We know how the story of the Roman Empire ended with the "triumph" of Christianity and the eventual Christianization of the Roman Mediterranean. But how would religious life have appeared to an observer at a time when the conversion of the emperor was only a Christian pipe dream? And how would it have appeared in one particular city, rather than in the Roman Empire as a whole? This volume takes a detailed look at the religious dimension of life in one particular Roman city Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast of Judea. Caesarea was marked by a complex religious identity from the outset. Over time, other religious groups, including Christianity, Mithraism and Samaritanism, found a home in the city, where they jostled with each other, and with those already present, for position, influence and the means of survival. Written by a team of seasoned scholars and promising newcomers, this book brings a new perspective to the study of religion in antiquity.
Along with the deliberate goal to understand religion as an urban phenomenon, Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Caesarea Maritima studies religious groups as part of the dynamic process of social interaction, spanning a spectrum from coexistence, through competition and rivalry, to open conflict. The cumulative result is a fresh and fascinating look at one of antiquity's most interesting cities.