‘True American’: The Cold War and Battles for Ownership of Identity

America has not yet emerged from conflicts over what it means to be a “true American.” Consequently, historical assessments of the Cold War and its ramifications in American culture vary widely. Internal and External Conflict During the Cold War, the debate about what it meant to be a true American expressed tensions that had been[…]

Spain’s 1936 Civil War and the Americans Who Fought in It: A Convoluted History

The Spanish Civil War was seen as very much of a piece with the war against Hitler and Mussolini. But then things changed. Why? Eighty-two years ago, in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, a group of right-wing generals staged a military coup, aimed at overthrowing Spain’s democratically elected government. The July 1936 uprising[…]

The Bacchanalia: A Greek Dionysian Mystery Cult in Ancient Rome

The Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia. Introduction The Bacchanalia seem to have been popular and well-organised throughout the central and southern Italian peninsula. They were almost certainly associated with Rome’s native cult of Liber, and probably arrived in Rome itself around 200 BC. However, like[…]

Mystery Cults in the Greek and Roman World

Shrouded in secrecy, ancient mystery cults fascinate and capture the imagination. Shrouded in secrecy, ancient mystery cults fascinate and capture the imagination. A pendant to the official cults of the Greeks and Romans, mystery cults served more personal, individualistic attitudes toward death and the afterlife. Most were based on sacred stories (hieroi logoi) that often[…]

The Religion of the Ancient Canaanites

Canaanite religion was polytheistic, and in some cases monolatristic. Introduction Canaanite religion refers to the group of ancient Semitic religions practiced by the Canaanites living in the ancient Levant from at least the early Bronze Age through the first centuries of the Common Era. Beliefs Deities A great number of deities in a four tier hierarchy headed[…]