June 14, 2023 at 8 pm via Zoom
Emperor in Rome, Deity in the Provinces
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
Cost: $7 per lecture; $35 annual membership
Register: Visit Website
Donald O Kane