CITIES AND GODS: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Institute of Advanced Study, 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, the interaction between local and colonial religious practices, and responses to the introduction or imposition of new religious forms.


Conference Programme

thursday 5th July
Participants arrive

20.00-21.00 Drinks reception in the Department of Classics and Ancient History

Friday 6th July

9.20 Introduction

9.30-1.00 Session 1 Religious Architecture in Urban Contexts

9.30 John Stamper (University of Notre Dame, Indiana), “Temples of Jupiter and the shaping of urban space: Rome, Cosa and Pompeii

10.00 Pier Luigi Tucci (Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa), “'Living under the same sky, sharing the same land: gods and citizens in Rome’s cityscape”

10.30 Discussion: religious architecture in Rome and Italy (chaired by Nicholas Purcell, St. John’s College Oxford)

11.00 Tea and coffee

11.30 Louise Revell (University of Southampton), “Defining urban space? Temples and towns in Roman Britain”

12.00 Rubina Raja (University of Hamburg), “Changing spaces and shifting attitudes: the Temple of Zeus in Gerasa”

12.30 Discussion: religious architecture in the Roman empire, east and west (chaired by Nicholas Purcell)

1.00-2.30 Lunch

2.30-6.45 Session 2 : Ritual and Perception of Sacred Urban Space

2.30 Michael Sommer (University of Liverpool), “Creating civic space through religious innovation? The case of the post-Seleucid Beka‘a valley”

3.00 Clifford Ando (University of Chicago), “Diana on the Aventine - imperial revivals of Latin cults”

3.30 Discussion: sacred space and religious change (chaired by Michael J. Crosbie, Editor of Faith & Form Magazine)

4.00 Tea and coffee

4.30 Martin Bommas (University of Birmingham), “Temples for Egyptian Gods within Urban Landscape: The Roman Iseum Campense and the Red Hall of Pergamon as case studies”
5.00 Penny Goodman (University of Leeds), “Temple architecture and the urban-rural divide in Britain and Gaul: two worlds or one?”
5.30 Allan Doig (Lady Margaret Hall Oxford), “Christian ceremonial and the earthly city”
6.00 Discussion: ritual space in the urban landscape (chaired by Michael Crosbie)

7.00 Conference reception, St. John’s College

7.30 Conference dinner, St. John’s College

Saturday 7th July

9.15-1.30 Session 3 : Impact of new religious traditions on civic space

9.15 Claire Sotinel (François-Rabelais University Tours), “Over the walls of Aquileia: religious perception of the city in periods of crisis”

9.45 Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California), “The new euergetism: churches as commemorative landscapes”

10.15 Discussion: civic organization and religious space in late antiquity (chaired by Neil Christie, University of Leicester)

10.45 Tea and coffee

11.15 Isabella Baldini Lippolis (University of Bologna), “Religion and changing landscape: the case of Athens”

11.45 Wendy Pullan (Clare College Cambridge), “Late Antique Jerusalem”

12.15 Lucrezia Spera (University of Rome Tor Vergata), “Caratteri della cristianizzazione degli spazi urbani nella Roma tardoantica: nuove riflessioni a trenta anni dalla Roma Christiana di Charles Pietri”

12.45 Discussion: Rome, Athens, Jerusalem – religious transformations of late antique cities (chaired by Neil Christie)

1.30-3.00 Lunch

3.00-4.15 Round-Table discussion (chaired by Ash Amin, University of Durham)

4.15 Tea and departure

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

Conference fee:

£20 waged, £10 unwaged or student. This includes conference documentation and drinks reception (Friday evening). Lunches are available (£7 per lunch); these should be booked in advance. Alternatively, there is a wide range of places to eat within a few minutes' walk of the conference venue.

Cheques should be made payable to 'Durham University' and marked 'Cities and Gods' on the back.

Please send to:
Ted Kaizer / Edmund Thomas
Department of Classics & Ancient History
University of Durham
38 North Bailey
Durham DH1 3EU
United Kingdom


A limited number of rooms are available at St. John’s College at £27 per night. Please apply as soon as possible by contacting Mrs. Gwen Hall (g.m.hall AT or one of the conference organisers below.

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 or by telephone 0044 (0)191 3843720 or fax 0044 (0)191 386 3015

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