luppiter Dolichenus: Vom Lokalkult und Reichsreligion. Edited by MICHAEL BLOMER and ENGELBERT WINTER. Orientalische Religionen in der Antike, vol. 8. Tubingen: MOHR SIEBECK, 2012. Pp. vii + 306. illus. [euro]99.
Among the more unusual careers enjoyed by a foreign god under the Roman empire was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Dolichenus, who started out as the local Storm-god of the minor Commagenean town of Doliche, today's Duluk south of Gaziantep in southern Turkey, to become one of the fifteen best-attested deities from the Roman world (p. 1). Approximately thirty-nine sanctuaries of Jupiter Dolichenus are now known (p. 169), most of them at least partially excavated, located as distant from his original home as the fort at Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall in Britain and along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. We have as yet no evidence for his presence anywhere beyond territory once controlled by Rome (p. 7).
Particularly remarkable about this god of iron and weapon forging (p. 49) is his meteoric rise and fall. Practically unknown in the West until the Parthian campaigns of Trajan (114-117 c.E.) brought him to the attention of the participating legionaries (p. 173), Jupiter Dolichenus was seemingly carried throughout the empire by her soldiers, although his worship was by no means restricted to military circles. Following a rapid expansion, his cult went into steep decline after the middle of the third century, and many of his temples along the northern and central European limes were apparently purposely dismantled (p. 170). The eclipse of this deity was so total that he makes no appearance in the surviving writings of the Christian apologists (p. 246).
Given this silence on the part of Christian sources and the laconic...