School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Conference - Theorizing contacts in the Roman Empire

Institute of Classical Studies
HCA Past & Present

We live in a multicultural world, in which every community develops in constant interaction with others. A series of theoretical models have been developed to explain these contacts, which in recent years have been utilized to understand the ancient world. In the context of the Roman empire, these theories are typically used to examine the interactions of various indigenous populations with their rulers. These kinds of studies were once grouped under the heading “Romanization”, though the increased questioning of the term’s validity has given rise to a diverse range of alternatives. These are often drawn from modern theoretical backgrounds: multiculturalism and multilingualism are two recent concepts employed in this realm.

The aim of this conference is to assess the validity and scope of a variety of some of these models, with a particular focus on multilingualism and multiculturalism. By promoting and facilitating dialogue between disciplines, we shall aim to provide effective tools for different fields’ approaches in parallel (e.g. historical and linguistic). This has already been done very successfully in a few cases (e.g. ‘code-switching’), though greater interaction remains a desideratum. This conference gathers together nearly 50 scholars from a range of disciplines – linguists, papyrologists, ancient historians, theologians and Roman lawyers – in order to facilitate precisely this kind of interdisciplinary dialogue. Papers range across the full scope of the empire, from Britain to Egypt, and encompass a wide range of evidence: literary, archaeological and papyrological included. Delegates will thus assess the extent to which the Roman empire was multilingual / multicultural on an unprecedented scale.

The conference consists of 29 papers and 20 posters, and will take place on 8 and 9 December. A full list of participants may be found below, and the preliminary programme may be downloaded.

Associated Opening Lecture

Mark Depauw will give a public lecture on the of 7 December in association with the Edinburgh Classics Research Seminar Series as an early opening to the conference. All are welcome, but please contact to register interest.


Public Lecture

Mark DePauw (University of Leuven)

Keynote Speakers

Paul Du Plessis (University of Edinburgh)

Olivia Elder (University of Cambridge)

Alex Mullen (University of Nottingham)

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (University of Cambridge)


Alessandra Avagliano (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

Jean-Sébastien Balzat (Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, University of Oxford)

Charles Barnett (Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies (ACANS), Macquarie University, Sydney)

Caroline Barron (Université Aix-Marseille / ICS London)

Claudia Beltrão da Rosa (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro; Newcastle University)

Aitor Blanco-Pérez (CNRS, MMSH)

Yanne Broux (University of Leuven)

Peter Candy (University of Edinburgh)

Kristian Kanstrup Christensen (SAXO-Institute, University of Copenhagen)

Emilia Mataix Ferrándiz (University of Southampton-Université Lyon 2 la lumiere)

Jorge Tomás García [Instituto de História da Arte (FCSH/NOVA, Lisbon)]

Pierluigi Leone Gatti (Universität zu Köln)

Andreas Gavrielatos (University of Reading)

Amit Gvaryahu (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Brendan Haug (University of Michigan)

Ralph Häussler (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

Dimitar Iliev (University of Sofia)

Tommaso Mari (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg)

Katherine McDonald (University of Exeter)

Fabrizio Oppedisano (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)

Saskia T. Roselaar (Independent Scholar)

María José Estarán Tolosa (Université libre de Bruxelles)

Olga Tribulato (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

Rada Varga (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca)

Markus Zimmermann (University of Bayreuth)

Poster Presentations

Eleni Bozia (University of Florida)

Marta Capano (Oriental University of Naples)    

Amy Coker (University of Bristol)

Olivier Demerre (Ghent University)

Paula Loreto Granados Garcia (Open University)

Javier Herrera Rando (University of Zaragoza)

Erik Jensen (Salem State University)

Joanna Kemp (University of Warwick)

Kamil Kopij (Jagiellonian University)

Francisco Machuca Prieto (Universidad de Málaga)

Simona Martorana (Durham University)

Nina Mazhjoo (Concordia University)

Carles Padrós-Gómez (Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology)

Lorenzo Pérez Yarza (Universidad de Zaragoza)

Hanneke Reijnierse-Salisbury (University of Cambridge)

Haluk Riza Soner (Namik Kemal Universitesi)

Davide Polimeno (Ministry of Cultural Activities, Heritage and Tourism, Italy)

Gabriela de Tord Basterra (University of Zaragoza)

Panagiota Velliou (University of Edinburgh)

Marzena Wojtczak (University of Warsaw)


For further information please contact the organizers: Kimberley Czajkowski ( and/or Andreas Gavrielatos (

Funded by Past & Present and ICS Conference Grants



Conference - Theorizing contacts in the Roman Empire

This conference aims to assess the validity and scope of 'Romanization' with a particular focus on multilingualism and multiculturalism. (Published 30 May 2017)

Meadows Lecture Theatre, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, 4 Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG