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  • Lehtipuu, Outi (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    Recent scholarship on early Christian martyrdom tends to be sceptical towards the traditional picture according to which Roman emperors wanted to destroy the emerging Christianity and ordered numerous believers who did not take part in the imperial cult to be executed. The vast majority of sources are written from a Christian point of view; they are narratives of uncompromising commitment and the superiority of the Christian faith, not disinterested reports of what happened. No matter how slim the historical evidence on early Christian martyrdom, its ideological significance was remarkable – the sentiment of belonging to a persecuted minority was an important factor of Christian identity. Part of this ideology was to portray the emperor as an archenemy of Christianity, an agent of ultimate evil who is in constant warfare with the divine. Even though the emperors seldom appear in the trial scenes of martyrs, they have an important part to play in the stories of martyrdom. They are present through their officials and their decrees and it is these unjust imperial orders that result in martyrdom. Martyrdom, however, is seen as a God-given fate and the martyr as a triumphant hero, which makes the emperor, despite his apparent victory, an eventual loser. While the battle between the martyr and the emperor is cast on a cosmic level, the authority of the emperor and his entitlement to honours on the mundane level are not questioned
  • Cameron, Alan (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    This article explores the development of the imperial title pontifex maximus from Emperor Augustus (12 BC) to fourth-century Emperor Gratian (382 AD) as well as the transformation of the title into that of pontifex inclitus after Gratian. Following the precedent of Augustus, every emperor down to Gratian (d. 383) was pontifex maximus. The title pontifex maximus formed a standing element in the imperial titulature, usually in first place in the litany of titles. The article demonstrates that the title pontifex maximus was modified into pontifex inclitus from Gratian on. Christian emperors were anxious to eliminate the pagan associations of pontifex maximus but they were reluctant to give up their traditional claim to priestly authority.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
  • Kivistö, Sari (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    My article has as its starting point the well-known ancient satirical work, L. Annaeus Seneca’s Divi Claudii apotheosis per saturam, also known as Apocolocyntosis Divi Claudii. Seneca’s satirical novel describes the death of the Emperor Claudius and his ascent to heaven where his request for deification is discussed by the gods. The gods decide to deny Claudius admission to Olympus, a decision followed by his expulsion and dispatch to the Underworld for his many crimes. My main concern is with the later Neo-Latin tradition: Seneca’s work inspired many imitators, including Erasmus of Rotterdam and Daniel Heinsius, who described other-worldly journeys, ascents to heaven or descents to the Underworld in the spirit of the genre. These later works included descriptions of the apotheoses of various authorities, (in)famous poets, emperors and allegorical figures. I will examine the functions of the apotheosis motif in the satirical literature written in imitation of Seneca, and I will show how the motif of the elevation into the divine status was used to ridicule authorities and examine conflicting value systems.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
  • Rantala, Jussi (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    This article deals with the question of the role of gods involved with cultivation, grain and food supply in the Roman imperial iconography during the reign of Septimius Severus. By evaluating numismatic and written evidence, as well as inscriptions, the article discusses which gods related to grain and cultivation received most attention from Septimius Severus, and how their use helped the emperor to stabilize his rule. It appears that the three main deities used by Severus were Annona, Ceres and Tellus. The use of Annona and Ceres was concentrated in the first years of Severan rule, when the emperor was out of the capital and fighting wars. Apparently, the importance of Annona, the goddess symbolizing imperial food supply, was connected with the acts of the emperor: wars and other crisis were periods when food supplies to the capital were often under threat. When Severus returned to Rome for a somewhat longer period, more emphasis was put on Tellus, traditional goddess of agriculture and a deity connected with a Golden Age – as the emperor was now in the capital, this meant an age of peace and plenty for his subjects. As a result, it could be argued that the use of fertility gods was closely related to the acts of Severus himself – thus legitimizing his image as a protector of his subjects.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
  • Humfress, Caroline (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    In the celebrated words of the Severan jurist Ulpian – echoed three hundred years later in the opening passages of Justinian’s Institutes – knowledge of the law entails knowledge of matters both human and divine. This essay explores how relations between the human and divine were structured and ordered in the Imperial codex of Theodosius II (438 CE). Deliberately side stepping vexed categories such as ‘Christian’, ‘pagan’, ‘heresiological’ etc., the essay self-consciously frames the question as one of ‘knowledge-ordering’ in order to develop a broader framework concerning relations between emperors and the divine. How was knowledge about the divine textualised in Book XVI of the Codex Theodosianus and with what implications for a late Roman imperial ‘ordering of knowledge’?
  • Tommasi Moreschini, Chiara O. (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    The present contribution provides an examination of the relationship between the emperor and the divine sphere in Latin panegyric poetry of the fifth and sixth centuries. Following the path magisterially set forth by Claudian, poets like Sidonius Apollinaris and, later on, Corippus employs the same literary genre to praise the newly-come Germanic kings or the Eastern Emperor. They have, however, to face a profoundly transformed historical and political realm, not to mention a different approach towards religion. Whereas Panegyrici Latini and Claudian could make wide use of mythological similes to celebrate Rome, her grandeur and the deeds of the emperor, his successors deal with the ancient gods in quite a clear-cut or, so to say, crystallized way. They show a conservative (and, to some extent, nostalgic) attitude and still believe in the endurance of Rome, which is fated to last eternally. The sacralization of Rome (with the concurring ideas of a Christian providence and the literary cliché of pagan aeternitas) is integrated within the frame of an empire that has become totally Christianized and, especially in the East, finds in political theology a privileged terrain to establish its roots. In particular the link between Christianity and the emperor as vicar of God is well outlined by the symbolism of court ceremonial and gesture, which panegyrics describe in great detail.
  • de Jong, Janneke (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    Roman emperors communicated a number of qualities which constituted an ideological basis for their unique position of power. These qualities were expressed by both verbal and visual references to the emperor. Besides references to his dynastic lineage or to his military capability, a recurring line of imperial discourse is the use of divine association. Connections between emperors and divinity ranged from references to a quality of an emperor that evoked divine associations to identification with a specific god and could be brought about by emperors themselves or anyone else. This article discusses how and why Roman emperors are presented in divine contexts in Greek papyrus texts from Egypt. Even if the majority of papyrus texts were written for practical reasons and their relevance was limited to the persons to whom the documents concerned, many texts are instructive for how emperors were divinely embedded in language. By applying a discourse approach, I aim to show that Greek papyri can be read on several levels. In this way, I hope to offer a new perspective on how divine language in papyrus texts can be looked at and how these documents can be read within a wider imperial context.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    This article discusses the sacredness of Roman emperors during the late Roman Empire, in the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. as the Empire was gradually Christianized. I shall argue that the imperial ideology with the sacred emperor, which had developed in the preceding centuries, was adopted with a few modifications. The most important of the modifications was “tidying up” of emperor worship using animal sacrifices. Imperial images for the most part retained the associations and connotations they had earlier had with prestige, authority and divinity. In this article, I discuss the difficulties and ambiguities with the sacredness of emperors in the Christianizing Empire, focusing on imperial images. The analysis of a few fourth- and fifth-century Christian writers (for example, Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, the anonymous Consultationes Zacchaei et Apollonii, Philostorgius, Severianus of Gabala and Pseudo-Theophilus of Alexandria) reveals a varied and complex set of attitudes towards traditional emperor worship, depending on the socio-political context of the writings. All these views must be examined as part of the debates in which they participate, as in the case of John Chrysostom’s homilies in connection with the Riot of Statues in Antioch in 387, or Philostorgius’ statements as connected with the disputes between Homoian and Nicene Christians.
  • van Andringa, William (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    This article examines what the historians have called the “imperial cult” to describe a wide variety of homages celebrated in the imperial era for the emperor and the members of his family. From Augustus, a new religious language was organized around the imperial person on the rhetorical basis of isotheoi timai, of honours equal to those made to the gods. This type of amplified tribute, set up from Actium and exploiting the Caesarian heritage (divus Julius), founded the institutional architecture of the Principate, giving the Emperor a necessarily prominent position. In fact the cults and honours devoted to the emperor belongs to the rhetoric of power and explains in particular the great ambiguity of religious language developed around the imperial figure; it also explains the maintenance of the institution with Constantine and the Christian emperors, who kept the essential meaning of the institution based on an admittedly ambiguous ritual arsenal, but adapted to the celebration of the highest honours that shaped the imperial function.
  • Kahlos, Maijastina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
  • Georges, Tobias (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    By referring to the topic of the emperors’ cult in his Apologeticum (apol.), Tertullian was quite innovative. Like him, his Greek predecessors among the so-called apologists generally took persecution against the Christians as the starting point for their argumentation in favour of the Christians. However, the emperors’ cult did not play a major role in their apologetic treatises. Tertullian, starting from his understanding of maiestas and his categorical distinction between God and man, in apol. 28-35 severely criticized the emperors’ cult and, at the same time, underlined a specific kind of reverence for the emperors. An analysis of those chapters shows how he acknowledged the emperors’ maiestas, but only as far as it was understood as a human being’s majesty subordinated to the maiestas of the one God. Thereby, Tertullian had to admit that the Christians rejected the gods, but he denied that the Christians were transgressors of imperial policies.
  • Kajava, Mika (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2016)
    20
    The article addresses some aspects of the Roman Imperial cult in Asia Minor by discussing a number of round altars from Aigeai in Cilicia. The dedicatory inscriptions of these monuments, some of which are unpublished (D10, E14), testify to various local methodologies of honouring the Roman emperors and their family members jointly with local deities. As they do not mention specific dedicators, the altars must have been set up on public initiative.
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    19
  • McMahan, Jeff (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    19
  • Yurchak, Alexei (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    19
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2015)
    19