St John's College, University of Durham, 6th and 7th July 2007
In association with the Institute of Advanced Study and the Durham Centre for Roman Cultural Studies
This 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 aim of such an approach is to identify the interaction between local and colonial religious practices. Our further aim is 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.

Thursday 5th July
Participants arrive
19.00 Informal meeting at St Johns for those participants who have already arrived in Durham. Going on to local pub and dinner in Durham.

Friday 6th July
9.30 Registration
9.45 Welcome to Durham
9.50 Introduction

10.00-13.00 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 Discussion: religious architecture in Rome and Italy (chaired by Nicholas Purcell, St. John’s College, Oxford)
11.20 Coffee
11.45 Louise Revell (University of Southampton)
“Defining urban space? Temples and towns in Roman Britain”
12.15 Rubina Raja (University of Hamburg)
“Changing spaces and shifting attitudes: the sanctuary of Zeus in Gerasa”
12.45 Discussion: religious architecture in the Roman empire - east and west (chaired by Nicholas Purcell, St. John’s College, Oxford)
13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-17.40 Session 2: Ritual and perception of sacred urban space
In order to broaden the perspective of the conference, this session is intended to 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.

14.30 Michael Sommer (University of Liverpool)
“Creating civic space through religious innovation? The case of the post-Seleucid Beka‘a valley”
15.00 Clifford Ando (University of Chicago)
“Diana on the Aventine”
15.30 Discussion: Sacred space and religious change (chaired by Michael Crosbie, editor Faith and Form)
15.50 Tea
16.20 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”
16.50 Penny Goodman (University of Leeds)
“Temple architecture and the urban-rural divide in Britain and Gaul: two worlds or one?”
17.20 Discussion ritual space in the urban landscape (chaired by Michael Crosbie, editor Faith and Form)

19.00 Conference reception, St John's College
19.30 Conference dinner, St John's College (for conference speakers and chairs)

Saturday 7th July
9.30-15.00 Session 3: The 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 Isabella Baldini Lippolis (University of Bologna)
“Strutture e paesaggio urbano nell’età della cristianizzazione: il caso di Gortina”
10.30 Coffee
10.50 Wendy Pullan (University of Cambridge)
“Jerusalem and the reorientation of urban order in late antiquity”
11.20 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”
11.50 Discussion: Rome, Jerusalem, Gortyn, Aquileia - religious transformations of late antique cities (chaired by Neil Christie, University of Leicester)

12.15-13.45 Lunch

13.45 Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California)
“The new euergetism: churches as commemorative landscapes”
14.15 Allan Doig (University of Oxford)
“Christian Ceremonial and the Earthly City”
14.45 Discussion: Religious space and architecture in late antiquity (chaired by Neil Christie, University of Leicester)
15.00 Tea

15.30-16.30 Round table discussion
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 Rosemary Cramp Fund, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Institute of Advanced Study of the University of Durham
Conference fee:
Places are limited. Please register by 25th June.

£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 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 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