University of Durham, 6th and 7th July 2007

The three sessions of this international and interdisciplinary conference
will explore different aspects of the impact of religious traditions on the
physical and social organization of the city between the Roman period and
Late Antiquity. Geographically, the focus will be on Rome and the western
and eastern provinces, in order to identify both common trends and
differences in direction. Through this approach we aim to identify the
interaction between local and colonial religious practices and, in addition,
to discuss how citizens responded to the introduction or imposition of new
religious forms.
Each session will include 4 to 6 papers delivered in English, French, or
Italian. The whole project is intended to establish a strong basis for
further interdisciplinary collaboration and to find new directions to
develop the analysis and understanding of urban trajectories in a wider
geographical and historical context. The discussion of conclusions in the
final round-table session will therefore be led by scholars from
non-classical disciplines.

Conference Programme

8.00-10.00 p.m. Registration and welcome, St. John’s College

Sessions to be held in St. John’s College, South Bailey, Durham

9.45 Introduction (Ted Kaizer, Anna Leone, Edmund Thomas, Rob Witcher,
University of Durham)

10.00-1.00 Session 1: Religious Architecture in Urban Contexts
This session aims to assess the influence of religious traditions on
architectural design, construction, and decoration and on its
transformation. This will help to discuss and compare the permanence or
transformation of local tradition in different parts of the Roman world and
to analyse ritual spaces in relation to their urban environment.

10.00 John Stamper (University of Notre Dame, Indiana), "Temples of Jupiter
and the shaping of urban space: Rome, Cosa and Pompeii"
10.30 Pier Luigi Tucci (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), "Living under the
same sky, sharing the same land: gods and citizens in Rome's cityscape"

11.00 Tea and coffee break

11.30 Louise Revell (University of Southampton), "Defining urban space?
Temples and towns in Roman Britain"
12.00 Christiane Delplace (Ausonius Institute, Pessac), "Architecture
réligieuse à Palmyre dans son contexte urbain"
12.30 Nicholas Purcell (St. John’s College, Oxford), Chairman’s review

General Discussion

1.00-2.00 Lunch, St. John’s College

2.00-5.30 Session 1: Ritual and Perception of Sacred Urban Space
Adopting a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, this session will consider
how specific rites or liturgical acts structured urban space and vice versa.
With regard to provincial areas in particular, it is also hoped to raise the
questions of whether and how colonial powers acted to control existing
religious practice and authority.

2.00 Michael Sommer (University of Liverpool), "Creating civic space through
religious innovation? The case of the post-Seleucid Beka‘a valley"
2.30 Clifford Ando (University of Chicago), "Diana on the Aventine -
imperial revivals of Latin cults"

3.00 Tea and coffe break

3.30 Mario Torelli (University of Perugia), "Il ruolo ideologico e
funzionale dell’arx negli insediamenti etruschi, latini e italici"
4.00 Penny Goodman (University of Leeds), "Temple architecture and the
urban-rural divide in Britain and Gaul: two worlds or one?"
4.30 Allan Doig (University of Oxford), Title to be announced
5.00 Michael J. Crosbie (architect, author, and editor of Faith & Form
magazine, the Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art and Architecture),
Chairman’s review

General discussion

6.30-7.30 Drinks reception

7.30 Conference dinner, St. John’s College

9.30-1.00 Session 3 : Impact of new religious traditions on civic space
The third and final session will discuss the impact made on urban areas by
the introduction of new cults or by the conversion from one religion to
another, whether on the part of individuals or communities, and whether
voluntarily or forcibly. In particular, the session aims to discuss whether
spaces were reconfigured to accommodate or annihilate religious experience
and the ways in which sacred space worked to elicit religious understanding
and belief.

9.30 Claire Sotinel (François-Rabelais University Tours), "Over the walls of
Aquileia: religious perception of the city in periods of crisis"
10.00 Ann Yasin (University of Southern California), "The new euergetism:
churches as commemorative landscapes"
10.30 Isabella Baldini Lippolis (University of Bologna), "Religion and
changing landscape: the case of Athens"

11.00 Tea and coffee break

11.30 Wendy Pullan (Clare College, Cambridge), "Jerusalem and the
reorientation of urban order in late antiquity"
12.00 Lucrezia Spera (University of Rome Tor Vergata), "Topography of the
Christian and pagan buildings in the Campus Martius"
12.30 Neil Christie (University of Leicester), Chairman’s review

General Discussion

1.00-2.00 Lunch, St. John’s College

2.00-4.00 Round-Table discussion (Chair: Ash Amin, University of Durham)
This final session will operate from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural
perspective to draw together conclusions from the three sessions.

The conference is generously supported by the British Academy, the Faculty
of Arts and Humanities University of Durham, and the Institute of Advanced
Study of the University of Durham (

For further information, please contact one of the conference organizers:
Ted Kaizer (ted.kaizer AT
Anna Leone (anna.leone AT
Edmund Thomas (e.v.thomas AT
Rob Witcher (r.e.witcher AT

Conference fee: £20 waged, £10 unwaged or student. This includes conference
documentation and drinks reception (Friday evening). Lunches and dinners are
available for booking at additional cost.

A limited number of rooms are available at St. John’s College at £27 per
night. Please apply as soon as possible to contacting directly Mrs. Gwen
Hall (g.m.hall AT or the conference organisers, as above. Further
bed-and-breakfast accommodation may be available through the university. To
book, or for more information, please telephone 0800 289970 (from within the
UK) or email event AT Alternatively, local bed-and-breakfast
accommodation may be booked through Durham Tourist Office at or by telephone 0044 (0)191 384
3720 or fax 0044 (0)191 386 3015.