Workshop CFP: “Meet the New Gods, Same as the Old Gods?: Roman Religion, Mass Media and Imperial Power”

18 November 2022
University of Newcastle (NSW)

The death of Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Church of England and “defender of the faith”, reminds all Australians of the links among religion, imperial politics and mass media expressed in coins, processions, and public statues. Scholars have long recognized the continuities of time and space across the Roman empire of all these mechanisms of imperial power and communication, from the formation of Rome’s overseas empire in the 3rd century BCE into Late Antiquity. However, the conversion of emperors and their mass media to Christianity has been seen as a watershed break with centuries of tradition, with the gods, rituals and hence mass media of Roman and Hellenic religion wholly replaced or displaced within the course of the 4th and 5th centuries. This workshop aims to recover and restore nuance to the continuities across the centuries of Roman imperial power and its religious expression in the ancient mass media. 

Titles and short abstracts (250 words max) of research papers of 10 to 20 minutes are invited by email to Deadline for Submissions is 28 October.

The organizers encourage submissions from Australia- and New Zealand-based scholars at all stages on topics including, but not limited to: coinage before or after Constantine; the new cults of the Tetrarchs; the role of personifications in Roman imperial media; the changing role of portrait statues of emperors in the 4th century; the use of incense in imperial and Christian ritual; the titles of the emperors, and how those were announced; the development of imperial ceremonial; or the Christianization of weddings, funerals, or other public ceremonies.

Confirmed speakers/organizers:

  • Dr Ryan Strickler (Newcastle)
  • Prof Bronwen Neil (Macquarie)
  • Dr Amelia R. Brown (UQ)
  • Dr Estelle Strazdins (UQ/ANU)
  • Keynote Lecture by Associate Professor Tom Stevenson (UQ) – ‘Popular responses to the assassination of Julius Caesar (44-42 BCE): Media, religion, emotion’