Malka Wijeratne is going to present a working paper on ‚What’s in a name?: A study of the names Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius and name Imperator Caesar Augustus Divi Filius‘

The topic of Augustus’ connection to Mos maiorum is one that has already been well analysed. However less is understood on why the Roman people accepted the connections he was making to such ancient traditions and also significant historical figures in Rome. The project proposes that their pre-existing, emotional connections to Mos maiorum and the resonance they felt with it – particularly those built on previous habitualisation through ritual – allowed them to appreciate and understand the importance Augustus placed on these values. It would additionally have prompted them to view him as a champion of Roman values and Roman tradition, despite several aspects of Augustus’ ascent to power going against the values on morality and democracy that are embraced within the concept of Mos maiorum. This paper aims to demonstrate the overall argument by using two of the names Augustus used since 44BC, as an example of how he linked himself to these traditions. It will, in each case, analyse why he needed to change his name and which aspects of Mos maiorum he was channeling with each of the two names. Afterward, the paper will also investigate if an emotional connection could have existed between the ritual or tradition in question and if this could then have allowed them to understand Augustus’ message. Furthermore, in each instance, the paper will also question if each of the names would have meant something different to the Aristocracy and the masses.

The overall hypothesis of the paper, is that the support garnered for Augustus’ association with Mos maiorum was created through the Romans’ existing emotional connection to the traditions and rituals associated with it and their ability to resonate with these traditions and rituals. However, this paper, and the project overall will take into account the possibility of this support being created through ulterior motives, rather than as a consequence of strong emotional connection and resonance towards Mos maiorum. While emotional links to the rituals – especially those linked strongly with a sense of identity – could certainly have moved people to become devoted to Augustus, it should be noted that the Late Republican period saw the rise of numerous powerful Roman personalities, all vying for some form of power and frequently turning against each other to ensure that this power was obtained. It is perfectly possible, that in some instances, ambition triumphed over emotion.

Kristine Iara presents a working paper on ‚Late antique Rome: space, people and gods‘

Based on the analysis of the archaeological, epigraphic and textual evidence and its critical assessment, my research explores topographic-urbanistic, social, and religious dimensions of the transformation of Rome’s sacral topography in Late Antiquity, a topic that still lacks a monographic study. My methodology can be subsumed under the term synopsis and includes: (1) studying the late antique period as intrinsic to Rome’s millennial history, without being biased by a teleological view on the outcome, that is, Rome as the capital of a Christian empire; (2) analyzing all cult places and all areas of the city, including the suburbium; (3) the combined consideration of the dimensions of space and time; and (4) examining connections and connectors between places (material, permanent ones, e.g. streets; ephemeral ones, e.g. processions; immaterial ones, e.g. visual axes). This synoptic analysis of the cityscape constitutes the essential step that leads not only to a quantitative increase of data, but will induce a qualitative shift in the research. Moreover, it will re-embed Rome’s sacral topography within its urban (‘general’) topography without the two being separated from one another. Rome’s sacral topography has not yet been analyzed with a similar approach, neither for Late Antiquity nor for earlier times.

Asuman Lätzer-Lasar is going to present a working paper on ‚Religious Ancient Placemaking – first draft of a conceptual framework‘

The choice of location of a sanctuary was mainly dependent on its sacred
geomancy, for instance recognized through an augurium during the
Roman period. However, in dense and crowded places such as a city, there
were also other needs and requirements that had to be respected, such as
urban topography, infrastructure and accessibility, as well as policy,
economy, local legislation, or even traditions. Establishing a place for
religious communication, be it a sanctuary, a grave or the erection of a
dedication for a deity therefore had to be some kind of a negotiation
between the religious communicator and the physical and non-physical
pre-existing environment.
However, even in antiquity the establishment of places of religious
communication in dense and diversely crowded cities cannot have been
taken place as mere top-down processes decided only by elite, ruling
actors without taking any significant and urban-related factors into
account. I argue that the decision-making process, when creating a place
for religious communication, is an interplay of spaces, objects, actors,
practices and imagination (which is aspirations and semantics) that lead
involuntarily to reciprocal formations.
This paper is a first attempt to describe the term “placemaking”, which
derives from the disciplines of urban planning and geography, in order to
elucidate its advantages and disadvantages for the research of ancient
cities and religions. I would like to apply the term and specify it as the
concept of Religious Ancient Placemaking. In this paper I will introduce
a first sketch of my understanding of the theoretical framework of the
concept, which shall be part of my habilitation project.
My plan for the second book is firstly to develop the concept and make it
suitable for the discipline of archaeology, then secondly enrich it with
examples from the ancient city of Rome – because it is an exceptional city
that provides a plethora of material and written sources and therefore
guarantees a qualitative broad variety of phenomena – and then thirdly try
to apply the conceptual framework on a specific case study, which will be
the Provincia Hispania.