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Lecture | UMW Research Seminar

Losing the gods. How the Roman elite conquered the world, and lost control of the heavens

Thursday 29 February 2024
Unification of the Mediterranean World Research Seminars 2023-2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Roman public religion was intensively managed from at least the third century BCE. Festivals, temples, and the addition or exclusion of deities were matters of fierce debate and consumed significant material resources. But although the city of Rome never (has never) stopped accumulating new ritual forms and spaces, Roman religion in the sense of the collective cults of the Roman community seems more and more often to move on autopilot. It is tempting to blame all this on the inertia Caesarum, the emperors who dismantled more than they built. Instead,  I shall argue, these changes are just one manifestation of much wider shifts in the management of cultural project that can also be seen in the history of representative art, epic and many other spheres.

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