Festivals in the cities of the Greek East during the Roman Imperial Epoch


ACLS Fellowship Program


Greek and Latin


My project concerns city festivals in ancient Greece, Asia Minor, and Syria-Palestine between Augustus and Justinian (1st to 6th cent CE) as innovative reactions to political, social and religious change. The sources are epigraphical and literary. I posit three things: (1) The recovery after ca. 70 CE helped renew the traditional festivals, often as invented traditions. (2) Several festivals of the city of Rome were adopted by Greek cities, some survived Christianization; this was not imposed from above but was a reaction from below. (3) The Christian reaction to pagan festivals went from outright rejection to adaptation; this implied a new way of understanding the dichotomy between sacred and profane. The project is well advanced; the fellowship will help finish it.