AIA-7E: Gods on the Rocks: Epigraphy, Epigrams, and the Reconstruction of the Greek and Roman Religious Experience (Colloquium )

  Hybrid   AIA Session   Colloquium

Passcode: zVHjC2

Sponsored by:

Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions


Jacob Latham, University of Tennessee; and Dina Boero, College of New Jersey

Overview Statement

Appeals to the divine, written on stone or in the literary genre that mimics that form, cast down a uniquely productive gauntlet for the investigation of religion on the ground in the ancient Mediterranean experience. Material surfaces, the spaces of display, memory, and anticipation figure in both epigraphy and epigrams, as do questions of the relationship between the author, the readers, and the divine, and the dialogic and performative moments imagined behind such texts. Ritual settings range from votive practice to burial, heroization, the recognition of priests, and the enforcement of sacred laws that define ritual space. They raise questions concerning efficacy and reperformance, the relationship to landscape, gender, and stages of life, the semantics of materiality, and the boundaries of purity and pollution. New frontiers in emotion and affect in epigraphy have reshaped the use of such documents for the reconstruction of ancient ritual, a complement to the unique access to institutional structures and local history that such materials provide. Finally, epigraphy and epigram has long been valued for their access to individual voices and agencies, however fictive. This panel brings together papers from scholars working in archaeology, epigraphy, history, and philology to explore the potential and the caveats for reconstructing lived religion from the triangulation of affect, materiality, and the imagination of the divine. Papers address the potential displacement between initial dedication and subsequent readership, the engagement of space in the analysis of ritual expectation, and the impact of the dialogue, both with other poetic forms and between the voices of the stone and the audiences passing by.