The Goddess who failed? : competitive networks (or the lack thereof), gender politics, and the diffusion of the Roman cult of Bona Dea

Source document: Religio. 2016, vol. 24, iss. 2, pp. [111]-165
  • ISSN
    1210-3640 (print)
    2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
The present article deals with the diffusion of the predominantly female Roman cult of Bona Dea. In order to contextualize and preliminarily assess Attilio Mastrocinque's (2011, 2014) hypothesis of a top-down imperial organization of the cult, supervised by empress Livia herself, both gendered constraints to mobility and the Augustan marriage ban are taken into account and evaluated. Epistemological and methodological limitations of social network analysis in the field of ancient history are carefully appraised before tackling the relationships between hypothetical imperial support and quantitative diffusion of the cult. As an alternative methodological approach, Donald W. Meinig's model of dynamic cultural regions is adopted, and adapted, to suggest a possible spatial and diachronic pattern of diffusion.