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Emperor in Rome, Deity in the Provinces

Emperor in Rome, Deity in the Provinces

June 14, 2023
8:00 PM

Emperor in Rome, Deity in the Provinces
June 14, 2023 at 8 PM via Zoom

Barbara Burrell

Sheer familiarity has blinded classicists and historians to the oddity of the Roman imperial cult. Countless cultures across the globe had rulers who were either gods (e.g. Egypt and Japan), descended from gods (Shang dynasty China, the Inca), or in some way super-human (the Yoruba, the Aztec). In all these cases, however, the king’s divinity was most clearly recognized within the core region which he ruled, and most strongly manifested in his capital.

The Roman emperor, however, was supposed to be so honored only in the periphery, not in the center. Hailed as a god by provinces, cities, and citizens of his empire, he was allegedly treated as a mere mortal in Italy, and especially in Rome.

This lecture will re-open this question, and examine the material evidence that the living emperor presented himself, if not as a god, at least as a god-to-be in his capital, Rome.

Barbara Burrell is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati


The Biblical Archaeology Forum (BAF) begins its thirty-eighth year this autumn. This season we will welcome presentations from evolutionary biologist Ellen Gretak on ancient DNA, Johns Hopkins Egyptologist Betsy Bryan on the 100th anniversary of King Tut’s Tomb discovery, John Ahn of the Howard University Divinity School on the Return from the Babylonian Exile, and several more events which will be listed here as the dates approach

So, please join us for a series of eight scholarly lectures on the latest archaeological research findings and related fields such as history, art, and texts of ancient times in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. No reservations.

Fees per lecture are (cash or check only):free – High school students;$5 – Residents of CES Life Communities, college students, and co-sponsors;$8 – BASONOVA & Bender JCC members$10 – General public.

To subscribe to the entire 8-session lecture series for $48, or for more information, please contact BAF.JCCGW@gmail.com.