Ruler Cult in Early Hellenism is amply attested by epigraphic documentation, as through worship many poleis would express loyalty and gratitude to their sovereigns,always portrayed as munificent benefactors. Much scarcer literary documentation exists on this practice instead, so much so that all scholars generally refer to the universally known case of Demetrius Poliorcetes, revered as a god by the Athenians in at least three circumstances between 307 and 290 BC; in fact,literary tradition proves hostile to this Athenian form of worship considered unworthy of free men. In the literary tradition of Greek origin, ideal monarchy prescinds from Ruler Cult, and is described as ‘honorable service’ on the part of monarchs disinterested in their own glory and oriented towards common good. Yet,there is proof of a dynastic cult which had its largest center in Ptolemaic Egypt,especially since the reign of Ptolemy II; the latter in 280/79 organized a large procession in honor of his father, by then formally deified, which was described in detail by a ‘court’ writer, Callixenus of Rhodes, and preserved via Athenaeus. In this contradictory cultural climate fits the figure of Euhemerus of Messene, a rationalist and ‘atheist’, who regarded the ancient divinities as deified kings-benefactors. Euhemerus is criticized by Callimachus, a poet of the court of Ptolemy II, perhaps because he revealed the arcana imperii of the time, namely the ‘political' ties between benefits (received by the subjects) and divine honours (bestowed on the sovereign), a practice in which Ptolemy II was a master.
|Titolo tradotto del contributo||[Autom. eng. transl.] The deification of the sovereign in the literary tradition of early Hellenism.|
|Titolo della pubblicazione ospite||Divinizzazione, culto del sovrano e apoteosi. Tra Antichità e Medioevo|
|Editor||FEDERICO MARIA MUCCIOLI, Tommaso Gnoli|
|Numero di pagine||14|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2014|