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International conference

The Iseum Campense from the Roman Empire to the Modern Age: historical, archaeological, and historiographical perspectives.

Wednesday 25 May 2016 - Friday 27 May 2016

The so-called Iseum Campense, the impressive sanctuary for Isis and the Egyptian gods on the Campus Martius in Rome, is a monument central to various important debates. It was the largest temple for the Roman cults of Isis in the western Mediterranean and therefore it plays a central role in our reconstruction of the diffusion, appropriation, and character of Isis and the Egyptian gods in the Roman world. Moreover, the Iseum Campense mattered greatly to the Flavii as one of their main ingredients of self-definition and self-presentation. By making Isis and the Egyptian gods part of the imperial system, the Flavians even seem to have created a tradition that would strongly influence later (Roman) history, like Hadrian and his reign. From the Renaissance onwards the (site of the) Iseum Campense developed into an important and much-debated subject for the contemplation of Egyptian history and civilisation. In that respect it can be characterised as an important lieu de mémoire, in the sense that important parts of the mnemohistory of Egypt were shaped in Rome on the basis of the Iseum Campense and its finds. Athanasius Kircher is only one of many scholars that could be mentioned in this respect.

This conference will bring together, for the first time, specialists on all these three debates and thus provide a long-term overview of this temple, monument, and mnemohistory-site that has played such an important role in the history of the city of Rome, and beyond.

In close co-operation with the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Rome and the Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, as well as the Egyptian and Danish Academies in Rome and the Istituto Olandese (KNIR), this conference is the final event organised by the Leiden VIDI project ‘Cultural innovation in a globalising society. Egypt in the Roman world’ that ran from 2010 to 2015.


Wednesday May 25 * Temple * Venue: Accademia d’Egitto

09.30–09.45 Welcome (Gihane Zaki & Giuseppina Capriotti Vittozzi)

09.45-10.00 Welcome and introduction (Miguel John Versluys)

Chair: Giuseppina Capriotti Vittozzi

10.00-10.45 Key-note 1 by Professor Katja Lembke: 25 years after: The Iseum Campense and its religious, social and political impact

10.45-11.15 Coffee/Tea

11.15-12.00 La topografia dell’Iseo Campense: nuovi dati per un tentativo di ricostruzione, (Alessandra Ten)

12.00-12.45 Euripus, Nilus, Canopus. Elements for a religious and conceptual geography of the Campus Martius (Valentino Gasparini & Paraskevi Martzavou)

12.45-13.30 Topography and urban planning: the "Egyptian" sanctuaries ‘Iseum Campense’ and ‘Isis et Serapis in Regio III’ in Rome throughout their lifetimes in Antiquity (Chrystina Häuber)

13.30-14.30 Lunch

Chair: tba

14.30-15.15 Filtering Egypt? Imported Aegyptiaca in the Iseum Campense (Sander Müskens)

15.15-16.00 The Isaeum Campense and animal worship: Becoming Egyptian to be Roman (Frederick E. Brenk)

16.00-16.45 Isis as the embodiment of nature in ancient Rome (Martin Bommas)

16.45-17.15 Coffee/Tea

17.15-18.00 Les autels égyptisants du Museum Odescalchum : essai de biographie culturelle (Laurent Bricault & Richard Veymiers)

18.00-18.45 Limits to the “Augustan epoch”: Urban complexity and religion in Rome and the realm of Herod the Great (Rubina Raja & Jörg Rüpke)

18.45-20.00 Reception offered by the Accademia d’Egitto

20.00 – Speaker’s dinner at the Istituto Olandese


Thursday May 26 * Monument * Venue: Accademia di Danimarca

09.00–09.15 Welcome (Marianne Pade & Kristine Bülow Clausen)

Chair: Kristine Bülow Clausen

09.15–10.00 Key-note 2 by Professor Filippo Coarelli: The foundation of the temple of ISIS ET SERAPIS in the Campus Martius

10.00-10.45 Domitian as a builder in Rome (Eric M. Moormann)

10.45-11.15 Coffee/Tea

11.15-12.00 Domitian’s Iseum Campense in context (Stefan Pfeiffer)

12.00-12.45 A tale of two rivers: The statue groups of the Nile and the Tiber from the Iseum Campense (Alexander Heinemann)

12.45-13.30 The projects in the Campus Martius and the cult of the Alexandrine deities at Rome (Serena Ensoli)

13.30-14.30 Lunch

Chair: tba

14.30-15.15 Is it really so strange? Healing emperors in Domitianic Rome (Trevor Luke)

15.15-16.00 Isis in Martial’s epigrams and Statius’ Silvae (Eleni H. Manolaraki)

16.00-16.30: Coffee/Tea

16.30-17.15 Domitian as pharao in Beneventum (Irene Bragantini)

17.15-18.00 Egypt in Pompeii: The Flavian era (Lauren Hackworth Petersen)

18.00-18.45 Temple B at the Antinoeion at Hadrian’s Villa: An allusion to the Isaeum Campense at Rome? (Bernard Frischer & alii)

18.45-20.00 Reception offered by the Accademia di Danimarca

20.00 – Speaker’s dinner at the Istituto Olandese


Friday May 27 * lieu de mémoire * Venue: Istituto Olandese

09.00-09.15 Welcome (Harald Hendrix & Jeremia Pelgrom)

Chair: Miguel John Versluys

09.15–10.00 “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”. What do we actually mean when we call the Iseum Campense a lieu de mémoire? (Frederick G. Naerebout)

10.00-10.45 Why going Egyptian? The Iseum Campense, the Villa Hadriana and Roman imperial identity (Jacqueline Splinter)

10.45-11.15 Coffee/Tea

11.15-12.00 The Egyptian Renaissance (Marieke van den Doel)

12.00-12.45 Pietro Bembo, Pierio Valeriano, and Egypt in 16th-century Rome (Ingrid Rowland)

12.45-13.30 More hieroglyphicorum interpretatio. Reading Roman Antiquity as an Egyptian Oedipus (Martje de Vries)

13.30-14.30 Lunch

Chair: Stephanie Pearson

14.30-15.15 The afterlife of Hieroglyphics: Rome to Beijing (Thijs Weststeijn)

15.15-16.00 Memory and self-presentation: Egyptian antiquities between antiquarians and aristocrats in 17th century Rome (Lucia Faedo)

16.00-16.45 18th century freemasonry and the Iseum Campense as a lieu de mémoire (Florian Ebeling)

16.45-17.15 Coffee/Tea

17.15-18.00 Reconstructing the Iseum Campense: the visual representation of Egypt in Rome in the first decades of the 20th century (Eva M. Mol)

18.00-18.45 Egyptian memories in modern Rome: the Dogali obelisk (Arthur Weststeijn)

18.45-20.00 Closing remarks by the organizers & reception offered by the Istituto Olandese

20.00 – Speaker’s dinner at the Istituto Olandese

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