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Classics for Breakfast

Friday January, 19th 2024 9-10 am online

"Religious polysemy and solar worship in the Roman Empire"

Lorena Pérez Yarza (University of Warsaw):

The Sun was revered in Rome since Republican times. Two temples to Sol are known from that period, one on the Quirinal, dedicated to Sol Indiges according to fasti, and the other in the Circus Maximus, widely known from late mentions and imperial coinage. Although the exact date of their construction is unknown, the worship of Sol was closely linked to the Roman past in the late Republic, when Sol and Luna were already identified with the Greek Helios and Luna. Towards the end of the first century BCE, references to Sol also proliferate in authors such as Varro, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Diodorus, Horace and Virgil's Aeneid, in which Sol oversees the pact between Aeneas and the Latins, ensuring him a place in the Latin memory anchored in the monarchy, and in metaphorical and astrological references. Because of this privileged position and his province over the popular chariot races, which increasingly associated him with victory, the god became an excellent element for imperial promotion at various moments in Roman history. At the same time, the same values and his position as a universal reference allowed the Sun to play a key role in philosophical metaphysics and interreligious dialogue in the Mediterranean area. Such a combination of factors gave rise to a versatile solar figure that encompassed different symbolic and religious meanings that were used in different overlapping spheres: military, local, imperial cult, migrant, poetic or philosophical. In this presentation we will try to shed light on some of these aspects and offer an example of a regional comparison that illustrates the popularity and flexibility of solar adoration during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

Lorena Pérez Yarza is a specialist in the religious epigraphy of the western part of the Roman Empire. Her research focuses on the religious interaction of specific population groups and the processes of religious expression and gods’ naming. She graduated in History in 2013 and completed her MA in 2014 at the University of Zaragoza. In 2019, she defended her PhD thesis with the title "The Cult to Sol in the Western part of the Roman Empire" at the University of Zaragoza. She has been a Jacobi fellow at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Munich in 2019, a postdoctoral fellow Juan de la Cierva at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid from 2021 to 2023, and an international WWU fellow at the Universität Münster in 2023. Currently she is a member of the ERC project STONE-MASTERS project at the University of Warsaw, and a part of the HHR and Hiberus research groups. She is also the scientific editor of the online database DEpHis (Divine Epithets in Hispania) and has collaborated with the database of the ERC project MAP (Mapping Ancient Polytheisms) from the Université Toulouse - Jean Jaures. 

Link to the event (we start 9.00 s.t.!): https://uni-erfurt.webex.com/meet/katharina_waldner


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Monday Lectures - Religion am Montag (SoSe 2021)
IFR-Ringvorlesung im Wintersemester 2018/19 „Religion und Gender: Konstruktionen – Medien – Erfahrungen
„Asymptoten des Unaussprechlichen“ – Aisthetische Erfahrung in kollektiven religiösen Praktiken 8./9. Juni 2018