Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

All days
Go back

Wednesday 12 April 2023 11.00 - 13.00
J-2 ANT01 Balancing between Social Performance and Offensive Discourse: an Intersectional Approach to Religio-Political Authority in the Greco-Roman World
B34
Network: Antiquity Chairs: -
Organizer: Marika Rauhala Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Marja-Leena Hänninen : The Right to Negotiate with Divine Powers - Privilege or Civic Duty? Religious Conflicts in Mid-Republican Rome
The presentation deals with religious phenomena in ancient Rome during the period of almost continuous warfare in the late third century and early second century BC. Ancient historians such as Livy emphasize the role of religion in defending a state in crisis. However, the storyline also includes religious conflicts, accusations ... (Show more)
The presentation deals with religious phenomena in ancient Rome during the period of almost continuous warfare in the late third century and early second century BC. Ancient historians such as Livy emphasize the role of religion in defending a state in crisis. However, the storyline also includes religious conflicts, accusations of improper behavior and unauthrorized religious actions. The most famous case is the so-called Bacchanalia scandal 186 BC. The central question of the paper is who are objects of the accusations and punitive measures. Why were certain religiouis phenomen defined as suspicious, dangerous or even criminal? Furthermore, it will be discussed what these cases tell about the social hierarchies and genders structures of the mid-Republican Rome. It will be argued that even though the right to perform rites and interpret signs sent by the gods on behalf of the state was strictly privileged for the elite men, proper religious activity of women and lower social groups was considered utmost important. (Show less)

Suvi Kuokkanen : Disparaging Low-Status Politicians in Post-Periclean Athens
Although they were living under democratic regime, the fifth-century BCE Athenians adhered to strict social hierarchy. A person’s social status was constituted by a combination of several intersecting factors such as birth, wealth, and age. However, statuses were in a constant state of flux. Social roles were constructed in social ... (Show more)
Although they were living under democratic regime, the fifth-century BCE Athenians adhered to strict social hierarchy. A person’s social status was constituted by a combination of several intersecting factors such as birth, wealth, and age. However, statuses were in a constant state of flux. Social roles were constructed in social interaction, and the individual’s standing in social hierarchy was continuously negotiated in the interplay between one’s social performance and its acceptability in the public gaze. One’s status therefore depended on one’s recognition and esteem in the eyes of the others. Esteem depended on the person’s reputation which, in turn, was established and conferred in public discourse. Hence, public discourse also disclosed the borderlines of acceptable social performance in given historical circumstances. In my presentation, I will inspect the belittling and offensive depictions of post-Periclean politicians in Athenian public discourse in late fifth century. Specifically, I will analyse the ideological, emotional and punitive motives for denigrating the ”demagogues” or ”new” politicians such as Cleon and Hyperbolus. These politicians were repeatedly mocked and discredited on public arenas (e.g., in Aristophanes’ comedy plays) because of their low birth and suspicious source of livelihood. In other words, they were not members of the traditional elite which was often associated with leisure time and noble ancestors.

In my talk, I will discuss the change in the fifth-century Athenians’ views on their political leaders’ moral status, authority, and responsibility. I will assess how and why the descriptions of the moral and political status and authority of post-Periclean political actors diverged from those of the pre-Periclean politicians – and of Pericles himself. I will presume that the descriptions of the demagogues in a denigrating manner by authors such as the historian Thucydides and the comedy playwright Aristophanes were motivated by the desire to devalue their claim to authority. But what kinds of emotions did the discrediting discourse stir up, on the one hand, and reflect, on the other? What emotional and ideological motives urged the disparagement and what kinds of reactions did it provoke? I will suggest that the disparaging discourse uncovered by, for example, historians and comedy writers both reflected moral indignation experienced by the Athenians and incited collective hostility toward the targets. Moreover, I will propose that moral indignation aroused by and mirrored in the disparagement could sometimes also entail exclusion from the community. It will be suggested that this was the case when the Athenians decided to ostracize the demagogue Hyperbolus in ca. 416 BCE. In this regard, my presentation will contribute to the scholarly discussion on the interplay between one’s moral status and one’s status as a citizen. It will also show that disparaging discourse had long-term consequences both for the hostile community and for its targets. (Show less)

Marika Rauhala : Intersections of Otherness in (Ab)Use: Oriental Eunuchs in Greco-Roman Cult and Society
In the Hellenistic period, the peculiar gallus (plural galli) – an emasculated devotee of the goddess known as the Mother of the gods or Cybele – appeared on the cultic scene of Greece and Rome. Galli bended and defied several fundamental social categorizations and hierarchies upon which the power configuration ... (Show more)
In the Hellenistic period, the peculiar gallus (plural galli) – an emasculated devotee of the goddess known as the Mother of the gods or Cybele – appeared on the cultic scene of Greece and Rome. Galli bended and defied several fundamental social categorizations and hierarchies upon which the power configuration rested in Greek and Roman societies. First, their ethnic origins were traced back to eastern regions that were the object of Orientalizing discourse. Thus, they came to represent the antipode of idealized Greco-Roman self-image. Second, the galli had allegedly undergone self-castration and assumed the outer accoutrements and behavioral patterns that were associated with the female gender role. What is more, eunuchs were generally considered to have mainly instrumental value, and such status was normally reserved for slaves. The mendicant lifestyle of the galli further emphasized their association with low social status. However, as the envoys of the powerful Goddess, galli exercised religious authority and their unique cultic status provided them with social prestige. In Rome, galli served the ancestral cult of Magna Mater, resided in her temple on the Palatine and paraded the streets of Rome during the spring festival of Megalesia.

The few existing first-hand sources suggest that femininity was central to the self-presentation of the galli and that they proudly identified themselves as the feminized servants of the goddess. The liminal status of the galli endowed them with ritual power, and their very existence attested the goddess’ power to transcend the human boundaries of gender, ethnicity, and class. However, the wealth of extant evidence offers an outside perspective that exposes a conflict between the self-fashioning of the galli and the reception of their role. The erudite elite used the galli as a literary motif that evoked feelings of derisiveness, scorn, and disgust: the unmanly behavior and effeminate appearance of galli were mocked; their proclivity for eastern luxury and intemperance was despised; their alleged sexual insatiability was denounced. The uneasiness with which the galli were treated by authors representing privileged social stratum reveals anxiety over the role b(l)ending of the galli. Social categories and their concomitant stereotypical expectations upheld and justified the existing power structures that supported the dominant position of wealthy male citizens. By willingly denouncing their masculinity, galli challenged the basic gender binary and its inbuilt belief in male superiority. Despite being social outcasts and non-citizens, they enjoyed a privileged religious position in the heart of public life. In my presentation, I discuss the social position of the galli in Greco-Roman society and the abusive literary discourse that targeted them. I argue, first, that by dehumanizing the galli, the elite attempted to remove the challenge that they posed to the socially constructed power hierarchy and, second, that the dominant denigrating discourse imposed many social disadvantages on the galli regardless of their cultic importance. The presentation is part of the panel “Balancing between Social Performance and Offensive Discourse: An Intersectional Approach to Religio-Political Authority in the Greco-Roman World”. (Show less)

Julietta Steinhauer : Migrant Women in the Greek Aegean: Integration, Religion, and Cross-cultural Exchange from an Intersectional Perspective
Roman elite women in Asia Minor of the late Republican and early Imperial period have been the subject of some excellent studies by, to name a few, Riet van Bremen, Anne Bielmann and Peter Thonemann. Their research has highlighted the ways in which these women were able not only to ... (Show more)
Roman elite women in Asia Minor of the late Republican and early Imperial period have been the subject of some excellent studies by, to name a few, Riet van Bremen, Anne Bielmann and Peter Thonemann. Their research has highlighted the ways in which these women were able not only to integrate publicly through benefactions to their host communities but also through involvement in socio-religious practices and, rather unusually, on a political level, hand in hand with local Greek women (Thonemann 2017). But what about women who migrated to Greece and Asia Minor who did not belong to what we may call the wealthy elite? My paper will offer an intersectional approach to focus on the migration of Roman and Levantine women to the Aegean in the first century BCE-first century CE and their religious activities in their host communities. It will broadly focus on three questions, namely, 1) the circumstances under which these women migrated, 2) how these women integrated into their new environments, and 3) and, how, from a socio-religious perspective, interactions with the ‘local(s)’ took place. (Show less)

Darja Sterbenc Erker : Intersectionality of Gender, Social Status and Ethnicity in Literary Devalorizations of Roman Emperors Worshipping “Foreign” Gods
Imperial biographies and imperial historiography provide insight into the dynamics of approval or exclusion of foreignness in their presentations of Roman emperors. Suetonius depicts as ‘bad’ those emperors who appropriated foreign, ‘exotic’ and un-Roman religious traditions. Intersectionality is an approach issued from social sciences which is particulary apt to elucidate ... (Show more)
Imperial biographies and imperial historiography provide insight into the dynamics of approval or exclusion of foreignness in their presentations of Roman emperors. Suetonius depicts as ‘bad’ those emperors who appropriated foreign, ‘exotic’ and un-Roman religious traditions. Intersectionality is an approach issued from social sciences which is particulary apt to elucidate the interplay of various socio-ethnic categories defining a person’s identity. My paper aims to examine the intersectionality of gender, ethnicity, social status and religious roles in Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars in order to analyse his strategies of devalorisation, undermining or deconstruction of authority of the emperors. The paper demonstrates that Suetonius ascribes foreignness to certain religious traditions in the Lives of the Caesars in order to suggest to his readers to distance themselves from the forms of worship of gods endorsed by the Roman emperors that were ordinarily performed by lower social classes, by women or in a way that was perceived as negative. The particular focus of the paper will be how Suetonius depicts the emperors’ legitimacy by presenting them as worshipping foreign gods. Rites to the goddess Isis and the ‘Phrygian’ rituals of Cybele were first performed in private or semi-public sphere, in which adherents participated according to their individual choice. However, in the reign of Claudius the rituals honouring the goddess Isis were first added to the calendar of public festivals and the ‘Phrygian’ festivals of the goddess Cybele were integrated into the public calendar. The paper analyses positive or negative literary representations of “foreign” festivals, which were associated with uncontrolled or womanish emotionality, after they were integrated into the public calendar of Rome. I will also analyse Suetonius’ manner of suggesting how inappropriate it was for an elite male – and especially for the emperor – to worship ‘foreign’ gods. By confronting various types of evidence, especially literature and inscriptions, the paper reveals subtle literary strategies and suggestive tones of characterisation of the emperors that are often overlooked by historians. The focus on intersectionality of gender, social status and ethnicity in literary devalorizations of Roman emperors worshipping “foreign” gods will allow a nuanced analysis of Suetonius’ suggestive denigration of ritual actors and their agency. (Show less)



Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer