Thracian Influence in Asia Minor Mystery Cults in the Eastern Parts of the Roman Provinces in the Central Balkans

  • Nadežda Gavrilović Vitas Archaeological Institute 35/IV Knez Mihailova Str. RS-11000 Belgrade
Keywords: Asia Minor cults, Central Balkans, mystery religions, funerary rites, snake


During the period of Roman rule in the Central Balkan Roman provinces, among other oriental cults, like the Syrian cult of Sol Invictus or the Persian cult of Mithras, Asia Minor deities and theologies were considerably favoured. Epigraphic and archaeological evidence confirms the existence of the cults of Magna Mater, Attis, Iuppiter Dolichenus, Sabazius, Iuppiter Turmasgades, Iuppiter Melanus, Mēn, and Artemis of Ephesus. However, in the eastern parts of the Central Balkan Roman provinces, certain religious syncretism is emphasized, which can be connected to the strong Thracian influence in the mentioned territory. This paper examines the ways and the degree to which Thracian culture penetrated the religious beliefs and funerary rites of the population that inhabited the eastern parts of the Central Balkans in Antiquity.