NYU Excavations at Aphrodisias (G. Petruccioli)

STILL KICKING. Well into late antiquity, the traditional Hellenic cults continued to thrive in Aphrodisias, even though many pagan rituals had ostensibly been banned by the Christian emperors of Byzantium. In the mid-fifth century C.E., the pagan philosopher Asklepiodotos of Alexandria (likely depicted in the portrait shown here) moved to Aphrodisias to establish a school of classical learning and philosophy, where he is said to have performed miracles regularly and composed hymns in honor of the city’s pagan gods. Even some members of the city’s ruling elite, including local governors, are known to have taken part in sacrifices and rituals aimed at restoring the pagan cults of old.