Session 32

DYNAMICS OF CULTS AND CULT PLACES IN THE EXPANDING ROMAN EMPIRE

Organised by: Tesse Stek

The study of cultural change in the Roman world is increasingly benefitting from longer term and wider geographical perspectives, lifting artificial boundaries between Republican period Mediterranean and Imperial period provincial studies. Works such as Keay/Terrenato 2001 have shown how different academic traditions shaped scholarly opinion in ways that cannot only be accounted for by real regional differences in antiquity.

Different academic backgrounds and traditions have also been key to modern understandings of religious change. Although some similar divides between Italy and provinces, and Republican and Imperial period are discernable, the debate on the ‘religious romanization’ of the conquered areas has also taken very different paths.

This session explores the interaction – or lack thereof – between the expanding Roman empire and existing or newly emerging religious and cultic constellations by focusing on the archaeology of cults and cult places. Carefully collected and analyzed archaeological data can offer information on the way that sacred spaces were established and used over time, and for processes of transformation where traditionally we have seen static and continuous cultic activity. At the same time, in such approaches the tension between large-scale overarching interpretations and the single constituent parts is particularly evident and needs explicit consideration. Engaging with different research traditions and areas, the session seeks to explore common trends as well as variabilities from a wide geographical and temporal perspective.

Coloniae, civitates foederatae, ager: culti e santuari nel Piceno meridionale tra romanizzazione e municipalizzazione, Filippo Demma and Tommaso Casci Ceccacci

Cult places during the Roman conquest of Eastern Iberia (3rdc. BC-1stc. AD). Transformations of ritual practices and sacred landscapes, Ignacio Grau Mira

Romans at Greek sanctuaries: a view from the Aegean, Annelies Cazemier

De-Romanizing religious developments in the Roman West, Ralph Haussler

The impact of empire on cult places and ritual practices in Roman Gaul and Germany, Ton Derks

Mithraism and Religious Change: A View from Apulum Mithraeum III, Matt McCarty