Oriental Religions (1906) Cumont explicitly rejected Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Otto Seeck, arguing instead for spiritual progress in Late Antiquity, under Oriental influence. Our analysis shows certain ambiguities and stereotypes in Cumont's publications on the Orient. We also present unpublished archive material from the Academia Belgica in Rome, showing Cumont accepted, in the 1920s, racial theories (Tenney Frank). He now explained the religious transformations in Rome by a change in the population.},
  author       = {Scheerlinck, Eline and Rey, Sarah and Praet, Danny},
  issn         = {0018-2311},
  journal      = {HISTORIA-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ALTE GESCHICHTE},
  keyword      = {orientalism,orient,racial theories,racism,cumont},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {220--243},
  publisher    = {Steiner Verlag},
  title        = {Race and religious transformations in Rome: Franz Cumont and contemporaries on the Oriental religions},
  volume       = {65},
  year         = {2016},
}

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