Literary, Epigraphic, and Artistic Representations of People as Gods in the Roman World


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS Barrington Foundation Centennial Fellow named award


This project is an investigation of hundreds of examples of non-elite individuals (esp. slaves, freedpersons, women, and children) who were identified or represented as gods in epitaphs, statues, graffiti, and literature in the Roman world from 200 BCE–400 CE. Findings are disseminated in a monograph and digitized database, and show that the development of these "divine associations" at Rome was complex. Previous classical scholarship has devoted much attention to the worship of deified emperors; while the origins of this practice have been sought in honours awarded to powerful, elite Roman males, the picture is incomplete. Divine associations among common Romans at first influenced and were later influenced by the cult of emperors in later periods.