Divine Leadership and The Ruler Cult in Roman and Contemporary Times

University of Groningen (Jan 13, 2020)
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Seeing how the idea of the ‘ruler cult’ and the necessary ‘myth-making’ to establish it exists to this day, as seen with the regime of a 21st century dictator like Kim Jong-il, it would be most interesting to see what parallels exist between cases of divine leadership and what we might learn about our contemporary cult rulers when looking at the dynamics of the two-millennia-old cult of the deified Emperor Augustus. As such, I have formulated a central question that focuses on the reign of Divus Augustus, and in doing so provides opportunity to extrapolate from it new insights in similar but contemporary figures of leadership. A clear case of 'to understand motives in the present, one must look at actions in the past.'

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Jan M. van der Molen
University of Groningen


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