City & Cult in Roman Greece

When religious activity is studied in the Roman period in Greece, it is often the major extra-urban sanctuaries and Panhellenic sites that justly receive the greatest attention. In order to better understand religious practice in Roman Greece, this conference examines how religion was manifested in urban centers.

The urban spaces in Roman Greece offer plentiful evidence for understanding religion in urban environments, including Athens, Corinth, Patras, and Nikopolis, along with various sites throughout Macedonia, Crete, and other islands (especially Samos). The international team of scholars that will gather for this conference at Florida State University will present new evidence and interpretations from material culture on the Athenian Acropolis, Athens writ large, Corinth, Nikopolis, Delos, and urban centers of northern Greece, especially in Macedonia. A diverse array of evidence will be presented by speakers at the conference, including portrait sculpture, painted and sculpted altars, architecture and urban layouts, inscriptions (and reused bases), etc.

Further, because of the religious and cultural landscape of Greece, there are a number of issues that inevitably arise when thinking about what is occurring on the ground in terms of Roman rule in Greece, especially during the transition to Roman rule proper in the first century BCE and during the second century CE, the latter of which saw the rise of the Second Sophistic and the growth of the Panhellenic League, a political and social confederation of Greek-speaking peoples across the eastern Mediterranean (which also has ties to the imperial cult and the Eleusinian Mysteries). Urban centers throughout Greece provide ample evidence for how life changed and adapted in Greece under the Romans, which at times is remarkably similar but drastically different than other parts of the Empire (especially given the cultural cachet of Greece still held in the Roman period).

Inscribed architrave of the Monopteros of Roma and Augustus in the foreground, with the Parthenon standing in the background on the Athenian Acropolis.

Inscribed architrave of the Monopteros of Roma and Augustus, in front of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens. Photo by D.K. Rogers.


Friday, 3 November 2023

8.00 Breakfast (provided)

9.00 Welcome

Morning Session Chair: Trevor Luke, Florida State University

9.15 Vassilis Evangelidis, Athena Research Center [Virtual Presentation]

City and Cult in Roman Macedonia: Exploring the Religious Landscape of Macedonian Cities through Archaeological Insights

10.15 Lindsey A. Mazurek, University of Indiana, Bloomington

Portraits as Documents of Ritual in Imperial Greece

11.15 Coffee break

11.45 Valentina Di Napoli, University of Patras [Virtual Presentation]

Nothing to do with Politics? The Sanctuary of Dionysus Eleuthereus at Athens During the Roman Imperial Period

Lunch break (provided)

Afternoon Session Chair: Sarah Craft, Florida State University

14.00 Barbette Stanley Spaeth, College of William and Mary [Virtual Presentation]

Mother of Loves and Mother of Romans: The Cults of Aphrodite and Venus in Ancient Corinth

15.00 Mantha Zarmakoupi, University of Pennsylvania

Religious Practices as Economic Agents in Late Hellenistic Delos

16.00 Coffee break

16.15 Sheila Dillon, Duke University

Female Votive Portrait Statues in Roman-Period Athens: Images of Women in the Sculptural Landscape of Athenian Sanctuaries

17.15 Wine and Cheese Reception

Saturday, 4 November 2023

8.00 Breakfast (provided)

Morning Session Chair: Stephen Sansome, Florida State University

9.00 Dylan K. Rogers, Florida State University

Inscriptions and Monuments on the Athenian Acropolis and Beyond: Thinking Through Religious Practice in Early Imperial Greece

10.00 Elisavet P. Sioumpara, Acropolis Restoration Service [Virtual Presentation]

Classical Dedications Reused for Honoring Romans on the Athenian Acropolis

11.00 Coffee break

11.30 Milena Melfi, University of Oxford [Virtual Presentation]

Sabina, Artemis, and the City of Nikopolis

12.30 Sue Alcock, University of Oklahoma

Wrap-Up Discussion

Lunch break

N.B.: All times are in Eastern Standard Time. Note that the US has not gone off daylight savings time, unlike Europe. That means EST is currently six hours behind Athens (not the normal seven), five hours behind Rome (not six), and four hours behind London (not five). For example, talks that start in Tallahassee at 9.00 will be 13.00 in London, 14.00 in Rome, and 15.00 in Athens.

Times and order of speakers is subject to change.

Click on talk titles for abstracts. Zoom registration for virtual participation can be found below.

Statuette of Aphrodite, found in the Panayia Field, Corinth. Corinth S 2548. Courtesy Corinth Excavations (ASCSA). Photo by P. Dellatolas.


Sue Alcock is the inaugural holder of the Barnett Family Professorship of Classical Archaeology at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include the Hellenistic and Roman East, landscape archaeology, archaeological survey, and archaeologies of memory and of imperialism. Her books include: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece (1993) and Archaeologies of the Greek Past: Landscape, Monuments, and Memories (2002). She has also co-authored a number of other books and authored numerous articles. Alcock has conducted fieldwork in Greece, Armenia and in Jordan, for example, directing the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project. Before coming to OU, Alcock taught in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she was the John H. D’Arms Collegiate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Classics. From 2006-2015, she served at Brown University as the inaugural Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and as Joukowsky Family Professor. In 2015 she returned to Michigan as Special Counsel for Institutional Outreach and Engagement and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Classical Archaeology and Classics. Alcock also has held the positions of Interim Provost of the University of Michigan-Flint, and Provost of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Alcock holds a doctorate in classical archaeology and classics from the University of Cambridge, UK, and bachelor’s degrees from Cambridge and from Yale University. She is a 2001 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute, and an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

Sheila Dillon is Anne Murnick Cogan Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University. Her research interests focus on portraiture and public sculpture and reconstructing the statuary landscape of ancient cities and sanctuaries. Her books include The Female Portrait Statue in the Greek World (2010) and Ancient Greek Portrait Sculpture: Contexts, Subjects, and Styles (2006). She was a member of the Aphrodisias Excavations from 1992-2006, and is currently working on the publication of the portrait statuary found in the Excavations of the Athenian Agora, a collaborative project involving current and former students.

Valentina Di Napoli is Assistant Professor of Archaeology of the Ancient Theatre at the University of Patras (Greece). She is the author of a monograph about the theatres of Roman Greece (2013) and the chief editor of the proceedings of the international conference What’s New in Roman Greece (2018). She has extensively published articles in peer-reviewed periodicals and chapters in edited volumes (in English, Italian, French, and modern Greek). Her main interests include the study of the ancient Graeco-Roman theatre (under the prism of its architectural features, the uses of the scenic space, the performances, and the iconography related to the ancient theatre) and the analysis of the interaction between Greeks and Romans during the Imperial period, with a particular focus on sculpture, architecture, identity, and cultural memory. Her current research projects include: the publication of the Sebasteion at Eretria (Euboea); a new study of both the architecture and the finds from the so-called “Hadrianic Basilica” in the Athenian Agora; and an analysis of the imperial phases of the Theatre of Dionysus at Athens.

Vasilis Evangelidis (MA, Msc, PhD) serves as a Scientific Associate at the Athena Research Center, specializing in Roman and Digital Archaeology. He is the author of The Archaeology of Roman Macedonia: Urban and Rural Environments, and has written several articles on various aspects of the archaeology of Roman Greece and the use of digital technology in archaeology. His research interests also include the urbanization and architecture of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, material culture, fortifications, Cultural Technology, and the applications of computers in archaeology, particularly in three-dimensional restorations and archaeological Geographic Information Systems. He is one of the organizers of the Roman Seminar in Athens, which was established in 2012 as a collective effort dedicated to showcasing research on all facets of the society and culture of Roman Greece, and promoting knowledge and public awareness of the country’s Roman past.  

Lindsey A. Mazurek is an assistant professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research focuses on questions of identity, material culture, religion, and the relationship between text and image in the Roman provinces, particularly Greece. Her first book, Isis in a Global Empire: Greek Identity through Egyptian Religion in Roman Greece, was published in 2022 with Cambridge University Press and won the First Book Award from CAMWS. Her research has been published in journals like the American Journal of Archaeology, Hesperia, and Memoirs of the American Academy at Rome. She has also published on network theory and migration in the Roman world. Her current monograph project focuses on the agency and function of portrait sculptures in Roman Greece.

Milena Melfi is a Lecturer in Classical Archaeology in the Faculty of Classics of the University of Oxford, and the Curator of the Cast Gallery at the Ashmolean Museum. She received her education in Classics in Italy–at the Universities of Pisa and Messina. Prior to Oxford she was a Fellow of the Italian (SAIA) and British (BSA) Schools of Archaeology in Athens, of the American Academy in Rome, and of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University. She has worked on surveys and excavations in Greece, Sicily, and Albania, and she is currently running two major field projects at the site of Dobra/Levadhja (Albania) and at the ‘Plutonium’ or Temple of Pluto at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli (Rome). Her publications focus on n the archaeology of Greece, with a special interest for the religious and cultural life of the Hellenistic and early Imperial period, such as I santuari di Asclepio in Grecia (2007) and Il santuario di Asclepio a Lebena (2007).

Dylan K. Rogers is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Classics at Florida State University. He previously served as the Assistant Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2015-2019) and a Lecturer in Roman Art and Archaeology at the University of Virginia (2019-2022). His main interests surround issues related to the use of water in Roman cities, especially fountain construction across the empire through the lens of sensory archaeology. He is also works on various issues related to Roman Greece, particularly though his studies of the Sullan siege of Athens in 86 BCE, religious practices, and identity expression through material culture. He is a member of the Lechaion Harbor and Land Settlement Project. He is the author of Water Culture in Roman Society (2018), and the co-editor of What’s New in Roman Greece? (2018) and The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Athens (2021).

Elisavet P. Sioumpara is the Director of the Membra Disiecta Project of the Acropolis Restoration Service. A specialist of Greek architecture, she has published widely on the subject, including her 2011 monograph, Der Asklepios-Tempel von Messene auf Der Peloponess (2011), co-edited volumes, such as Identität in Stein: Die Athener Acropolis und ihre Stadt (2022) and From Hippias to Kallias: Greek Art in Athens and Beyond, 527-449 B.C. (2019), and numerous articles.

Barbette Stanley Spaeth is Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the current co-chair of the Greco-Roman Religions Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and the co-founder and former president of the Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions.  Her research areas are Roman religion and magic in the classical world, with a current focus on the cults of Roman Corinth.  Her publications include the monograph The Roman Goddess Ceres and the edited volumes The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions and The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Greek and Roman Mythology, as well as articles in such publications as the American Journal of ArchaeologyHesperiaHistoriaClassical World, and Biblical Archaeology Review.  

Mantha Zarmakoupi is the Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman Architecture in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published widely on Roman luxury villas, including the monograph Designing for Luxury on the Bay of Naples, as well as on the architecture, harbor infrastructure and urban development of late Hellenistic Delos. She just finished her second book, entitled Shaping Roman Landscape: Ecocritical Approaches to Architecture and Wall Painting in Early Imperial Italy, and she is now working on a book on the urban development of the port-city of Delos in the late Hellenistic period, entitled Portrait of a City in Change: The Emporium of Late Hellenistic Delos. She is also interested in advancing a critical discourse between contemporary and ancient art and architecture and has advanced collaborations with artists and architects to that end. Together with architectural historian David Gissen and art historian Jennifer Stager, they presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 and now at the Canellopoulos Museum in Athens, the installation An Archaeology of Disability—an experiment in the historic reconstruction of the Acropolis in Athens with the aim to recover ideas about access and impairment at one of the most canonical, influential, and notoriously inaccessible historic architectural sites.

Agora of Delos. Photo by M. Zarmakoupi.


This conference, sponsored by the Classics Department of Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida (USA), is generously funded by the Langford Endowment. The Langford family has provided a number of initiatives to further the mission of academic communities at FSU, especially in the Classics Department, which uses the funds of the endowment to sponsor conferences, visiting scholars, and a chaired professorship.

The conference is organized by Dr. Dylan K. Rogers, a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Classics Department at FSU.

Iconic Westcott Plaza at the heart of the Florida State University campus. Photo by D.K. Rogers.