|Hadrian's Villa, Canopus and Serapeum.|
Dr. Vivian A. Laughlin's research is honed to the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. These two eras were a time of considerable religious ferment and societal change around the Mediterranean. Two prominent cults at the time, Serapis and Isis, were connected to ancient Egyptian religion that gained pan-Mediterranean popularity. Because these two cults were intricately intertwined within Hellenistic and Roman religions, they provide pathways to examine the continuity and connectivity between ancient Egyptian religion and culture within Hellenistic and Roman religions. The following two projects are planned to be conducted simultaneously: (1) the monograph, and (2) expanded research:
Dr. Laughlin's dissertation-to-book project utilizes Serapis and Isis as catalysts to explore the continuity, connectivity, and influences of ancient Egyptian religion within Hellenistic and Roman religions. Because her monograph explores how ancient Egyptian religion was initially used within the political ploys of the Ptolemaic Dynastic Rulers of Egypt, it provides a trajectory that exhibits how the Ptolemaic Dynasty created a religiously socio-political paradigm for some Roman Emperors to emulate. The scope of her monograph showcases material culture that were used as forms of media, which became dynamic tools within the political propaganda of ancient rulers during both the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
It is the continued goal to expand this research project around the Mediterranean (i.e., Egypt and various regions in North Africa, Jordan, Ancient Judea, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey). This expanded study will use material culture to showcase whether the Serapis and Isis cults were utilized to assimilate, syncretize, isolate, appropriate, expurgate, and/or juxtapose ancient Egyptian religion and culture into various ancient cultures and societies, and comparatively analyze the differences by regions. This expanded research project will become a second monograph volume to help archaeologists and historians better understand the historical archaeology of religious change that the ancient Egyptian religion and culture contributed to cross-culturally around the Mediterranean.