Visiting Fellow, Fall 2023
- AffiliationPablo de Olavide University of SevilleResearch Project:How Do Processions Work? Emperors in Procession: The Ritual Construction of Community in the Greek Cities of the Empire
Elena Muñiz-Grijalvo is Professor of Ancient History at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla), and director of a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies. She has worked on different aspects of Greek religion in Roman times, and has recently focused on religious experience in community building in the Greek cities of the empire. On this topic she is currently leading the research project "Celebrations of the Roman Empire from the provinces" (2022-2025). She has also devoted numerous studies to the development of the Isiac cults in the Mediterranean from Hellenistic to Roman times. Her books and edited volumes include Himnos a Isis (Madrid: Trotta, 2006), La cristianización de la religiosidad pagana (Madrid: Actas, 2008), Ruling the Greek world (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2015), Empire and religion: Religious Change in Greek Cities under Roman Rule (Leiden: Brill, 2017), Processions and the Construction of Communities in Antiquity (London & New York: Routledge, 2023), and Understanding Integration in the Roman World (Leiden: Brill, 2023).
About the Research Project
How Do Processions Work? Emperors in Procession: The Ritual Construction of Community in the Greek Cities of the Empire
I am working on a book provisionally entitled Emperors in Procession: The Ritual Construction of Community in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire, aimed at analyzing how the ritual features of processions helped to construct the community formed by the inhabitants of the Roman empire –a vast and amorphous community that was nevertheless very present in the day-to-day life of the empire. My research has to do mainly with the religious life of the Greek-speaking cities, home to famous processions in which participants paraded images of the reigning emperor and other members of the imperial household. I intend to argue that the characteristic features of these “imperial” procession –among others, the prominence of the moving image of the emperor and the interaction between participants and spectators– combined to transmit a series of messages about power and about the very existence of the community. Besides the evident political motive and imposition, they also entailed dialogue, negotiation, opposition and, in short, co-creation. I therefore interpret the processions as pathways that channeled various levels of agency that contributed to shape a common discourse.