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Burying the Alabaster Goddess in Hellenistic Babylonia: Religious Power, Sexual Agency, and Accessing the Afterlife Through Ishtar-Aphrodite Figurines from Seleucid-Parthian Iraq

This article presents a brand new analysis of alabaster collectible figurines sporting crescent crowns, recognized as the syncretized deity Ishtar-Aphrodite, from the Seleucid-Parthian interval in Babylonia (ca. second century BCE–first century CE). Unlike earlier research, this text recontextualizes the alabaster goddesses as the most opulent and explicitly divine variations of two well-liked sorts in the broader, flourishing figurine custom of Hellenistic Babylonia. Miniaturization idea, which elucidates the sensory and perceptual results of small-scale objects, kinds the methodological foundation of this evaluation, in dialogue with archaeological knowledge and textual sources from Mesopotamia and the wider Hellenistic world. Using this strategy, I argue that these collectible figurines had been open to identification as each goddesses and mortals so {that a} woman or lady might use them to assemble her personal sexual company and facilitate her journey to the afterlife, whilst she invoked the goddess’ help with each. The few unambiguous goddess collectible figurines had been depicted with crescent crowns to hyperlink their elite homeowners to the Babylonian temples and their prestigious astrological data. This article makes the contribution of articulating the vital intertwining of Greek and Babylonian cultural values and non secular beliefs that formed these collectible figurines, which had been hybrid in extra than simply fashion.

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