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The Conclusions

, 2002 .

The treating of antique mythology in a context of a political history of the ancient world and struggle of a christianity with the paganism shows surprising robustness and plasticity of the antique myth. The heroic mythology, as shown in the first section, firstly promoted creation aristocratic ethos in the noble Attic families, and then encouraged derivation of civil community and distribution of aristocratic ethical values on wide layers of communal collective. The myth has appeared the potent propaganda weapon in arms of authoritiers and of ruling elite during the folding of the Athenian statehood, and in period of her heyday. Necessity to use authority of the myth for a substantiation of major political and social and economic conversions proves its domination in mass consciousness of Athens as most forward Hellenic poleis and confutes imagination about the certainty of transition from the myth to logos in classical period of the Greek history.

Alongside with traditional mythology for the Athenians as well as for the Romans there is a mythology of the special social-political sort, so-called parahistoric mythology. In its development it is possible to detect some common features. The parahistoric mythology both in Athenes, and in Rome is made out during the folding an antique civil community. The appearance of the imperial tendencies in external policy of the Athenian and Roman states was mirrored in imperialist interpretation of the national myth. For Athenians it is so-called new mythology of Pericles epoch. For the Romans actualization of the myth about Aeneas, Cybele precept to revenge the Greeks for corrupting of Troad took place after transferring a statue of the Great Goddess to Rome in the end III Cent. B. C. when Rome became the most potential power in Mediterranian. However by virtue of historical reasons parahistoric myth has turned in imperial utopia, which important component became the myth about eternal return of Golden Ages only for the Romans as revival of the Roman myth at the time of Augustus principate.

In epoch of principate the Roman state gave most serious attention to attaching of army with values of an ancient culture as a whole and to ideals of the Roman myth in particular, actively using in various means of propaganda the mythological characters and images. Pays on itself attention surprisingly harmonic integration of the Greek mythology in culture of Roman empire.

The materials presented in the second and third sections of the monography do not leave doubts that antique mythology in IIII Cent. A. D. still was the integral part of consciousness of an appreciable part of the population of Empire. Thus, however, in locales with ancient civilisational traditions, first of all in Roman East, where impulses of new in spiritual life most persistently made the way, went by a complete course the process of critical interpretation of antique mythological tradition. The apologists of a christianity IIIII in. (in latin Patristic literature first of all Tertullianus, and in Greek  Climent of Alexandria), during their polemics with the Pagans demonstrated remarkable erudition in antique mythology.

Most ruthlessly Fathers of Christian tradition critisized the Roman mythology and especially its components related to the Roman myth because it was a basis of imperial utopia. It was necessary for the apologists of Christianity to discreditate the Empire as a sacral ideal. The Roman imperial utopia really was the early variant of social utopia1. It proclaimed that ideal of social life is achieved in Imperium Romanum and guaranteed by the emperors.

For this reason, deriding the characters of Roman mythology, the apologists of a Christianity could not pass by the idea about eternal return of Golden Age of the Roman state. Is quite probable, that the Fathers of a christianity gave so large attention to discreditation of the myth about Phoenix because of identification this magical bird with Rome. This comparison was popular in Roman classical literature.

While in Eastern provinces of Empire an ancient culture, the classical mythology and Pagan religion also were in deep decline, in the Balkan-Danube region the situation was absolutely different. Here antique civilization lay for the raising: there were numerous cities, which attracted to themselves the numerous settlers firstly from western, and, since IIIrd Century from Eastern provinces and from native population. the rough rates occured mastering natural, mainly of mining oofs of locale. That was time of economic prosperity of region. The greatest rise of cities occured in a zone of the consolidated boundary  limes, where the antique beginnings in economy, social device, culture were showed eventually much more bly, rather than in provincial hinterland. Army was the main sociocreative factor there. The state, using various resources of official propagation, effectively appended soldiers masses to values of an ancient culture. The data of historical sources convincingly prove that even during crisis of III Century AD. the antique cults and the Roman myth as ideology of imperial loyalism dominated in mass conscioussness of this region. It is not surprising that Danube provinces and deployed here troops became eventually rescuers of Roman empire, having extended her existence for two Centuries. The apologists of a christianity criticized the myths connected with Hercules, Mithra, Cybele and Attis, not only because they were Pagan or barbarous deities, but also because these cults were especially actively cultivated by the state on a boundary IIIII cent., and also in connection with their popularity in militarized provinces, to which number Africa referred also.

At the same time the analysis of gravestone monuments iconography of IIIII Cent. demonstrates a wide circulation of imaginations about reincarnation of souls, immortality, revival postmortem through a cults of Dionises, Cybele and Attis. The New trends were brought by the recruits  natives of Eastern provinces, settlers from the Asian provinces which have accepted active involvement in mastering of region in IIIIV Cent. AD. Besides these innovations prepared the basis for fast widespread of a Christianity.

The success of Christianization in the Balkan-Danube region was explained not only by the policy of the state, becoming uncompromising in second half IV in., but also by decline of social groups connected with antique spiritual values. The military organization of the early Empire was broken dawn as a result of common social and economic and political crisis and as a result of barbarous intrusions of antique cities.

Thus, wide circulation of images both characters of classical and Roman mythology among the Roman soldiers, veterans and townspeople in the Balkan-Danube region in IIIII cent. reflected one of last impulses of an ancient Greek-Roman culture in scales of all Empire.


  • 1More details about imperial idea as utopia see: Golovatenko A. Istoriya Rossii: spornye problemy [A History of Russia: Controversial Problems]. Moskva, 1994. S. 249255.
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