The Sanctuary Project |

Sanctuaries and Experience: Knowledge, Practice and Space in the Ancient World

Sanctuaries and Experience: Knowledge, Practice and Space in the Ancient World

Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, London

8th–10th April 2019

Sanctuaries—places that are permanently special, even when no rituals are taking place—are common, perhaps universal, products of human societies. The use of sanctuaries asserts and reaffirms the interdependent senses of self and community generated by experiences shared in the present and over the ages.

The Sanctuaries and Experience conference brings a diverse group of thinkers and practitioners together to discuss the ways in which sanctuaries, and the activities that took place around them, formed religious experience and reproduced religious knowledge across the ancient world. It will be the last major event of a five-year project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation through an Anneliese Maier Research Prize held by Professor Greg Woolf (ICS) and led by him and Professor Jörg Rüpke (Erfurt), the primary aim of which is to establish conversations between a range of different disciplines to develop a better, more rounded, set of understandings of the religious function of ancient sanctuaries.

Organisers: Ilaria Bultrighini, Camilla Norman, Greg Woolf




Monday 8 April         

10.30               Registration and coffee

11.00               Introduction

11.15               Katharina Rieger (Graz), Layered religion: religiously imbued places and religious practices in Roman Pompeii

12.00               Rita Sassu (Unitelma Sapienza), The human dimension of divine space: some observations about worshippers’ religious and secular actions in relation to the spatial organisation of the Greek sanctuaries

12.45               Lunch

13.45               Dominic Dalglish (Oxford), God and sanctuary: the invention of Jupiter Heliopolitanus and his temple at Baalbek

14.30               Esther Eidinow (Bristol), ‘Travel stories’: some semantics of sanctuary space

15.15               Coffee break

15.45               Camilla Norman (ICS), The ritual ecology of Archaic Italy: a view from Daunia

16.30               Thomas Gamelin (CNRS Lille), How does architecture lead you into a divine world? Looking for feelings and ritual movements in Egyptian temples

17.15               Reception


Tuesday 9 April

10.00               Jörg Rüpke (Erfurt), Sacralisation and focalisation: agentic perspectives on sanctuaries

10.45               Ilaria Bultrighini (ICS), Introducing new cults into the Athenian chora: the case of Artemis

11.30               Coffee break

12.00               Marlis Anrhold (Bonn), Staging images of the divine at Rome: a glimpse into urban temple interiors of the Imperial era

12.45               Giovanni Mastronuzzi, Davide Tamiano, Giacomo Vizzino (Salento), Food offerings and ritual meals in pre-Roman Apulia contexts

13.30               Lunch

14.30               Krešimir Vuković (Catholic University of Croatia), Tiber Island: the island of Asclepius?

15.15               Erica Angliker (ICS), Yannos Kourayos (Greek Ministry of Culture) and Kornilia Daifa (Thessaly), Sensorial experiences and individual practices at the sanctuary of Apollo Delios at Despotiko

16.00               Coffee break

16.30               Tesse Stek (KNIR), Sanctuaries in common? Cult sites and the shape of new communities in ancient Italy

17.15               Georgia Petridou (Liverpool), Between Pergamum and Eleusis: Mapping Medicine onto Mysteries in Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi

Wednesday 10 April

9.30                 Livia Maria Mutinelli (Sapienza), Ritualized disposal. The discarding of votive objects and cultic debris in Greek sanctuaries

10.15               Jaime Alvar Ezquerra (University Carlos III Madrid), The first slump of temple building in Roman Hispania

11.00               Coffee break

11.30               Elena Franchi (Trento), Walking into the sacred: past-related objects and religious experience in Roman central Greece

12.15               Emma-Jayne Graham (OU), Choreographies of religious place: experiencing the monumental sanctuaries of Republican Latium

13.00               Lunch

14.00               Katja Sporn (DAI Athens), The agency of portraits in temples – Greek and Roman in comparison

14.45               Csaba Szabó (Sibiu, Romania), Identifying sanctuaries and experiences: space sacralisation in the Danubian provinces during the Principate

15.30               End of conference


Kate Caraway (Liverpool) Placemaking at Eleusis

Tulsi Parikh (Cambridge) Sanctuaries and Divine Interaction: Understanding Votive Distribution in Archaic Greece

Marco Serino (Torino) Archaeological evidence of a “sacred house”: recognizing ritual activities of a phratry through red-figure pottery and its iconography

Vincenzo Timpano (Berlin), Ritual activities before Sanctuaries. The establishment of sacred-political places in early Rome

Arianna Zapelloni Pavia (Michigin/FU Berlin) Understanding the ritual practice of Umbrian votive offerings between the 6th and the 1st century BCE

Please register here